No, it wasn’t hell. It was quite short of it, but it was still pretty tough.
That makes it more like sixty two miles of heck.
The Hale’iwa Metric Century started on Sunday morning at 7:30 am in, of course, Hale’iwa, which is on the north shore of O’ahu and far from me. I got up at 4 am and was there around 6:30; met up with my Twitter buddies @Lavagal and @AlohaJohn (and later @FATJEFF); hit the start line at 7, was out the chute about 7:35 am and headed out to Ka’a’awa.
This 62 mile course is mostly flat, with a couple of long but not steep climbs along the way. However, it felt like I was going through molasses for the first half of the ride. My hope was to complete the ride in four hours, but I got to the halfway point two hours and 13 minutes in, and I considered my hopes dashed. The issue seemed to be more wind than anything else, and I couldn’t find a group to ride with that was consistently my speed (whether this is their issue or mine I don’t know).
Things turned around, ironically, at the turnaround.
For the first half of the course it felt like I was barely averaging 13 miles per hour (realistically, given the time, I was actually a hair over 14 miles per hour). To finish the course in under four hours I needed an average speed over 15 mph and I thought it would take a miracle for that to happen.
If that was really the case, a miracle happened.
The return was much faster–exceptionally so. The wind was at my back and I was stronger than I thought I would be. In fact, I was so much stronger that until the finish I was passing people more often than being passed. When I got through the finish line, my watch read the magic time: 11:29–I figure I probably shaved a total of four minutes off of that because I didn’t actually get out of the starting chute until at least 7:33 am and I didn’t immediately grab my phone out of my pocket to check the time, so my belief is that my total time was actually three hours and fifty five minutes for a 62 mile course.
That would work out to an average speed of 15.8 miles per hour for the entire course–meaning I averaged 17.4 on the way back! That’s way faster than I would have expected.
In retrospect, I have to say that this was the best large group ride I have ever done. So it’s a lot less than hell, and maybe even less than heck. Thanks to everyone who participated!