Sunday, I rode my first Dam to Dam Century Ride in Wabash, IN. It wasn’t only my first D2D but also my first EVER century ride. I had zero expectations. My plan was to show up, ride & finish. Mission accomplished.
Easy drive to Wabash, IN which is about 80 minutes from my house. The start/finish & packet pickup were at the local YMCA, plenty of parking and space for the riders. Packet pick up and breakfast was in the gym. Well organized. Fast. We all received a wristband with a number to call in case we had issues with the ride, our bikes or needed help. It was a nice touch and one that I certainly appreciated. I’ve done several organized rides but never one where I felt confident that if I had a problem, someone would actually be able to help.
I started with the 7:30am crew. We hit the course early, while the main group started at 8am. I was happy to get moving. It was cold, low 40s. Plus, I knew that riding 100 miles would take me just short of forever. Might as well get started! We left the Y and started weaving thru Wabash. I immediately noticed 3 things. 1) Holy Hills. We were climbing before our saddles even got warm. 2) The course was well marked with directional arrows BEFORE the intersection where we would need to turn. 3) I would be riding 104 miles NOT 100 miles. Small detail but something I noticed immediately.
It was a beautiful morning. Cool. Foggy. Breathtaking views. I was happy to be out. Happy to be riding. Happy to be tackling something that had been on my bucket list for several years. Even stopped for a few pictures.
And a selfie! Thanks to Ron at FNA Outdoors for helping me out again this year. Great guy. Great bike shop. Cool gear. Awesome bike.
I rode the 104 mile route. Aid stations were located about every 20 miles. Closer in some spots but never further. The aid stations reminded me of ultra running. Food, food & more food. Pic below of the first aid station. Trail mix, PB&J, cookies, water, Gatorade, tomato juice, pickles, bacon, chips, etc. Every aid station had different food items, but the food was always plentiful. If you like ultra/trail runs because of the food, you’ll love century rides!
Best part of the day, in my opinion, a field of sunflowers. So many. Sunflowers as far as the eyes could see. I took this while riding and am thankful it wasn’t blurry!
We rode thru the countryside, across several bridges & dams. Thru the Salamonie Reservoir & State Park. Red Bridge State Recreation area. Mississinewa Reservoir. Past the Stockdale Mill.
Once I hit Stockdale, mile 64, I was pretty flat. I had 3 weeks of building for marathon training & also 3 weeks of building on the bike to be ready for the century. I was starting to feel it. I wasn’t exhausted but definitely tired & I had been riding solo for about 10 miles without seeing many other riders.
After Stockdale, things went downhill fast, mentally. I was alone. Fighting some heavy winds. Mentally breaking down. I knew it was a mental thing but that didn’t help me get thru it any faster. From Stockdale to North Manchester, it was a real slog. As soon as I hit the city limits of North Manchester, a big pack of cyclists passed me. Then we all hit the aid station at mile 82 together. Riders kept pouring into that aid station while I was there. Obviously, I hadn’t been out there alone. I sat for a few minutes, ate 2 brownies, hit the potty, texted a friend that I was on the brink of the “ugly cry”. Then rolled out, about the same time as 10 other riders. 8 disappeared immediately. 2 were in my sights. I was not alone. So I tried to keep those 2 gentlemen in sight. Helped me focus. Rolled down the miles a lot faster just knowing someone was close. Passed thru Largo, then back to Wabash. We were directed onto a bike path for a short stint. I was alone again but it was very pretty.
Then I made my only directional mistake of the day once I got off the path. I misinterpreted an arrow. I crossed the road and started a huge climb up a very ugly hill. Then I was in a busy part of town. Then I noticed there weren’t any more arrows. I messed up. Thanks to Google Maps, I found my way back to the YMCA. 107 miles total. Just shy of 7 hours on the bike. Wow. Longest. Ride. Ever.
Overall, I was very impressed with D2D. I’d definitely go back and ride it again. I’d like to be able to do it as an annual event. It wasn’t super close to home but manageable. And it was just a good event from start to finish. Great directional info, signs, and volunteers. The aid stations were on point with lots of goodies. I loved that they were pretty close together, especially when I started to struggle, it helped to know I only had to make it to the next aid station. The majority of the roads were decent too, which I appreciate. Great experience, I hope to return next year.
** Happy Running, Riding OR Whatever YOU Enjoy ** Amanda – TooTallFritz