Completed my first century last weekend!
I was travelling for work, and decided to spend the weekend in the area to get some riding in. I gambled and rented a 58cm Specialized Roubaix (I ride a 60cm Scattante) hoping it would feel fine.
Up till now the most I've ridden was 88 miles, and that was the weekend I purchased my road bicycle (OC to SD :-) ); I had no idea what possessed me but I remember the pain in my legs, the pain in my knee, and needing to walk up the Torrey Pines hill. Prior to the weekend where I purchased a road bike, I was riding my Mountain Bike around 20-35 miles each weekend. Since that painful first weekend with a roadbike I've slowly built up the distance over the course of 7 months: 40 miles, 45, 50, 55, 60,65,70. The only thing holding me back from longer distances is the time it takes me to do it. Right now I land between 50-65 miles on a weekend.
The work week was harsh: up at 5:30AM and back at 8:00PM on most nights. The fluorescent lights of the clean room can make your eyes bleed. Sleep was not great, but it was passable. Could have left on Friday, but my ticket was for Sunday, which allowed me to ride on Saturday. I didn't even think about riding once that whole week. As I came to the realization of who I was once more on Friday, I quickly ran to the LBS to pick up that bicycle.
I had only planned around 50 miles that weekend; well, by 'planned', I mean it was just an idea that went through my head before I took the departing flight. Once I got back to the hotel with the bike, I took it upstairs, outfitted with what I brought (90% of luggage weight was my cycling gear), and took a shower. It was late night Friday, I had the lights off, myself trucked into bed between the sheets, and I intently focused on my laptop screen while letting the History Channel play on in the background. I was focused looking for trails. My sea-level tuned lungs were concerned about too much elevation change, especially because I was at an absolute 4000ft higher. Most rides around 50 miles had 2-4K change in elevation. Then, without thinking about it, I found a 1000 ft elevation change ride....over 100 miles. Its flat Jimmy, its flat. That same feeling came back to me when I first got my bicycle....COMPLETE THE CENTURY. I paused and gave it the 'careful' consideration: I'd be doing it alone, I'd be doing it on a trail that I've never seen, I'd be doing it on a bicycle that wasn't even remotely fitted for me, I'd have no idea how often I could stop for water or food....I thought about all of this in 0.25 seconds before I grinned outwardly knowing my fate was sealed.
I slept in very late that day, up at 10:30AM only to be out by 11:30AM. It was the most amazing ride ever. I stayed hydrated, I carbed up every 10 miles with food....but I found that thirst got the best of me. I usually go through 2 bottles every 20 miles, but by 50 miles I was going 2 bottles every 10 miles, and I was stopping by the beautiful houses near the trail and asking for refills on water. Everyone was friendly and kind. At 54 miles, with only 10 minute stops every 10 miles to eat dates & cliff bars, I used my phone to take a video about how I felt. I was coughing and hacking and clearly wanting even more water than I had access to. I was okay though, my legs felt great, my butt sufficiently conditioned to a saddle, and my mind focused on the Subway that I would encounter just 2 miles behind me. I'm pretty sure I drank about 4 liters of water there - its amazing how much water I had even though I was consistently drinking the whole way. I then stopped at every single park the trail touched and ensured that I topped off all my bottles, as well as drank atleast 500ml at every stop. It was a ritual: notice the water fountain, quickly pull in, drink what I had, fill up, and leave without saying a word. Taking 2 bottles/7 miles made a huge difference in performance (along with the subway sandwhich) and I went just as hard, if not a little harder, on my return.
I finished at about 8:30PM, and the bicycle shop gave me hell for making them wait, but they quickly changed their tune when they found out I just completed a century on my own. The owner grinned and congratulated me, while I stumbled outside of the store and realized that I was stuck in my cycling shoes, and I REALLLY didn't want to walk. The 18 dollars taxi ride took me 1 mile...it was the best cab ride i've ever had, and it was the best present I could have asked for as my last day as a 28 year old.
:-) :-) :-)