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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 10-24-10, 05:10 PM   #1
cyclinfool
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An incredible effort

A few weeks back I did the Seagull Century - a very flat ride. The reason I drove 8 hours (each way) was to ride with my older brothers. My oldest brother (age 62) has been riding for a few years and very capable of a century. My other brother (age 56) just started to ride again this past summer. We thought we would set this goal so that he would decide to get in shape and quite smoking. Well he did neither, but he was committed to the century. His longest ride was 30 miles (and even then he had to walk up any hills) and I doubt his mist miles in one week was over 40. Many weeks he did not ride at all.

We all started out together, the first 18 miles went pretty well - we were doing about 16 mph. There is a rest stop every 20 miles so at the first rest stop he seemed OK but was already slowing down. During the next 20 miles I got bored and shot ahead, and then waited at the 40 mile rest stop. One brother showed up after a while and then after a long wait came the other, looking pretty tired. We asked if he could continue - the answer, "yes". At mile 60 (the lunch stop he pulled in pretty late, he looked awful, had something to eat and went off behind the bushes for a smoke He said he could make it. When he arrived at the 80 mile mark he was flush but still pedaling. I had gone ahead again (as I would continue to loose him no matter how slow I rode). When he showed up he said he had gotten off the bike a few times between the two rest stops. Finally - the last leg, when he crossed the finish line his eyes welled up, he was a little disoriented but he had finished the ride. Neither my oldest brother or I thought he would make it - we were both amazed. He was so emotionally charged after this ride that once he got rested he was ready to plan the next.

We all talk about how hard a century is - how we crushed other riders, what an effort we made. In my mind this took the cake. The effort was shear force of will, he was not going to be defeated.

The outcome if this - he is riding more and still talking about another century next year. I think he realizes that some things will have to change and we will need to train more, I only hope he gives up the cancer sticks.

If anyone out there thinks they can't ride a century - this story should set you straight. I would not recommend this approach - it's shear madness, but it is amazing what we can will ourselves to accomplish.

If anyone know of a century in South eastern PA or Mid Jersey that is fairly flat, well supported and late in the summer - that would give us a good goal to put out there for 2011.
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Old 10-24-10, 05:54 PM   #2
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If anyone know of a century in South eastern PA or Mid Jersey that is fairly flat, well supported and late in the summer - that would give us a good goal to put out there for 2011.
That's a terrific effort on everybody's part, your brother for enduring what was obviously a difficult bike ride and you for waiting and helping him to the finish.

There's a terrific century in central NJ in early/mid October - here's the link: http://www.sibike.org/

I can't off-hand think of any century in eastern PA that doesn't have hills, even those that go down to the Delaware have to go back up again.

SB
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Old 10-25-10, 06:32 AM   #3
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I am impressed with your brothers story. I have tried centuries only to bonk or just timmed out at 16 hours ( @ 93 miles) on the road.
A real insperation .
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Old 10-25-10, 07:32 AM   #4
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Congrats to your brother. I see a lot of people at the Seagull that I wouldn't think could make it, but damned if they don't come rolling in to the finish. Hope he keeps it up.
The NYC century or 5 Boroughs rides might be good. NYC century has a lot of stops and starts because of the traffic but it's a pretty flat course http://www.nyccentury.org/
I haven't done the 5 borough ride but family members have and had a good time http://www.bikenewyork.org/rides/fbbt/index.html
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Old 10-25-10, 07:40 AM   #5
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Great story. The Philly Bike Club sponsors a very flat century along the Schuylkill River every year in Sept. http://www.phillybikeclub.org/newbcp...mepage_10.html
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Old 10-25-10, 07:42 AM   #6
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Willpower is fascinating! Maybe pride before his brothers kept him going. Great news that he is riding more and wants to do another century! He has a lot of grit, that's for sure.

I hope his increased riding will inspire him to quit smoking. I quit smoking 23 years ago with the help of a program called "Smoke Enders", after many unsuccessful attempts alone. There are medications now to make it easier. It is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to quit. If he tries he will need a lot of support.

I'll watch this thread to see if anyone posts a flat century in NJ next year; maybe there will be a 1/2 century or metric there as well for someone new like me. Something to think about during the winter.
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Old 10-25-10, 09:47 AM   #7
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What a wonderful, inspirational story! If there is only 1 thing cycling has taught me, it's that the mind can will us to do things beyond what our bodies want to do.

The effort was shear force of will, he was not going to be defeated.


That is how I have climbed many a hill.

Sending your brother a virtual High Five!
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Old 10-25-10, 02:51 PM   #8
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just face it- 100 miles is an achievment for most riders. To do one when you haven't done much training for it is foolhardy. Perhaps he was bullied into it by his brothers. (You know what kids are like)

But have to hand it to your brother- He done good. To finish a ride that exceeds his capabilities and fitness level is fantastic. All you have to do now is bully him a lot more to get fit enough for next years ride.

And perhaps help him along by introducing him to chamois cream and getting out with him for a few training rides.
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Old 10-25-10, 02:57 PM   #9
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Many would have given up and quit the ride, but he didn't. Hopefully, he will apply the same strong determination and iron will to quitting smoking.
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Old 10-25-10, 03:16 PM   #10
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Many would have given up and quit the ride, but he didn't. Hopefully, he will apply the same strong determination and iron will to quitting smoking.
+1

Sounds like he's a fighter. Tell him we think this addiction is one thing it's OK to quit on.

It's the most addicting thing I ever had the stupidity to start. Almost 16 years since my last cigarette and I still get cravings...
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Old 10-25-10, 03:38 PM   #11
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Thanks for sharing. My brother got me started riding so blood kin can be a big motivator. Watch out for him in a year if he really catches the bug as he might be waiting up for the two of you at rest stops in the future!
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Old 10-25-10, 03:45 PM   #12
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What was he smoking that he had to hide behind the bushes-it might have been helpful stuff! <JK>

Like your brother, I am 56 and returned to cycling this year and just completed my first century. I know his joy that you described, though I had a whole year to prepare. @the 90 mile mark I started seeing things jumping out from behind the Joshua Trees and rocks. Congrats to all of you brothers. I'm trying to get my brothers to get motivated to do something similar.
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Old 10-25-10, 05:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightingguy View Post
That's a terrific effort on everybody's part, your brother for enduring what was obviously a difficult bike ride and you for waiting and helping him to the finish.

There's a terrific century in central NJ in early/mid October - here's the link: http://www.sibike.org/

SB
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Originally Posted by seemunkee View Post
The NYC century or 5 Boroughs rides might be good. NYC century has a lot of stops and starts because of the traffic but it's a pretty flat course http://www.nyccentury.org/
I haven't done the 5 borough ride but family members have and had a good time http://www.bikenewyork.org/rides/fbbt/index.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
Great story. The Philly Bike Club sponsors a very flat century along the Schuylkill River every year in Sept. http://www.phillybikeclub.org/newbcp...mepage_10.html
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What was he smoking that he had to hide behind the bushes-it might have been helpful stuff! <JK>
Thanks for the suggestions - I will keep these in mind for next year. Flat I think will need to be the operative word for this next ride, unless he turns into a maniac. He did go out an buy a new bike so he is getting very serious - he doesn't make enough money to take a purchase like that lightly.

Thanks to all of you for your kind words, I am indeed proud of what he did. But I also think that this experience will help him get in better physical and mental condition, get out more and interact with other bikers and live a longer/better life.

BTW - he wasn't smoking any illicit stuff - he was just didn't want to be seen smoking.
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Old 11-04-10, 05:08 AM   #14
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If a charity ride interests you, I just found out about this one. It's a 2 day event or you can do the one day century on Saturday Sept 24, 2011. Starts in Cherry Hill, NJ outside Philly, heads east, ends in Ocean City. Route is mostly flat:

http://bikepae.nationalmssociety.org...16131&pg=entry

2010 Century route on map my ride:
http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...28352854663265
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Old 11-04-10, 10:11 AM   #15
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Thumbs up to all three of you. From personal experience, I know that it's just as difficult to retain the patience to wait for slower riders as it is for the slower rider just to go the distance. My personal preference would have been just to do the ride and let any stragglers die! So you three have a very strong family bond that elicits respect!

Smoking is different for everyone. When I was a young man, cycling helped me quit smoking. I started riding a bike when I stopped smoking. I had been smoking for about five years, about a pack and a half a day. I went cold turkey and started riding. I found that if I did not ride for two or three days straight, I would feel like having a cigarette. So I'd go out for a ride, get the fresh air jammed down my throat and into my lungs, and I could just forget about cigarettes. One addiction took over from another. But cycling is a good addiction.

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Old 11-04-10, 05:56 PM   #16
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If a charity ride interests you, I just found out about this one. It's a 2 day event or you can do the one day century on Saturday Sept 24, 2011. Starts in Cherry Hill, NJ outside Philly, heads east, ends in Ocean City. Route is mostly flat:

http://bikepae.nationalmssociety.org...16131&pg=entry

2010 Century route on map my ride:
http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...28352854663265
Thanks BF, I did an MS ride once, from that point on they have hounded me relentlessly. I refuse to ever deal with them again. On the other hand I did a tour de cure and I really like the way I have been treated by them. Keep an eye out for me on this though - maybe you can join us if we find an easy one in that area.
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Old 11-04-10, 06:00 PM   #17
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Thumbs up to all three of you. From personal experience, I know that it's just as difficult to retain the patience to wait for slower riders as it is for the slower rider just to go the distance. My personal preference would have been just to do the ride and let any stragglers die! So you three have a very strong family bond that elicits respect!
Thanks. This was tough for me to hold back particularly because I knew it was an opportunity to grab a century in less than 5 hrs. But showing moral support, not crushing my own kin and keeping priorities straight was the goal. Sometimes "it's not all about me"

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