Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ride a Century? Done!

On Saturday, I completed a goal I've had for quite some time - I completed a century ride on my Salsa Vaya!

100 miles - Done!
I'm proud of what I did - I'm getting kinda teary-eyed thinking about that moment when I realized I rode my bike for 100 miles! You see, a century ride is something that I never though I could do when I started bicycling six years ago. It's not something I thought I could do earlier this summer, even. But rides like the Box of Frogs, Riotgrravel and my bike packing trip have made me feel stronger both physically and mentally. As the summer progressed, my century ride thinking morphed from "Hey, I think I can do a century" to "When I do a century I'll ride my Vaya" (it's my most comfortable bike) to "I'm going to do a century this fall."

I rode my bike to train but I think the most important thing I did to get ready for this century ride is this - I told myself I could do it and started to believe I could, in fact, pedal my bike for 100 miles.

The best memories of the ride were the many short chats I had with people along the trail. I found that talking to people and hearing their stories energized me and kept me going. I'm going to write a blog post about that in the next day or two.

I could recap the ride in great detail for you but, frankly, most of what happened is I pedaled my bike for a VERY long time - just over nine hours.

There's more to it than that, of course, so if you're interested, read on for more info.

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Overall, my body felt strong and my spirits were up most of the way. I was glad to have my husband, Owen, along for company. Owen's ridden several centuries before so knew what to expect and could remind me to focus on the miles accomplished instead of the miles to go. He's also great to talk to and good conversation really helps me keep my mind off of pedaling.

We had a gorgeous day for a ride - mid 70s, sunny, not much wind. For much of the ride I was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the roads and trail. At times, the ride was boring. I had points when I was really tired. I hummed when I got a bit too tired and talked to myself sometimes, too. One thing I said to myself was "Little circles. Just make little circles." because my bicycling friend, Kate, told me to remember that all I have to do to finish the ride is keep moving my feet in little circles.


Physically my butt got kinda sore but I expected that. Nothing else really hurt during the ride - not for long periods of time, anyway. Both of my feet felt numb sometimes. My wrists got a little sore and so did my shoulders. I was pretty tired the day after the ride but not very sore at all. It's three days after the ride now and I'd say I've completely recovered.

My Vaya outperforms the Mukluk Owen was riding when it comes to speed so Owen had to work harder to keep up with his heavier bike. There were a few times when I had to slow down for Owen. That doesn't happen often (Owen's a fast rider) so it felt kinda good to be the speedy one for a change :-)  


Stats:

  • Ride start at 8:08 a.m. (about an hour later than we should have, given how much I stop to talk to people)
  • Finished riding at about 8:20 p.m. (we had lights so were visible and could see where we were going)
  • Total moving time - 9 hours, 9 minutes, 7 seconds
  • Average speed - 11.0 mph (faster than the 10 mph I planned for)
Equipment:

  • I rode my Salsa Vaya 2
  • Owen rode his Salsa Mukluk 2 making this his first fat bike century
The Ride:
  • About 40 miles in, I was tired and wondered if I could make it but also knew I was stuck at that point
  • After the 50 mile mark (and a great lunch in Hutchinson) I was feeling pretty good and knew I would make it back. Still, I would occasionally worry that I would fall off my bike or something and not make it
  • We rode about a 12 mile stretch of gravel between Silver Lake and Lester Prairie. That might have been the hardest part of the ride but it was also really pretty out there on the country roads
  • I found it was NOT helpful to look at my odometer because it seemed to move way too slowly. Some of those miles felt super long 
  • I learned to celebrate the miles I had completed instead of focusing on how many miles I had left to do
  • Every 10 miles Owen and I cheered! I did switch this up and counted remaining miles after about mile 80, though
  • 80 miles was a point where I was just getting sick of riding my bike and wanted to eat chocolate
  • I realized when I was about .5 miles from our van that I was only at 97 miles so Owen and I rode back on the trail for a mile plus so I could get my 100 miles
  • I cried when I hit 100 miles - because I was happy. Overwhelmed. Amazed. Proud. Done!

The Route:

My main goal for this century was to make this a relatively "easy" ride so I could build confidence and convince myself to do an organized gravel century down the road. With that in mind, Owen created a mixed-surface ride that was mostly on bike trails. We avoided a lot of wind this way, had shade much of the time and also felt very safe not having to deal with traffic. We were super glad to be on trails at the end of the day because we finished the ride in the dark.

Here's where we rode - We parked the van at Wayzata Bay then road streets north a bit to pick up the crushed limestone Luce Line Trail. About 25 miles in, around Winstead, the limestone changed over to freshly paved tar. We stayed on the Luce Line all the way to Hutchinson. At Hutchinson, after a lunch break, we took the Luce Line back to Silver Lake rode gravel to Lester Prairie where we stopped for water and snacks. At Lester Prairie we picked the Dakota Rail Trail (limestone for a short bit then paved the rest of the way) back to Wayzata.

Until next time!





1 comment:

Kate said...

Woohoo! Yay, Myrna! I was so encouraged to see you were riding a century on Saturday (and that you did so well) and it really helped to boost my confidence for our century on Sunday. Little circles, little circles, that's all there is to it!