Seagull Century 2012

Horses at Assateague State Park. Photo by R.

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.

I did it!

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.

P.S. Portajohn’s account of the ride is here. Crystal’s is here, and Justin’s here.

12 thoughts on “Seagull Century 2012

  1. hi lisa!
    who is “R”? you beau?…your spouse? your riding buddy? all, three?? is he in your band? ha ha ha….
    lisa (my lisa– not you…) and i were on the tandem and finished ahead of you but not by much…we were in the beer area when we saw you roll in!!! if i’d known you were on the ride we would have ridden with you (at least until you got sick of us…). we saw john ride in and then talked a bit when we bumped into him going into the five guys before we all left for DC…
    im going to drag ed and mary and lane, screaming or not, to this ride next year. they would love it! it’s fun…
    — mike
    ps: are you riding the 200k next week?…are you bringing your clarinet?…
    pps: nice hat you have in one of the pictures…

    • R is my spouse. He occasionally rides with me.
      I didn’t realize you were riding Seagull! I wish I had known.
      I’m not riding next week, but I’ll do the 200K in November (I think). See you then?

  2. Nice to read your ride report! I wish I had gotten some pictures on the ride, especially of the lovely ponies near the island stop. Also wish I had run into you! Maybe see you at FCC this week.

    • Thanks! I’m sorry I didn’t meet up with you at the ride. I’m not sure whether I’ll make FCC this week, but I hope to see you soon!

  3. Nice no-handed shot and thanks for the report. I have never ridden the Seagull and am curious about what it’s like to participate in it.

    • I think it’s interesting how John’s and my interactions with other riders differ. I’ve experienced snarky people on large rides before (I got yelled at once for not saying “stopping” audibly enough for the person to hear), but I didn’t experience that at all this time. In fact, people were generally friendly to us and said nice things as they rode by.

      My bugaboo is about pacelines that speed by within inches of you. I realize it’s going to happen on rides like this, but I find it a little scary.

      In my opinion, I think the routes are planned well enough so that it doesn’t feel crowded and yet you can meet people or not as you wish. Maybe it’s different if you start earlier or later, and maybe the other routes (which I have not done) have different dynamics to them. But I find the ride enjoyable overall.

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  5. You ogle other cyclists. Eek!

    I hate those pacelines too. They drove me nuts on Backroads. Serenity, Scenery, Whoosh!!! Strange that they sometimes sound like cars.

    Great ride report. I give up. Next year I will do Seagull. It sounds like Big Nellie would go for it in a big way.

    • Ogling sounds dirty, doesn’t it?
      More than once I’ve said “car back!”, only to discover it was a paceline.
      Yay! I think it would be awesome if FCC does the Seagull together!

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