So I decided to kill the question that has always been posed to me as a cyclist: "what's the furthest you've ever ridden in a day". Being a former junior racer and mountain biker, the distance was never that great, the emphasis always being on time and speed. As my cycling experience has progressed over the years, I've always been dogged by this question and somewhat ashamed of my answer: "I dunno, 40, maybe 50 miles" (this until recent 65 mile rides). With that in mind, I decided to pursue the right of pasage that is held dear to many cyclists, the Century.
And I decided to do it on my SS Langster, on the W&OD trail in Virginia, on a 93 degree sunny day. Nice one, Jpearl!
It was an incredible experience, from the outset of the first few miles knowing just what lay ahead, and then going into the unknown after the 65th mile. Having never ridden a century before, I paced myself as best as I thought possible, making the initial 52.76 mile run out to Purcelville, VA, in 3 hrs. at 17 mph. At that pace, things looked good for a five to five and a half hour century, but despite my best efforts to keep myself fed and hydrated, I started to suffer at mile 75, and the last 15 miles were some of the hardest of my cycling life, with the last ten miles spent in pure hell as my legs touched the edge of cramping in the heat and effort. The last five miles where the worst, they took seemingly forever and my legs were ticking time bombs ready to explode in horrifying cramps. It took pure concentration, grit, and very delicate riding to hold it together through the end and carrying me through the last miles to fight off the pain for the sole, rewarding pleasure of watching the odometer flip from 99.99 miles to those beautiful, hard-earned numbers: 100.00 miles.
Excrutiating as it was, it was a beautiful feeling; to know that I had reached a cycling milestone in my life, and to have done it in such purity, alone on a singlespeed roadbike. No gears, no aero-bling, just a basic bike and rider.
BTW, the Langster worked well for this ride. The W&OD trail is relatively flat, and the stock 42x17 gearing handled everything nicely. I rode with two bottles on the frame and a RoadMorph pump under the top tube. Along the way, I refueled at the 7-Elevens along the way and chomped down three Cliff Bars and one Zone Bar.
Here are the number for the day:
100 Mile Time: 5 hrs. 56 mins. 13 secs.
Average Speed: 16.9 mph
Maximum Speed: 33 mph
Gearing: 42x17 singlespeed
Overall Distance: 107 miles.