Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ride Report: Foxy's Fall Century

Are you sick of just race reports yet?  :)

A few weeks ago the cycling season of 2012 came to an end with my last event of the year - Foxy's Fall Century.  I have to admit, when I signed up for Foxy's in August the thought of riding another 100 mile event did not seem appealing.  Not because Foxy's isn't a great event but in the moment I was a little burned out with cycling.  I am so glad I didn't let that momentary feeling hold me back though since by the morning of October 20th I was really looking forward to a fun day on my bike.

Foxy's will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was Foxy's 2010 where I rode 100 miles for the first time.  Thinking back to when Samantha and I decided to embark on that journey I never dreamed we would have accomplished all that we have together.  We have both improved tremendously as cyclists and this years event further confirmed it.

It was an early morning as I loaded my bike up and headed to Davis.

Foxy's is sponsored by the Davis bike club.  The course was slightly different than it was two years ago - mainly in terms of mileage.  In 2010 we cycled 105.7 miles and let me tell you, I cursed every mile over 100.  This year the official course measured just over 98 miles.  Despite obviously riding the event two years ago, I have spent many miles on these roads training for other events so I knew exactly what to expect. 

I flew up highway 80, got my packet and had my bike ready to go minutes before the course opened at 7:00 am.  It was still pretty dark outside and nice and cool.  I found Samantha and we hit the road.

It was roughly 20 miles to the first rest stop and completely flat.  We chatted all things cycling as all the USADA report on Lance Armstrong had just been released that week along.  We talked about some goals and ideas for our cycling adventures in 2013.  It was fast 20 miles.   Literally - we were holding an 18 mph pace.

When we rolled in to rest stop one there was barely anyone there - we were definitely leading the pack.  Of course this isn't a race, but it was a different experience from two years ago when the lines were long and the food was starting to get picked over.

We met up with some fellow ALC Team Sacramento ladies, grabbed a few snacks, snapped a few pictures and we were back in the saddle.

From rest stop one it was 17 miles to the next water stop.  A lot of the road was "rolling hills" - my favorite and much better that the flat road.  The four of us managed to stay together for the majority of the 17 miles - sometimes separating out, sometimes riding in a pace line.

We pulled into the water stop all still chatting away.  The air was crisp, the mph brisk and the miles just seemed to be flying by.  

From what I remembered from 2010 the next 13 miles to lunch - smack dab at mile 50 - were a little trying as you were either going uphill or were on "false flats" (where the road looks flat but your mph is so low you have to know you are climbing).  Samantha told me to just go ahead and we would meet up at lunch as this was her least favorite part of the course.

Cute little pumpkin patch along the route.
I can't tell you what I thought about during those 13 miles.  I think I honestly just enjoyed being on my bike and being outside in the nice cool weather.  As much as I had started to burn out on the long weekend rides they had become such a normal part of my routine I realized I missed them more than I thought I would.  I also remember thinking, "ok, when are those hills coming?" and yet, they never seemed to come.  I love it when "roads" I used to think of as "hilly" become easier and easier.   Before I knew it I rolled into lunch right around 11:15 - a full two hours earlier than we did back in 2010. 

We got a really good spot on some blankets for lunch.  I am guessing it was a product of us arriving so much earlier but the food was so much better than I remember - a lot more variety.  I did remember a big climb out of lunch from before so despite being fairly hungry I tried not to eat too much.  Nothing like climbing with a full stomach.  

The next 23 miles from lunch to the next rest stop is where all the "serious" hills wait and my favorite parts of the course.  There is a climb out of lunch and then the big one - Cardiac Hill.  As someone who actually enjoys climbing, Cardiac is a great hill, especially for beginners.  It can be broken down into 4 sections - each about a half mile apart.  At the top of each section is turn out before the next switchback which is a great place to catch your breath if you need to (and two years ago I sure did).  The grade lets you know you are on a hill but nothing unbearable.  

The hill out of lunch was much more manageable this year, or maybe I just wasn't as stuffed full of fritos like before.  As I waited at the top a guy said, "glad to be done with the worst climb of the day."  I informed him Cardiac was still to come and he gave me an evil glare.  Just keeping it real dude - nothing like a climb you weren't counting on to ruin your day.

Unlike two years ago there were a lot of people on Cardiac when we got there.  I settled into a good pace and ended up following behind two people with "5 Pass Finisher" Death Ride jerseys who were joking they seemed to have left their legs out on Monitor Pass (one of the climbs on that ride).  I asked them about it and both raved while hard, one of the most amazing things they have ever accomplished on a bike.  That ride is a bucket list item for sure.  

Top of Cardiac

Slow and steady I made it to the top without any stops this time around.  I waited for the rest of our little group before we all enjoyed the screamin' descent back down the backside.   

In no time we were pulling into rest stop 3 around mile 73 right before 2:00 pm.  I was pretty impressed with our timing at this point.  We were haulin'.  

Some stretching, pickles and a coke later and we were ready to tackle the last 27 miles.  These last 27 miles were flat, flat, flat and I was not looking forward to it.  Right before we left we picked up another friend who had been separated from the group she was riding with.  We all determined that the best way to make it through the last few miles were to take turns leading while everyone else enjoyed drafting off the leader.  Lucky for Samantha and I we have fast friends who probably did more than their fair share of the pulling - thanks guys. :)

Stevenson Bridge - aka "Graffiti Bridge"
With about 5-6 miles to go I realized if I sped it up a bit I could break 7 hours.  Like I said, these events aren't races but I have never completed a century in less than 7 hours.  Our leaders picked up the pace and we crossed the finish line with five minutes to spare - 6:55:52 right around 4:00 pm!

After putting the bikes away, we all grabbed some pasta they were serving and talked about all of our cycling adventures from the year and what we were going to do with all our free time in the "off season" for the next two months.  Too soon it was time to hit the road back home.

It has been three weekends since that ride and it has felt a little strange not spending 50-60 miles on my bike these past few weekends.  With training for ALC, Rev3, and all the other rides we did this year, a lot of time was spent in the saddle with some great people.  

When Samantha and I set out to do Foxy's in 2010 I never dreamed two years later we would have ridden 6 together.  This year we shaved off 50 minutes from our 2010 time!

Foxy's is a great "first" century.  There is some climbing but nothing too crazy - far more flat that hills.  The weather is generally cooler and it is very well supported.

I am so happy I sucked it up and climbed on the saddle for one last 100 miler this year.  It was the perfect ride to end the season.  Already looking ahead to 2013.

Final Stats
98.3 miles
3,389 elevation
14.3 avg/mph
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  1. Such an awesome day on the bike to cap off an amazing year! Wouldn't have wanted to do with anyone else!

  2. You are a cycling machine! Congratulations on breaking seven hours! Every time I read one of your fun cycling reports, I vow to get back out there and figure out my pedal/shoe issues. You just make it sound and look so fun.


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