Fourth century - September 99


It's only been a month since I rode my third century ride. Before that, it'd be in nearly 10 years since I had put in 100 miles of a single day. That century ride was flat and fun. Well, my fourth century ride was also fun, but it was not flat.

For this century, I rode the Wright Wride, organized as part of the Xenia old-fashioned days. I had the privilege of not only riding the full 100 miles, but also participating as a ham radio operator with the XWARN repeater group which was covering the ride as public service.

The ride began at the Xenia high school. The weather was crystal clear and the morning quite cool. For the first 10 miles, my hands ached with the cold as I kept one hand on the steering and one hand in my jacket pocket. By the time I reached the first snack stop at 25 miles, the temperature had risen 10 degrees and the jacket came off.

For the century, I was again riding my baby blue Tadpole Trike. The first rest stop gave me an opportunity of showing this trike to many curious onlookers. " How does its steer?" was the question everybody wanted answered. "What's the seat feel like?" was normally the second question.

The rest stop also gave me the opportunity of soaking up on much-needed calories. I had averaged about 14 miles an hour on this first 25 miles, and knew it was going to be a long day. What a joy it was to get away from my carbohydrate free diet for one day. In went some Gatorade, some homemade coffee cake, and even a little candy.

Just as I was leaving the rest stop, a number of very large pieces of farm equipment also entered the roadway headed toward South Charleston. It was almost a little frightening to be on the same rode with trucks whose tires were eight feet high, and whose width was nearly as wide as the rode we were traveling. Once they passed, I began to realize that the rode I was on with straight into wind and the surface was rough gravel.

The countryside around South Charleston was the only area of the route in which I was not in radio range of the XWARN repeater. Unfortunately, it was just south of the town when I came across the first frightening dogs of the route. It turned out they were not mean, but to have to large dogs come into the roadway, where they were taller than me, was enough to unnerve me. As I got closer to Clifton, I let the race organizers know about the dogs from the top of a hill.

Speaking of Clifton, I was getting closer in closer to the 50 mile mark on the route. The organizers had cleverly designed the routes so the halfway point of the 50, 62 the 30 and the hundred mile routes all converged for lunch in Clifton. What a lunch it was. Good people had home cooked good food, and was plenty for all. I had the opportunity to talk with many of the radio operators who had been scattered all over the route at lunch. Only two things were missing. Two things that I had forgotten.

The sun had beat down on me unmercifully all morning. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my sunscreen. Well, not entirely forgotten, I had remembered it just as I was leaving the house in the morning. But in a rush to get to the start of the ride, I decided he was not worthwhile going back to the house. I hoped beyond all hope that someone at lunch would have a bottle of sunscreen that I could use for the remainder of the day. No such luck!

The second item which I had forgotten was a dose of Motrin. My legs were beginning to get sore, and on a previous century ride I had found that taking some Motrin about mid ride really helped. On this ride, I would finish the hundred miles without pharmacologic support.

The third section of this century wound through corn fields of Greene County. They were very few hills in the mid afternoon sunshine as the route traced back and forth, from east to West. Beginning in Clifton, the goal was a small public school house in a town named for grapes. It's just been two weeks, but for my life I cannot remember its exact name.

At 75 miles, every century ride begins to wear on the rider. Out from the rest stop I rode, through Jamestown, and South toward Waynesville. The roads south of Jamestown were hilly and seemed to roll on forever toward Xenia. By now, most of the ham radio operators had finished their watch. Only a very a few of us were left.

All of the riders of the shorter distances had finished hours ago. Only the century riders remained. I was told that approximately 100 people rode the one hundred mile century ride this day. According to my amateur radio buddies, there are only 20 behind me. I have been riding for eight hours.

At 98 miles, my rear derailer cable fails. For many miles, the shifter had been getting very stiff. I finally pulled the small lead end off of the cable. How fortunate this occurred with no hills remaining. I simply took a small ellipse screwdriver, and adjusted the rear derailer for the second smallest cog.

In the last mile, I drove right past the Xenia old-fashioned days. I had no strength, or interest, at this late stage to be stopping. I reached the high school with a ride time of less than 8 1/2 hours. Two weeks previously, on a level course, I had written one hundred miles in seven hours and 15 minutes. They hills of Greene County did me in this day. At least a did in my time. The ride was actually much prettier, and more interesting than the previous ride had been. I was certainly glad to have ridden the route, and very glad to be finished.

I set a final goodbye to my ham radio friends, returned to my house, and stepped into a very warm hot tub. It made the day complete.

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