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Ride Report - 100 pounds, 100 miles: My First Century

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Ride Report - 100 pounds, 100 miles: My First Century

Old 09-10-11, 04:52 PM
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Ride Report - 100 pounds, 100 miles: My First Century

Garmin Connect: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/113324485

So if you've listened to my ranting on this forum, then you know my goal for this year is to perform a century by October. Up until this week I wasn't feeling very optimistic about it, because I've been having issues on my longer rides. Bonking, aching, jarring pain, you name it. 2 weeks ago I went to have a professional bike fitting done, and I was looking forward to doing a metric that weekend. Unfortunately the new bike fit hurt my back on that ride, so I cut it short to 45 miles. I was not pleased, but I kept with the fit, remembering back to May when I first got back on my bike, and my back hurt then too. I told myself I'd give it another few weeks to go away, and then figure out where to go from there.

Last weekend I was feeling better about the fit, but it was hot as hell so I scrubbed my century attempt and just did 25 miles of tough hills. Earlier this week I hit my 100 pound weightloss milestone, and decided that now, more than ever, I'm absolutely determined to hit 100 miles.

The weather report said 50% chance of rain, overcast skies, tough winds for today. But they're always wrong. I decided I was going no matter what. I pounded a box of Kraft Deluxe Mac&Cheese last night to load myself up with carbs, and also as a reward for my 100 pound weight loss goal. That used to be one of my favorite comfort foods, but I regretted eating it almost immediately last night. After a year of eating healthy and non-processed foods, that stuff tasted absolutely disgusting. Some reward that turned out to be.

Went to bed at 8pm, set the alarm for 5:30am. Wanted to get plenty of rest because this week has been rough; my two bicycle commutes (19 miles one-way) home from work this week were both into 20-30mph winds, and they really wore me out. So much that I just couldn't work up the will to bike to work on Friday; probably a good idea not to commute anyway if I wanted to have a realistic chance of succeeding today. I woke up to pee in the middle of the night, despite not having pre-hydrated. It felt like it was 4am, but the clock said 11:30. That's a weird sensation.

Finally the moment of truth arrives. The alarm goes off. I begin to have doubts. I was psyched all Friday, why now am I suddenly thinking I may not succeed? I get up after 15 minutes of lying in silence, gathering courage. I go eat my breakfast, a few ounces of cheerios, a few slices of ham, and a cup of orange juice. I then took a shower to refresh myself, and got dressed in my cycling clothes. I had prepped my bike last night, cleaned the chain and lubed it, adjusted the brakes, deflated the tires and removed all the glass and gravel shards from the slices they've made, reinflated, and adjusted the derailleurs for good measure as well. I packed all the food last night in my panniers, along with all my tools. I neglected to pack my cable lock however. All I had to do was grab my 4 water bottles from the fridge, put them on the bike, and go. So I went.

I left around 6:45am, which is around the same time I usually leave in the morning when I'm bicycle commuting. This morning was cold though. Around 55F, which is colder than I'm used to. My fingers felt it, and so did my toes, but I wasn't going to let it bother me. It would get warmer, and I would get warmer as I warmed up. I left in the morning with a speed goal. I said I'd love to hit 12mph average, I'll aim for 11mph, and I'd be happy if I managed to finish with over 10mph. Instead of pushing, I just settled in at a 12mph pace for the first 5 miles. I felt too slow, and I wasn't sweating yet, so I pushed it up to 14mph, making sure that I geared down on every incline to avoid burning myself out.

At mile 10 I hit my first bike path. The route I had planned out goes along almost every single bike path in my county, so there's about 50 miles of paths and 50 miles of roads. I decided to go on the paths as there's lots of bike shops along the paths, so if anything goes wrong I'll have someplace to stop and get repairs, if there's anything I can't handle on my own. Also since I was only planning on staying around 12mph I wouldn't be annoyed by the pedestrian traffic (I've found that in general I do not like cycling on bike paths anymore, now that I'm more adept at road biking). I hadn't even touched my water bottle, which I realised was problematic. I typically aim to drink one 24oz bottle of water for every 10 miles I bike. On rides up to 30-40 miles I can usually get by with zero or one bottles, but on longer rides I can definitely feel myself hitting a wall past 40 miles if I forget to keep hydrated. I suppose it was the cold that made me not feel thirsty. I had to force myself to drink, but it was futile, I kept forgetting for the rest of the morning.

At mile 28 I hit my childhood hometown, and the very first bike path I rode on as a youth that took me out of that town. Part of the theme of this ride was a bit of heritage, to go hit a lot of the places I used to bike as a kid, so this was the first step. Unfortunately the path has fallen into disrepair in the intervening years. There was a sign at the entrance saying "Path closed" which I really should have heeded, but I was stubborn and didn't want to alter my planned path on the fly. I really should have listened to the sign. A few hundred feet into the path, the pavement had completely collapsed into the Erie Canal that the path runs next to. I had to walk about 30 feet in some foliage to get around it. The rest of the path wasn't as bad, but there were a lot of sections that have a lot of grass growing through the pavement now. I was really disappointed that the path hadn't been kept up. It's also amusing to revisit something you biked on as a kid, and think to yourself "Uh oh, that hill I really hated is coming up", then when you get there you say "wait a minute, I used to think that was a hill?! HA!".

At mile 37 my helmet cam died. I had been turning it on and off so I could get the most use out of its limited battery life, but apparently I still used it too much. I get about two hours of battery life if it's on continuously, but this only lasted a bit less than 3 hours. That was disappointing. There was a ton of interesting stuff I wanted to video. Maybe one day I'll get a bike with a dynamo and rig up a USB charger plug, then my camera can have a continuous battery life.

At mile 40 I reached the UB campus, which has a nice small bike path that I did the majority of my youthful cycling on. I took a break at the entrance for a few minutes. I amused myself by thinking that one year ago, I would have been in bed until 10am, yet here I am at 10am, and I've already biked 40 miles. I was feeling great at this point. No pain, no fatigue. Still didn't finish the first water bottle so I forced myself to drink the rest of it, and ate a granola bar for good measure. Originally my plan was to take breaks at 25, 50, and 75 miles, but I simply did not feel like breaking at 25 miles, so like Forrest Gump, I just kept going. I also ruled out the 50 mile break because it would have taken place at my parents house, and they unfortunately just hopped on a plane this morning to Aruba, so nobody would have been there. So I erased the side-trip to my parents house from the trip, which removed 5 miles from the route, which I wasn't sure how to make up yet. I decided to leave that decision for later.

By mile 50 I started feeling a little discomfort. Nothing big, and much less discomfort than I usually feel on 50 mile rides too, so I just kept plowing on. I was very happy that I hit mile 50 with a time of 3 hours and 40 minutes, my fastest half-century ever. It's funny because I was not trying to push my speed too much on this trip either, so I don't know why I felt good enough to shave 20 minutes off my best 50 mile time ever. From mile 52 to 54 I passed a scattered group of at least 30 bike tourists, fully loaded with panniers of all sizes. Incredibly friendly people, every single one of them smiled, waved, and said "good morning" to me. I actually wish we were going the same direction, because I would have loved to talk to them and find out where they were from and where they were going. Unfortunately I had a deadline and I intended to meet it.

Mile 56, I hit a roadblock. The bridge I usually took over the 190 had a gate and a padlock on it. There was a sign saying it was closed on federal holidays and from November to April, so I had no idea why it was closed. Luckily I knew a way around it, and took it. Of course at mile 57 there was another roadblock; the rail/bike bridge over onto Squaw Island was also gated and padlocked, this time no signs explaining why it was closed. This was sort of disappointing because I loved riding on that bridge in my youth. There is a silver lining however, in that Squaw Island smells very bad. There's a water treatment plant on the island so it was probably for the best that I got to skip it. I just liked the bridge. So I took Niagara street again, and picked up the bike path on the other end of Squaw Island when it goes back to the mainland again.

Mile 60 I hit La Salle Park. Nothing really notable here except for the fact that some idiot set up a Dianetics "personality testing" center on a folding table, taking up the entire width of the bike path. I was tempted to tell him how much of a fraud Scientology was, but thought better of it, and kept on biking.

Mile 62, I took a long break at the Naval Park. I was happy thinking to myself that if something goes wrong, at least I've completed my 3rd metric. At that point I could head home and I would hit about 81 miles for the trip. But I wasn't feeling bad at all, still felt pretty good, so after resting for 15 minutes I decided to head on again. I started running low on liquids so I made a mental note to stop at the next convenience store I came across. Mile 64 was the first time in the day I had to drop down into the granny gear. I started the day with a "bonus goal" of not using the granny gear, but unfortunately by this point the hill I was facing was too steep for how tired my muscles were starting to feel. I decided that 5mph was acceptable since my average was 13mph at this point, a full 2mph faster than my target.

Mile 67 I passed a street called "Electric Avenue". I suddenly had that song stuck in my head. I definitely rocked down to Electric Avenue. And then I took it higher. Doot doo doo deet. Yeah I started losing it. Mile 69 I finally came across a convenience store. Bought 2 bottles of gatorade and a pint of orange juice. Chugged the OJ in the parking lot, and filled my water bottles with the gatorade, and then went on my way. Was still feeling pretty good at this point, just a little tired and sore. Nothing was at a point where I could say that it "hurt" however. Mile 70 to 71 was a gigantic hill, so of course the granny gear made a special encore performance. I was supposed to turn left at Big Tree Road at mile 71, but unfortunately that entire area was under some massive construction, lots of traffic chaos, and to make matters worse the sign was missing from the road so I had no idea I missed it. I suspected I did, but wasn't sure, so I just kept going. Unfortunately Big Tree Road to Mile 72 is another big hill, so the granny once again came out and kept my legs moving nice and quickly, despite the fact that the bike was not. Did a little vehicular cycling to turn left onto Rt 20, which no doubt confused all of the drivers since it's a gigantic intersection with 6 lanes of traffic on each road. Luckily they all treated me with respect and I was able to turn when I had a left turn arrow.

By this point I realised to myself that there no longer was any doubt about making it. I was going slower than I was before, but I was generally going uphill at this point, and directly into the wind. I didn't hurt badly, and I had plenty of energy to keep the pedals going round and round and round and round. Just to make sure I continued to have enough energy, I broke out the Clif Bar Shot Bloks, which are sugar and electrolytes. Saved the simple sugars for the end of the trip when I would likely need the most easily-obtainable energy. Ate one "blok" every 4 miles for the rest of the trip, and had enough for one left over when I finally made it.

I passed Berts Bikes on Southwestern Boulevard. It's a local chain bicycle shop which has 4 locations. Only this location here in the southtowns is a motorbike/skidoo/ATV shop, not a bicycle shop. I've always said that the southtowns were a queer place, and this pretty much proves it (that's a joke!). Passed Ralph Wilson Stadium at mile 74, where the Buffalo Bills play... at least until they move to Canada for good in a few years.

Mile 76, I pass a plaza. A bunch of cheerleaders are trying to entice car drivers to let them give them a carwash. One shouts at me that they even do bike washes. I laughed and kept going. The other end of the plaza had an Arbys. I realise that I don't actually have any protein at home, so I buy a roast beef sandwich and stick it in my panniers for later. Mile 80, I pass a barbecue with a lady dressed in a yellow chicken and I smile at her because of how ridiculous she looks. She smiled back and told me I should get some BBQ Chicken. I shout back sorry I don't have the time, and speed off. Mile 84, I hit up another gas station and get some more Gatorade. It's gotten a lot hotter out and I'm now drinking the stuff like it's going out of style. I finally decide where I'm going to go to make up for the distance I lost by skipping my parents house and Squaw Island: my Bike Shop. They were the ones who performed the bike fit on me and wanted me to stop by and tell them how it's working out, so I decide why not let them know that I'm still virtually pain free, and almost finished with my first century.

Mile 91, I reach the shop, and the owner is the only one there. That's ok, he's the one that did the fit. We get to talking, he offers me some water, which I graciously gulp down like crazy (I may have not been drinking enough liquids!). His wife is there and asks me how far I rode to get to the shop. I answer "Oh, 90 miles". She goes wide-eyed, and I quip "I took the long way though, it's 10 miles the short way". They congratulate me on going the distance and I get to going again... but not before I spend a few minutes eyeing some road bikes. I made myself a promise that when I hit my 100 mile goal I can buy a road bike, so now that it's looking like it will happen, I can't resist.

Finally the ride is taking its toll on me. I still wouldn't call it actual pain, but the aching is definitely becoming prohibitive to speed. On one hand I know that I'm going to make my century goal no matter what, unless a bus hits me. However on the other hand, I notice that it's now 7 hours and 20 minutes of moving time... and I have 9 miles to go. I never imagined I could do a century in 8 moving hours, but now that it looks like it could be possible, I decide that I must do it. Unfortunately the last few miles are directly into the wind, with a generally uphill slope. I am tempted to turn around and finish the century with the wind to get the best time, but I decide that's stupid; if I'm going to hit an 8 hour century, I want to do it with honour. So into the wind I go, turning the pedals as fast as my rapidly failing legs will let me. Finally I come up to 99 miles... then 100... but alas I was 20-30 seconds too late. I missed 8 hours by less than a minute. I don't let this bother me however; I simply decide that there's always another century in the future.

The last 3 miles I take it easy and just pedal liesurely. At this point I don't care how long it takes to get home, the aching is finally taking its toll on me. I briefly toy with the idea of going on another 9 miles (4.5 out and back from home) in order to hit 112 miles... the ironman distance. But when it comes time to make the decision, my handlebars turned right instead of left, and I made it home.

8 hours and 16 minutes of moving time. 9 hours and 34 minutes of total time. I am shocked. I came into this thinking I would take 12 hours total time, and 10 hours of moving time. I do believe this is the first long distance (50+) ride I've ever done where I did better than my expectations. I don't know what to say. I feel amazing. I feel like a winner. I've dedicated so much effort into this it's just amazing to actually have finished it. And with no incidents other than closed trails, no less. Today was an amazing day, and I look forward to the day when centuries are no longer a monumental effort to achieve. Thanks to Toms Pro Bike Shop for the bike fitting. Thanks to Bike Forums for the encouragement and advice. Thanks to my friends who cheered me on. Thank god I'm home and resting.

Last edited by Mithrandir; 09-10-11 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 09-10-11, 05:10 PM
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Man what a great job. I also lost over 100lbs and then did a century. It was all in my head, 104 miles 7500 ft of vertical in 8hrs and 2 minutes. I now do hills every week and I don't fear any route and I also like to pass the skinny pretty riding types. Keep it up. ECB1
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Old 09-10-11, 05:22 PM
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To borrow a word from Neil, bravo!
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Old 09-10-11, 05:37 PM
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great great great great job!
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Old 09-10-11, 05:41 PM
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Thanks for sharing, what an epic tale!
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Old 09-10-11, 05:44 PM
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/cheer! Excellent work!
One day I'll be able to do a century. I applaud your dedication

What kinda road bike ya gettin now?
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Old 09-10-11, 06:00 PM
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More than likely a Surly Long Haul Trucker. For my weight and stature everyone says I'll be far better off with a "relaxed" geometry touring bike until I get rid of this gut, and that seems to be the best one.
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Old 09-10-11, 06:19 PM
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sorry for the dumb question: whats relaxed about the geometery?
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Old 09-10-11, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
sorry for the dumb question: whats relaxed about the geometery?
Not a dumb question... I don't truly know the answer myself! It's just what I'm told about touring frames. I'm assuming it means I'm not leaning down as much on it as I would on a full-on racing bike; which would be bad because A) my legs would hit my stomach, and B) my back would hurt more due to it taking more of my body weight load. But again that's just an assumption, I don't truly know if that's correct. Probably why I still have a lot of research to do.
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Old 09-10-11, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by CraigB
To borrow a word from Neil, bravo!
I borrowed it from the Italians, so it's cycling approved. You can use it too. :-)
 
Old 09-10-11, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
Not a dumb question... I don't truly know the answer myself! It's just what I'm told about touring frames. I'm assuming it means I'm not leaning down as much on it as I would on a full-on racing bike; which would be bad because A) my legs would hit my stomach, and B) my back would hurt more due to it taking more of my body weight load. But again that's just an assumption, I don't truly know if that's correct. Probably why I still have a lot of research to do.
Bikes designed for racing are meant to go fast. Bikes designed for touring are set up to carry heavy loads for long distances and keep the rider comfortable for long days in the saddle.
 
Old 09-10-11, 06:50 PM
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Bravo!
 
Old 09-10-11, 08:14 PM
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Great job, and great writeup! Congratulations!!! Although I've read many of your very inspirational posts, I can't remember what bike you're currently riding.....
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Old 09-10-11, 08:22 PM
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DUDE! You are one of my new heros. While I'm making excuses, you're making miles. Out-fricken-standing. Good job.
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Old 09-10-11, 08:24 PM
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Congratulations! And what a wonderful ride report! I'll borrow Haff's word: out-fricking-standing.
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Old 09-10-11, 09:46 PM
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AWESOME!

the last 10 mile climb must've felt rough, but looks like you took it in stride.

you're a very good writer, i enjoyed the read

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Old 09-10-11, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by monkeydentity

you're a very good writer, i enjoyed the read
Jealousy didn't permit me to mention it, but I agree.
 
Old 09-10-11, 11:11 PM
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BTW, I question if 'carb loading' as you practiced it was best. Too many people use it as an excuse to overindulge, which can make them sluggish the next morning or cause them to have digestive problems. When I trained for long rides, I at most had an extra helping of rice or pasta as part of a normal meal. And lots of fluids throughout the day before the ride.
 
Old 09-11-11, 02:39 AM
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has to be the right carbs.... not simple carbs. Simple carbs makes your slugish. just my opinion

mith: so basically its the frame that can hold weight (which doesnt really make it relaxed) but the stem size might? Interesting. I put a longer adjustable stem on my road bike and love the fact that it brings everything up so I can somewhat use my drops without hitting my tummy.
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Old 09-11-11, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by IL Coke Addict
Great job, and great writeup! Congratulations!!! Although I've read many of your very inspirational posts, I can't remember what bike you're currently riding.....
1995 GT Outpost Trail https://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...rail&Type=bike

Modified from stock with:

* Deore LX FD/RD/Crank
* Deore LX 9 speed shifters
* Ultegra 12-27 9 speed cassette
* Alivio V-Brakes
* SRAM 950 9 speed chain
* Tandem rear wheel with Deore XT 36h hub
* Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 26x2.0 slick tires
* Origin8 bar ends (life saver on hand positions!)


The bike was not built for speed, but it makes a good commuter now that I've "hybridized" it. But it's really time I go for a road bike now.
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Old 09-11-11, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Neil_B
BTW, I question if 'carb loading' as you practiced it was best. Too many people use it as an excuse to overindulge, which can make them sluggish the next morning or cause them to have digestive problems. When I trained for long rides, I at most had an extra helping of rice or pasta as part of a normal meal. And lots of fluids throughout the day before the ride.
I had heard this before. In fact a lot of people suggest not changing anything before the ride, because your body is used to the routine. I wasn't sure what to try, but since I've had issues bonking on my previous metrics when I didn't do any carb-loading, I decided to give it a shot to see if it worked. Now I cannot attribute my success to the carb loading for certain, but I didn't bonk, so maybe it works for me. More experimentation is definitely needed however.

As for prehydrating the day before... that I know doesn't work for me. I tend to pee it all out in the middle of the night, thus interrupting my sleep 4-5 times and making sure I'm not rested. But again, everyone is different.
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Old 09-11-11, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
has to be the right carbs.... not simple carbs. Simple carbs makes your slugish. just my opinion
Agreed. Also not massive quantities of them.
 
Old 09-11-11, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Mithrandir
I had heard this before. In fact a lot of people suggest not changing anything before the ride, because your body is used to the routine. I wasn't sure what to try, but since I've had issues bonking on my previous metrics when I didn't do any carb-loading, I decided to give it a shot to see if it worked. Now I cannot attribute my success to the carb loading for certain, but I didn't bonk, so maybe it works for me. More experimentation is definitely needed however.

As for prehydrating the day before... that I know doesn't work for me. I tend to pee it all out in the middle of the night, thus interrupting my sleep 4-5 times and making sure I'm not rested. But again, everyone is different.
I think the reason for prehydrating is to keep the rider from the 'normal' state of dehydration many Americans suffer from. May I ask if when you urinated the fluid was clear? A rule of thumb is that the darker it is, the more nutrients and electrolytes you are losing. Before and during such an endurance ride, your urine should be clear and nearly colorless.
 
Old 09-11-11, 07:06 AM
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Great ride, and a great write-up! Congrats!
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Old 09-11-11, 07:24 AM
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I loved reading this! Super congrats!

Also, I checked out the Garmin link. That was some great data! Do you always ride with the Garmin? I have a simple Sigma 1009 for now. As I get into longer rides, I might upgrade to something that tracks cadence. Garmin seems expensive, but there's always a way to justify a new toy.

Your write-up was superb. Rock on!

(I feel like there should be a century smiley.)
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