The Harpeth River Ride was my first supported ride of the season. This cycling season has not been as momentous as last year was. I spent a couple of months trying to get over being sick. I knew I would not be in shape for 3-State this year so I decided not to sign up for it. Cherohala Challenge is not convenient and I wasn’t ready for it either but I had to find something to ride. I checked the listings and saw one in my backyard called the Harpeth River Ride. It seemed reasonable as it travels over some roads that I ride every weekend.
The event is sponsored by Nissan and Harpeth Cycling Club. Everything started and ended at the corporate office in Franklin, TN. The organization was great. They were even able to get three Radioshack riders to ride in the event. Pretty cool. On race day they corralled everyone into whatever mileage you were going to ride. I had a yellow wrist band as I figured I’d do the 100 mile. The other riders were behind the 62, 42 and 24 mile signs waiting to go.
The ride was lead out by a couple Nissan pace cars, the Radioshack dudes and a few adaptive athletes. They lead the “peloton” through a parade of sorts then on to the open road. We had the pace cars in front of us longer than I suspected we would. They pulled us all the way through and past the Franklin Square which was kind of cool. Things stayed bunched up.
We got to the 62/100 mile split and I opted for the 62 mile route at that point. Why? Because it was incredibly hot. Damn hot. I wanted to try to enjoy the ride and not allow it to become a tortuous death march.
The roads were typical Tennessee country roads. Lots of short and small hills. It was hardly ever flat but the hills were nothing that would cause you any trouble. What did cause trouble was the incessant wind and heat.
I had little trouble riding the metric century as it is something that I typically do every weekend. The problem is I typically head out when it’s that hot around 6am. The ride did not start until after 7:30 as they introduced adaptive riders and guests. They had us waiting for a sweltering 15 minutes before hitting the road. On most days by 7:30 I would have completed around 30 miles. I just wasn’t ready for the blast of heat that we had on Saturday. I would have had a lot of trouble completing 100 miles. I am glad I did the metric. No shame there. I was spent. I didn’t want to ride another mile when I got back to Nissan.
Honestly I didn’t enjoy the ride. Fighting the wind and heat just wore me out physically and mentally. The ride was well supported. Nissan and the Harpeth Cycling Club did a great job. I just hope next year it is less windy and 10 degrees cooler.
One thing that I discovered was that riding 62 miles is pretty cool. I have always done the 100 mile option on supported rides. But 62 is a distance that I ride close to every weekend. I can ride the route fast. I don’t hit a wall. I feel fine when I finish. The 100 mile rides always wear me out for the rest of the day. It’s tough to train for 100 miles. I can’t ride 80 miles+/3 times a week. I just don’t have the time. If I did I bet I would feel just as good as when I rode the 62 mile option based on my current training. Something to consider for future rides. I will always want to ride the full 6 Gaps and 3 States 100 mile routes though. Epic rides are always worth suffering through.