Time to toot my own horn! Rode my first century on Saturday with my 24-year-old son Kevin, supported by his girl friend and my wife. The route was entirely our own, between Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Portland, Maine, beginning on the coast and moving inland at Biddeford. Except for a 10-mile stretch coming into Scarborough, the route was either traffic-free or had nice shoulders. RouteSlip.com and Google Earth are wonderful planning tools.
Our stats were nothing to write home about: 103.3 miles, 13.8 mph avg ride speed, 7-1/2 hours in the saddle, about 4,100 feet of climbing over rolling hills, just over 10 hours to start to finish. Coming into the ride I have logged 1,700 miles this year, the longest ride being 75 miles.
Rented a Specialized Roubaix Elite for the ride. It was a close match to my Sirrus geometry, and I fine tuned the fit on a shake-down ride Friday night.
That's when my wife and son surprised me with custom jerseys for the event! Graphic of Maine and a lighthouse on front, lobster on the back with the title The Maine Event.
Started the ride at 7:30 a.m., and enjoyed the sunrise over Portsmouth bay as we worked our way over to Kittery and then up the coast along Rt. 103 to York
where we stopped to admire the Nubble Lighthouse and shed our first layer.
Then it was up Rt. 1A to Ogunquit and out to the beaches -- we missed our turn back to 1A and ended up doing a 2-mile out and back (the only misque of the day, but it was fun to ride along the salt marshes). Back into Ogunquit, and at the 20-mile mark that distinctive hiss from Kevin's back tire brought us to a halt for a tire repair. Little did we know he would have 4 flats along the ride, appproximately every 20 miles. They made for good breaks, but cut down on our "touring" stops.
We were very glad to be on bikes in Kinnebunkport, where cars and buses clogged the streets to a standstill. We accidentally found ourselves on along a marathon route, and thought we were really special as everyone cheered us over the finish line. A couple miles out of town we had our second flat. We started with 2 fresh tubes. The first went in at Ogunquit, and second in now. Pumped it up, and discovered the tube was leaking. So out came the patch kit. As we sat along the road patching tubes, three cars and a policeman stopped to see if we needed help, and we kept the locals entertained for about 40 minutes. We decided to call our support team to have them pick up a couple more tubes, and to meet us for a picnic lunch at Salmon Falls -- about 62 miles into the ride.
At Biddeford, our route turned inland to see the rolling countryside of Maine. Right on cue, a couple miles out from lunch Kevin had his 3rd flat. By now we were getting pretty good at fixing flats and were quickly back on the road to meet our lovely support crew for a pleasant picnic alongside a slow-moving river.
The best part of the ride was the 20 miles north of Salmon Falls through Bonny Eagle and Standish.
Colors were just starting to show, but the road and scenery were both top notch. Working our way back along Rt. 114 we joked about the flat tires and watched the odometer as it approached 80 . . . at 80.4 it happened again as we neared Gorham. All we could do was laugh, and I suggested my son should buy new tires after the ride!
Our final leg kept us south of Portland and ended up at the Two Light State Park near Cape Elizabeth around 5:40. This was the only stretch with heavy traffic, but the shoulders were adequate in most spots. We finished feeling strong and after a shower went out on the town to enjoy a lobster dinner in Portland. We carried our own food (gels, dark chocolate, bananas and power bars), sports water and plain water. About 70 miles in, while out of the saddle on a hill, I felt a twinge of a cramp in my thigh so I stopped to eat a banana, and had no further problems.
(note our jersey design!)
My son and I agreed the century ride was a lot of fun at our modest pace, and we will make it an annual event. Over dinner we decided to try northern Maine, with hopes of seeing a moose! We also figured we spent over an hour fixing flats.
The ride was memorable, not because we both attained our first century ride -- but because we did it together. I hope my son realizes just how special he made this ride for his ol' man.