This is our second year riding the Seagull Century. R and I rode this two years ago, and a lot has changed in that time. In 2010, we both rode hybrids for the full 100 miles, and didn’t nearly have as many miles under our belt. I think we both might have weighed more then– I know I did. This year, we both rode on lightweight road bikes– and was armed with the experience from two years ago.
We had an inauspicious beginning to the ride this weekend.
Our alarm didn’t go off that morning, so we scrambled to get ready to go from the B&B that we stayed in. Then I discovered too late that I left my registration packet in my room. Then, through a series of miscommunications and changes in plans, our friends J and N decided to start the ride without us.
But it all turned out all right in the end. The Seagull is such a well-organized ride, with helpful volunteers guiding the way, police at crucial intersections directing the flow of traffic, and well-timed, well-stocked rest stops, that it was really smooth riding. And mostly flat, too!
For the first twenty miles, I had to go to the bathroom something awful, so that was all I could think about. (Yes, mom, I went before I started the ride. I guess I was more than successful in hydrating!) At the first rest stop, I made a beeline for the port-a-potty. Whew! Later on, I met briefly with Portajohn, who was on his way out to ride with JDantos.
I was feeling much better after that stop and could enjoy the rest of the ride. One of my favorite parts is when the English century courses veer from the rest of the routes, then the crowd of cyclists start thinning out and there’s more room to ride. There were moments when the winds stopped blowing, and I enjoyed the warm sun and relative silence. R and I were able to chat side by side, which was really nice, and I got a chance to work on my no-hands riding.
My next favorite stop is at Assateague State Park, where, true to form, I raced up the bridge into the island (the only incline!), and battled strong headwinds. Here, we met up with J and N as they were heading out. R and I enjoyed a little time on the beach watching the ocean waves.
On our way out, we saw a couple Assateague horses, and R took a photo of them (above). We were both feeling a little queasy (maybe from the chocolate and blueberry bread from the rest stop?), so we decided to take the next leg a little easier. Luckily, there was pie waiting for us at the next rest stop. I went with apple, and decided to forgo the ice cream, which made my stomach hurt the last time.
I have to say that the rest stops are excellent places to ogle riders and their bikes. Of course, there are the serious cyclists with professional-looking jerseys and hotshot carbon bikes. But there were also people on recumbents of all types, mountain bikes, and fixed-gear bicycles. I spotted a Rivendell Betty Foy mixte, and a woman on a cruiser with large cream-colored tires. And they were all riding the century ride.
Only about 16 miles to go before the finish, and I was feeling pretty good. However, as we learned throughout the ride, it’s not about the miles– it’s about the winds. And the storm that was predicted for the day rolled in fast and furiously around mile 95 for us. The folks we fell in with rode cautiously– I literally threw caution to the wind and pedaled hard and sped ahead, just because I could. My bike responded well. And just as suddenly as the rain came in, it disappeared and the sun was back out.
I have to admit, it is a great feeling to speed through the tunnel on the Salisbury University campus and come out to cheering folks at the finish line. (Thanks, JDantos!) We did it!
I really had a great time. Thanks again to Salisbury University, and all the folks who made sure the ride was well organized.