|Great River Road Ride 2011|
|Written by Jim|
|Tuesday, 11 October 2011|
According to the event web site, the Great River Road Ride is one of the top 10 centuries in the U.S. I believe it. It is a beautiful ride on lightly traveled roads, most in very good condition, with plenty of long climbs and descents.
The event has several ride options from 35 – 112 miles. There are cue sheets and the course is well marked. Steve Power and I tackled the 112 mile option, the 170km Timed Populaire. You start in Westfield MA and the route takes you along the Westfield River to Savoy and back along the Middle and West Branches of the Westfield River.
There were 80 people registered for the timed 170km ride. The timed part means you are given a card and a 7:00 AM start. At each of the water stops/check points, your card is stamped with your arrival time. At the finish your card is collected and sent to RUSA where your ride and time is certified.
At our start the temperature was 50° with heavy mist. The sun was just rising. For the first 5-10 miles we rode in a large group at a moderate pace. At the first significant climb the group broke up and started to find its logical groupings. At the top of the climb there was a group of about 8 of us.
For most of the rest of the ride, these riders rode in varying groups of 3-8, forming a good paceline and working well together.
Typically we would ease off for a dropped chain or water bottle and made some effort to leave each rest stop a core group.
Rest stops were every 20-30 miles. They were nothing fancy but included the essentials – water, Gatorade, bananas and PB&J.
At the top of one noteworthy climb, at mile 70 or so, the rest stop included baked potatoes and the fixins’.
There were 450 riders registered for all the events. Start times were staggered based on ride distance and most riders were scheduled to start between 8 and noon. At the finish there was live music and a cookout. When we left at 2:30 the festivities were just getting started as the vast majority was just beginning to finish.
This is a great ride and has options for riders of nearly all abilities (even the 35 mile loop had a least one non-trivial climb), and interests – from the aggressive rider to the randonnneur to the casual group ride.
The 170km ride is quite a challenge and a good way to cap the season. Final stats:
· 112 miles
· 9,000 vertical feet
· 5,019 kcals (185 lb rider)
· 6:22 saddle time
· 6:41 total time.
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|Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 October 2011 )|
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