Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Almost There - Centurion CO in Less Than Two Weeks

The first ever Centurion Cycling event is coming up in less than two weeks. As usual, I had been a bit overly ambitious about my ability to get in some solid kilometers of cycling for this event, but in the last couple of weeks the legs have come around a bit more. It's been capped off by a big push over the recent four-day long holiday weekend where I was able to get in over 350K of riding - with big chunks of it in hilly terrain and at a fairly hard pace. All that being said, my 30-year aerobic and endurance base is going to be put to a supreme test over the Centurion Colorado course with two massive 25-mile climbs each topping out at over 9,000'.

It will be interesting to see how this spells out and who ends up riding with whom. Personally, I have no illusions what-so-ever of being able to hang with the front group. My wonderful Wife, Paolina Allan, should be able to give you more reports from the front as she seems to be rounding into fine form right now and should go well. For me it will be about pacing and riding well within myself on that first big climb - descending well - and then taking on the second climb and seeing what happens. I am a bit concerned about the altitude - but there is not much I can do about that. We'll just have a go at it and see. I am guessing that, with this size of event, that small groupettos will form with like-fit riders who will be able to pace each-other up the climbs - misery loves company!

The bike is all set( Cervelo R3). Still not sure what wheel-set I will run - Zipp 404 Tubulars or Bontrager Race-X-Lite Aluminum clinchers. I am leaning towards the latter, as these are the wheels that I have done most of my riding on this year and they feel very good shorn with Vittoria EVO CX tires. It's a great, all-around, reasonably light, aero and bomb-proof set of wheels. On the advice of a few, I will be going with an 11-28 cassette. The Super James climb on the second big climb does have a steeper section right near the top that may be very testing - not so much due to the grade, but for me the altitude. There is also a stretch of dirt road on this second climb as well, but I have no concerns about this at all, as we ride on dirt and gravel roads quite regularly.

My wonky lower back that has caused me a bit of concern of late has decided to come-around as well, along with my legs. It weathered the big kilometers over the weekend quite well. I must say that the R3 is very helpful in this regards as it does take the buzz out of a lot of the rear end vibrations and hits.

It's a significant first attempt at a large Gran Fondo style ride for organizers Graham Fraser and Len Pettyjohn, but I am sure that given their experience with this sort of thing, it will be exceptionally run. I am really looking forward to it.

Look for a full report here, in the week after the event.

Picture at the top was taken about mid-way up Mt. Lemmon, just outside Tucson, AZ.

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