Yesterday, I rode my bike in what was advertised as a 38 mile race/ride. It ended up being 43 miles, but not exactly for me. The good news is that my average over 42 miles was 17.5 mph. Also, I had no mechanical difficulties, nor physical ones.
The bad news is that I took a wrong turn. When I got back to the finish line, I had only gone 35 miles. At one of the crossroads, I had ridden through in the correct direction, when some riders behind me warned me I was going wrong. I stopped with some others. At that moment a race volunteer drove up and looked at the map. She instructed us to go in what ended up being the wrong direction. I rode hard and when I caught up with the riders who had first alerted me to turn the other way, they said "sorry" because it was obviously a mistake. I was so deflated that I slowed down considerably. I was not happy, but it was my own fault for not carrying my own map. If I had, I would have ignored everyone. When I got back to the start, I took a brief break, looked at the map and then went out to go over the course backwards until I met one of my friends. Then we rode in together.
Since I had no chance at the race win, I cannot be too irritated about not completing it correctly. And many others were similarly misinstructed or simply made the same mistake. I am happy that my average speed was up over last year, and I kept the cadence that was my goal. I will have to consider whether to do the same ride next year. There is no support from law enforcement whatsoever, and some of the traffic passed closer than was necessary, even with the other lane open with an approved passing zone.
After the century the other week, this ride just flew by. Last year, this ride was my big goal. This year, it has turned out to be sort of a filler. It still is fun riding in a big mass of bicycles at the beginning of the race, no matter how long it is.