Good afternoon everyone.
Let me tell you about not only my very first century ride, but also my very first century ride on a single speed bike.
I had always wanted to do the Gettysburg Century Ride. It seemed fun and it was a goal to shoot for. We now call it The Ride From Hell. In hindsight it was not the best ride for a first timer on a single speed.
Don’t get me wrong. It was beautiful…but the hills. Oh my god the hills. There were times I just physically could not get up the hills. I would be standing on the pedals and my bike would absolutely refuse to move up a hill. So I ended up walking up the hills with my wife beside me while other riders would pass us. A couple made snarky comments but most were pretty cool when they realized my bike was a singe speed, so, no down shifting. We obviously were not the only ones walking up the hills. There were quite a few with geared bikes that had to walk those hills. It made me feel better.
Now, going down hill was a totally different animal. I was reaching speeds of 29mph. My wife would always outdistance me on the down hill since she had gears. She could pedal into it and all I could hear was her laughter, even over the sound of the wind in my ears. It was close to flying, and would have been just as fun, if it weren’t for the fact that only a few centimeters of rolling rubber and the pavement beneath it were the the only things between me and OUCH. Believe me when I say, when you start wobbling…all sorts of things start to run through your head. Ugly, scary, bloody things. Ever see a watermelon fall out of the back of a truck? Yeah, those kind of thoughts. SO…it was bliss, adrenaline rush bliss of the best sort, in that you are this close to pain and yet you still survive. Until the next hill. Then gravity reminds you about what kind of power it really has.
We only made it 50 miles before we had to call it. 50 miles and over 4000 feet of elevation, up and down and oh, my hell…it made me humble. That was the hardest 50 miles I have ever ridden.That ride put me on antibiotics for 2 weeks after when my lungs said F-U and i ended up with an upper respiratory infection.
Despite all of that,as soon as I was well again I started searching for another century ride. My wife just shook her head at my stubbornness. I did find another one, this one a bit more flatter. That was the deal, or I think my wife might have rebelled. But more about that one later.
So that was my first experience with a century ride and a single speed…but not my last.
Till next week. Ride safe.