I frequent bikeforums.net and read a lot of "My First Century" post. Well, my time has come and this is my story.
First, let me provide you a quick background. I purchased my road bike last June at a time when I topped the scales at 235 lbs. By the end of summer a long, hard ride was 20 miles and it would wipe me out. I managed around 300 total road miles by the end of 2005.
January 2006 I began what I call, "Cleansing 2006." I am eating less and healthier, running, biking and lost close to 40 total pounds, currently weighing in at 199 lbs. My longest ride prior to Sunday was 47 miles.
Background complete, now my story. I headed out at 6:30 am for Downtown Joliet, IL to sign in for the JBC Sudden Century. This would be my first group ride and first organized ride of any kind. When I say group, I mean I have never even had the pleasure of riding with one single other roadie.
I pulled into the downtown area and there were roadies, bikes, and lycra everywhere. I immediately began to get nervous or was that MORE nervous. I had preregistered so I only had to check in. At check in I was asked what route I would be doing?? The pressure! I requested the cue sheets for the 70 and 100 mile routes. Seeing my first ever cue sheet sent the nerves skyrocketing. I mean, check the pic below, it seems so confusing. I had to ride my bike 100 miles while reading the directions?
Luckily, I had planned to meet up with a fellow bikeforums.net member who was an experienced roadie. However, I was running a bit late and there were roadies everywhere. Everyone seemed to be waiting or looking around for someone. Then I spotted CyLowe97 dart off on his blue Felt in the Hampsten/Cinghiale jersey he said he would be sporting. I caught up with him and introduced myself and the century began.
I never would have finished the ride solo and riding with CyLowe97 was awesome. I learned some group riding etiquette and the fun of drafting. Just the general conversation eased my nerves and thoughts of six hours in the saddle and 100 miles!!
The weather was fabulous with sun and light winds. We stopped at all the rest stops 25, 45, 75, and 85 miles. Average stop was say 10-15 minutes with the 75 miler being the longest and the 85 miler being the shortest. I had a contact issue that required one other stop at a gas station.
Miles 45 to 75 were the toughest for me. This was a loop out in the middle of no where that lead us from the rest stop then back to it. My neck and shoulders really began to tighten up and ache. I have a chronic neck/shoulder issue and figured it would be the one thing to limit my riding. I managed not to panic and once we stopped at the 75 mile rest stop I stretched it out enough to make the finish.
I am really surprised how well my legs felt, reacted, and feel today. I never felt like I lost them, or was going to. I attribute that to the running and weight loss I have achieved over the past 4 months. I think I felt the best during the last 20 miles of the ride.
Anyway, we rolled back into downtown Joliet around 2:30 pm, I think. Despite there being NO finish line or crowd of fans cheering me on (didn't anyone get the memo, this was my First Century?) I felt a great since of achievement. I had just done something I never dreamed I could do. I road my bike 100 miles in one day!!
The Stats: 101.7 miles in 6 hours 15 minutes, 16.3 mph average speed with 26.5 mph max, 136 bpm average heart rate (71% max) with 164 bpm max (85% max), 77 average cadence with 103 max, and 4835 calories toasted.
19 hours ago