First Century

I set goals for my self all the time, I believe it helps me push myself to be better and keeps me focused. When I started cycling I told myself that I should have a century ride completed before the end of the year. If you know me personally you know that when I make it a point to do something I dedicate a lot to it and am very focused to knock it out. I know that doing a century would be tough but I didn’t want to struggle at all so i made it a point to over train and make it as easy as I possibly can. So I mapped out a ride and set the date. I chose December 24th the day of my 29th birthday to knock this goal out.

The night before I got all my gear ready for the ride. I wasn’t nervous about riding 100 miles but more excited to finish it and move on to bigger challenges. Next year I’m doing the Aids/LifeCycle and I know I will be cycling at least three century ride within seven days so this is just a small accomplishment that will prepare me for the bigger reward. I was so excited I bought a new cycling suit to wear on this ride so I could have fresh gear for the pictures.

I don’t eat breakfast when I ride other than a banana so I made sure to pack enough things to keep me fueled and energized throughout the ride. I didn’t end up eating all of this stuff but it’s always better to be over prepared. I ate three GU gels, one Cliff Bar, refilled each water bottle twice and ate kramp Krusherd at every rest stop. I left my house at about 7am. It was a beautiful day out in Southern Cali. The high was 80 degrees so I didn’t need to cover up to much. By the end of the ride I had taken off my leg warmers, head band and cold weather cycling gloves.

At the 10 mile mark I cycled next to a guy who had gotten a flat and needed a pump. I guess the one he carried wasn’t cutting it so I pulled to the side to help him out. The great thing about cyclist is that we all look out for each other. If I see a cyclist off to the side I always ask if they need help because I hope that others would do the same form me. I carry a good pump on my bike because the first one I bought was cheap and I quickly realized that if I ever got stranded going cheap would work against me. I helped him out and after a nice conversation I was on my way.

After 25 miles I made it to the top of the San Gabriel River Trail and my turn around point. Here the Azusa Bike Trail begins but I didn’t feel like deviating from my original route so I ate half a Cliff bar and continued my ride heading towards Long Beach. I had some time to make up for so I needed to pick up the pace. Cycling down from Azusa the elevation drops so I knew I could cycling at higher speeds. The next long break I would take would be in Bell Gardens at about 50 miles to use the restroom and update my wife on the ride. At 50 miles I stopped to stretch my legs and eat the second half of my Cliff Bar. My legs felt good but I had been peddling at a fast pace. I knew that I had to start pacing myself a little better if I didn’t want to burn my legs out. I updated my wife so she wouldn’t worry and started to head towards Long Beach.

When I arrived In Long Beach I went over to the Long Beach Harbor Lighthouse and relaxed on the grass to enjoy the view of the Queen Mary. I was at the 64 mile mark here and felt great. Plenty of people were out enjoying the sun and being active. I find it motivating when I see people outdoors being active. It makes me feel that we are all on the same team to better ourselves and stay fit. After a good break I hopped back on my bike and made my way to Huntington Beach. When I reached Huntington Beach I didn’t rest much, I had good momentum and was lost in the podcast I was listening to. So I reached my turnaround point and headed back to Seal Beach.

At Seal Beach I hit the 79 mile mark and up to this moment my longest single bike ride. I already felt accomplished and considered that a victory. I rested a few minutes in Seal Beach and enjoyed the sun. This Christmas Eve sun was nice and felt good. I instantly realized that I would be red by the time I got home and applied more sun block even though I knew it was already to late. I ate my last GU of my ride and said goodbye to the gentleman sitting on the other end of the bench. I hadn’t talked to him at all but I always try to be polite to people. Only 21 miles left I could almost feel my comfortable couch and taste the double cheese-burger that was waiting for me at home. I was cycling at a fast pace on those last miles, I even was joined by two other cyclist who were passing by and we started drafting together and working off each others energy. We cycled at speeds of an average of 23 mph which was good for me considering I had over 80 miles in my legs.

When I reached the exit from the bike trail to go home I was at 92 miles and had to pass my house to make up the miles I had missed calculated. It was annoying having to pass my house because all I really wanted was to get off my bike. My legs weren’t tiered but my butt wanted to sit on something comfortable, anything other than this bike seat. I cycled to the 97 mile mark and turned around,  here I put on some fast pace music to motivate me and pushed forward. I took out my phone to record the moment my odometer reached 100 and then called my wife to share the good news. During my phone conversation I hit a bump in the road that popped my front tire. I laughed it off as I changed the tube and as I did a few cyclist stopped to check if I needed help. It’s good that I’m prepared to a this and was able to finish my ride.

I got home and received a big hug from my wife congratulating me on my ride. I finally did my first century and there will be many more to come. I road 101.86 miles in 6h26m at a 15.8 mph pace with a top speed of 31.1 mph and burned 4329 calories doing so. It was awesome.

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