The bike ride was fucking brilliant, but really hard. Apparently there was a tropical cyclone in the area on Friday, which just meant torrential rain for the entire day. I left home at 4am cycling around Brooklyn off to find the starting line in Battery Park.
After some standing around in the rain for what felt like eternity we all set off from the starting line at 5am. The mood was excellent despite the weather, and everyone was in high spirits as we rode along the bike path around the south coast of Manhattan. There was a lot of joking and it was really funny, despite a few really nasty collisions in the first mile. Riding in a pack for the first time was tough, with a few people knocking my wheel and more than a few close calls, but we stuck near the front to avoid as many folks as possible and as soon as we got to the first checkpoint at Rockaway beach my team-mate Stephen Lynch and I just blasted straight on through to get away from the pack entirely.
We kept the lead through the next checkpoint, and were still in the lead as we approached the third checkpoint, but luck slapped us in the face with a flat tire which we were stupidly ill equipped to repair, as neither of us remembered tire leavers. DOH. That lost us about 40 minutes as we had to wait for people to catch up, then we got overtaken by more than half the riders.
We got going, overtook a bunch of people, then another flat tire.
We got going, overtook a bunch of people, then two flat tires at the same time.
It was insanely frustrating. We checked all the obvious things of course, the tire itself was fine (nothing in there, or a hole to pinch the tire), the rim didn't seem to have any problems, the only answer was magic. Stephen was feeling guilty so he sent me off solo and I rode with headphones from there until I saw him again at the finish line (bar).
This was my first century and I was pretty upset with it taking 12 hours (about 3 hours off our intended time), but with the wind, rain and non-stop flat tires it wasn't so bad.
167 signed up, 60 turned up, 50 finished and I was about 20th. In total everyone raised about $73,000 which is less than the $150,000 goal but any money we can raise for such a great charity is better than a kick in the nuts.
I'm going to try and get to the New England ride August 30th, and I REALLY hope I can find a way to get enough sponsorship money together to get involved in Braking Aids Ride this September, but $3,500 is rather steep without a large chunk of it coming from a company, especially as I've been bleeding my friends and family dry for this last one already. If you think you'd like to be involved in riding in any of these events then you should go for it, or in touch, especially if you can make it to any of the Bike to the Beach events this summer.