Tina and I have just returned from the Sierra Century. Tina’s training was perfect, and she made it up Slug Gulch without any problems. In fact, she managed to pass plenty of people off their bikes on the side of the road, trying to recover in the shade. These were people who had passed her earlier in the ride, but were now reduced to quivering husks of sorry humanity by the nasty grades and the heat. Other than a finicky front derailer and a bit of discomfort in the, um, nether regions (what do you expect after a 100 miles in the saddle?), the ride went better than expected for her, and she was very happy to receive her Slug Gulch pin at the top of the climb.
As for me, I enjoyed my 122 miles on the road. I rode with Tina until the first rest stop in Ione, and then I went on ahead while Tina finished at her own pace. I enjoy starting early so that I can enjoy the food at the rest stops while it’s still fresh and not picked over as much. While Tina was having shifting problems, I was having my own chain problems. I had replaced my chain before the ride and it wasn’t behaving properly… It was shifting okay, but it would skip when I tried to put more power into my pedaling. I got some lube at the rest stop in Volcano, but it still wasn’t perfect. However I managed to get it to settle down for most of the ride, even though the chain jumped off on the back completely when I started up Slug Gulch. I figure I need to get the gunk they pack the chains in off of it completely, and then give it a good lube for the problem to disappear. At least the bike was rideable.
I managed to see some fellow Western Wheelers at the end of the ride, namely Sue Keyser and Greg Wong. They are both strong riders, but they started later so I never saw them on the road. It was a pretty fun ride, and the rest stops, SAG and everything else was perfectly organized. With the abundance of lupin covering the fields on either side of the road for much of the ride, the scenery was the best it’s ever been, and with Tina finishing the 100 mile version for the first time, the ride was perfect all the way around.