Now why would I choose this title? Well, because I the Saturday before last, I actually did a bike ride which was supposed to be 85 miles starting in Greenville taking the Flat River Trail, then switching over to the Heartland Trail up to Alma. In Alma we were having lunch and then go back. Both trails are Fred Meijer trails – not sure what that exactly means but I assume Greenville local Fred Meijer has contributed a large amount of money for it.
At first I was freaked out. ColorBurst with its 62 miles had taken everything out of me – can I even go 23 miles further? Of course my fellow Wheelmen were all saying “Oh yeah, no problem at all for you”, but then they always say that to encourage me. But since we had a longer lunch break in between and they all swore that it would be super flat (since it’s an old railroad system) I committed to going on the trip. What I hadn’t considered in the beginning was that this was an all day committment, and the ride started at 10am. The bare ride time for this distance at maybe 15 mph would take 5.7 hours. With lunch, possible pitstops etc. it would be more like 7 hours. Well, I signed up anyway.
The ride started out wonderfully. I didn’t have gloves but Randy, a fellow rider who I had only once met at the member meeting offered me his gloves…which I later used to wipe off snot from my cold nose, LOL (he said he has a washing machine). The weather was cold, close to freezing but supposed to pick up during the day. There were a lot of new faces, mostly very friendly. I was surprised that I was actually the youngest there and that out of the 13, 3 or 4 were actually over 60 years old.
This time I made sure I was better prepared with nutritional bars, trail mix, GU energy gel, water with cranberry juice. At lunch I had a hard time deciding what to eat. I am sometimes uncomfortable in these occasions because there is no way that I could go home if I am not feeling well but I would have to ride all the way back. I chose a chicken quesadilla and managed to eat a little more than half of it.
After lunch I was riding along side Dave, the ride captain (RC) and talked to him about the route. He was actually the one who kept me going through ColorBurst a few weeks before. He said that we’ll actually come out with a little over 90 miles. So, that got my mind to race. A little over 90 miles, that is almost 100 miles. How can I go 90 and then not do the last 10 to fill up my first “Century”. I told him about this and asked if he would be willing to take me the extra miles so I can put that notch on my belt and he agreed. I asked the “glove owner” who I had also been riding with and he was in too. The rest wasn’t much into riding extra. For them, it was not such a big deal because they had all done plenty of centuries before.
We arrived back at the parking lot, and it was late. It was getting cold and dark. Dave tried to figure out where to go to get sufficient milage onto his GPS and off we went. Man, 10 minutes in I thought I am a total idiot. I was so cold, it was so dark and I really don’t have sufficient headlights because the ones with which you can see instead of just be seen cost $100 and up. Of course I didn’t say a word and just kept kicking. I was getting tired and a little cranky because Dave had to check out that hill, which was super steep and took us through deep dark woods. I almost wiped out on a patch of sand – enough that Randy behind me got a little worried.
But don’t get me wrong, inside I was so happy – 100 miles! We arrived back at the parking lot but had to circle it a few times until the GPS showed exactly 100 miles at 7pm. I thanked those super nice guys but in all honesty, at that point all I wanted was to go home, eat, be warm! Naturally, there was no cell phone reception so I had to wait a bit before I could call Chuck with “instructions”: get the hot tub started, make coffee (and have whiskey handy), heat up the pot of chili. I arrived back home about 40 minutes later, I was shivering because the ride had chilled me to the core and even though I had the heater in the car on full blast, was wearing long pants and a wool sweater and actually had a blanket wrapped around me, I could not shake the cold. Fortunately, it took 10 minutes in the hot tub and I was good!
I was worried that I would be totally wiped the next morning, but I wasn’t. I got up just fine, went about my business, decided to do the Sunday Ramble (another group ride) and actually had plans to go to 25 Kitchen & Bar with my niece. Yeah now, that didn’t happen as planned. I am out with the Ramble and after 10 miles I am not so fresh anymore. In addition, clouds are coming up and the weather looks miserable so I cut out and went home. At home it totally hit me. I was so fatigued, so exhausted, so tired that I could hardly move. Muscles were still not sore but my whole body was basically waving the white flag and needed some rest. Well deserved I say, well deserved.
And thus ends the story of my first century!