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Race Result

Racer: Aaron Schwartzbard
Race: Reston Century
Date: Sunday, August 25, 2002
Location: Reston, VA
Race Type: Bike - Century
Age Group: Male 25 - 29
Comment: Sometimes one gear is all you need!

Race Report:

How I Learned To Stop Worrying, And Love The Pista...

I'm sorry that I didn't make it to the lake for the swim! I can't run (due to an injury), but I figured that I'd splash around in the weeds and muck with folks before the ride. Unfortunately, a late night on Saturday made me decide that I needed sleep more than I needed to break my perfect streak of not swimming all week. When my alarm finally did wake me up, I turned it off, rolled over, and started thinking that I really didn't feel like riding either. But then I remembered that I had had a hankering for pizza all week, and if I didn't ride, I wouldn't get any pizza. So I rode.

Since I hadn't been riding much lately, and since I had decided to ride my Bianci Pista on this day, I signed up for the 60 mile ride. The Pista is a track bike, which means that it is a single speed (thus, no shifting), fixed-gear (thus, no coasting) bike. (Although track bikes don't usually have any brakes, I have installed a front brake on this bike. Also, in case anyone is curious, I'm running a 48x15 gear.) I'm quite comfortable on my Pista --- I used to commute from West Falls Church to Alexandria on it --- but I haven't done any long rides, or particularly hilly rides on it. So I figured I'd take the ride easy.

I started a little before most of the RATS, but it wasn't long before the RATS peloton came flying past me like I was standing still. A little later, I hit the first real hill. Much to my delight, even though my single gear was far too heavy for that hill, I was able to use the opportunity to get past a gaggle of riders. Of course, what goes up, must come down. So it was not long after that when I hit the first real descent. I hit 35MPH (and I was still accelerating) before I started to feather the brake to prevent my legs from spinning right off of my body. So that was the theme of the day: grind grind grind up the hills, spin furiously down the other side. (I maxed out at 38MPH on one descent. Believe me, that was as hard as any climb during the day.)

I skipped the first aid station since I didn't need anything. I skipped the second aid station because I still didn't need anything. Eventually, I found that I was on the 100 mile route rather than the 60 mile route. Oh well. Grind grind, spin spin. I kept the pace nice and easy because I figured that eventually, the hills would reduce my legs to quivering mounds of goo. But the upshot of riding easy was that I was quite content to move on down, move on down the road. I figured that I'd stop at the 50 mile rest stop, but just before I got there, I found that even then I didn't need to stop. I started the day with two flasks of hammer gel, a 16 ounce bottle of water, and a 16 ounce bottle of cytomax. I had finished one flask of hammer gel, and half of each 16 ounce bottle.

The funny thing about going slow, but not stopping, is that the same people pass you many, many times. I'd be riding along, wondering how far ahead of me someone was, then that person would ride up from behind me. Anyway, by the time I got to the last stop, I was getting rather low on fluid, and I had to pee (well, that started around mile 30). But something about doing the whole ride self-supported, and without stopping, appealed to my athletic aesthetic. And the sooner I finished, the sooner I'd get pizza. (Don't worry, although I knew I was getting a bit dehydrated, I didn't put myself in harm's way. If I really needed water, I definitely would have stopped.)

With 10 miles to go, I was out of water and cytomax. Other than being a little thirsty, I was feeling pretty good, and my legs didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought they would by that point. The rest of the ride was on the W&OD, so I could just coast back to Town Center (well, I couldn't really "coast" anywhere, but you get the idea), where I proceeded to do many pizza repeats on a cookie rest interval.