Me and Dr. K debated what bike I should take. I argued with the good folks at Belitte Bicycles and I argued with Simon at Kissena Bicycles (who has a special relationship with my Trek) that I should take my roadster for comfort. Everyone argued with me that I would take FOREVER on the roadster and should take my road bike. In the end I acquiesced to peer pressure only cause Dr. K tells me the following -
"Uh dude, if you take the roadster me and the Branks man (Dr. K's cousin and an old friend) will not wait for you. We'll meet you at the finish line."
For me the whole reason for engaging in this lunacy was to chill with Dr. K and B so I took the Trek to the Century. I drove to Branko's and hitched in a ride in his truck.
Upon arriving we met up with Dr. K and he goes through a checklist of all the things I need to have -
- Biking shorts - I say no.
- Biking shoes - I say no.
- High visibility bright neon yellow wind breaker - I say no.
- Tight spandex or Lycra for less wind resistance - I say no.
- Extra tube and pump - I say no BUT I have a patch kit and I know how to use it!
- He asks if I ate lots of carbs - I say no cause I had no breakfast.
Ok, so it pretty much sounds like I am going to be in trouble. I don't want to do this. It's cold and my back hurts and I'm hungry from not eating breakfast and I'm tired from getting less then 3 hours of sleep, and I want my PASHLEY! Still, I keep a brave face knowing I have no problem quitting the tour as soon as I want to, pride be damned!
There was no fan fare, there was no starting gun. We got there late anyway so we took off alone and quickly caught up to a pack of 20 or 30 riders. Already my left elbow hurt from having to lean forward in the aggressive riding position required of my Trek. Dr. K. is flying past everyone in the race and I'm falling further and further behind. His cousin is right behind him. We didn't take maps - we just headed east following the pink markings on the floor. This was going to suck. I was less then 10 miles in and already I was regretting this decision. Why did I let K talk me into this!
I struggled to keep up with the pace my friends were taking. How was I going to keep this up for 100 miles if I couldn't for 10 or 20. I quickly realized doing this stupid thing was an epic fail and I was going to hate myself for wasting the money and time on this lunacy. This was just like the time Dr. K dared me to drive my Audi into a giant puddle. My car only made it out with the help of firemen and never lived again. But I digress - an hour and twenty minutes later we arrived at the first rest stop. About 25 miles at an average of 19mph gave me hope I might be able to finish this bad boy.
The next 25 miles were pretty uneventful except for the constant pain. By the time we reached the middle mark I was not a happy camper. The rest stop was very pretty but as you can see on our faces, we were tired.
Of course I ate up as much grub as my belly would fit (and probably more). Thankfully they had plenty of yummy PB and J, Nutella, chips, and weird electrolyte waters.
After filling our bellies with food and drink, we were ready to start the 2nd half of our ordeal. Although this last quarter was tough the allure of an ice cream truck beckoned us to the 75 milesh mark. At least that's what Dr. K told us awaited us at the 75 mile mark.
What ensued was pure hell! At one point I hit a sand patch and fell off my bike. I was turning back looking for Branko when over I went. Nothing was hurt except my pride. I came up and took a pick for the Diva with my camera, pedaled for about 5 minutes, and then realized that when I fell my phone must have fallen out. I had to back track and swing back and for looking for my little blackberry.
Dune Road went on forever and ever culminating in a left up the very long and steep Lighthouse Road Bridge.
This picture above was pretty much the end of photographic documentation save one pathetic cell phone pic somewhere around mile "I don't know". In the last pic I had energy to take Dr. K is clearly visible in the bright neon windbreaker. He came prepared and would surely never get hit by a car.
Around mile 66, or so I thought, I stumbled unto an Indian reservation where I was offered water, tobacco, a blessing, and directions. I was starting to get headaches from dehydration so I guzzled down about 1 litre of ice cold water the American Indians gave me. I ended up having to lay down for a significant period of time due to what Dr. K said was a cramp of my esophagus (or something like that). Little did I know that my friends were waiting around the corner and little did I know the next rest stop at 75 miles was less then 1 mile away. I limped to that last rest stop and decided to give up because the ice cream truck had already left by the time we got there.
I called my Diva and told her it was over. I couldn't go much farther and the end was near. I don't remember what she said because I was in a dehydrated haze but I recall B wanted to end the hell and I remember him saying he would not wait while me and Dr. K napped. He took off alone ahead of us but at this point I had lost all track of time. K timed our quarters so I knew that the first 25 miles were completed in 1 hour 20 minutes, the second in 2 hours 20 minutes, and the 3rd quarter was 3 hours and 30 minutes or something like that.
As I am about to leave I find out these bastards have decided to make this tour 109 miles in honour of I don't know what! I was actually at a rest stop at the 79.5 mile mark and needed another 29.5 miles to complete. NO WAY! I would go until I could and then I would call over the paddy wagon that lifts dejected cyclists from the end of the line. To add insult to injury my trusted friend, who is a much stronger cyclist then me, asks if he can go and finish as fast as he can. I of course say yes because I don't need him there when the paddy wagon comes to get me.
Off we went unto route 27 and quickly Dr. K's bright neon wind breaker faded into the distance. I just putted along with no track of time while running numbers in my head as to how long it would take me if I actually attempted to finish this thing. I figured there was no way in hell I was going 10 miles an hour so this would take me no less then 3 hours. I really was unable to track time.
This part of the ride though was the most peaceful perhaps because I sensed death was near. As old ladies, children, and tandems passed me, I was able to reflect on the beauty of the countryside and the tranquility of some areas in Suffolk. I was at peace and I was enjoying my ride until the hills hit. I kept on seeing the paddy wagon pulled over helping some sorry soul that had been unable to finish and every time I trudged on. As I climbed one particularly long hill I saw the support services truck in the distance. This time I was beckoned towards the truck. I was told this was the last truck heading to Montauk so this was my last chance to hitch a ride. I asked him how much farther to go since I had no map and had little clue where I was. He said I had about 7 miles left! Holy crap, I had biked over 100 miles! I declined his ride and decided to finish. What was the point of giving up now? The only thing that could stop me was a flat.
Finish I did and it only took me about 11 hours. The feeling as you come around the last turn and see the mass of people at the finish line was nothing short of exhilarating. I am doing this next year and I hope all of you join me. It's a lot easier then you think so long as you can deal with a little bit of discomfort plus you can tell people you bicycled 109 miles!