I had two goals for the century day: one, survive the ride using only the food and water I was carrying, and two, ride the 100 miles in under six hours. I did both, but barely. In the past, I've had luck pacing myself slowly for the first 50 miles, then putting more effort into the last 50 miles. Today I flipped that around and really tried to push a 17+ mph pace in the first half, then hang on for the second half.
The top of Davidson Mesa always attracts people looking to enjoy the view. Stopping for photos of Boulder and the mountains beyond gives cyclists a nice excuse to recover from climbing up to the top of the mesa.
I took a picture of this field earlier in the week but today's conditions were even better, so I stopped and took another one.
There's a beautiful park in Berthoud with some great public art including statues of a cowboy, a bear, and elk, and...a walrus? It's a fine sculpture, but I think there must be a good story behind this that they didn't fit on the little sign.
Berthoud would be a nice kind of RAGBRAI pass-through town. The park had nice grass and lots of shade and downtown has a nice selection of businesses, including a good ol' fashioned barber shop, complete with a striped barber pole.
I took a few moments in Johnstown to sit in the grass under a tree and watch some traffic go by.
After a short rest in Jamestown I knew I had some long, lonely, and hot stretches of road to go. I'd built my average pace to over 17 mph, and now it would be the time to conserve some energy and water and just keep it steady.
I don't know exactly where Colorado's eastern plains begins, but I was east of I-25 and not near a city, so this felt very much like the eastern plains to me.
The Iowan in me sees this view and thinks, "That green stuff in the field on the other side of the river is too short to be corn, so it must be soybeans." But nope, that would be wrong -- it's lettuce.
The Bella Rosa Golf Course on the other side of the highway was a favorite of my dad's. Cheaper than the metro courses, nice mix of hazards, and generally not so busy that they couldn't give us a tee time shortly after our arrival.
My pacemaking strategy worked but got ugly at the end with temperatures on the bike over 100 degrees and me running out of water with about 10 miles to go. If I'd been smarter and less stubborn, I'd have refilled all my water along the way and had plenty to drink. I took another quick break in Broomfield a few miles from home and finished the day in just under six hours.