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Race Result

Racer: Andrea Wicks Milano
Race: Jersey Double Century
Date: Saturday, June 19, 2004
Location: Whitehouse Station, NJ
Race Type: Bike - Double Century
Age Group: Female 35 - 39
Time: 15:50:00
Comment: Long but awesome day.

Race Report:

A little over a month ago, my friend Kelly mentioned to me that she was considering doing the Jersey Double Century. She had done it a few years earlier with Aaron and Chris. I went to the RATS site and read Aaron's reports, and decided I wanted to give it a go. The longest ride I'd done previously was only about 130 miles, and having mostly stuck with shorter stuff for the past year, I knew I'd need to ramp my bike volume, and really figure out a nutrition plan that would work for the big day. Over the past several weeks, I did just that. I added a longer ride on Saturdays (started at 70, and ramped to 120 a couple of weeks ago), and found a feeding plan that would work.

Before I knew it, race weekend was upon us. Aaron, Chris, Kelly and I piled into Kelly's van, and headed north to NJ. Kelly's friend Lisa met us up there to endeavor the 200 miles on a bike she borrowed from Kelly. We all figured she'd kick our butts (we were right).

Friday was a really hot day, so I was a bit concerned about the race day weather. 90+ degrees and high humidity would not make for a happy day. Come Saturday morning, it was really humid, and not at all cool when we left the hotel at 4am, which concerned me a bit. However, it turned into a really perfect day for riding. It stayed a bit overcast for most of the day, so heat was never really an issue.

The first 50 miles of the ride, true to reputation, were pretty challenging. The biggest climb of the day came at about mile 22 or 23. I didn't know when it was coming, and made the mistake of eating half a PowerBar just before it. About half a mile or so into the climb, I nearly hurled, and actually needed to stop and let my heart rate come down. As my riding companions would put it, I Just Said No to vomit. I was able to pace myself up the rest of it and was fine, but that hill hit me like a ton of bricks. The bonus was the downhill afterward, where I hit 45+ mph. After that, we rode at a reasonable pace, and managed to pick up a couple "bonus miles" along the way after missing a turn. We found our way back on-course, and made it to the first checkpoint at mile 58 or so right at 9:30 (the recommended cutoff time). We tried to keep it pretty brief, and then headed out again. I think this tied for the hardest part of the day for me. After the checkpoint, I finally felt warmed up and my legs started feeling pretty good.

The next section of the route was a bit less challenging, although it did have its share of hills, and we made it to the "lunch" checkpoint at mile 98 or so at about 12:45. We were still riding pretty conservatively, knowing there were many more miles to come. Kelly changed clothes, and I tried to deal with saddle soreness issues that would continue to plague me for the rest of the day. I don't know why it became such an issue yesterday...I was wearing clothing, etc. that has worked well for me in the past, but not on this day. The issues worsened as the day progressed, and there was not much to do about it other than to suck it up and move onward.

The section after lunch, from mile 98 to the 141 mile checkpoint, is supposed to be one of the more challenging parts of the course. For whatever reason, I started to feel really good. The course took us down along the river, and I was able to cruise along the rolling terrain at 20 mph pretty comfortably. My legs felt powerful, my nutrition plan was working, and other than my saddle issues, everything seemed right with the world. The last 10 miles leading up to the checkpoint were mostly uphill, with another pretty challenging climb. The only good news on that one (for me, since I'm not a strong climber) is that the hardest part is right at the beginning of the climb, and after that it gets pretty steady and you can get into a rhythm.

I had ridden much of the previous section solo, but Kelly and I met up again at the checkpoint and rode out from there together. The section from 141 to the next checkpoint at mile 168 was pretty uneventful, and I continued to feel strong. I decided to experiment a bit with my nutrition, and since I didn't think I could drink one more bottle of Accelerade, I filled one of my bottles with water, and the other with Coke. I decided to switch to Coke with about 20 miles to go. At about this point, I also realized that while my body was still feeling pretty good, my judgement was starting to go a little bit soft. I'm normally really good with numbers, but I started to have trouble doing cue sheet math in my head.

The last section of the course, from 168 to the finish at mile 201.8 is supposed to be net downhill. It didn't feel that way to me. Kelly and I were well on-track to finish by 8:30pm (cutoff was 16 hours, or 9pm). Then my impaired judgement got in the way, and we took a wrong turn and did 3.5 or so bonus miles. The course was well marked. I had a cue sheet. I was reading one line ahead on the cue sheet (mistake), and thought we needed to take a left turn. Wrong. We needed to take a right turn. After going down this road that turned to hard-pack dirt for a mile and a half or so, I figured it couldn't possibly be the right way. So we turned around, and asked an 8-year old boy for directions. With his help, we found our way back to the correct route, and continued onward. Unfortunately, we were now a little pressed for time. We had about 20 miles to go, and about an hour and a half to do it in. Sounds easy, but it was pretty late in the day, and we knew that the last 10 miles were net uphill. I started drinking the Coke I had leaded in a water bottle, and it gave me a quick burst of energy. For the next 12 or 13 miles, I Kelly and I hammered to try to get to the finish on time. Then we separated, and I did my best to get quickly to the finish. It was starting to get dark at this point, and I really appreciated the light that Aaron had loaned me. At least it made me more visible to cars. The last 3 or 4 miles of the ride were kind of painful for me (I guess they probably always are). I spent at least half of that distance in my granny gear climbing up the last few hills. However, eventually I did arrive at the park and Chris, Aaron, and Lisa were very kind and took my gear, got me Endurox, etc. so all I needed to do was lie down on the picnic table bench in the main pavilion. I don't think I've ever encountered a more comfortable picnic bench in my life!!

We started at 5:03 am, and I finished with 10 minutes to spare, Kelly finished with 3 minutes to spare. Chris and Aaron were about 2 hours ahead of us. Lisa was about a half hour ahead of that.

It was a long day, but well worth it. When I analyzed my PowerTap download (ain't technology grand?!?!), I found that I actually rode 205.8 miles, and negative split the course by about 6 minutes. I think I actually rode about a mile more than that, since my PowerTap went on the fritz for a few minutes at one point. My average speed while riding was exactly 15 mph, which I was very pleased with.

I was glad to get to meet Aaron and Lisa, and to ride again with Chris, and as always with Kelly! This is really a well-run event, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking to get in some really long distance riding in some beautiful country.