Sunday, September 25, 2011

In The Bag: Another Successful Big Dam Bridge 100

Saturday broke cool and overcast and, as the day wore on, remained cool and overcast, which was perfect weather for the 2299 registered riders who rolled out LaHarpe Blvd in downtown Little Rock to begin the sixth edition of the Big Dam Bridge 100 bike tour. After crossing the BDB, riders headed north through Maumelle to Mayflower, where they headed east and north around Lake Conway. From there, the 100 mile riders headed west to cross the Arkansas River at Toad Suck to Wye Mountain, while the 55 and 68 mile riders headed east for their own little hill fests.

Get Over It! I liked the theme of this year's ride jerseys and the 55, 68 and 105 mile routes all had a little something to get over! This was about all the blue sky we got, but conditions were perfect for a ride!

Though I heard reports of many riders walking up Batesville Pike on the 55 and 68 mile course, the routes were not really that hilly and each was, in fact, quite excellent by all accounts! Every distance seemed to have some bonus miles thrown in with the "century" being shown as 105 miles, the "half-century" was 55 miles and the "100k" was 68 miles.
OK, I was ready to be done at 100 miles, so the extra 4.23miles was not necessary at all! My time was respectable enough, but the baddest boys also had another "4:23". That is, they finished in 4hours, 23minutes. Good job, boys, that's fast.

We had a good plan, but, like many good plans....

Our group saddled up for the century with a stated plan of sticking together, not dropping anyone from our bunch, enjoying the rest areas and generally making a leisurely day out of it. I don't know why we make silly declarations like that, but in that spirit we positioned ourselves well back from the front even though our pack was already split up by the time we rode the three blocks from our gathering point to the start area. "We'll get together on the road", we said, and we half-assed did just that, though it was reported that our leisurely pace out of town had dropped a portion of our group somewhere in the area of 200 yards from the start. I won't bore you with the details of our ride, but it was "game on" from the start and our bunch splintered into groups of 3 and 4 as we hooked up with different packs. Nobody wants to give up the power of the peloton to wait for somebody who may or may not still be behind you, and the strength of the big numbers can eat up the early miles with little individual effort if you're in at a pace you can work with. For much of the ride, I felt like I could have gone a little harder, but by the time we finished, I was toast, so I think I rationed my efforts well enough.

My best moment....

We made the stop at the Spokes sponsored station at mile 35 and stopped again at Bigelow to get some fluids before climbing Wye Mountain. As we rolled out from the Bigelow stop, a guy in an Air Force jersey slid up beside me and asked, "Are you JBar?". I introduced myself and he said something like, "I just wanted to thank you. Your blog kept me from going crazy while I was deployed in Kuwait. Reading your blog helped me keep up with the riding scene and stay in touch with what was going on at home, so I wanted to thank you." No. Thank you! I was admittedly touched.

Post Ride Party

For the last couple of years, Argenta Main Street has been an open street party, allowing the local establishments to sell "to-go" beverages and serve at tables outside on the street. The live music was good, hot dogs were served along with food from the area restaurants, and riders stuck around to enjoy the vibe and watch later finishers roll in.
Spokes seemed well represented at their rest stop, with the Spokes-mobile running SAG and a lot of kitted-out riders on the road. We were handed a finishers pin and chocolate milk at the finish, and the cold milk really hit the spot!
Good seats and good business. The local bars and restaurants enjoyed a busy afternoon as riders refueled with cold beer and good food as they recounted the tales of their day.
Food and a beer were at the top of the order for me, but many riders had other ideas, and I do love a post-ride massage!

Chad Cragle poses in front of the massive bike parking area and the food tents. Look closely and see if you can spot a bike nerd hidden in this photo.

Diane and I had a beer and hung around for a while before grabbing a very good pizza to-go from the Cornerstone and heading home for a nap and the Alabama beat-down of the Razorbacks, respectively.  This ride just keeps getting better and the routes for this year's event were by far the best yet! I really hated the old return down Maumelle Blvd.
Trraffic control was good and the rest stops we used were stocked with the right stuff by volunteers who were friendly and helpful.

Thanks to everyone involved! It was another great ride event for the BDB100 organizers and the central Arkansas cycling community.


Scott said...

- ha, I was getting massaged by the woman in red when that pic was taken, my Little Rock Kobraz jersey is hanging on the chair...

Anonymous said...

Those of us that ride that weren't part of the BDB100 were surprised Saturday morning to be turned back from the West End of the River Trail as we got abreast of the BDB. All the prerace stories talked about what times the bridges were going to be closed, but nowhere did they indicate that the whole West end of the trail was going to be closed. Was this just a decision by those on the scene or was it planned in advance and the word just not put out.

Vinny F said...

This was my first BDB100 it was lots of fun and super well organized. My group/i pulled of a 4:37 and the pace was just right/not too bad...had to setup a bike in movie after :) OK back to work thanks for the blog it helps keep me sain too, sometimes my work cubicle feels like Kuwait(jk).