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Thread: Century

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Crystal Lake, IL


    I was a little hesitant to post this here but I thought some of you might enjoy the story (hopefully). There are a few photos as well but they were only made to capture the moment. I'm a bit lazy these days when it comes to taking photos. I'm officially Mr. Snapshooter who does no after processing


    I started riding about a year ago. When last year ended with Winter taking over I set one goal for the next season; Complete a century ride. Today was my first attempt and I'm going to tell the story.

    Last Week.
    On most days I commute 9 miles each way to work. During the past two weeks the wind has been horrible, almost painful with 20 mph gusts. It may not seem like much to some of you but for me it wasn't pleasant. But there was a side benefit that I was noticing; my legs were becoming stronger.

    Yesterday I did a small hike with some friends in Starved Rock and was feeling very good physically. The weather was the best I've seen it in at least a month. Better still, it was predicted to carry on into today! All of this added up to me feeling a tad courageous.

    The Plan.
    The route I chose to take is one I took before, 50 miles there and back (Schaumburg to Crystal Lake). Obviously I needed to do the route twice to complete a full 100 miles. My plan was to leave as early as possible but no later than 7AM. If I got tired at the 50 mile point I'd call it quits. The actual turn around point in Crystal Lake was a friends house. This allowed me to take care of anything, if needed. I thought it was a pretty good plan.

    6:00 AM.
    "Smack!" Stupid alarm clocks! Oh, right. I'm supposed to be riding my bike today. Quick shower, coffee, put on the bike clothes, instant oatmeal, tall glass of OJ. Did a little maintenance and inspection on the bike. It was kind of cold this morning at 49 degrees or so. Weather report says it'll hit 70 so no worries.

    Fill up with water, extra container of OJ for calories, and off I went.

    I rented some movies the night before so the first thing I did was drop them off at Blockbuster

    Miles 1-12.
    While riding past a popular morning area, I saw another cyclist (but no bike) taking photos of the architecture. I slowed down and stroke up some conversation, "Where ya headed?" I asked. "Crystal Lake" the stranger responded. "Hey, I'm heading up there too, you wanna ride together?". "Uhh, sure, but I'm kinda slow!". "Me too, my name's Trevor". He introduced himself as Joe. I asked if he was done taking photos and off we went.

    Miles 12-38.
    Joe and I rode to Crystal Lake and back to the coffee shop area where we first met up. During our ride we had great conversation, a few things in common, and a beautiful day serving as additional entertainment. He had a nice Puch that would make a great conversion but I didn't push the subject too hard. Once back at the coffee shop we stopped in for a serving of (in Joe's words) "Coffee beans with a little water splashed on them" and some "Complex sugars". We both had cameras and took a couple photos of each other, shook hands, and went our separate ways.

    "Joe" and "Me".

    Mile 50.
    Back at home. Diet Coke and a peanut butter sandwich. Quickly consumed and greatly enjoyed. Wiped the chain down and threw on some new chain-lube. Hmm, do I want to do another 50 miles? Heck yeah! I was feeling great. Up to this point I was doing my best to take it easy and conserve energy. I felt like I could do another 25 miles for sure although 50 miles seemed like it might be pushing it.

    Mile 50-52.
    Oh boy, where'd this wind come from? I got a little bit discouraged and had thoughts of quitting. The last thing I wanted to deal with is wind. "I can do this" I told myself a few times.

    Mile 52-75
    All thoughts of giving up and turning around were distant memories. I was determined at this point to be successful.

    My butt was starting to get a little bit sore from the saddle. I took out my multi-tool and made adjustments a couple times to try and improve the situation. I was moderately successful.

    I reached my friends house in Crystal Lake again but this time knocked on his door. Some lemonade and a cinnamon-raison bagel hit the spot nicely. I don't think I was there even ten minutes because I knew once I stop I'm screwed. I was starting to feel the effects of 75 miles at this point.

    Miles 75-80
    I passed four cyclists on the path but was later slowed by the typical "medium sized family taking all of the trail and oblivious to their surroundings phenomenon". The cyclists I had passed earlier were now right on my tail. One of them, and me not knowing how close he was behind me, asked a question about my jersey. This of course led to a few other brief words and I eventually asked if they would mind if I tagged along for a bit. They were very friendly, and welcomed me into their small paceline.

    Miles 80-85
    In less than five miles I could tell you who the strong riders were and who the weaker ones were. For the most part there were only two of the guys doing pulls. I did a couple short pulls myself but was trying my best not to overwork myself. I doubt we went much faster than about 20 mph at any given time. We eventually passed up a very tall mountain biker who asked if he could draft us. I thought it was cool The dude hung well and did a pull towards the end of my journey in this group that was a couple miles per hour faster than what we were doing prior. I'm not sure what he was trying to accomplish. Regardless, he made me tired and the "weaker" riders I mentioned earlier fell off the end. Hey, 80+ miles and hanging in a 22 mph pace isn't too shabby!

    One particular person (the one leading most of the time) asked a lot of questions about my bike for some reason. I guess it was cool that he was asking questions but I didn't really want to talk "bikes" at that time. He asked about my hubs, gearing, if I had ridden it at a track (he called it a track bike), if I knew where the local velodrome was, how I liked the saddle and is it a heavy saddle, and numerous other questions. One of the other fellows asked how "light" my bike is. When I told him "about 19 pounds" he seemed surprised. He thought it would be lighter. I knocked on the top tube with my knuckles and said "Steel frame and fork". He responded with "Ahhhh". He commented about how quiet my bike is too. I think I scared him when I had first passed him. Fixed gear with 3/32 drive train is a silent beast!

    When they warned that they were breaking off for a bio break I thanked then, and waved goodbye. They were great people and I wouldn't mind running into them again someday.

    Miles 85-88
    I ended up stopping in front of a Dairy Queen to take a break. There was a BIG hill I had to conquer and I wanted to make sure I could do it. When I did the climb earlier in the day it did a number on me. I was a little concerned. End the end, I made it up. But I took two breaks along the way to recover. It's really not *that* big or long a hill, I was just out of gas.

    Miles 88-100
    The home stretch! I'm passed the hill and it really is smooth sailing from here. What's with the wind though? It wasn't helping me feel better. At about 10 miles to go, I was pretty damn whooped and was only looking forward to getting home.

    Some strange thoughts I had. I kept thinking "Watch, I'm going to get hit by a car 2 miles from my house." I followed that thought with "Damnit, if my legs can spin even after getting run over I'm hopping back on my bike to finish this!" Fortunately I didn't get hit.

    I made it! Oh Driveway of Sanction, Garage Door of Blessing, Keypad Entry of Relief! Qhat's the garage code? Oh yeah, I remember. Oh joy! I quickly snapped a few photos and then went inside the house for a shower.

    Okay, first I had to make it up the stairs but that wasn't as bad as I've had it before. It was getting out of the shower, after my legs had time to relax, that it became more difficult.

    At this point in time I wanted to relax and get some food. I drove to Blockbuster to rent a couple movies (I'm watching "Capote" as I type this). While in the video store I had a brief moment where I felt nauseous and was getting ready to run out front and vomit. Fortunately I escaped any such travesty.

    (Yes, I realize my gut is completely hanging out. What can I do?)

    I'm looking forward to bed tonight. I was supposed to go to the velodrome tomorrow but now I'm not so sure that's a good idea. I guess I'll wait and see. Worse case I just won't ride.

    Some technical details.
    Total Duration, including breaks: 7 hours 18 minutes. (13.7 mph)
    Time spent pedaling: 6 hours 22 minutes. (15.7 mph)

    Gear Ratio: 42/16 Fixed (69 gear inches)
    Pedal Rotations: Over 90,000 (Sounds impressive doesn't it?)

  2. #2
    Senior Member freygr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Portland, OR, USA

    Re: Century

    It's been a long time since I rode any bike a 100 miles. I did some nice trips when I was a in collage. But the hills I climbed (mostly walked up) 1000 feet of elevation in a little over a mile, are comman going west out of town. But it was fun coming down we would get close to 60 mph.

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  3. #3
    has-been... another view's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Rockford, IL

    Re: Century

    Great story, and congrads on your ride - especially so early into the season! What's the next goal?

  4. #4
    Ex-Modster Old Timer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    KY, USA

    Re: Century

    Wow that's a real great accomplishment. Thanks for the detailed account. I did 112 miles one day several years ago when I was still a kid (42 I think at the time). At any rate once I was finished it took several days for me to resume life as normal. Sound like you didn't miss a beat. All I wanted to do was hit the bed and stay there. Nice going and thanks for the pictures to document.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member racingpinarello's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Mountain View,CA

    Re: Century

    Hey Trevor,

    That's quite the accomplishment especially with a fixed gear, but a 42x16 is a good compromise gear for rolling hills and flats.

    A six hour centry is nothing to sneeze at.....

    Nice work...

    Loren Crannell
    LC Photography
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    * Any photographer worth his salt has 10,000 bad negatives under his belt. - Ansel Adams

  6. #6
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Chicago Suburbs

    Re: Century

    Well done! Nice bike.

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  7. #7
    Moderator of Critiques/Hearder of Cats mtbbrian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Re: Century

    Riding a century so early in the season
    Riding a century so early on a fixed gear bike..

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  8. #8
    drg is offline
    la recherche de trolls drg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Route 66

    Re: Century

    Welcome to the 100 mile club. If you keep at this you might become one of those who goes for the double century.

    Keep on pedalin'
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Crystal Lake, IL

    Re: Century

    Thanks for reading guys. Late last night I noticed the "Farmer Tan" starting to appear. It's looking pretty hot now!

  10. #10
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Mineral Point, WI, USA

    Re: Century

    Way to go Trevor! My longest one day ride is about 80 miles, followed the very next day with another 30 miles or so. Walking was a bit of a chore after that weekend. I haven't even touched my bike yet this season...

    My website

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  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Milwaukee, WI

    Re: Century

    Wow! Good work, especially on a fixy! What's next?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Crystal Lake, IL

    Re: Century

    Quote Originally Posted by efjeld
    Wow! Good work, especially on a fixy! What's next?
    Well, I just paid for my USAcycling license and am taking courses at the local veldrome. I may just have to participate in some Friday night races for fun

  13. #13
    Pentax Forum Moderator
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Platteville, WI, United States

    Re: Century

    Congrats Trevor...I've been looking at bikes lately, but can't even fathom a 100 miles in one day. Heck...I can't even fathom 100 km in one day...hehe..I guess when I get ready to do PJ trail (see Off Topic: Mountain Bikes), I should be ready to try 100 miler...hehe...I loved the way you told the story. Really kept my interest the whole way through!!

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  14. #14
    sqrt -1 greghalliday's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    American Fork, Utah

    Re: Century

    Nice job. Single speed century. Perfect training for your next race: The Lotoja in Utah/Wyoming. I don't know if you've ever heard of it, but it is a 206 mile race/ride from Logan, Utah to Jackson, Wyoming (the easy way, if there is one.) It is in September. You can get more info from

    Being from the midwest, I think you would be pleasantly surpised at the lack of humidity. Although the altitude can give you fits until acclimated.

    With one very difficult century under the belt for this season (and a fixed 60 gear inch one too boot ,you should come give it a try.

    You will need multiple gearing though. I think the steepest grade on the route can be 8-9% in some spots.

    Overall, congrats on a great accomplishment!


  15. #15
    Re Member LeeIs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Toronto, Canada

    Re: Century

    Wow. Great ride and story.

    I thought I was impressive riding my bike home from work every night (25 kilometers). My legs would be pumped and shaky and I couldn't wait to sit down. I couldn't imagine a 100 mi ride!

    Great job man.

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  16. #16
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Middle Florida

    Trevor, you're my hero...

    Trev, this really is an amazing accomplishment. You da man...

    The way you described the whole day in diary form was great. That (with the pics) was probably the best way for you to share the experience with us. Thanks...

    FWIW, my highest single day cycling total was about 60 miles, taking two short "leg stretch" breaks. I always felt if I really tried I could do a Century.

    Of course I was a much younger man when I did that. Now, I need to nap after driving one hundred miles...
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  17. #17
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    rockin' it in the D

    Re: Century

    Wow Trevor, aren't you the hottie!

    congrats on the ride!
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

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