Riding a Century Slowly with Doppler Radar

My first century took about 10 hours. I can’t put my hands on my log book for 1999 right now to know the exact rate.

Looking back at the log for the 11 mph century in 2000, I see that I was slightly off. My rolling average was actually 11.6 mph and total rolling time was 8 hrs, 35 mins. With stops, though, it was still close to 10 hours. The next day I rode 81.2 miles at an average of 11.0 mph. (That must have been why I remembered 11 mph.)

Those centuries were done on a comfort bike with 26″ x 1.95″ tires. When I took it in a couple weeks before my first century, the wrench just shook his head and said, “100 miles on that bike is like 130 on a road bike.” I also bring along the kitchen sink when I ride. My bike is on my LBS Wall of Shame because it weighed in at 49.5 lbs, with lights, tools, food, etc.

While I’m plodding along, I comfort myself by thinking that anybody can ride fast on a 17-pound bike with 21-year-old legs, pulled along by a paceline.

My most recent century over the same route with my new road bike was done against a headwind and a rolling average of 13 miles an hour.

I have a regular 66-mile ride I do at least once a month. My rolling average there is usually 13 to 14.5 mph.

On group rides, I pass a whole lot of folks who are slower than me and I get blown off the road by a whole lot of folks who are faster than me. I hope both groups are enjoying their day as much as I am.

Nah, aero I’m not. My chest and stomach changed places about 20 years ago. One thing I did notice was that fat guys have an advantage on the downhill runs.

I wouldn’t consider a 13 mph century fast. The major difference between the 11 mph and the 13 mph was that I was the absolute last person to make it in the first year. The last sag wagon of the day tried to convince me to give it up when I still had about 30 miles to go. I told ’em that I had lights, water, food and a cell phone and that I was used to riding alone. I was monitoring the ham frequency the wagon was using, so I heard them radio back that there was one rider left on the century course “and he’s got everything but doppler radar and he says he’s gonna make it.”

The next year, I was still passing lots of riders when I finished up. That made me feel much better.

Putting that in perspective, hundreds of riders were already showered, napped and on their fourth pitcher of beer long before I pulled in.

I admire the hard-core riders who knock off a century in less than four hours and I wish I was a couple of mph faster. On the other hand, I don’t want to ride in a paceline sniffing someone’s shorts for those four hours.

One Reply to “Riding a Century Slowly with Doppler Radar”

  1. I go riding with a group of people but I usually end up finishing by myself – not necessarily last, just somewhere in the middle. I like to slow down when I want and speed up when I want. Some people go all out for a couple of hours and end up miles ahead but I like to take my own pace.

Comments are closed.