I rode in the New Bern, NC Bike MS rides this past weekend. Saturday I rode the 100 mile route in what was a fast time for me. New Bern is near the coast and pretty flat. About the only hills are the bridges that go over the Trent and Neuse Rivers. I have done some well organized charity rides but the New Bern Bike MS is the best. I was very impressed last year and they did not disappoint this year. I camped in Union Point Park which is the start and finish. My team, the Spiritual Spinners, had team tents and I camped right behind them. It was good spot and I was able to keep an eye on things.
We gathered 4 groups within the Spiritual Spinner together for the start. The A team was 8 strong and ended up averaging a little over 20 MPH for the century. I was in the main group of 14 century riders. For the first part we rode with some of our riders doing the 50 mile route.The last group was a father and son doing the 75 mile route. We all rode across the bridge together waving and staying out of trouble. We settled into a nice double pace line and started enjoying the flat roads and early morning cool air. The first rest stop was only 8 or 9 miles into the ride. Our group was skipping it, but I had done a good job of hydrating, so I decided to jump ahead about 2 miles from the stop for quick bio break. My group went by while I was in the portapotty, so I started a chase. This ride has over 2000 people, so it was crowded and little hard to move up. But soon a long line of riders in CBC (Carolina Brewing Company) came by and I jumped on the end. Now I was pedaling not much harder than when I was with my group, but I was doing 23-25 MPH and they had the momentum (and the will) to pass the crowds. I caught up in just a few minutes and settled in. I didn’t pull much early in the ride because with only a few exceptions this group has people doing the first century or their only century of 2010. I knew some long pulls would be appreciated in the second half of the ride. I did take a pretty long pull, 6 miles, into the 2nd or 3rd rest stop.
The second time I went to the front for a good pull, we were in a single line and had some strong but less experienced group riders in the front. I had only been on the front a couple of minutes when they asked me, why aren’t they yelling (either saying it was too fast or saying “slowing” a lot) you like they were at us? That was the teaching moment I was hoping for. I was doing two things different. I was actually riding about 1 MPH faster than they had and I was not varying the speed hardly at all, maybe plus or minus 0.5 MPH. I didn’t tell them that part of it was I had ridden a lot with most of the others and they trusted me. I think it helped because they were steadier the next time they pulled.
The day remained overcast and if not cool at least not crazy hot like most of my centuries this year. As we circled around and came back into New Bern I turned on my special treat. My family gave me a bubble machine made to go on a kids bike. I strapped it to the side of my rack and turned it on for the finish. I let everyone get a little ahead of me because while the bubbles were fun, you get tired of eating them. Here I am at the finish. If you look closely you can see the bubbles.