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Century 17?

Old 07-25-16, 08:03 PM
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Century 17?

I rode my first century (at the age of 58) yesterday. I was at mile 95 or so of the 103-mile ride, and pulled up to an intersection with a course marshall. He made no motion with his hands, so I figured I should go straight. I went straight, which sent me back to the beginning of the route and I began it again. I soon figured out that something was wrong, though, so I stopped and asked a woman, and she told me the correct direction. This put an extra 14 miles on the ride.
Did this volunteer make a motion with his hand before I looked up and saw him and he thought I saw his signal? Then why didn't he try to stop me as I went straight? I was pretty livid when I got back, since all the food had been cleared. (I was able to fill my water bottles after going dry for the last ten miles.)
It said on the internet site for the riders to check in when they return. No one gave a @#$% that I had returned. They were concerned with packing the boxes of pretzels and such so they could get out of there.
Maybe I should have memorized the cue sheet. I trusted these people and got burned. My first century. Probably my last.
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Old 07-25-16, 09:33 PM
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LOL, maybe you should have brought the cue sheet and a map?

I don't know why you're mad about it, in the end the ride organizers can't stop you from riding off in the wrong direction. I don't know how long you expect volunteers to hang out waiting for the last riders to come in but I imagine the organizers have a closing time for the last feed station.

If you enjoyed the first 95 miles of your ride I don't think you should let the "bonus" miles ruin your big ride for you, I mean you still did a 100 miles and then some, it's quite the accomplishment.

Try planning your own century so you can start and end at home and take your route past some good restaurants or something. It's not too hard to find nice roads and you won't have to "trust" anyone but yourself.
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Old 07-26-16, 05:17 AM
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You could've asked the course marshal, right? Or looked at the cue sheet, which you were given?


How was the rest of the ride? Meet any interesting folks? Where was it? It seems that the rest of the story might be more interesting than the last hour or so...
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Old 07-26-16, 05:52 AM
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Hard to say what goes on there.
Does "course marshall" mean "random volunteer standing on that corner"? Or is something else implied?
One experience I had doing that was for Tour Dallas several years ago. One thing I figured out was that not all of the riders coming through were part of that ride, so you couldn't just motion everyone to the same direction- some were going different directions.
Regardless, if you enjoyed the riding part of it, the better way to work a century is not in a charity ride, but riding with friends, and if you can work that out, it helps a lot. That's what got me going in randonneuring.
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Old 07-26-16, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
I rode my first century (at the age of 58) yesterday.

Maybe I should have memorized the cue sheet.
Congratulations on your first century.

And yes, for future reference ... bring the cue sheet and map. You're responsible for following the route.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:01 AM
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17 years ago, I rode my 1st century. it was on RAGBRAI, they had an extra 14 mile loop you could do which was suppose to make it a 100 miles. well it wasn't quite 100 it really was going to be like 97 miles. For some reason that just didn't seem close enough for me so I purposely did the loop a second time. Yeah I know I could've just add 3 miles. but I did the whole loop. I still remember those bonus miles, I stopped and had pie, I enjoyed the hills. I ran out of water, it was screaming hot. I don't remember jack about the first 97 miles, but those bonus 14 miles were sweet.

enjoy the miles, even the extra ones. Someday you won't be able to do them
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Old 07-26-16, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by clasher
LOL, maybe you should have brought the cue sheet and a map?

I don't know why you're mad about it, in the end the ride organizers can't stop you from riding off in the wrong direction. I don't know how long you expect volunteers to hang out waiting for the last riders to come in but I imagine the organizers have a closing time for the last feed station.

If you enjoyed the first 95 miles of your ride I don't think you should let the "bonus" miles ruin your big ride for you, I mean you still did a 100 miles and then some, it's quite the accomplishment.

Try planning your own century so you can start and end at home and take your route past some good restaurants or something. It's not too hard to find nice roads and you won't have to "trust" anyone but yourself.
If I do another century, I'll either memorize the 50-100 route directions and hope that my mind is as clear at mile 95 as the "volunteers" who are only thinking about getting home (and pay less heed to the marshalls and arrows), or, as you say, contruct and ride the route alone.
I did have a route sheet with me. I am angered by persons and organizations who promise but do not deliver.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz
You could've asked the course marshal, right? Or looked at the cue sheet, which you were given?


How was the rest of the ride? Meet any interesting folks? Where was it? It seems that the rest of the story might be more interesting than the last hour or so...
What could I have asked him? "Hi. I noticed that you were standing there with your arms akimbo. Would you care to tell me if I should turn right or to go straight?" ? I don't babysit adults.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Congratulations on your first century.

And yes, for future reference ... bring the cue sheet and map. You're responsible for following the route.

Did I say or even imply that I did not have a cue sheet? What are the responsibilities of the volunteers who stand at intersections, Machka?
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Old 07-26-16, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
I don't babysit adults.
Um ... maybe he doesn't either.

Are you sure the person was a court marshal and not just an innocent bystander?

Did you have your ride number/tag/flag visible ... some indication you were part of the ride?
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Old 07-26-16, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by BadBurrito
17 years ago, I rode my 1st century. it was on RAGBRAI, they had an extra 14 mile loop you could do which was suppose to make it a 100 miles. well it wasn't quite 100 it really was going to be like 97 miles. For some reason that just didn't seem close enough for me so I purposely did the loop a second time. Yeah I know I could've just add 3 miles. but I did the whole loop. I still remember those bonus miles, I stopped and had pie, I enjoyed the hills. I ran out of water, it was screaming hot. I don't remember jack about the first 97 miles, but those bonus 14 miles were sweet.

enjoy the miles, even the extra ones. Someday you won't be able to do them
Thanks for the good word, BadB. I needed to hear that.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Um ... maybe he doesn't either.

Are you sure the person was a court marshal and not just an innocent bystander?

Did you have your ride number/tag/flag visible ... some indication you were part of the ride?
If this individual was not connected with the ride, and was just a guy in neon vest standing in the middle of the intersection, then there should have been a purple arrow spray-painted on the road.

Giving a little extra help to riders at the end of a century ride is not babysitting. It is acknowledging the psychological and physical effects of stress.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
If this individual was not connected with the ride, and was just a guy in neon vest standing in the middle of the intersection, then there should have bean a purple arrow spray-painted on the road.

Giving a little extra help to riders at the end of a century ride is not babysitting. It is acknowledging the psychological and physical effects of stress.
Arrows on a century ride?? From my experience ... a few have them, many don't.


Some century events are good, some less so. I've had complaints about the occasional organised century I've done too ... mostly having to do with them packing up before everyone is done.

But in this case, I wonder if there was some misunderstanding. If the person in the neon vest (something all road crews, parks and gardens, and just about everyone wears ... so the person might not have been connected with the event) was connected with the event, did that person know you were riding the event? Was the fact that you were a participant obvious? Or could the person have assumed you were just a local cyclist?

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Old 07-26-16, 07:28 AM
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"Or could the person have assumed you were just a local cyclist?"


My number was on my back. He could have seen it as I rode by and yelled.
We were on a very un-travelled road.

It was sunday afternoon: Probably not a dazed D.P.W. worker without a truck.

I'm going to let this go. Thread closed.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
What could I have asked him? "Hi. I noticed that you were standing there with your arms akimbo. Would you care to tell me if I should turn right or to go straight?" ? I don't babysit adults.
And yet here you are complaining that the ride organizers didn't babysit you enough. They provided cue sheets but you didn't bother to read it and you didn't ask the guy which way to turn but you asked another person later on when you realized your mistake. I don't really understand why you are angry about all this. I gather this was a charity ride or something along those lines? Almost all the people working it were volunteers and I think it's uncool to crap on them because you made some mistakes at the end of the ride.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
My first century. Probably my last.
That's what I said at the end of my first century too. Only mine wasn't organised ... or, more accurately, I organised it and rode it solo.




And then I went on to ride another 169 or so centuries.


So don't let one event put you off. I know how you feel ... it's a tough ride the first time you do one. But the more you do, the easier they get. Most of the time. Now and then you can still hit a unexpectedly difficult one.

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Old 07-26-16, 10:24 AM
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In my experience with long rides, fun and organization are often inversely proportional. A lot of fun happens when things go contrary to the plan. Bonus miles are good; that's why we call them bonus miles.
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Old 07-26-16, 10:44 AM
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All the event rides I've done have had spraypainted road markings. Usually a mark before the intersection, another at the turn, and a third one leaving the intersection for confirmation. Occasionally they have a few volunteers to guide riders out of town, and a few near the finish.

Now I usually download the route, and follow on GPS. It's nice to see when the turns are coming up.

I did do one ride some years ago, where the route stayed on the same road for 6 or 7 miles. I would have liked to see an arrow pointing ahead every mile or two. I started wondering if I was on the route or not.

(It would have been unusual to have a volunteer where the route went straight...)

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Old 07-26-16, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
"Or could the person have assumed you were just a local cyclist?"


My number was on my back. He could have seen it as I rode by and yelled.
We were on a very un-travelled road.

It was sunday afternoon: Probably not a dazed D.P.W. worker without a truck.

I'm going to let this go. Thread closed.
You could have Stopped and Thanked the Marshall for being there for you.
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Old 07-26-16, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
That's what I said at the end of my first century too. Only mine wasn't organised ... or, more accurately, I organised it and rode it solo.
I think I'm going to have to have one of those talks with my last ride organizer.
  • No exact mileage until I got to the end of the ride.
  • Strava's route map was low enough resolution that it took me onto a dead-end road, and eventually turned itself off halfway through the ride. I suppose the end point on my "route" and my "ride" were different anyway.
  • No sag wagon.
  • Road Construction on a Sunday afternoon? Dodging road graders, and heavy equipment. I think it was an army crew, so everyone in olive drab camo, no neon vests. And as I pulled my bike off the road to allow graders to pass, I'd wave, and not see any acknowledgement that I was seen, or they were aware of my presence.
  • Water fountain in small town not working, so the next water refill spot was a small stream trickling out of a hillside.
  • I had to carry all my food.
  • And no hot meal waiting for me at the end.
Oh, and the whole route took me well past the 100 mile point.
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Old 07-26-16, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
If this individual was not connected with the ride, and was just a guy in neon vest standing in the middle of the intersection, then there should have been a purple arrow spray-painted on the road.

Giving a little extra help to riders at the end of a century ride is not babysitting. It is acknowledging the psychological and physical effects of stress.
I disagree. You screwed up by not paying attention and you want to make it someone else's fault.
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Old 07-26-16, 04:33 PM
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If this is on a road and not a bike path, then the people in the neon vests may be there as much to direct traffic as to direct bikes.

I'm surprised the numbers weren't visible on both the front and back so riders would be obvious as they were approaching.

Nonetheless, it is simple enough to slow down and request clarification as needed. There is the old adage, to "ASSUME" something is to make an "ASS of U & ME". Or, if you haven't been dropped by the pack, just follow other riders and hope for the best. Or, once you see NOBODY, start looking around to see what happened.

A second loop for a double-century would have made a good intro ride though.
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Old 07-27-16, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
What could I have asked him? "Hi. I noticed that you were standing there with your arms akimbo. Would you care to tell me if I should turn right or to go straight?" ? I don't babysit adults.
But you are mad that they didn't babysit you! You need to remember that volunteers are people who out of the kindness of their heart are out there helping you do your ride. A bit of kindness and gratitude for their efforts would go a long way.
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Old 07-27-16, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
I think I'm going to have to have one of those talks with my last ride organizer.
  • No exact mileage until I got to the end of the ride.
  • Strava's route map was low enough resolution that it took me onto a dead-end road, and eventually turned itself off halfway through the ride. I suppose the end point on my "route" and my "ride" were different anyway.
  • No sag wagon.
  • Road Construction on a Sunday afternoon? Dodging road graders, and heavy equipment. I think it was an army crew, so everyone in olive drab camo, no neon vests. And as I pulled my bike off the road to allow graders to pass, I'd wave, and not see any acknowledgement that I was seen, or they were aware of my presence.
  • Water fountain in small town not working, so the next water refill spot was a small stream trickling out of a hillside.
  • I had to carry all my food.
  • And no hot meal waiting for me at the end.
Oh, and the whole route took me well past the 100 mile point.

So what'd the "organizer" have to say? "Let's do it again this weekend?"
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Old 07-27-16, 12:47 PM
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I rode the NJ Arrow earlier this month, and the weather was pretty nasty. Hot and humid, and then it rained. Is it too much to ask that they schedule nice weather for an event like that? Sheesh.
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