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

My Century

Old 08-05-15, 07:51 AM
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My Century

Sorry so lengthy.

I've hesitated to even post this as many of you have so many more impressive "milestones" having been involved with cycling so many years. It's almost as if I feel I'm "imposing" on veterans of many cycling "battles" with my newb accomplishment. However, it occurs to me that everyone had a first time to reach a goal and felt a sense of accomplishment and wanted to share it.
And so it is with me.

So after being through two knee surgeries each time being advised by the orthopedic doc to "stop jogging" "what do you not understand about that order?" I decided to focus more on riding for exercise. I had a Trek Hybrid I had ridden on occasion on the road but in 2014 bought a Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29 mountain bike. It just made sense since I am blessed to live near some of the best mountain biking terrain in the southeast.

Holy cow what fun! I was a kid again!

However, it typically requires loading up and taking it to Dupont State Forest or Pisgah National Forest. I wanted to jump on and ride from home between mtn bike excursions.
I live in a mountainous region and my home is near a ridge top. Two miles in any direction can change elevation by 600-800 feet or so. Obviously getting back home requires climbing. The 1993 Trek MetroTrack wasn't cutting it. So I found a 2014 closeout from REI on a carbon frame Diamondback Century 3. The discount coupled with a coupon I had and the rebate from membership dropped the price into the "entry level" price point while getting something a little above entry level if nothing but the carbon frame. And so on May 23, 2015 I took my first ride and climbed back up the mountain roads to my house.

Holy Cow what fun! I was a kid again...again!

As I rode longer distances I mentioned to a friend I'd like to try riding 100 miles in a day. And so I became introduced to the word "Century". I didn't realize this is a type of "landmark" goal for a lot of road cyclists. Obviously I was a complete newb at all this.

In June I took my bike to the coast on a long weekend trip and completed 44 miles in hot and humid conditions. I felt like I had accomplished a milestone of sorts...like really accomplished something. I became aware I maybe could ride a century. A couple weeks later I exceeded 50 miles and then a 60 mile ride. (I didn't at the time know the term "metric century" or else I would have ridden a few more miles)
So I set my mind on riding a century. I figured for now it was out of reach in my home territory considering the terrain and climbs associated with a long ride. We're taking another trip to the coast Labor Day and I decided that was the goal, to try to ride a century then on the flat coastal terrain.

So Saturday, June 25 I set out for a long ride. I made my descent down the mountain dropping 600 feet in about a mile, when I realized I had forgotten my water bottles. I had to turn around and climb back up. I changed course and set out for a long ride, hoping to reach 70 miles.
The day started early and a bit foggy at dawn and sunrise but soon turned sunny and warm. By late morning it was getting hot.

Long story short, my route was planned so I would be at around 70 when I returned home. At 60 I was feeling pretty strong and started thinking. (Dangerous at times.) I bypassed the climb back up the mountain to home at the 70 mile mark and took a different route. At 75 miles I thought, "I'm going to try it". At 80 miles I called my wife and said, "stand by to pick me up, I'm going for 100". I wanted to finish strong and decided I would not climb the hill back home at the end but let my wife pick me up somewhere else.

I cannot describe how difficult the last 15 were and especially the last 5. This is when the mental started working against me. Physically, I had little left yet figured I could finish but I never anticipated the challenge mentally. I set my sights on a Dunkin Donuts in town as motivation to keep going with a reward at the end. I arrived at DD and flipped on my MapMyRide app.....

97.2 miles

NOOOOOoooooo.......!!!!!!!

I was done, finished. I had no more water, snacks were finished long ago, I was bonked....against the wall. Struggling with the heat, dehydration, hunger, fatigue, sore neck, shoulders, back, butt...

I went to a fast food across the street and through the drive through. Got a chocolate milk and coke. Sucked those down, sucked it up and said, "I'm going to finish this". And so I set off on a last three mile loop. I barely was mainatining forward momentum when I felt the milk and coke sugar kick in.
I speeded up, determined to finish as strong as possible. At mile 99 a bee flew into the top of my helmet and stung me. I cursed my luck, just what I don't need but continued the loop back to Dunkin Donuts with my head on fire.

I finished, coasting into the parking lot at mile 101.72, with an average speed of 15.38 mph. about 6 hours 36 minutes in the saddle.

I believe this would have been easier when I was 44 instead of almost 55 (well duh) and it would be easier with a riding partner to encourage each other. Solo, my greatest enemy was my mind and that only during the last 15-20 miles.

So anyway, this past Saturday I went out and rode 40 and by comparison I felt as though I hardly broke a sweat. That's an exaggeration but it seemed easy by comparison. I may still try to do another century on Labor Day weekend, down at the coast, if for no other reason than for comparison... and personal satisfaction.

So that's my first century. If you took the time to read it I hope you enjoyed.
Attached Images
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century ride 3.jpg (16.4 KB, 15 views)
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century ride 1.jpg (18.3 KB, 15 views)
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century ride 4.jpg (9.7 KB, 14 views)
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century ride 5.jpg (42.6 KB, 14 views)
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century ride 2.jpg (13.9 KB, 13 views)

Last edited by WNCGoater; 08-05-15 at 11:55 AM. Reason: add photos
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Old 08-05-15, 07:57 AM
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Now you can take a rest day.

Thanks for the pics.
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Old 08-05-15, 08:30 AM
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Thanks for posting, and don't apologize or compare yourself to some of the hotshots in this forum. Your only competition is yourself, whom you just beat handily. Nicely done!
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Old 08-05-15, 08:30 AM
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Thank you for the good laugh. Your experience brought back so many memories! I think most people who've ridden a century have probably experienced something similar. When I got to the "NOoooo!" I was glad to read on that you continued the last 3+ miles. Now that you've done the Century you can go back to riding just for fun.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-05-15, 09:16 AM
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Gongrats. 15.4 is a respectable pace for any Century ride - I'm surprised you were able to run that average speed on your first 100. I've done a few 100's and can only manage around 15.

Next - go for a 200K !!
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Old 08-05-15, 09:29 AM
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Sounds like you had great fun doing your first century unsupported! My first was back in '78 and I can barely remember it.

Looks like beautiful country to be riding through; thanks for the photos! I still do centuries, both supported and unsupported and every one is an adventure.

Hopefully you'll ride many more this year!

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Old 08-05-15, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
Sorry so lengthy.

I've hesitated to even post this as many of you have so many more impressive "milestones" having been involved with cycling so many years. It's almost as if I feel I'm "imposing" on veterans of many cycling "battles" with my newb accomplishment. However, it occurs to me that everyone had a first time to reach a goal and felt a sense of accomplishment and wanted to share it.
And so it is with me.
Hey ... don't apologize for a great post! Yea, some of us have done a lot of centuries, double centuries, and even longer distance rides, but that doesn't mean we don't want to hear all about yours. The interesting part isn't the distance ... it's the challenges you overcame to get there (something we all deal with, regardless of the distance or speed we ride) and you described those beautifully.

BTW, I Googled your REI deal on the Diamondback. What a great deal!
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Old 08-05-15, 10:37 AM
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Kudos for both returning to cycling, and on that century ride you just finished. As many said above, you have no reason to apologize for posting about these accomplishments, to me, there isn't a "pecking order" here, there are people I respect for their accomplishments, their courage, and their manner of presenting things. What you've accomplished is fantastic, and that is a good read you have put up there, glad to have you here and that you are active in your cycling.

Bill
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Old 08-05-15, 04:59 PM
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"We are each an experiment of one"-Dr. George Sheehan. Comparing ourselves to others is par for the course but very flawed.

Your achievement was awesome and it was very interesting reading your report. Be proud of the accomplishment and continue to strive for greater goals. Welcome to the 100 club and just think, it's only the beginning.
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Old 08-05-15, 06:26 PM
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I thought it was a good read. Thanks for posting.

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.
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Old 08-05-15, 07:33 PM
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Congratulations, One's accomplishment will be 10's motivation, ride hard and spread the word. I live on the other side of the mountains just inside TN. I ride over into NC regularly, park at Paint Creek and ride over to Hot Springs and back, just a little over 25 miles round trip. It's good to see the accomplish of other, even better to see they're practically neighbors.
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Old 08-05-15, 09:19 PM
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What area did you ride in to do your Century?
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Old 08-05-15, 10:15 PM
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I enjoyed reading it and the pictures are nice. I've heard a lot about Pisgah, a bit jealous of you about that.
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Old 08-06-15, 01:51 AM
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fun, fun, fun. great post
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Old 08-06-15, 03:31 AM
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So, is today a recovery day or are you going for a little hair O'the dog? Do you hate your bike today?

Congrats on a milestone, epic and iconic ride. And yes, that last 15 is always killer.
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Old 08-06-15, 04:12 AM
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My Century

Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
Sorry so lengthy.

I've hesitated to even post this as many of you have so many more impressive "milestones" having been involved with cycling so many years. It's almost as if I feel I'm "imposing" on veterans of many cycling "battles" with my newb accomplishment. However, it occurs to me that everyone had a first time to reach a goal and felt a sense of accomplishment and wanted to share it. And so it is with me….

So that's my first century. If you took the time to read it I hope you enjoyed.
I did read it. A joy of cycling for me is that we see and experience things on a relatively “microscopic” scale compared to the “macroscopic” viewpoint of the motorist. So, many situations and events loom large and noteworthy in our travels, seemingly trivial to others, and we want to relate them, and not just keep them to ourselves. In writing them down, they can recur in our minds when we re-read them.

The basic tenet of my own postings is:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Last year I came upon a post that to me embodied the comm***cation style that I like about BF. In response to a long quote, @turbo1889 wrote [not to me]:

Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
First of all you have no need to apologize for a lengthy post, least of all to me of all people. Part of the reason I like forums as apposed to other forms of written communal internet forms is because I consider it the "long deep conversation format" rather then the quick short snappy sound bite like format like twitter and such.
and

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…to post and literally "journal" my thoughts and activities about cycling and lifestyle (even if nobody else reads them), but which I wouldn't write down otherwise…
Regarding impressive "milestones," I like this adage I read on a Forum, "My 15 mph [or 50 miles, etc] are to me as your 25 mph [or double century, etc] are to you."

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 08-06-15 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 08-06-15, 05:58 AM
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Very nice story. Thanks for sharing it!
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Old 08-06-15, 06:45 AM
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WNCGoater,

Great story--thanks for taking the time to write it and for including the photographs. My first century was also a solo one, though it was planned ahead of time.

There is no need to compare your accomplishments with others on this forum. I always think about this quote from the masterpiece, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, "The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called yourself." You were able to draw upon you inner strength and finish this challenge. Way to go!
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Old 08-06-15, 07:17 AM
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Thanks for all the kind comments and the encouragement. Unbeknownst to most, this forum was inspiration BEFORE is started out that day, just reading of the accomplishments of all of you middle age + "road warriors". Just that particular day, well it just happened, maybe the moon and stars lined up right, maybe God wanted to show me what I was capable of, dunno, as I said, it just sort of happened.

But anyway, thanks again for all the kudos which are very encouraging.

I want to respond to this because I assume jppe may be local or otherwise familiar with this area since he asked.

Originally Posted by jppe View Post
What area did you ride in to do your Century?
Started out in Edneyville where I live, through H'ville, out past Etowah on River Rd to Penrose area. Back Crab Creek to Flat Rock, back past Edneyville past Bearwallow area to Fruitland. Back through Edneyville to H'ville ending up at Dunkin Donuts @ I-26. Yeah, the last 30 I was just wandering trying to log miles with no route plan. I just followed known routes trying to avoid climbs as much as possible.
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Old 08-06-15, 08:11 PM
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Very nice area to ride! Just enough elevation to help with humidity. I do a lot of training rides starting in Tryon and will go up near Flat Rock. If you'd like an organized century I rode in Tour de Apple in Hendersonville on Labor Day last year. There were some climbs but nothing terrible. We went up Bearwallow from the easy side. Blue Ridge Breakaway is one of my favorites. It's out of Lake Junaluska with 30 miles on the BRP. Lots of climbing but nothing steep.
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Old 08-07-15, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
...I want to respond to this because I assume jppe may be local or otherwise familiar with this area since he asked.

Started out in Edneyville where I live, through H'ville, out past Etowah on River Rd to Penrose area. Back Crab Creek to Flat Rock, back past Edneyville past Bearwallow area to Fruitland. Back through Edneyville to H'ville ending up at Dunkin Donuts @ I-26. Yeah, the last 30 I was just wandering trying to log miles with no route plan. I just followed known routes trying to avoid climbs as much as possible.
Thanks for sharing the route. I note you post from North Carolina. Anywhere near Mayberry? I hear the sheriff's deputy there is a real stickler for cyclists obeying the traffic rules...Ayup.

(For those who don't get the question, imagine being pulled over by Barney Fife for running a red light. )

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 08-07-15 at 05:38 AM. Reason: added explanation
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Old 08-07-15, 06:33 AM
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If he was near Mt. Airy, NC he would feel a sense of deja vu, possibly, since that is the place that was said to be the basis for Mayberry, back in the late 50s and early 60s! That is a beautiful area, of NC, to me, some fantastic riding must be available for y'all up there.

Goater, you need to now be sure to ride your age on your next birthday, you know its possible for you now.

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Old 08-07-15, 07:54 AM
  #23  
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Riding my age my next birthday should be a cinch barring injury between now and then, it's only a few months away. I hope to ride my age twenty years from now! People on here inspire my to see that as a very real possibility.

Never been to Mt. Airy but as I understand, there are a lot of "Mayberry" themed components to the downtown including the Snappy Lunch diner. They also have a Mayberry Days event.


jppe, I'm out of town Labor Day weekend and unable to ride in the Tour de Apple. Not sure I want to do the century in that ride just yet, with the three big climbs. Climbs aren't my strong point nor particularly enjoyable to me, at least not at this point.

"We went up Bearwallow from the easy side." I didn't know there WAS an easy side to Bearwallow! By the way, to clarify, I went past Bearwallow, not up and over Bearwallow!
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Old 08-07-15, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
If he was near Mt. Airy, NC he would feel a sense of deja vu, possibly, since that is the place that was said to be the basis for Mayberry, back in the late 50s and early 60s! That is a beautiful area, of NC, to me, some fantastic riding must be available for y'all up there.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…imagine being pulled over by Barney Fife for running a red light.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
…The series never placed lower than seventh in the Nielsen ratings and ended its final season at number one. It has been ranked by TV Guide as the 9th-best show in American television history… An annual festival celebrating the show, Mayberry Days, is held each year in Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina…The show was filmed at Desilu Studios, with exteriors filmed at Forty Acres in Culver City, California. Woodsy locales were filmed north of Beverly Hills at Franklin Canyon...
My cycling relationship with Andy of Mayberry was that when I was laid up after my cycling accident in 2012 and watching a lot of daytime TV, Andy of Mayberry was a highlight of my day; that and old and new Perry Mason, and the History Channel spin-off, now known as the American Heroes Channel.

BTW, I once posted about Andy of Mayberry to this thread on the Commuting Forum in April this year, ”Blowing Red Lights.”

Originally Posted by RR3 View Post
I slow way down and look before going thru stop signs. I completely stop and look before going thru redlights but do not have too many of them to deal with. I can only imagine the discussion if a Barney Fife wannabe, pantywaist successfully chased me down.

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I recall an Andy of Mayberry episode when Gomer Pyle "arrested" Barney Fife for a traffic violation, yelling (and irritating Barney) in Gomer's Southern accent, "Citizen's arrest...Citizen's arrest."

Originally Posted by RR3 View Post
Hilarious. I remember it too.

...and now back to our originally scheduled thread, already in progress.
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Old 08-07-15, 07:36 PM
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Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I'm new here and just getting into cycling and physical shape. I'm hoping to do a century but I don't know if that's in my stars this year. If I lived in NC where the weather is good most of the year I'd likely consider it. I spent a couple of months last year with my dad just outside of Asheville so I'm a little familiar with the area. My dad lived almost at the top of a fairly steep incline as well. In fact it was tough just to walk up it. I can only imagine what you must have faced.

Seriously, you have just become one of those who inspires others to continue on. Pressing through the challenges you had and succeeding certainly gives me encouragement to continue on.
MickeyDee is offline  

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