By the time I decided to do this ride, VIP sign up was closed out. I thought that VIP status solely got you your swag and race bracelet snail mailed to you before race day for the extra $5. What I found is that the main benefit was an alternate start that could save about 10 miles before and 10 miles after in the car. Parking at the nonVIP start was challenging even though I was OK with it. Oh well, next time.
There are a bunch of distances for this ride: 25 flat, 25 not so flat, 50, 68, 106, and 137 miles. All but the 25 mile flat require the rider to hop on a ferry to get to Shelter Island (for those not familiar the geography, Shelter Island is an island located between the north and south forks of Long Island, NY). The 68, 106, and 137 routes require the rider to take another ferry to the south fork of Long Island and then ride around to get back to the north fork. I originally planned on doing the 137 mile route but my coach, Bike Mike, recommended the 68. I also wanted to try riding with a Camelback for hydration since some of my upcoming rides don't have enough water stops. So that was the plan.
One of the downsides of this ride start is that it is about a 90 minute drive from Casa Rockstar to the start. I got up a little before 5AM to get there by the recommended start of 7AM. It was a little cold but there are very few cars on the road at that time. It seems that many had bikes on the back.
I got there, checked in, set my bike up, and couldn't get the power/cadence meter to be recognized by the Garmin. I figured it was a dead battery so decided just to take it easy. Got on the road and went to the ferry. There was supposed to be a $4 ferry fee but the ferry guy didn't collect it. Instead he wished all to have a good ride. Note that the ferry ride is only a few minutes long. We rode to the "south" ferry and they said all had to pay the $3. I paid the freight and then rode off the ferry to the south fork.
Here is where the routes diverged. A lot of people were complaining that the cue sheet didn't match the Garmin file they provided and neither matched the road markings. I kept close to the route (even though I hit a few dead ends) but others weren't so fortunate. With the new VIP route some of the routes got adjusted apparently but that wasn't reflected across the board. I then noticed that the 68 mile cue sheet actually showed 72 miles.
Then the second thing went wrong (after no power meter). My rear end started hurting. I had forgotten to lube up the "Netherlands." I was starting to feel the friction and it wasn't feeling good. I didn't think I needed to since the ride was relatively short (in my mind). My shoulder started hurting from the Camelback. I thanked the gods I was only going 68m.
I gently rode back to the start and thought of some options. If I passed a CVS I could get a new battery for the power meter. I could also get some Aquaphor for the lube issue and now what felt like a painful diaper rash. I actually passed one at the 53 mile mark but the damage was done. I replaced the battery and that didn't work either. Rather than zig zag the route to get the miles I thought I would head straight back and it would probably be about the mileage desired. It wound up being 67.2.
I then headed to the bike shop to see if it was me or if there was something really wrong with the power meter. They couldn't get it to work either so they kept the bike to call Quarq in the morning. We'll see what happens this week.
Overall, it was a good event and I liked riding some roads I hadn't ridden before. I consider it a good, not perfect day. If I do it again, I'll VIP. I won't forget to lube up no matter what the distance. Hope the power meter is a quick, easy fix.