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Hi,

Here is another "my first century" tale for those who care.

I have an athletic background (ran a marathon when I was 17, worked as a bike messenger in college) but blimped out really bad in my mid-20s and have been trying to get back in shape for the last year or so (38 years old now). 10 months ago I decided to train for the Chuckanut Century in Bellingham, WA. I started with rides of mostly 20 miles or so, commuted to work a lot, then started building in a lot of 30-40 milers. Did a couple of organized rides including a 50 miler and a metric century in the summer. But as September approached, I was feeling really nervous about being able to ride 100 miles. I had lost weight but was still well into the clydesdale category and the route had about 4000' of climbing, so I was really not sure I'd be able to do it. The week before the race I worried obsessively: will I make it??

The alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. the morning of the race and it had been pouring rain all night with more forecast for the day ahead. I ate as much as I could for breakfast, got to the check-in point (Boundary Bay Brewery, for those who know Bellingham), and started off. The first part of the course was a 38-mile route to the south which included the amazingly scenic Chuckanut Drive, a winding highway with forested cliffs to the left and beautiful bay views to the right. I'd been worried about that hill, but to my relief it turned out to be nothing. So far, so good. The next big hill was Bow Hill at around 20 miles, which also turned out to be no problem, so that was a huge burden lifted. Rode past Lake Samish and back to the brewery downtown to end the south loop. At this point I said goodbye to my partner, who was finished with her day's ride.

Continuing solo, I started on the 62-mile north loop riding through a lot of farm country, pleased that the rain had held off so far. At mile 45, the deluge started and I felt like I was riding through a car wash! I was instantly soaked and knew the last half of the race had just gotten longer. At the next rest stop, I heard a lot of folks debating whether to bail on the century and do the shorter routes. But the skies cleared eventually and I kept motoring on in pretty good spirits until mile 70, which happened to go right past my parents' house in Birch Bay. They were waiting outside in lawn chairs and Mom brought homemade apple crisp, which I devoured, and my partner provided dry socks -- sooo nice! Left feeling good, and grateful, but then things went downhill in a hurry.

At mile 75 I started to feel like I might be bonking, despite the fact that I had eaten like a pig. At the same time, I developed this throbbing pain in my right achilles tendon which quickly progressed to excruciating. This was the first time it occurred to me that I might not actually finish -- hard to think about when 5 miles earlier I had been so certain of success. I tried stretching the tendon and calf, tried pedaling with my heel up, rotating my foot in or out, and finally figured out that keeping my heel down as far as possible made the pain bearable, but just. Meanwhile the bonk sort of steadily progressed until mile 90, when I felt like I could go no further. I stopped at the last food stop, made myself eat some more, sat on a bench trying to collect myself, shed a few tears, and, with a sense of dread, made myself climb back on the bike. The next 10 miles seemed to take hours! I have never seen my cyclocomputer tick off the miles so slowly! Fortunately, by mile 95 I realized I would probably make it and that buoyed my spirits a bit. Saw a rainbow and some herons. Thought about all the training I'd been doing and how many times I'd imagined myself doing this ride and how bad I wanted to be able to say I'd done a century. Rolled into town just as my computer registered 100 miles. 8.5 hours total ride time plus stops, no world record but I'll take it. Huge relief and happiness as my partner and I got a table at the brewery and sat down for food and rest. I did it!!!

Right now I never want to ride a bike again in my life :p but I know that will pass as I rest up. I see this as a milestone in my continuing effort at weight loss and getting back to my former level of fitness. So glad I did this! The route was great, the people were really nice, and except for the weather (and the bonking, and the pain) it could not have been a better first century. Thanks for reading!
 

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Congrats, way to go. Great ride report. I'm doing my first century on 10/16. Just took up road riding in June as a means to weight loss as well. My goal is to do the STP next year, see you there.
 

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Congrats! I helped mark the south course on a much nicer day. At times the rain was really heavy for this part of the country. Glad you were able to meet your goal.
 

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Roll Out Jeremy
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Very nice

What a great area of the state to do some riding. I did a solo 85 miler from LaConner Up around lake Whatcom, and back down Chuckanut Drve. Not sure I would want to do Chuckanut from South to north.....Nice job on your century, I'm sure there are many more in your future.
 

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No Crybabies
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yup

Lefty Lucy said:
Right now I never want to ride a bike again in my life :p but I know that will pass as I rest up.
I get that feeling before most long rides even end. I swear I'm giving it up and will sell all my bikes. I've almost given away my bike at the finish a few times. I get over it in a few days, and in a few weeks, I'm craving a long ride again. I think it is largely caused by low blood sugar.

Good ride.
 

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Way to go. The first one is often the most memorable. You'll be thinking about your next century before too long. In prep for the next one, add a couple of 70-75 mile rides to your training. Do them a few weeks before the event. Adding that extra mileage is good training, but keeps the century distance as the event distance. I know some riders that do 90 miles right before the century, but that takes away from the achievement in my mind.

Great job! Now go and see your bike -- it misses you already.
 

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Frog Whisperer
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congrats.....now,..... get on your bike and RIDE
I remember my first century and sleeping for 12 hours straight after I ate!
 

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Where's that GPS?
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Good story and one many of us can relate to.

I completed my first century when I signed up for a 50 miler and got lost!
Think I did about 110 miles trying to get back to my car, ouch!

Completed my second, and this one was planned, two weeks ago - it's a great feeling, which I hope to re-live Oct 9 (Seagull Century, Maryland's Eastern Shore).
 

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Lefty Lucy said:
Hi,

Here is another "my first century" tale for those who care.
The alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. the morning of the race

and it had been pouring rain

Excellent job, good write up. No matter how you slice it, a Century ride is a significant accomplishment for sure.

Here's something for riders just coming into this 'realm' of cycling. You probably shouldn't think of or call a Century ride a Race. So many relatively new riders do...

A race is a race. A century ride is normally non-competitive, other than you against the elements and the distance. When everyone is racing, that is different. I often hear riders bragging..."I passed almost everyone on the "______ century race..." but that is just silly. If no one knows they are racing, it is not difficult to beat them.

Anyway, great job on beating gravity and rain and accomplishing your goal, and losing the weight to be able to do it and enjoy it.
 

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Where's that GPS?
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@Gnarly928 - "Race" point well taken - what most frustrates me is that I always refer to them as rides, but I guess the people around me don't understand the non-competitive nature of them and I find myself constently correcting them when they ask me if I am ready for my bike race: "Ride" I say, "It's not a race!" But a week or so later, I find I have to correct them again.

P.S. A 928 is a mighty good steed during a race...er, ride!
 

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Congratulations on finishing a long ride!
My advice is consistent training, shorter rides, build up slowly. Less painful!
 

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Congrats! Loved the story. :thumbsup: 100 miles makes for a looooooog day in the saddle... Speaking of which, you must have yours dialed in, 'cause my butt was absolutely killing me on my first century. Get's easier though... Have you picked out your next one yet? :D:D :D:thumbsup:
 

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I also have returned to riding this year after sabbatical lasting for more than ten years. I did not do a century. I did however, complete two separate rides that were 75 miles and got in over 1600 miles total thus far this year. Although my progress has not been as good as I had hoped for, I am satisfied. I am looking forward to vigorous training over the winter to raise the bar for next year. I remember getting on the bike attached to a trainer last January and having to quit from pain and exhaustion after only 5 minutes time.

I want to tell you that I am 58 years old and just over a year ago I weighed 208 lbs. I now weigh 153 lbs. and feel twenty years younger. In the course of the past year my endurance capabilities shifted from less than 5 minutes at a snail’s pace to easily better than an hour and a half or more with an overall average speed of 16.3 mph for the month of October.

You got me thinking. Next year I am scheduling a century. I had done several 25 years ago. It’s time to do it again.

Thanks for the inspiring story!
 
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