Patrick Flowers is a Subaru Elephant Rock Ambassador Alumnus, and a candid one, at that! We hope you’ll enjoy reading his blog post about preparing for the 2016 Elephant Rock Century ride as much as we did! He writes:
If you know anything about me, it’s probably one of three things:
1.) I have an awesome wife and really cool Corgi.
2.) I’m a nerd, geek, and somehow still have #1.
3.) I like to bike.
This year I’m preparing to ride in my 3rd Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival in Castle Rock, CO. It is the largest event I have ever done and remains on my top 3 events every year. I started with the Metric Century route 3 years ago (100km = 62.1 miles) and that felt pretty good. But I always thought about hitting the full Century.
Fast forward to last year (like Back to the Future or something….) The organizers at Elephant Rock started an Ambassador program to help spread the word, gain new insights from riders, and expand the reach of just local riders. I was lucky enough to be selected last year and continue my ambassadorship this June! With plenty of training under my belt, I completed 101.6 miles in my longest day of sitting in the saddle.
That’s a good accomplishment, sure, but mostly I remember the stories I heard at pit stops of people loving the new route, colorful kits (clothes, to the lay-cyclist), how helpful the ride staff have been, and how the ride has changed in the many years they’ve participated since it started 29 years ago. And those are some of what keep me coming back.
Some people have asked what it takes to do 100 miles in one day. Perfect fitness? Bike lighter than a feather that you can pick up with your pinky? Tight shorts? Aero helmets?
I’ll answer those right now – nope, nope, haha, and please no. I had seen in years past the hundreds of skinny cyclists pass me (needless to say, I can’t keep up. I like food.) We live in a state that makes it easy to get out and ride on any given day, so it’s easy to see why there are so many fit people here. They have top-of-the-line bikes from makers I can barely pronounce. They have more bikes than vehicles (ask any of your cyclist friends what ‘n+1’ means).
I’m on the opposite side of this. I enjoy time with friends and family and yes, biking too. But I have an entry-level road bike that I got on sale at my LBS. And I love this thing. It’s a 2013 Fuji Sportif 1.7. My favorite shade of blue (I named it ‘The Duke’). And all entry-level components. I only have the one bike, nothing special that you may hear others using. My indoor training rollers are broken, so the road is my training ground. Same bike, same tires, same saddle I ride around Colorado Springs will be what I ride come June 5th. It’s what I’m most comfortable on and will be using it again this year. Everything except the saddle is stock components, as the price of upgrades would pretty much justify me to get a new bike instead. (I wouldn’t complain!)
I love using Strava to track my rides (and yes, compare myself to friends) but it’s a great app to compare you to yourself. I don’t live in Castle Rock, so I can’t do much of the route on any given day. But to see myself get better at a certain section year after year? That’s fun to see. I started using a Garmin Edge 200 a couple years ago after the first Elephant Rock took out 85% of my iPhone’s battery. The Garmin is a lifesaver and has a great battery life. I could probably do 200-300 miles on one charge (but don’t ask me when I’m going to do that!)
So what do you need to do Elephant Rock? A helmet, two wheels beneath you, and the open road. Come join me!
Editor’s Note: You can read this blog and others on Patrick’s regular blogsite: https://lifeistrickee.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/riding-to-find-the-elephant/