Reflections from the Third Century

Rick Allnutt- September 1999

"Absolutely wonderful" is the description I first give when I think back on the third century ride I finished two days ago. The ride was on the Xenia/Little Miami Bike Trail complex in southern Ohio. For the novice, a century is a 100 mile ride - normally an all day affair, roughly comparable with a marathon in type of preparation and determination to finish. I know, as I completed the first Air Force Marathon in 1997 in Dayton, Ohio.

As to the facts: It has been eight years since I last rode a century ride. During that time I have enjoyed biking with the family, but have not put the time into riding that I did back in Germany in the late 80s and early 90s. In the interim, I did a lot of running, but had some problems with knees getting ready for the Air Force Marathon. During this summer I built several recumbent bikes and a wonderful trike. It was this tadpole trike on which I did the century ride.

This century ride, like both of my previous rides, was solo. I saw a number of people on the bike trails, but had much of the time to myself to think about my family and friends. Some time was spent in prayer - especially for healing for a friend who has just been found to have two masses on her ovaries.

I began at my home in Beavercreek, Ohio and biked the two miles over to the bike trail system. From there I went to Xenia, Spring Valley, Corwin, Organia, Morrow, and Kings Mills. I returned to Xenia and proceeded north towards Yellow Springs before returning to Beavercreek. The route was 100.6 miles on my odometer. Average speed by the odometer was 14.8 and the time to complete the run (including 3 meals) was 6 hours and 45 minutes.

Leaving Beavercreek at 0645, I ate a breakfast at the McDonalds in Xenia and put a second breakfast in my trike's storage pouch. I ate that breakfast at King's Mills about 1000. Returning to Corwin, I indulged in a milkshake at the Corwin Peddler. Lunch was again at McDonalds in Xenia. Food was not the problem it has been in my previous centuries. I never felt like I had the jitters or that I was going hypoglycemic.

Weather for the ride was perfect. Starting out at 65 degrees, I could wear a pair of shorts and a tee shirt from the beginning to the end. By the time I finished, the temperature had only risen to 84 degrees. It was a nice sunny day, and the path was mostly tree covered. Wind was not a factor with light and variables all day.

My first century ride in Texas (1988?) on a mountain bike wore me to a frazzle! For my second century in Germany, 1991, I trained to do the ride at near 20 MPH and was tired but not overly famished or exhausted. For this ride, I was again riding a heavy (55 lb) bike and was not expecting to be very fast. In fact, I was much faster than I expected. On a fun 20 miles from King's Mills to Corwin, I got on the wheels of a trio of road racers out for a fun training ride. Whee! Flying along at 19.5 to 20 mph along the bike trail was fun. It was especially fun considering that I did this from mile 45 to mile 65 of the day's ride. The rest of the ride was also pleasantly fast as I felt I could spin a little better on the recumbent than I had in the past.

The trike performed wonderfully. No mechanical troubles surfaced. It was positively a blast to see the smiles of people as I passed them opposite direction. You need to understand that my head sits lower than the saddle of almost all bikes! Even 5 year old kids look down on me from their towering saddles. So here is the picture: They see something different down the trail coming toward them. Looks a lot like a wheel chair - maybe a racing wheel chair? Then, as I am getting close enough to say a friendly hello - they are up on me - peering down on me - and almost everyone has this same happy smile on their faces when they see the trike.

"Nice bike!" "Where did ya get that?" "Who makes that?" (answer: me!) are some of the comments as the smile turns into a hasty question just as we are passing. Occasional recumbents pass, and several want to take a closer look at the first tadpole trike they have ever laid eyes on. For that matter, it is the only one I have ever seen either. All I have had besides my bike to look at are the pictures of commercial and home made recumbents on the internet.

At the end of the day, pulling into my garage, I realize that the real difference between this century and the two previous ones, is that my back is not hurting (my neck was a little stiff later) and the idea of sitting is not anathema to me. I feel much better that I did during previous centuries. Perhaps my first ever group ride century in two weeks will be fun!

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