The first day of the New England Classic is complete, and I have never enjoyed such a horrible day of riding so much.
My strategy was to ride at a VERY comfortable pace these first two days so that I don't wear my legs out on the flats and have nothing left for the climbing on days 4 - 6. I was going to find a group of riders, even if it was the pre-schoolers on their tri-cycles, that I could keep a comfortable pace with.
As all 150 + riders left the parking lot at the same time, I hung in the back and was one of the last ones out. I did not want to get tangled up in a big group and end up running into someone. So as the line of riders stretched out over the road, I moved up the line and settled in with a group of 4 guys, and up until mile 15 all was well. Then I hit a pot hole that flatted my rear tire. This was a huge pot hole and I could hear that my rim hit it as well. I thought I would either have to buy a nes rim or this could be it... ride over.
I pulled off the side of the road, under the shade of a nice big oak tree, and removed my rear wheel. I first checked out the rim to make sure there was no damage, because there is really no sense changing the tire if the rim is messed up, right. I have to say, that all the hype about the Mavic Ksyrium Elite rims being bomb-proof is true. I spun the wheel and it was barely out of true. No dents, or ripples. I was very surprised. I changed the tire without incident and was back on the road.
I was determined to not push the pace too hard to try and catch up, I was going to ride a steady pace and try to cut some time at the first 2 rest stops. When I got to the first rest stop, i refilled the water bottles, grabbed some granola, Raw Rev snacks, a banana and was ready to hit the road. At the time I was ready to go, no other groups were leaving, so I could wait around or set out on my own again. I decided to set out on my own, and out of the parking lot I took a wrong turn. It rode 3 miles before I realized it. So I turned around and headed back, and as I was passing the first rest area again, they were closing it down, which meant that I was last. I was at the back of the pack. Well, isn't that a great way to start of a ride that I am already anxious about. I kept a fairly steady pace and began passing the slower riders one by one.
Around mile 45 or so, there were 3 woman on the side of the road, with one of them obviously having a flat. I was riding with 3 other guys at the time and as is customary, we all asked if they had what they needed. They said they did, but they didn't know how to change a flat. The other guys either didn't hear them, or didn't want to ruin their record breaking times and kept on pedalling. I stopped and changed the tire for them and I didn't feel to bad about doing it, because it was this group of ladies that I asked to take the picture of the jersey above.
Flat tire changed, it was back to riding. I made it, uneventfully to rest stop 2, where i did more of what I did at rest stop one. Filled the water bottles, grabbed some snacks and hit the road again. Now on the way to rest stop 3, the weather took a turn for the worse. It started raining, but not too hard. At first, it actually felt kinda nice, but as it continued to rain and as the feet started to get wet, it was not so nice. As I crested a small hill I realized that I was at the ocean.
The rain continued as I rode along Route 1-A, and I was getting a little concerned because now that I was right on the water, soaking wet, with the cool ocean winds hitting me, I was getting cold. If the rain made the temperature drop for the rest of the ride, I would be in deep trouble, but as I turned west, away from the ocean, there was a noticeable rise in the air temp.
Rest stop 3 had a tent to stand under, which was nice to get out of the rain. I filled up on watermelon and a banana, filled the bottle and I was off again... headed for The University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH.
Once I arrived there, I checked in, so they would know that #29 was off the roads, put my bike in the large room that is housing all the bikes, got my room assignment, grabbed my bags and headed to my room.
I took off the wet clothes, showered and walked to the dining hall, where I enjoyed some real food. I had pasta and marinara sauce with some sauted Italian chicken breast and a wonderful salad and some bread sticks. After riding all day it was exactly what I needed.
So, the first day is done and I am happy that I completed it. I was afraid that what they were calling "flat" would be more hills than I was able to do. There was one hill that was a little steep, but even I would consider this first day to be very flat.
Tomorrow we head out to Biddeford, ME by way of Nubble Light. I will stop and take pictures there, even though it is surposse to rain all day tomorrow. Tomorrow is about 20 miles shorter than today, so I am hoping to settle in to a nice pace and make better time than I did today.
As a side note, I took this picture as I was riding down Rye Beach, and I thought it was cute. Now I just need to find 2 boats named Mr. Nolan and Mr. Devin.
Garmin data is below the picture. See you tomrrow!