Tag Archives: century

The Ride to Varn Park

Let me first say this: this ride was the most amazing thing I’ve done in a very long time. The route, my newly rebuilt rear wheel (who cares that the front wheel doesn’t match?), the distance, the breaks, and last but not least, my family in tow. The only thing it lacked was a worthy ending. I’ll get to that.

  • Start time – 0730
  • Temperature – 72ºF
  • Humidity – 85%
  • Winds – <5 mph

Where is my Mind?


Even the stoic Bambina looks on in anticipation!


The Pixies definitely rang thru my head at the start of this ride. What was I thinking? I rode 82 miles in a previous ride, but I was a wreck at the end of it. I had my doubts before but they were quickly snuffed out before the day arrived. Now, being in the saddle was a different story. The ride thru The Villages, all I could think of was my potential failure. 100 miles? No way.

In any case, I did actually keep my head straight at the start despite its betrayal. My wife helped me by creeping off to the side of my route as I passed by my parents’ neighborhood. All I can ever do is smile in her presence.


As I exited the retirement compound, my mind and my body went into super-ride mode! I don’t know how it happened but I just had a rush of energy that would keep me going until my first break. Highway 42 is an amazing road to ride, mostly due to it’s abundant foliage and resulting shade. By the time I hit this road, the temperature had already risen, but the humidity was staying strong, so the shade was most welcome. The heat kept rising, but it was still bearable. But, I could feel that it would make itself a force to deal with soon. Then, the family came!

car2 car1I don’t think there’s anything better than seeing your wife’s vehicle covered in shoe polish-written words of encouragement. After seeing this, I couldn’t help but feel better about this ride. Energy wave #2!


Smiling at my wife’s car.


wifey2As I pulled into my first break at mile 37, I was feeling great. My pace was above what I had expected to maintain, but I felt much better than expected. Not tired one bit. The constant nibbling on Cliff Bars, a Cliff gel every 45 mins to 1 hour along with a Salt Stick pill helped immensely. So, I enjoyed a refreshing 15 are you my mommyminute break with my wife and my mom, who came along for the ride.

The next portion of the ride would be all uncharted territory for me (on a bike). But, the Ocala National Forest proved to be everything I hoped for in the end. There were nice, clean shoulders to ride on, and very smooth asphalt the entire way thru.


Grumpy-Joel. Not really, just a bad picture. I was stoked at this point of the ride.

Near the exit of the Forest, I received a nice welcome to my long break at mile 60. Chairs, a small meal (PB sandwich and a banana), and cheers from the family! It was perfect timing too as my rear was starting to get sore. But, I took about 45 minutes here, mostly to allow time for the fuel to hit my body. Then, I headed out once again.

The damnedest thing happened too. I somewhat sensed that I might need some high sugar intake at some point in the near future, so I asked my wife to buy some Coke. Do I drink it?

It wasn’t Part of the Plan!

The East portion of Ocala National Forest is pretty amazing. It’s a different kind of Forest than I’m used to (which consist mostly of pine and aspen trees). There’s broad-leaved trees everywhere…and armadillos. In any case, the other thing it is, is flat and straight. So, I basically zoned out for quite some time, aided by the numbering system spray-painted on the shoulder (I counted from 460 to 783). This was bad. By zoning out I had neglected my nourishment and forgotten to drink and nibble on a Cliff Bar 4 or 5 times as well as forgotten a Salt Stick pill and gel. So, my sugars dropped pretty heavily right around mile 85.

coke-it does a body good

Coke! It does a hypoglycemic body good!

Ashamed, I drank some Coke. There’s nothing like pure sugar to get your sugars back up to normal. It was a well-needed boost and the rest of the Eastbound route flew by.

I could tell the coast was coming by the increasing cars in Ormond Beach, but it seemed like an eternity before the big bridge to the barrier islands came.  This climb was enormous for Florida standards (it’s a draw bridge that allows very large ships under it). Unfortunately, I didn’t record it, but oh well. It was a great climb, and considering how tired I felt before it, I flew up it and came down a more healthy, energized man.

Take a Coast up the Coast – The A1A

There’s something amazing about the ocean. Just seeing it made all my fatigue go away. From here on out, it was one hell of a ride. The ocean on my right, my steed below me and nothing but the sound of waves crashing onto the beaches in my ears – that and the 20 mph side-wind.

A1ADespite the winds, the A1A was such a great stretch of road to be on. But, as you can see to the left, clouds were rolling in and the much anticipated torrential downpour of rain was steamrolling its way to the east coast. I was so into the scenery and the fact that I was at mile 90, that I didn’t even realize how little space on which I was riding.

A1A space2I also didn’t notice how rough the A1A is either. Not until I tried to take a bite to eat and almost dropped my food! I tried several things to get out of the funks that now became apparent to me. First, I slowed the pace, then tried to go to the walking path on the other side (which turned out to be more windy and bumpier). It seemed that I would end on a more difficult note. It still wouldn’t be a bad note, right?

Into Each Life, Some Rain Must Fall

And fall it did. It started slow, slow enough for me to keep going. At mile 98, I felt the urge to scream at the sky for ruining the end to a perfect century ride. Maybe the sky heard me…the rain kept falling, but didn’t really get bad. Mile 99…still going, still semi-blind from the water on my glasses. Mile 100! Get me into a car!

My wife had kept on stopping throughout the ride every 10 miles or so, just to make sure I was still alive, I suppose. She had stopped to take some pictures right around mile 90, when the rain started to make its presence known. So, I figured it wouldn’t be long now.

Well, the universe just worked enough for me that day. Now it was done. Mile 101, the winds picked up and the rain started falling harder. Mile 102, harder. Mile 103, lightning. Mile 104, torrential downpour.

I immediately stopped and frantically tried to use my phone to dial my wife, who was waiting about 2 miles up the road at Varn Park. Turns out, iPhones don’t recognize your freezing, wet hands in the rain. So I’ll try voice activation. All the noise from the wind and rain make it impossible for the phone to recognize anything I say.

Until, I finally get a call from her. We figure out where I am, and she came to pick me up. Ride’s over. I’m sopping wet and freezing cold. The only thing I can think of is how much awesomeness I missed out by actually ending my ride where I planned to do so – Varn Park, with my wife, dog, mom and dad waiting for me.

I guess you can’t have everything, right?


The worst ending that doesn’t involve injury. Sopping wet and freezing cold. Still, there’s a smile on my face for a reason.

104.5+ miles in one ride. So much fun!

Turns out my wife had banners made up and streamers to throw in my face as well as silly-string to cover me with. What a woman I married – almost as excited as I was to finish.


I know it’s not a word. Neither is stategery, but a president used that word.

I’m starting to really feel like a cyclist these days. All I talk about is cycling (and some video games), all I do is cycling (and play some video games) and all I can think about is cycling. This ride was sort of a testament to that fact. I can’t go a couple minutes without thinking about getting on my bike and it’s starting to show in my rides. Not only is my stamina a hell of a lot better than it was 4 months ago, but my enjoyment level is thru the roof. This ride was no exception. Completing it is the most incredible thing I’ve done…ever.







Some updates on the century ride…

I updated the century page with more of the logistics. Click to visit the page!


As I wrote 2 ‘how to’s’ on the century, I think I’ll be adding a third – dealing with the jitters.

5 days to go…

I’m starting to get excited and nervous. I keep on saying things along the lines of, “I can’t believe I couldn’t ride 5 miles at once only 4 months ago.” The excitement of completing my my first century is starting to hit me.

Looking back to my metric century, I was nervous, but I sort of knew I would make it. However, I was naive as to what would result emotionally once I hit the 100 km mark. Having gone thru that ordeal, now I am feeling the intensity of the excitement rise, waiting for that high once I reach 100 miles.

Can’t wait!

Century ride – The logistics

So, your route is laid out. Now comes the pre-fun! Planning out your century logistically can make or break you when the day comes. So, here’s a few tips I’ve come up with to help you on your way.

hydration, hydration, hydration

Any cyclist can tell you, hydration is by far the most important part of endurance rides. Nothing else out there can make you hit the wall faster than the lack of water. So, it would behoove anyone to plan out how much water they should be drinking on a ride as long as this.

A quick note – water is by far the best hydrating liquid. However, each person may or may not need some extra harrumph in their chosen liquid. Depending on whom you talk with, energy drinks are a blessing and a curse. The blessing comes in the form of newly (and quickly) found energy for your legs. The curse comes from the fact that the energy comes from mostly sugar. Why is this bad? Sugar and water are buds. The more sugar you intake, the more water your body will need (on top of regular fluid replacement). So, be careful with those energy drinks. If all you’re looking for are electrolyte replacements, they make those without sugar and might be a better alternative to energy drinks.

Another quick note – caffeine is a substance that is highly argued over by some people in the athletic business. As a nurse, I can tell you one important fact about caffeine: it aids in your body’s ability to burn carbohydrates. Why am I bringing this up in the hydration topic? Carbohydrates (sugars), as I said before, are very buddy-buddy with water. It is, in fact, important to burn the carbs we no doubt will consume on our ride so that our bodies don’t need more fluid. Caffeine, therefore is something that I’m beginning to appreciate in my cycling meals. Coffee before the ride, caffeine additive in your gels/bars, anything…give it a shot, thank me later. I immediately noticed an improved energy level as well as diminished hydration needs once I started consuming caffeine during my rides.

So, now that I’ve cleared the air some, let’s really get down to business. You need water. Lots of it. I’m not going to split hairs about ounces or sips or what not. Your body will definitely let you know if it needs more water. Hopefully you’ve figured out where your hydration needs have been before you set out on a century. Again, each person will be different, but the same principle applies – you need to continually be taking in water throughout your ride. Century rides can take a long while. I am planning on mine being somewhere just under 6 hours. I’m expecting to drink a lot of water over those 6 hours.

A good rule of thumb – drink a bottle each hour. If it’s hot, drink more. If you’re working against a head wind, drink more. If you’re solo, drink more. If you notice your mouth is dry, drink more. The trick is spreading it out. I have a hard time with this when I’m really getting into my ride. So, I set a timer to vibrate my phone every 10 minutes to remind me to take a drink. Figure out a way to keep the water coming in steady. Fail to do so, and you could be hitting the wall very hard.


Food is a close second to water in importance. If you watched the Men’s Elite Championships, you probably remember seeing the pros munching on food even with less than 20 km to go in the race. Us amateurs are no different. In order to keep your energy levels up, food should be regularly consumed every 45 mins to 1 hour. Many different options are out there from energy bars to homemade recipes. For those of you who are lazy like me, I’ll get some Cliff Bars, granola bars (not the crap kind) and some energy gels. The occasional banana is a good thing to eat as well.

As with water, it’s important to not engorge all at once. It’s completely alright and recommended to take a nibble every half hour. On a century ride, it’s a must. Allowing your body to deplete its energy stores is a tough mistake to mend. So, remember to get a good mixture of foods with some carbs and small amounts of protein. If you’re not using electrolyte replacements in your water, remember to pay attention to those things in your diet and compensate as needed. As I mentioned before, caffeine may be something you want to look at as well.

Maintenance Needs

Any ride needs tools. For a century ride, you may want to double check your equipment to make sure you’ve got exactly what you need. Here’s a quick list of things you may want to bring along.

  • enough storage to fit the food/water and the stuff listed below (under-saddle bags, jersey pockets, frame attachments)
  • helmet
  • gloves
  • other clothing (depending on where you are, you may need arm/leg/head warmers and another set of gloves)
  • tail light and charger cable (regardless of time of day, I always put my tail light on) – I use a chargeable battery to cut down on space/weight.
  • 2 spare inner tubes (or at least 1 and a patch kit)
  • 2-3 tire levers
  • 1 hand pump
  • 1 multi-tool
  • long piece of duct tape (I wrap this around my hand pump – you’d be surprised what you can fix with duct tape)
  • cell phone
  • identification – in case of an emergency – always keep on you, not on the bike!
  • credit card – for monetary emergencies

For those that can pull it off (yours truly), get someone to loosely follow you in a car if you’re solo. They can top off water bottles, hand you food, charge batteries, take your trash, etc. Thank the maker for spouses!

The Action Plan

Time of departure, speed and effort are some things to consider before the big day. Don’t expect to get your top average speed on this ride, and don’t plan on riding your current average speeds. This ride will take it out of you. But, it’s important to know exactly how to ride for your style. I’m a more slow at the start, burning legs in the middle and a slower burning legs at the end kind of guy. To each their own. Figure how to best utilize your style of cycling into the century. When are your energy levels highest? Will your food intake be better at a certain point of the ride? Think of these things before the ride and during to make sure your body can handle what your asking it to do.

Planning when and where to take your breaks as well as what to eat/drink during those breaks is a bit of guesswork if this is your first century (as it is mine). Again, don’t drown yourself with liquids or over-indulge on foods during breaks. Be smart when it comes to the breaks, stay loose and keep moving. Sitting down is fine, but don’t just stand up and hop back on the saddle right away. Long stretches and breathing exercises go a long way to better cycling. When you’re good and stretched, get going slow to warm up just like the beginning of another ride. Working too hard too quickly can quickly turn into anaerobic exercise and very sore legs.

The End to a wall of text

I tried to find video of this year’s Men’s Elite World Championships (eating on the road) so this wasn’t such a long wall of text, but alas, I could only find the last 10 km. These guys rode for over 6 hours and went a lot further than 100 miles. Someday… In any case, here it is:

Goals update

I’ve never taken the chance to use posts to update people on my goals progress so, here it is!

October 2014

The link above shows what kind of a month October was for me. Four of seven goals completed…yuck! In retrospect, the 150 miles/week goal is just too much now that my job is in full swing and I am absolutely unable to ride 3 days a week (13-18 hour shifts is a bitch). Still, 3 for 6 on my weekly distance goals wasn’t bad considering I had yet more work done on my bike and the new job. I’ll be cutting down the mileage goal for the upcoming months.

November 2014

125 miles/week, English century and a 19 mph weekly average. Should be pretty fun trying the last two. Remember the links above are in the Goals menu if you feel like keeping up with progress and such.

The English century ride I’ll be going on is featured here. That page will be updated with highlights and other goodies about the ride once it’s completed.

the future of goals

I’ve been trying to come up with a format for these goals that will continue to push me to improve. In all honesty, I think the goals I set will probably be setting me up to fail at the start (my first speed goal is 19 mph, and I’ve been only sometimes getting above 19 mph on my rides, whereas most of my rides are just above 18 mph). But, I think that failing these goals might be better for me than just making up some easy to obtain one (look back to August and September 2014).

Yes, I was able to pedal out 150 miles/week, but those were exceptional weeks aided by unexceptional work weeks. Now that the former is less likely due to the latter being extinct, it will be impossible to ride 150 miles/week until I get my speed up (making rides shorter) and my endurance increases (making longer rides possible). So, until possibly Spring, I’ll be keeping my distance goals around the 125 mark and looking to improve on speed and weight loss (hard to do since I have no scale).

It should be an interesting Winter. I’m fortunate to be in Florida, where I don’t have to worry myself with cold weather conditions too often and definitely don’t need to worry about snow. Here’s to a productive and eventful winter on the bike!

Century ride – The route

So, you want to take a century ride? Nothing says fun like a nice long ride (with friends)! Before you go out and ride a random route, it is important (probably the most important) to scope out the roads and test the waters. What’s that mean to a cyclist? Glad you asked!

Picking a route

When you get down to it, unless you’re familiar with all the roads around you, you’re going to have to do some guess work when you first lay out your route. The most important thing to remember here – pick roads/paths that are built for your bike! The last thing you want to do is to ride on dirt paths built for cyclocross on a road bike. Municipalities and cities sometimes have links on their homepages for commonly used routes for cyclists of all kinds. This is probably the first step for those people who live in such a place. Clubs may also have some resources for locals to pick out routes. Just ask around and see what you find. They may not have maps, but most cyclists know quite a bit about the surrounding area. Failing all of this, Google Earth can be surprisingly helpful. Zoom on in on your road to see what it’s made of and go from there.

Things to consider

It is important to know that if you can ride 50 or so miles, you can most likely ride 100 miles. It just depends on how you pick your route in line with your skill level. Don’t pick a mountain ride if you cannot climb efficiently and for extended amounts of time. Then it all comes down to your execution (coming in a later post!).

It’s also a must to place your hills in your ride where you think you can handle them. Each rider is different here. So, here’s my example: I made most of the hills I’ll be riding a good chunk of distance after my warm-up distance, but before my midpoint. This is where I’ve found I can muster up the most power to get up those climbs without draining myself for the rest of the ride. Some people might want them early on when their energy is highest or much later when the adrenalin is really pumping.

We also have to keep in mind temperatures and winds. Right now, I have a difficult time riding in headwinds and 85ºF and above. For me, this requires massive amounts of water (due to my body fat levels) and it bogs me down further. While winds are unpredictable, you can attempt to leave in the early hours when the winds are more likely to be calm if not absent. You can also look at weather reports for the areas you’ll be riding in to see average wind speeds as well as their common direction (Floridians, we’re screwed – winds all over the chart, Easterly, Westerly, Northerly, Southerly – we’ve got it all!). However, the reason I’m riding my century in November is no accident. It is the month in Florida that has the most moderate temperatures without being too cold in the AM as well as the lowest wind speeds on average. Temperature I don’t think needs an explanation.

Go for a drive!

One of the first things I did after my route was set was drive it! It gives you a close look at the condition of the roads as well as gives you an idea of what traffic might be like at that time of day. I timed up my drive so that we’d arrive in the unknown territory right around the time I’d be arriving on my ride. Now if I could just keep to that when the time comes! See what the traffic looks like. Some people don’t like driving around 18-wheelers. However, if you’re like me, you might find them more trustworthy than your average texting driver.

Pay special attention to the mileage in conjunction with your habits. I tend to get close to a sugar drop right around 40-45 miles. Make sure you have a place to stop, rest and eat right around your dips! If you have someone coming with you, this might take some coordination. Always remember, some people can’t take the long breaks, as it might chill them down and make that wall come a lot quicker.

The biggest necessity here – note the shoulders of the road. How clean are they? How wide are they? Are they covered by canopy or wide open? Are there places to drop off in case of maintenance needs? What’s the most important thing about the road for you on your ride?

Test rides

It may behoove you to take segments of the route and ride them before the century. This is obviously the best way to experience the route in all its glory, or lack thereof. While some may think this may spoil the ride, you should not get sick of a route after 1 ride. However, the route itself may not be to your liking, so then again, you may get sick of it. But this is good! You can now go do some digging around about alternatives for your route and start over again. Tedious, I know. But it will make the century all the more enjoyable.

As the date approaches

Check for updates with the Department of Transportation for road closures and dates of construction along your route. Nothing would suck more than getting halfway thru your ride only to be turned away from your chosen route because they decided to resurface the road.

The day of, you should do the same. You never know if a 20-car pile-up happened the night before and the road’s closed now. Although, why this would happen on a road suitable for cyclists is beyond me…you never know what might happen the night before of the morning of your ride.

The route is by far the most important part of planning the ride – without it, there would be no ride! Hopefully this is a good starting point for anyone attempting their first century.

How do you plan your century routes?

Varn Park ride finalized!

My 100-mile (166-km) ride from The Villages to Varn Park finally has a date!

November 17, I’ll be setting off at 0700 (or so) with my wife, dog and parents in tow! My wife will most likely be the one posting my updates to the blog for anyone who’s interested in following that day.

I’ll be posting some random topics about this century ride in the coming weeks to hopefully be a guide for those people who want to try this for the first time – heck even some seasoned cyclists may find something of value!

Varn Park ride – rescheduling

After a long debate with myself, I’ve decided to move up the date of my English century ride to Varn Park to this November. I’ll probably make this ride before Thanksgiving Day, but no exact date is set as of now. I really underestimated myself and the improvement I’d undergo and thought March would be my pace. The metric century I completed really opened my eyes though.

I’ve also changed the route a bit, mostly in The Villages, but I’ll also be spending more time on the famed A1A for some amazing ocean views. These changes make the route 103 miles (previously 92), to make it a true English century.

Metric century completed!

09.12.2014 metric century 1


it has been written, so it shall be done

I’m starting to scare myself a bit – in a completely good manner. Just over 2 months ago, I wasn’t able to finish a 7 km ride. Today, I rode 102 km and I feel absolutely amazing. A couple of days ago, I wrote about going on my first metric century ride. To be honest, I was suffering from that negativity in my previous post – I didn’t think I’d make it past 80 km. Low and behold, I keep surprising myself.

Let’s clear some things up about this ride

My paused time was actually about 5 minutes higher and my active time 5 minutes lower. I’ll explain later. As a result, my average speed was 17.2 mph!

Yes, I paused for over an hour, mostly due to my mile 43 break, where I had a small meal and took a break for a while to cool off. The rest you can chalk up to some other brief breaks and a lot of sitting at street lights and round-a-bouts.

Gear – gloves, helmet, sunglasses, jersey, bib, 1 water bottle, 1 Gatorade bottle, Camelback bladder and backpack, 2 levers, 1 tube, 1 multi-tool, 1 hand-pump, 7 Powerbar gels, 1 Powerbar.

About the meal – this is a lose term. I ate a power bar, drank some Gatorade, talked with the wife and kept my muscles loose. I was also able to lose the Camelback for the last 20 miles to keep my workload as light as possible.

I improvised the route and it bit me in the ass – hard. I’ll talk about it later, but if I hadn’t made a crucial error in navigation, I would have gone further.

the nitty-gritty!

  • 63.67 miles, 102.5 km
  • 16.79 mph average speed (or 17.2 mph if you take away my error in recording)
  • 34.52 mph top speed

I started today at 0640 after a nice protein/carb heavy breakfast and some Ovaltine/skim milk. It was a cool 75ºF and the humidity I didn’t check, but it must have been pretty low since I didn’t feel it in the air as much as usual. I took it fairly slow for 4 miles, just to make sure I was good and ready to start working up my first go at O’Dell Circle. I still took it easier than normal, but it still seemed to go very nicely. Nevertheless, I kept my cool and didn’t blow all my energy away at the start.

The real work began at mile 8 when I started heading north. Headwinds, unite! It is typically very calm in Florida (except when hurricanes flood the entire state), but today it felt like I was transported back to Kansas for my northbound segments. The headwind was relentless thru mile 29 and kept my average speed between 16.3 and 16.5 mph. I also felt it getting to my energy stores. To combat this, I downed 2 of my gels at or around mile 15. They earned their money this ride. I stayed pretty well energized thru the headwind.

Once I reached mile 30, the headwind was gone and now I dealt with a side-wind. The almost good part of this – it came from slightly behind me. With somewhat of a tail wind, I was able to really cut thru Ocklahawa fairly quickly to the East of Lake Weir. Then I had a straight on tailwind, which was amazing to have considering the hills that lie on that road. I still didn’t push as hard as I could up those hills, but they came and went with as much ease as I could hope for.

09.12.2014 mile 43 break

The one, the only, Dago! Mile 43 break. Feeling good and energized!

The rest of the ride south went the same way, except the hills are smaller…much smaller. At mile 43, I took my big break. My wife met me with some refills on my water, Gatorade and gels (I love that woman!).

After about 40 minutes I was back on the road southbound! More tailwinds, more increased speeds as a result, including my personal record on O’Dell Circle. I also moved up to 16th overall on the segment!

The real interesting thing about this ride, was my biggest blunder to date. I don’t know how it happened, nor do I care to speculate. I missed a turn. The worst turn one could miss, I would soon discover. Hillsborough Trail just seemed to not exist today, even though its round-a-bout is as obvious as an elephant riding a unicycle down Pennsylvania Ave. So, I rode right on past it without noticing and before I knew it, I was in no-man’s land. Morse Blvd leads to no where at this particular point in time.  Actually it ceases to exist at mile 50. It’s dug out of the earth, but there is no pavement. Unfortunately, I was already halfway thru the road and just continued on with my ride on the packed-dirt road. It wasn’t too bad, somewhat like smoothed cobblestone. But, the last 500 feet or so was like riding in sand. It was awful. I wasted a lot of energy here, energy I would really need when that headwind came back. Nevertheless, I finished my ride thru dirt-Morse Blvd and made it to Hwy 44, heading northwest.

Remember that slight tailwind I had traveling eastbound? Back to a headwind. Right after I just worked so hard to get back to pavement, I was punished for my effort. Damn you, mother nature! The next 10 miles were unchanged. Headwinds and crosswinds, messing up the end of my ride. At mile 55, I stopped to down another gel and take a quick breather and forgot to turn of my cycling app for about 5 minutes (mentioned above). Oh well.

The beauty of success

Mile 62 (100th kilometer) came on very familiar territory. I couldn’t stop looking at my phone as the hundreths of miles ticked up to reach 61.99. When it hit 62, I felt a huge wave of joy overcome me. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. Without knowing it, I was accelerating – probably due to the extra endorphins my body seemed to store up for this very moment. For the remainder of the ride, I couldn’t contain myself. The last 5 hours of riding all came back to me. How hard it was to climb hills both early and late, how much the headwind drained from me both at the beginning and at the end, how difficult it was to ride on a sand road with road tires…it all came to me at once.

I’d like to say I’m a manly man, but this moment made me into a blithering idiot. Tears came to my eyes, and despite my best efforts came pouring out once I reached Buttonwood. I had picked up my bike just over 3 months ago. I struggled to get anywhere that day, June 6. I felt like it was impossible to even get any speed. My legs refused to cooperate that day. Now, they obey my every command, my every wish. To come this far in just a short amount of time was too much to handle, so yes, I cried tears of joy. My last mile was a blur – literally. I couldn’t see too well due to the tears or my speed.

The ride ended perfectly – me, tired; my wife, waiting for me with open arms and a giant glass of ice water; my dog and cat eagerly awaiting my hand’s touch.


The familiar route made this a very enjoyable ride, despite the wind. I knew my route (that I planned) well and timed all my hill attacks as perfectly as I’m able to at this time. I’m sure with more practice I will get better, but today’s performance definitely sufficed.

The real icing on the cake, which will make this ride remain my favorite for quite some time, was that joy of success. The beauty in what I had just done. It’s unbelievable.

If you haven’t had this moment in your life yet – seek it, live for it, be it. I am a changed man today – a man with more and more unattainable goals spinning thru my head today that will be stories for my kids tomorrow.

special thanks

09.12.2014 before

Pre-century Joel

Jim @ FitRecovery – your articles and continued support are really something. You’re someone I will have to meet someday.

My parents – you guys nonchalantly give me your best support all the time. No pressure, no disappointment, even at my ripe age of 33. You’re awesome parents. Never doubt it.

My wife, Madi – Saving the best for last – I can’t describe how supportive and positive you’ve been so far, and I’m sure you’ll not change in the future. All of the achievements I’ve attained so far and all the ones yet to come would be worthless without you by my side. I love you!

Bambina and Molly – get out of the trash!