#66 Complete a Century Bike Ride. Check.

by jennifer

Today I rode my bike more than 100 miles. I started after breakfast and finished at dinner time. My quads are feeling pretty torn up right now and my rear end is equally agitated. Mentally, I’m quite pleased that a day of pedaling up and down West Michigan hills has allowed me to cross #66 “Complete a Century Bike Ride” off my “Things-To-Do-Before-I-Kick-Off-List.”

Six short months ago I was in no condition to complete this ride, so it’s quite a kick to have the experience behind me.

I was invited check out the 100 Grand century ride that starts in Grand Rapids and winds through West Michigan farm country by the Rapid Wheelmen cycling club and I’m glad I did. It was a great challenge that led me through parts of West Michigan I would not see otherwise.

As many of you know, I launched myself into a serious fitness mission in January and documented my weight loss in my newspaper. My fitness series ended after I lost 21.5 pounds in three months. And now I’m trying to to keep the sporty momentum going. I ran my first 25K May 12 and I’m beginning to train for my first marathon.

While I still have A LOT to learn, I’ve come to appreciate cycling as a beautiful way to explore the area where I live. Had I not taken up the sport, I would not have seen a delicate and barely-there rainbow hanging against a backdrop of puffy clouds above a field of green, or the lovely country homes with white wrap-around porches on which I’d love to sit and knit. I would have taken pictures of these things, but I wasn’t able to lug my digital camera along on the ride. (If anyone has any recommendations for a high-quality, pocket-sized digital camera, I’d love to hear your suggestions.)

I rode the first 90 miles with my trainer, Gary, and completed the ride pedaling alone through a downpour, a nerve-wracking thrill, I must say. As you can see from the photo below, most everyone else had gone home by the time I finished the ride.

“105 miles, baby!”

I love my mountain bike, but it doesn’t hold a candle to a road bike in the speed department. I didn’t want to buy a road bike until I proved to myself that I’m serious about cycling, so I decided to have thinner road tires put on my bike along with a new, female friendly seat and a odometer/speedometer. Now I know why serious cyclists don’t ride centuries on mountain bikes. I wouldn’t ride that far on a mountain bike again. Now, I’m officially in the market for a sweet road bike. (Do any of you kindred spirits have any bike recommendations?)

I want to figure out how to make a kick-butt “CraftSanity” cycling jersey with those convenient pockets in the back. I figure if I’m going to put in the mileage, I might as well spread the word. : )

A special thanks to my awesome, enabling husband, Jeff, who watched the kids today. He supports all the crazy stuff I do. I’m a very lucky gal to have such a wonderful man in my life. Today’s new addition to my big list is to complete a century ride with him on a tandem road bike. I usually cross one thing off and immediately add another. What’s on your list?

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