Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First Century Ride

Well I finally did it.  I rode 100 miles (at one time).  I've had this goal since about 2007.  That is the same year we had our first child, and it has been difficult to ride consistently enough to achieve it.  However, I realized that with the riding I started doing twice a week at the velodrome in August, then my 60 mile ride to Jersey in September, and 3 times weekly riding my daughter to pre-school, and my Tuesday and Thursday 20 mile rides, I might actually be able to do a 100 mile ride.  And I did. 

We happened to be visiting my wife's parent's house in Maryland in October, and it turned out that we would be there at the same time that Salisbury University holds their famous Seagull Century ride.  I immediately signed up.  There was only about a week and a half before the day of the ride.  I didn't know much about it yet, but I soon learned that this is a humongous event, with over 8,000 riders participating.  They have been doing this ride for over 20 years.  We had a tough time finding a hotel, but we ended up getting a room at a Comfort Inn that was anything but.  I'm not going to spend time complaining about that though. 

We woke up to a beautiful morning, a perfect day for a ride.  It really was, despite the 20+ mph winds that developed.  The forecast had been calling for that so it was no surprise.  One hazard I had not thought about until now though is to watch out for large falling tree limbs.  One fell about 25 feet in front of me.  There was nobody underneath it at that point, but there could have been with so many of us out there.  I was next in line, but I had plenty of time to stop, get off the bike, and drag it off the road.  It was quite large, and would have hurt.  Anyway... the route is relatively flat, and that made it a good choice for my first century.  I chose the Assateague route which took us to the Eastern Shore, which was beautiful.  Unfortunately I was riding alone.  It would have been nice to have had a friend along for the ride, but I don't have any cycling friends in Maryland (yet).  I wasn't shy though, and introduced myself to some people.  A group of 5 guys passed me at one point, and I sped up to stay with them.  I joined their paceline, and they welcomed me in.  Most of them were Navy guys, and I talked most to Andy.  I continued on my way when they stopped to use the bathroom.  Later I met a fellow named Peter.  I rode up to him because he was wearing a UVA jersey.  I thought I might know him, or at least know someone he knows since we lived in Charlottesville for so long, but it turned out he went to school there years ago, and hadn't been there in while.  It was still good conversation. 

The rest stops were excellent.  There was no shortage of food or drink, everyone was very encouraging, the bathroom lines went very quick and people were courteous.  The organization of this event was stellar.  I rode the fuji opus iii, which was a good choice because it is so light and fast.  It cut through the wind very well.  I considered taking the Royale II, but it has the fenders (which I wouldn't have needed) and my pack, and is a bit heavier.  It was nice to get a chance to ride the Opus which I haven't ridden in about a year I think.

It feels good to have finally reached that goal.  It was nice too that I wasn't completely dead after doing it.  I felt good all the way through, and had energy to spare afterward.  That means I really was prepared well for it.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  I didn't take any photos because I didn't want to carry the camera.  I just wanted to ride.  I also had forgotten my garmin device, but I was glad I did.  It helped me enjoy the ride more without worrying about how fast I was going, or what my mileage was, etc...