Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pioneer Century 2011

Someday, in the far future, I'll look back on last Saturday as one of the dumbest, the craziest, the most painful, the most awesomest things I've ever done. I biked my first century ride (100 miles); it's the biking equivalent of running a marathon...and I'm happy to be alive.

and all I got was a lousy photo

Truth be told, this has been a goal of mine for quite some time. I've ridden over a thousand miles in preparation for this century, and I was really excited to finally give it a go...but it was much harder than I anticipated. I had the most fun 55 miles of my life on a bike; too bad the ride was 102 miles.

Here are the important stats:

Total Distance = 102.21 miles
Total Time = 6:51:57
Average Speed = 14.8 mph

And here's a mile-by-mile log of highlights/lowlights and a few more stats:

Mile 0 - Man, these bike events are cool. Lots o' cool and weird bikes to ogle and stories to hear. I fill up on free granola and yogurt, say goodbye to the wifey, and head out at 7:45.

Mile 12 - As I'm zooming by beautiful farmland with Mt Hood in the background, I start to notice painful spasms (like charley horses) in my calf muscles. I stretch them out as best as I can, but I start to get a little worried - I've never had this problem before. Turns out they stayed painful for the next 68 miles.

Mile 17 - I start to feel more bumps through my bike. I wonder if my rear tire is losing air, but it doesn't get worse, so I don't check until after the ride is over. Turns out it was a flat (oops...).

Mile 20 - We start climbing the 3-mile ascent of the largest hill of the course. Which brings me to my next stat:

Total Elevation Gain = 4414 ft

This particular hill was so killer that I didn't see anyone biking over 9 mph. I saw one lady fall off her bike onto the roadside in agony and say "I just wanted to get to the top!"

Mile 25 - This was the coolest part of the ride. That giant hill we just climbed? Time to go down the other side. It was a fairly technical descent and I had to apply the brakes a few times to ensure I'd make the turns. Even so, I went faster than I've ever gone on a bike:

Maximum Speed = 49 mph

If I had known how close to 50 I had been, I would have eased up on the brakes!

Mile 48 - This is where the headwind started. That foul, nasty headwind that everyone started complaining about the rest of the day. It never left.

Mile 50 - Here's where I saw a guy hop off his bike and puke on the roadside. That's when I first realized "What I am doing is stupid! And I kinda love it!" This is also around the spot where people stopped saying "hi" while passing each other.

Mile 55 - A wonderful fajita lunch. Most people don't go on for the remaining 45 miles, so it's a celebratory atmosphere at lunch. Around this time, eating becomes a chore; a necessary evil. This was my fourth large meal of the day. Why so much food? Here's my next stat:

Calories Burned (estimated) = 6970

That's the equivalent of eating ALL of this:

...and still having enough room to eat an In-N-Out burger, fries, and shake.

Mile 70 - Here's where I noticed that my body was having trouble regulating temperature. I was frozen in the wind, and boiling in the heat at the same time. I was showering myself with water and ended up running out of liquid a few miles before the next rest stop. How hot was it?

High Temperature = 94

It was the hottest day of the year so far, actually. My hottest training ride before this was probably 68 degrees.

Mile 82 - I got to the last rest stop and realized that I could not force myself to eat anymore. I knew I'd be out of energy by the end, but I couldn't shove down more than two pineapple slices. My legs no longer hurt, but I think it's because my body went into survival mode; goosebumps spread all over my skin, and my thought processes started to slow down. My biking pace slowed 20%.

Mile 100 - Holy crap! I did it! Look at me, Mom, I biked a century! But...wait a second...where's the end of the route? Nowhere in sight. I keep pedaling and hoping for the end (or death, whichever comes first). I saw another large hill in front of me and I almost went berserk.

Mile 102.21 - I finally make it back. I see my wife snapping shots and my boys run out to greet me. I don't think they'll ever understand how happy I was to see them.

Wow. I will never, ever do this again.

Until next year, that is.


  1. That sounds absolutely miserable! Congratulations? :)

    You are looking rather slim there, champ!

  2. Totally amazing--congratulations! And I agree, you are looking very fit!

  3. Kudos to you that is an amazing feat!

  4. Wow - I am in awe. As someone that loves cycling, I am very, very impressed. I once had a very difficult, bumpy, and slow experience on one of my standard 15 mile rides with a flat tire, and finally got off the bike and walked it the rest of the way. I cannot believe you did all that, AND had a flat tire!?!?!?!? You are my hero.