Today I tried to tackle my first century - a 100 mile ride. Becky and I are in Massachusetts - I had already gotten in touch with a fellow vintage bike nerd in the area and he was already planning to do the century, so we met up at Lexington High School just a few minutes from the McCarthy's door, and the starting point for the ride, which was organized by local bike advocacy organization, Mass Bike. My riding buddy Neal saved the day by bringing a small bolt to replace a missing one that I'd only discovered last night. We hit the road at 8am. The scenery was beautiful, the weather unbelievable, and the route map...terrible. The course was roughly the shape of a figure 8, with the smaller top loop 40 miles and the lower, 60 miles (called a metric century). The intersection of the two loops was where one could decide to continue on the lower loop for the metric, or add the top loop for the full 100 mile century. Unfortunately, is was also where the course map was least clear. We missed a turn, improvised a little, then found our markers again; however, when we questioned our location and got our bearings, we found out we were a good ways around the lower loop on our way to the finish instead of chugging along in the upper loop of the century. Rather than turn around and initiate what would have meant a triple-cover of the same ground and who-knows-how-many-more miles than intended, we settled for the 60 miles and a more immediate BBQ lunch. It was a tasty defeat.
I finished with a stronger desire to do the 100 miles soon, a satisfaction that 60 was pretty good, proof that my new Gazelle is a reliable steed, and a growing feeling that I would love living in this area.