Sunday, November 8, 2009
The Wurst Ride if you're not familiar with it consists of a 100k ride from Austin to New Braunfels and riders are rewarded with free bratwurst and beer at the finish line. Sign me up please! My training really hasn't stopped since the Livestrong Challenge so I figured I would sign up for this ride as well. My weekends typically consist of a long ride ranging from 40-50 miles so a 61 miler shouldn't be all that bad. My co-worker Jeff Grant informed me that he would be doing the ride as well so we planned on dropping his car off the day before and I would follow him and give him a ride home. As we get into New Braunfels we pull over and try to find where the actual event finish line was at. Note, the map that was provided online was horrible. Something for the event planners to consider next year are: a. better maps to the venue with an actual physical address and b. better maps to the finish line for all of the riders. More on that later. Once we figure out where the finish line is at we look for a place to park Jeff's car. We found a nice little neighborhood just by the event so we parked the car and headed off for some carb loading at the local Johnny Carinos. As we arrive to Austin we decided that I would meet him at his place in the morning so I could park my car at his house and we would ride to the start line. The start line was only about 6 miles from his house so it would be the perfect warm up for the 100k ride.
Saturday morning I'm up bright and early getting things ready. I made sure I packed some light snacks so I could eat during the ride and not have to stop at the rest stops. The drive over to Jeff's was pretty quick but one thing I noticed was that there was some light fog, so I wasn't for sure if it was going to clear up for the ride or not. Not that big of a deal, I dressed in layers and I'm used to riding in the dark anyway. I also noticed that APD was in full force early in the morning. I spotted 10 cars pulled over by APD from north Austin to Central Austin! I guess it was end of the quarter for them or something. We make our way out and head towards the event at around 6:45am and it was exactly 6 miles to the event. Nothing like a quick warm up ride to get the blood going and legs fired up. Jeff informed me that he was going to try and do the ride as fast as he could. I told him that I would try and hang on as long as I could but I would be limited to my speed since I was rocking the fixed gear. Let's do this! Upon arriving to the event we notice the parking lot is full and we head over towards the event tents. Jeff said he was having some issues shifting and turns out he had a broken link on his chain so he got hooked up with a free chain! Now we're officially ready. The ride started about 15 minutes late due to safety reasons; the roads were still a little slick from the fog. So approximately at 8:30 we head off. Sure enough Jeff and another co-worker head out pretty fast and to avoid all of the clutter at the beginning, I take off to. We were averaging about 23 mph for the first 6 miles or so. Also within the first 6 miles was the first wreck and it was a doozy. Just before the wreck I heard the police escort coming up. I couldn't tell exactly what happened but I noticed everyone slowing down all of a sudden and I noticed about 3 bikers on the ground including the policeman and his motorcycle. His motorcycle was flipped over and up against this wall. Fortunately no one was seriously injured and we all continued on with the ride. This detour split me up from Jeff and the front group, so I knew there was no way I was going to catch up to them. No problem I got my music to keep me company and 56 more miles of a relatively flat ride; somewhat that is.
Being that I was riding a fixed gear I don't have the luxury of shifting through gears whenever a climb approaches but again it's not that big of a deal because this ride isn't all that hilly. Just a couple of rolling hills with a couple of climbs. Throughout the ride I keep reminding myself to drink because it's relatively cool outside and I tend to forget to drink during these types of conditions. I also try and keep my pace around the 18-21 mph range. I figure if I could hold this for 50 miles I should be able to hold it for 62. Throughout the ride I get several nods from other bikers about me riding fixed. The ride was really nice because it was all new territory and there was hardly any traffic on the road for the entire ride except for when we got into New Braunfels. I started to get a headache around mile 40 and it was really starting to bother me. Even chewing was beginning to be quite painful. I had no idea what it was but I continued on. 20 miles left and my head is absolutely killing me, basically to the point to where I just want to throw my helmet off and just lay my head down. I make a slight adjustment to my helmet and all of a sudden it was like a valve was released in my head. I had my helmet adjusted too tight and it was pushing up against my sunglasses and the beanie I was wearing underneath. LOL! I pick up the pace and decide I was going to go all out for the last 10 miles. As we enter into New Braunfels I notice everyone has the same expression on their faces. "Are we even going the right way?" No one had seen a sign indicating the way to go in quite some time, so I was just praying we were going the right way. I could just smell that free beer waiting for me by now! We continue forward and I recognize the road from the day before and tell the group that's with me that we're on the right path. As we approach the park we still don't see any signs whatsoever indicating where to turn off. We see a lady sitting by a service entrance and she says "just go straight" Well that didn't help because we approach a park and it wasn't the finish line. After about 5 minutes of riding through the neighborhood we see a sign for the finish line. Yes! Finally!!! I cross the finish line in 3 hours and 20 minutes, not bad considering I only had 1 gear. I head to the back and meet up with Jeff. He informs me that he was one of the first 4 to finish! "Wow! You were hammering it dude!" he said they got to the finish line and they didn't even have the food or beer ready. Awesome.
We talked about the ride and I told him all about the early wreck. I looked at my bike pedometer and sure enough I averaged 18mph for the ride. Nice! My legs felt great and so did my head. Bring on the free food and beer! We grab our food and beer and just relax at the indoor tables. After we finished we decided to head back because the food and beer line was insane now. As I was getting my stuff ready I hear someone in the line say "Hey I recognize your bike from Twitter! it's signed by Lance right?" I said "Thanks! yes it is" and I move over so he could see it. At this point everyone was looking at the bike by now. We had a conversation about the ride in which we both agreed that I was nuts for doing both the Livestrong Challenge and this ride on a fixed gear. We head out and make our way back to Jeff's car and pack things up. During the ride back to Austin Jeff and I discuss our plans for putting together a team for next years Livestrong Challenge. The goal is to get as many people on a team and have custom kits, bibs and shirts made so we can start training in the new gear. We figure with a team we could raise more money than if we tried to do it individually. We discuss some ideas for a team name and the name that's at the top of the list right now is "The Notorious C.O.G's" Ha! Jeff loves it.
There you have it, my first Wurst ride on the new MASH fixed gear. If you have never done the ride before I highly recommend it. It's for all riding levels and it's such a fun ride. Oh yeah did I mention free food and beer at the end? What more could you ask for?