Sunday, September 21, 2008

2008 Tour of the Hamptons Ride Report

Did my 5th Tour of the Hamptons ride today. Traditionally, this ride is in mid-August. For some reason it was pushed back to September this year. Frankly, this worked out great weather-wise since we've had a couple of the August rides where 90+ degree temperatures really wear you out.

Fresh off last weekend's Highlander, the legs are fully recovered and probably in good shape from all that climbing. Did the usual early morning pre-work rides all week and a nice warmup yesterday with the Brands crew of about 40 miles. Talking with riders at the Brands ride, it turns out that they had a group of seven or eight who were planning on riding the TOH as well, some doing the century and some doing the 65 mile version. I already had plans to meet the East End group and do the century with them.

So, up at 5:00am for some breakfast, getting the gear together and loaded in the car. On my way by 5:35am for ride to Southampton High School, the starting point of the ride. Got there by 6:45 but registration was a little delayed. Our group's planned start time was 7:30am so there was plenty of time to get ready. The forcasted high was 77F but the morning was cool so I started out with arm warmers and long-fingered gloves. Also was wearing my brand new Brands jersey, in yellow. I stood out a little in the group who were mostly in their East End Team jerseys.

Our group of 15 headed out on time, and with the good weather and a favorable wind, we were up to a cruising speed of about 23mph in no time. The group missed one turn early on and things were broken up for a couple of miles until we pulled everyone back together.

First rest stop after about an hour at mile 23 in Amagansett. Easy ride so far as the route is pretty much dead flat to this point and we had good wind. I grabbed some fig newtons, a bannana, and 1/2 PB&J. Then we mounted up for the loop to Montauk Point. A couple of people faded through Hither Hills. We took it slow through the middle of the town of Montauk and then hit the climbs out to Montauk Point. Some riders dropped off on the climbs and 2 or 3 just cut out the climbs all together. I was with the lead group to the lighthouse and then the loop back west.

At one point, aroung mile 45, on the way back to Amagansett, we saw a road marking indicating a right turn. Myself and 5 others took the turn and kept going. Some riders in the group thought it was the wrong way. The majority decided NOT to take the turn so we were split (for good, as it turned out). Our small group rode for about 5 miles until we hit a DEAD END! So, we backtracked to the turnoff and proceeded back the way the rest of the group had gone. Unfortunately, now we were about 10 miles (approx. 30 minutes) behind.

One more small misdirection and we finally arrived back at the Amagansett rest stop with about 68 miles on the cycle computer. No sign of the big group but there was really no concern as we had a strong group of 6 to share the work for the rest of the ride. More fig newtons, banana, and PB&J for me, plus a bottle refill.

We were now in a difficult section of the route with lots of rolling hills. The work was shared pretty well. It was a tiring effort but mostly nice woods and scenery. I noticed that the route was changed from previous years and avoided the dangerous section on Noyac which is normally plagued with alot of traffic on a road with little or no shoulder.

At the third and last rest stop, we rolled in with 101 miles already, and there we ended up catching the big group last seen at mile 45. It turns out they were delayed by a mechanical issue (broken chain). They were just heading out to leave as we arrived so we were resigned to doing the last 10 miles with out small group. More fig newtons, 1/2 banana and a bottle of water and we set out for the finish.

Some small rollers and then some fast, flat sections around the mansions in Southampton. I finished up back at the ride start with 111 miles, about 5hr 25min riding time. Talked a while with the big group that had just come in before us and I saw Jamie, Paul, and Ann from the Brands ride and talked to the for a few minutes, too.

Finally, packed up and headed home. Everything turned out great, especially so since we had really nice weather even with the late date. This is probably my last organized century for this year. Proabably get caought up with the rest of the Brands group at next Saturday's LBS ride.

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