Ironworks Century Recap

We had a BEE-yootiful day on Saturday for the Ironworks Century (dodged a bullet there, considering how Sunday turned out), and while the crowd was a bit smaller than we thought we'd get, I think the 90 folks who did show up and ride had a pretty splendiferous day in the saddle.  This year the IWC was second in the new 10-event Alabama Backroads Century Series, and we picked up a few riders from that connection we likely would not have had otherwise.  A full two-thirds of the riders this year went the full distance, which is more than double the usual proportion of century riders for this event.  I guess the prospect of getting that ABCS/Ironworks custom commemorative medal inspired a lot of folks to make the extra effort to forgo lounging around at Eclipse Coffee & Books in Montevallo for a milkshake (or even a sandwich & a beer in one case, as I heard it) and go forth to ride that extra 22 mile loop around town that turned the 78 into the century, braving the climb up Pea Ridge and the 3-legged pit bull that lay in wait to give chase near the top.

My thanks to all who helped make this event a success - the sag support from Cahaba Cycles, Bob's Bikes, Birmingham Bicycle Company and Bike Link (who also provided the medals), the Helena FD for once again allowing us the use of their strategically irreplaceable rest stop location (and plumbing!), the good folks at Eclipse for good naturedly tolerating an infestation of cyclists on their premises, and all our hard-working volunteers.  That includes the BUMP'ers - Randall, Marty, Kim, Rick, Pete "and the rest" (as it says in the Gilligan's Island theme song, for the hour is late and I cannot recall all who served so nobly) who helped with registration, rest stops and/or food - and the rotating crew of UM professors who assisted Charlotte D & son Michael down on the veranda at Eclipse (with a guest appearance from Donna Allain, who drove down to cheer on rider husband Mike but hung around to help out).  A special thanks to Rick Hawkins, my co-conspirator, who took on the chores of lining up rest stop food & volunteers & sags & t-shirts and all the rest of the stuff that always seems to go down to the wire, made it APPEAR to be a smooth-running operation, AND ran the show out of Century HQ in Tannehill all day so that I could go forth and frolic on my bike.  One more shout-out - to the nice lady at the park entrance gate who gave riders such an enthusiastic welcome back from their journey.  Finally, to those riders who apparently suffered through the initial series of climbs with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, considering the various observations I later heard regarding the sadistic tendencies of the course designer - did you not note my bib number?  Duh!
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Really great ride DWD! I showed 99.5 so I should have done a few more parking lot laps. I also showed 5200' of climbing. I thought it was suppose to be 3600', That's ok though, perfect tune up for the real stuff at Cheaha this weekend. By the way that 3 legged Pit never missed a beat chasing me.  
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Glad you enjoyed it!  No worries; no extra charge for the extra climbing. 

The elevations listed for each route option came from bikeroutetoaster.com, which uses the Google Maps engine.  Each value given on the flyer/website ride description was marked with an asterisk, and below that section was the following note:  
"*GPS users may see more total elevation gain indicated (~5000’ for the 100) due to differences in scale resolution."

In the old days (back when "10-speed" referred to all your possible gear combinations rather than how many cogs you had on your rear wheel), if we wanted to describe the elevation gain for a particular route, we just summed up the individual gains for the more notable climbs on that route.  The Ironworks Century would probably have been labeled about a 2000' ride per that standard.  The map software added up more of the little stuff and bumped the total up to 3200'.  GPS units operate at a still finer scale and come out over 5000'.  As the resolution of elevation increments approaches the atomic scale, the computed elevation gain will tend toward infinity.  The hills will still all be just the same size, though!

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