4 Stars For The Savannah Century 8/31/14

savannah centuryWednesday 9/17/14 and the Dawn Patrol Ride has been cancelled due to thunderstorms. I awoke @ approx. 4 AM to the distant rumble and just rolled over thinking that rest is good. My mind is always the reluctant participant on the early AM rides. “Rest Is Good” said the brain. Is this what they mean by lazy brain? Anyway…………. I’m planning to ride Clermont Fl. this Saturday. Valerie has a thing in Orlando and has ask me to take her there. She knows how I feel about attending such things and doesn’t want me to take part and so it’s off to the site of the Horrible Hundred. It’ll be a solo ride I believe due to my start time which I estimate to be about 9 AM. Stay tuned for the full report.

Procrastinate: (verb), The act/art of putting things off that would otherwise interfere with riding your bike. Not to be confused with forgetfulness or laziness two things this writer is also  guilty of. This explains why the information here before you is already a month old. talmadge bridge

Here’s the full report on the Savannah Century as promised. There were about 1000 riders taking part this year and I’ve gotten a heads up about the start. The place to be is outside up front.  It all starts a mile or so from climbing up the Talmadge Memorial Bridge which looks a little menacing but it sure ain’t Hog Pen Gap, it’s a climb of approx. 200′. Thank You gypsy journal rv for the photo. After that it’s low country flat but not as flat as SW Florida. My goal for the ride is to break the 5 hour in the saddle time, which means that I need to average 20+MPH. With such a big group this is a great opportunity to go for it, just sit in with a fast moving group. I do.  

Coming off the bridge I find myself in South Carolina and the scouting report was pretty accurate, about 10 miles of bad South Carolina road lay ahead then looping back into Georgia for 90 miles of low country roads with me sitting in the huge peleton effortlessly  doing about 24+mph, synergy. Ahead I see the group from Ashville NC that I rode with yesterday and  I’m thinking that I’ll hang with them as long as possible. At approx M40 most, including the Ashville crew, SAG but there’s a big group that blows right by this stop and I go with them, BIG MISTAKE . Turns out I’m with the A group riders, young and strong. They take it up to about 28 mph doing intervals and rolling pace line. Surprisingly I’m hanging in there holding my own for about 30 more miles, but ultimately I’m spit out. My average speed up till now has been 22+ mph. I’m ahead of my goal but now I’m riding by myself which sucks, synergy lost. I need to SAG and get some water and wait for the slow fast group to catch me. It turns out to be 10 miles to the next SAG and there’s nobody on the road but me. I’m thinking to myself ” has the rapture happened and I was left behind”! I make the SAG and within’ minutes the slow fast group pull in. GREAT! As I’m leaving with them I realize that my tank is really low and I struggle to maintain their pace and finally I fall off. Too much running with the young and strong and now I’ve been spit out by the slow fast. With 20 miles left I find myself alone………..again,  but able to ride 18 to 20 mph and so there’s still a chance to break the 5 hour mark for the ride. I get picked up by 2 others who for whatever reason are in the same boat as I am and we’re able to keep it at 18/20 mph. One of these riders is starting to struggle more and we tell him to just sit on the back which seems to help him a lot but coming off a bridge and onto a really small and beat up road the other guy looses his bottle and needs to circle back. There’s only about 5 miles left and my average speed is below 22 mph. It’s time to cowboy up, leave these guys , the needs of the one. Besides there are lots of riders back there that can pick them up. Time to do for myself.  I’m now riding in Savannah and seeing parts of the town that are not on the guided tour. This is really a beautiful old town. Even the low rent district has lots of charm. The ride is concluding rapidly now and I’m gonna make my goal, dizzy and dehydrated but not wanting to vomit. Not wanting to vomit means I probably could have gone harder but……. 21+mph <4:45 in the saddle, I’ll take it. Looking around I see a lot of now familiar but emasculated faces. It’s that spent but happy look that you have when a difficult ride is behind you. You’ve met the challenges head on and bested each and every one of them. Overcoming my mental error at M40 was my biggest accomplishment at the Savannah Century. I’ll say it again, listen to your legs because the brain is too emotional. The slow fast group that came in ahead of me had the better average speed + by Sagging they made an easier go of it. Both their saddle time and elapsed time were better. Hopefully I’ll remember this.

Overall I give the  Savannah  Century 4 stars. Great riders, good course, plenty of great Sags, no rain, very nice tee and beer glass, but they fell short on the food at the end. The Distillery, which was the restaurant located at the beginning and the end was not providing food or beer for free, unlike Wheels n Wings, which is my benchmark for all rides these days. Most of the usual suspects I ride with rate an Event Ride by the after ride food. Sharky’s On The Beach in Venice Florida for example puts on a nice picnic like spread and a bottomless glass of domestic beer and The Everyone Rides in Ft Myers Florida has a very nice almost gourmet meal. 6 Gap in Dahlonega GA. has a Pasta Dinner after their monster ride. Wheels N Wings in Punta Gorda Florida is chicken wings and beer after the ride…….nice. Hopefully The Savannah Century will get the word which would put it over the top, 5 Star.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *