Monday, June 8, 2009

My First Century


Every year the Seyboro Cyclists have the Double Century – two hundred miles in a single day. It’s actually four rides one after the other, so, while some hardy souls will ride the entire two hundred miles, others will join in only for one or more loops. (In the last two loops, the addition of fresh legs to take some pulls is welcomed.)
To establish my own credentials – I have ridden the double twice. The first time my goal was to complete my first century. I did so. The second time my goal was to complete the entire double, and I made it. I didn’t finish pretty and I didn’t finish strong, but I did finish.

My First Century

I approached my first century nervously, but feeling okay. I decided to start with the first two loops of the double. That way, if I still felt strong, I could continue to ride the entire ride. The first loop was 65 miles, and the second loop was 55. I finished the 65 mile route feeling really good and set off on the 55 mile route in a good form.
The temperature began to rise. There’s a reason they call if the Sizzling Summer Mileage Marathon, after all. I made my hundred miles, and just a couple of miles later I realized that I was done. My legs just refused to turn the pedals anymore.

We were passing a convenience store as this realization came to me, and I said good-bye to the group and pulled off. I was done, and I knew it.
That’s when things began to get a bit tricky.

I called my wife to come and pick me up, only to find that she wasn’t at home. She was out running errands and would go to the point where the loop was due to finish. I wouldn’t be there. Oh, well. I called a friend who turned out to be occupied and couldn’t help me. All right. That was okay. I could ride back to town. It couldn’t be more than twenty or twenty-five miles.

I climbed into the saddle and took off.
Well, I climbed into the saddle and turned the pedals, anyway. I figure I was doing about eight miles an hour, and I didn’t figure I could keep that up for more than a couple of miles. I got to another convenience store a few miles away and just stopped. I parked myself and my bike next to a phone and started calling home at regular intervals with no result.

I had just enough money for one soda, so I got that and drank it and continued my futile use of the phone. I had been sitting there for maybe half an hour when my wife drove past the store where I was sitting. I saw her clearly. Obviously, someone on the ride had told her where I had stopped, so she was headed there. Well, that was okay. She would have to come back right past where I was, so I took my bike and stood right at the side of the road with it. A little while later, she came back and drove right past me without seeing me. I waved and yelled and even jumped up and down a little, but she never noticed me at all. I cannot tell you how tired I was or how it felt to watch that car disappear into the distance.

It would take her twenty minutes at least to get home, so I sat down to wait. Then I started calling again and finally got an answer.
She eventually got back and picked me up and took me home. I was a little annoyed, I must admit, but I was happy to have completed my first century. I figured I’d try the double again next year. More on that later.

Until then, I’ll see you on the road.


  1. I can't wait for your version of your first Double. The look on your completely cadaverous face on the last loop has become a regularly recurring Seyboro topic of long ride chatter.
    Finally, the truth will be told...

  2. I wish you had been there with me this year Ralph! I finished it! The entire 200, but it would have been nice to have had you there by my side, even if for only part of the way. Are you ever going to manage getting back out at least a day a week with us?


  3. Thanks for the congrats! Big props to you for finishing the double! I surprised myself with how good I felt Saturday...maybe a double is in my future, too. I think I'll do another regulary century first to be sure this good feeling thing wasn't just a fluke. ;)