The first 30 miles were relatively easy on the flat roads of eastern Loudoun County. I knew once we passed Leesburg the roads rolled and tilted upward and caused sweat to appear in all kinds of places. Woodburn Road tested the climbing legs and the rollers of Harmony Church Road were unforgiving in their up and down repetition. Stacy and I talked of extending the Century to 160 miles for him and 130-140 for me - depending on our conditions after the meal at Reston Town Center (RTC).
We had skipped the rest stop at Ashburn -only 10 miles into the ride. It was too soon to eat and get refills. However, I could have paid my water bill. The next stop was at Hamilton Park. It was packed with cyclists of all types, men and women and a few youngsters. I even saw recumbents and a few tandems in the crowd. I queued for water, food and the toilets (not in that order). There was plenty of cycling food: bananas, orange slices, energy bars, cookies, bread, peanut butter, candy bars, M& M's, and other treats.
I was ready for the break after 31 miles. The next segment was tough. I knew because I had biked it numerous times. Stumptown Road was famous for its short but steep hills and the tricky descent. There were nasty rollers on Loyalty Road of 12-14% grade repetitious in their steepness.
"What is your group name?" a photographer asked me when we re-grouped and moved toward the street.
"We are the ...spiders," I replied after pondering for a moment.
"How about a group photo?" he asked.
"Sure. Hey, spiders, gather around for a photo."
"Spiders, huh," someone in the group laughed.
"Thanks. And have a good ride," he added.
"Thank you," we replied.
"Maybe we'll become famous for the Reston Century," someone said.
"Infamous, more likely," I laughed.
The only comfortable stretch of road on the Stumptown Loop was the 4-5 miles from Clarke's Gap to the turn onto Stumptown Road. It was my opportunity to move to the front and lead the charge into Waterford. Someone up front decided we missed a turn and threw the group into mayhew for a few seconds. Tires skidded, cyclists yelled, guys were off the road and I biked to the front taking advantage of the disorganization. I set a moderate pace into Waterford. The shade felt great in the growing heat. The rest of the Loop was rollers, short but nasty climbs, and a desire to return to the comfort of Hamilton Park gripped me. My HR reached 158 and the Garmin beeped informing me that I had exceeded my top HR limit. No kidding!
To be continued.