Rode from home to Greenlawn for the start of today's Gold Coast Century. This is probably the hilliest century ride on LI (haven't done the Harbor's Ride yet, which also looks to include a number of hills as well). Planned on meeting some East End riders to start the ride officially at 7:30 AM. Got there a bit too early (6:35 AM) but took my time registering, picking up my ride t-shirt and catching up with some fellow riders. Saw Mike W. and Bob from the Brands ride who were riding with Guy, also from the Brands ride.
The East End group swelled to 20+ riders but was delayed getting started. John Y., John S., Phil, Ralph, and I soft pedaled the first 5 miles or so until the big group caught us. We continued on together, skipping the first rest stop, up to the second rest stop. We five stopped but the big group, surprisingly kept on going. In a way, I am kind of glad. There was a bit too much aggressive and nervous riding in the big group for my liking. Best to save this for the race course, not crowded roads filled with cars and potholes. Secondly, the next rest stop was at mile 50. I was concerned that in the high heat and humidity, that was a little too far with just two bottles, one of which was already half empty from my 20-mile ride to the start.
We five made the stop, seeing the Brands group there, too. Loading up on sports drink, water, PB&J, and bananas, we soon left the Oyster Bay stop hitting more of the rolling route. The group worked well to the Roslyn stop at mile 50, where John S. and Ralph split off to do the 70-mile version. John, Phil, and I set off to do Beacon Hill and Sands Point, the back to Roslyn to refill water bottles and get Phil's bottom bracket looked at by the neutral support.
Rolling hills for another 15 miles or so to the final rest stop and looming Avery hill. By now, the temperature in the high 80's was starting to wear us down. My odometer was at 101 miles. I could not seem to drink enough! We winched up Avery then down to Rt. 25. John was climbing great all day and I was mostly unsuccessful at holding his wheel on the harder climbs. But we always got the group back together within 1/2 mile of each hill where it broke up.
I bid adeu to John and Phil when we intersected Round Swamp Rd. and headed home on my own while they went on to complete the "official" century route. Great day for riding, even if a bit on the warm side. We were always in sunshine! The rest stops were fine, as usual on this ride, and the road marked well. Didn't need to check the cue sheet even once! Feel a bit beat-up from the broken up roads but I think a rest day may be in order tomorrow!