Game day! Finally! I don't think I have ever been so anxious than I was the 24-48 hours leading up to the ride. I could have used to vallium to calm my nerves down! It was a 4:30am wake up call, since check in started at 6am for me, and there would be some travel time to get to Babylon. I went through with my usual race day nutrition routine, which was a bagel, banana and 20oz. of water. Packed up all the gear and loaded up the car and we were headed off to Babylon train station.
It was a cool (almost chilly) sunny morning. We arrive to Babylon around 6:30am to find it rather buzzing with activity already. I check-in my bag, grab a route sheet, and use the port-o-potty. Change into my bike shoes, and I'm about ready to roll. Still debating on whether I wanted to join the escorted ride, I finally decided against it, said good-bye to my loving wife, and rolled out with a few other members of Team Viscardi.
This first leg was from Babylon to the Blue Point Brewery in Patchogue, which would be a little over 20 miles. For some reason I thought it would be closer to 30. It was a pretty uneventful 20 or so miles, just had more lights and intersections than I would have liked (because that meant having to stop, and still being a "newbie" to bike shoes that clip in, each stop was a small adventure!). Toward the end of this section, the competitive, i-cant-do-anything-just-for-fun part of me takes over and I decide to pull away from the group. Surprisingly, another Team Viscardi member I was rolling with decided to follow me. And since I thought this section was longer, I was very surprised when I arrived at the Blue Point Brewery (around 8:30am) much sooner than anticipated. My original plan, before ride day, was to spend AT MOST 10 minutes at each rest stop. I quickly realized that was not going to happen. Between people hanging out, grabbing food, and the lines for everything (food, water, gatorade, potty), my desired 10 minute max became a 30 minute stop.
This second leg, from the Brewery to Westhampton Church would be about 30 miles, just around the midway point for the 100-milers. A large group of Team Viscardi decides to roll out together, now 9:00am, so we are out in full force! I try to hang around for about the first 5 minutes, then again, that i-cant-do-anything-just-for-fun side takes over and I decide to just break away from them, otherwise, I probably wouldnt finish until after 7pm! So I'm keeping it around a 16-17mph pace, when conditions allowed of course, and I couldnt help but start to think, will this catch up with me later? But I didnt care, I just wanted to keep going. Nearing the 50 mile mark, and close to the next rest stop, I'm really starting to feel it. I'm starting to get tired, my legs are burning, and worst of all, my butt hurt! I was able to ignore it knowing the rest stop was near. So as I approach the rest stop, around 11am, my original plan of "no more than 10 minutes" at the rest stop was out the window. I knew I had to stay a while, let my legs recover and get some fuel in me. So I pulled in, set my bike down, and just shook my legs out and stretched out for a bit. Took my bottles to refill and grabbed a banana. I really didnt want anything else to eat, fearing it my come back to haunt me. I found a bench to just relax on, just to recover a little.
So, from here would be another 25-ish miles to the Water Mill, the next rest stop. Now around 11:30am, as soon as I leave the rest stop, I feel a tightness in my right leg, almost like it was about to cramp. I try my best to pedal and stretch at the same time (I'm sure it was a site to others). I also downed some water and gatorade. It does finally subside and all was well, UNTIL....the WIND. This next section was, in one word, HELL. There was a slight headwind all day, but this stretch on Dune Rd, for about 5, 6 miles, were the worst. I was literally going about 6, 7 mph. My legs were so on fire, that I stopped to stretch out and rest. This is where I started thinking the worst, that the fast start was catching up to me and that I may have to be SAG-ed to the end! So we finally turn onto Ponquogue Bridge to catch a nice break with the wind at our backs, and a nice downhill on the second half of the bridge. From here, it wasn't all bad, very scenic, then around 1:30pm, I arrived at the Water Mill. This was the imfamous stop with PIE. PIE!! I badly wanted some, but again, knew that it would come back to haunt me later. Refilled my water and gatorade, used the facilities, laid down for a bit, and most importantly, downed a small packet of salt. Money.
Around 2pm, I was back on the road, and it would be another 30 miles to the finish. I knew since I made it this far, no amount of pain or soreness would stop me from getting to the end. I'm not even caring about how nice the scenery was around me was at this point. It was, lets get the heck to Montauk!! And that is what I did. Trying to keep it around 15mph where I could, and if my legs let me, I was finally got to the final 15 mile stretch that led to the lighthouse. Here, is where it got fun. The first 5 were fine, but the final 10? Lets just say there were a couple of hills. A couple of Cadillac mountain type hills!! At the END!! That was just wrong. So I push through the first one, levels out, I'm tired, I slow a bit....get to the next one. Same thing. Finally, not far from the end, is the biggest one. Fortunately, there was a big downhill just before it, so I was at least able to gain some momentum up this last one. It carried me to about 1/3 of the way up, before I was in my lowest gear already. As I'm going up this hill, I couldnt help but think that I'd rather just get off the bike and run!! Too bad I only had the bike shoes. Then the next thought, that as soon as I get to the lighthouse, I was going to just chuck the bike and not want to see it for a while (too bad I have a Tri in less than 2 weeks!). So, finally, over the hill, I see the line of cars, trying to enter the park. I know I'm close. You start to see the crowd, they're cheering. I'm getting emotional. Yes, emotional. Nearly choked up!! I'm rolling through and I see Ahmee, Lillian and David cheering me on as I roll by. I made it. 108 miles, and 9.5 hours since I left Babylon, I made it to the lighthouse in Montauk!!!
I was completely spent. I'm not sure I've ever felt that kind of fatigue before. That kind of burn in my legs. It was still settling in that I did that. I biked over 100 miles. And all for a great cause! Montauk....THE END.