I completed my first century yesterday, a goal I had set for myself back at the start of June. This is my first year of cycling regularly since I was in high school, and my first rides in late May were 8-10 miles at a time (man did that seem like work then!). Since then I've ridden close to 1400 miles this year.
The Tri-State Seacoast Century seemed like a good one to pick as my first, as it's a supported ride, has over a thousand participants, and has been called one of the flattest centuries in the country. I believe it officially only has about 1400 ft of climbing over the 100 miles.
My ride stats are:
Ride Time: 6:35:22
Distance: 100.3 mi
Avg. Speed: 15.2 MPH
Max. Speed: 31.3 MPH
Odometer: 1373 mi
My total time was probably just over 7 hours, as I stopped four times, but tried to keep the stops short, no more than 5-10 minutes. I stopped at two of the SAG stops and had a banana and cookie at each. The rest of the time I ate various energy foods on my bike (a handlebar bag and bento box makes this very convenient).
The weather was great IMO. All morning it was overcast and in the upper 60s/low 70s, with a nice ocean breeze. About 2/3 of the way through the ride the sun started peeking through and it brightened up for the final leg back.
My training for this consisted of increasingly longer rides as the summer progressed: 30, 45, 55, 65, and two 70-mile rides over the course of three months. But for the past few weeks I hadn't ridden more than 40 miles at a time.
With the large number of riders participating, it was easy to not feel pressure to keep any particular pace. I was always passing slower people and being passed by faster ones. Every so often I'd notice a small group I could keep in sight for a decent amount of time and I'd push it a bit to catch up with then and draft for a while. The course was superbly marked and I could have ridden it without the cue sheet.
I felt pretty good until I left my second SAG stop around mile 65. Slowly my saddle became increasingly uncomfortable until it was downright painful by mile 82. That's also when I realized my stomach didn't want any more solid food, and I had to rely on gatorade for the rest of the ride. My lowest point was nearing mile 85. Riders were pretty spread out by then, and I didn't see anyone around for a while. Through what seemed like a miracle at the time, a group of riders slowly passed and I grabbed a wheel for a few miles. Just the psychological benefit of riding with them was enormous. By mile 90 I knew no matter what I was going to do this, and relied on every tenth of a mile change in my tripmeter to keep me going. I also had to add a short loop to the ride to avoid coming into the finish a half-mile short of a century.
Fortunately my stomach settled down pretty quickly after the ride and I had a big meal when I got home, followed by 12 hours of sleep. I feel great today.
And, as promised, here are some photos I took. Click on each for a larger version:
Heading north on Route 1A
Route 1A in Rye
A couple of riders I tagged along with for a good portion of the ride.
The Portsmouth, NH bridge, heading into Kittery, ME
Nearing the mid-point, somewhere in Maine
One happy rider!