Riding the Austin to Shiner century

We started at 7 a.m. May 2, about 1,400 to 1,500 strong, rolling down the side streets at Austin’s Met Center. My legs felt heavy and crappy, like they almost always do for the first 10 miles or so.

I got in a few groups here and there for the first 43 miles and things went OK. My legs never loosened up, and I was really having to fight through the tiredness. Even in the groups, we had a crosswind, and it was really hard to just sit in and relax.

At the 43-mile rest stop, all the groups evaporated, and I was on my own for the rest of the ride. But I started to feel better and miles 43-73 weren’t too bad. We were mostly going east, and the wind had shifted mostly to the south. Plus, we had some protected roads back in the “woods,” and so the going was fairly easy. I was humming along at 17-19 mph even on my own. Oh, and there weren’t many rollers in this stretch.

Then, as expected, it all went to hell. As soon as we turned straight south for the last 28 miles, at Muldoon, it got really bad. The wind was blowing about 15 mph, with gusts to 22 mph. There were enough rollers to make it even tougher. And some chip-and-seal roads made things even harder.

I spent 12 minutes at the 83-mile rest stop, in Flatonia, and 15 at the 91-mile stop, in Moulton. I was nauseous and had a headache, from dehydration, I’m sure. My legs were screaming and I was kind of dizzy. Sometimes, I was barely able to hit 10 mph. But I drank a Coke and ate some crackers in Moulton, and that little boost helped me finish.

Taking it easy in Shiner after the ride. I was tired!

Taking it easy in Shiner after the ride. I was tired!

But it was brutal. I never felt great, but I did learn a few things (other than to avoid this ride in the future). Apparently, Coke DOES help as a last resort. And when you get down to it, you just take one mile at a time and don’t worry too much about how slow you’re riding.

All in all, it took me 7:30 for 101 wind-blown miles. 45 minutes of that was spent at rest stops, the majority at the last three.


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