Horsey Hundred Century Ride
My goal was not to push it. I just wanted to finish. And as a guy who averages about 15 on most of my commutes, I'd say 14 mph is a pretty good time over 104 miles. I tried to make it clear to my riding buddies, though, that they could ditch me any time they'd like. But we would all reconnect at the rest stops. I don't think we ever got separated by more than a few minutes.
There's not really any photos of the event. I kept my phone in my bag the entire time. But, to be honest, most of the roads looked like the Kentucky landscape that is pretty typical of this blog. So I'm not sure that I'd be showing you anything new. You can read a great write-up and some more route detail over on Chris' blog. The most referenced point of the route comes between mile 50 and mile 70. Major climbing throughout those 20 miles. In a perfect world, I suppose, I would have liked those closer to the front of the ride... or not in the ride at all. But climbing is a part of riding. So ultimately, I wouldn't change a thing.
And here's the truth; in all honesty, those comments don't make me self conscious. I am 100% sure that I know more about bikes than those guys. I know that because I respect their $5000 carbon bikes. I respect their matching lycra kits. An understanding of something often leads to respect of that thing. So I didn't feel embarrassed. I just felt annoyed by their ignorance. Keep your comments to yourself. I think it's cool if you're riding a bike that's weight is measured in ounces. I think it's cool if you're riding your dad's old bike from college. I think it's cool if you're riding a mountain bike, a touring bike, a 'cross bike or a unicycle. I just think it's cool that you're riding.
There was a guy on the side of the road with a mechanical. "You need help? Have everything you need?" I asked. "Not unless you've got a frame with you. Mine cracked," he replied back. There was no part of me that wanted to tell him that his carbon frame was a bad choice. I was bummed that he couldn't ride. But I would never preach at him for having a different philosophy on what makes a good bike frame than my own.
Last year when I ran the half marathon, no one commented on my shorts or tennis shoes. No one said, "Look at that goob in the Asics." Runners don't feel a need to critique someone's else's style. Why do cyclists? I felt like it may have been somewhat stereotypical of club riders. I hate that. And it was those same type of people that were running red lights and yelling at cars at intersections. Yes, we have a right to be on the road... but so do the cars.
I have to say that it made me not want to do a ride like this again. I'd be all about riding 100 miles with some buddies to a camping spot. But I'm not sure that I want to do something like this again soon. Perhaps I'm being too sensitive. And, hear me out, this isn't an indictment on all cyclists. I've been riding with lots of people for many years now and I've loved every one of them that I've met. But this more organized ride gave me a sour taste in my mouth.
On the other hand, I did have several compliments on the LHT. The few that knew about it loved it. One lady rode up next to me on a fancy roadie bike and said, "An LHT! Mine is back home in California and I'm on this fancy loaner!" She said she was visiting her son in Kentucky before leaving on a tour of the California mines on her LHT. Very cool.
A couple others were excited to spot a Surly. They respected the bike because they understood it. One of them had a full kit of lycra and blazed past me at probably 22 mph. But he was pumped to see the Surly out there. So, by no means, were all of the riders jerks. I don't want to dwell on the negative at all. But I was caught off guard by the hater vibes. Those experiences tend to resonate in one's mind. But I wouldn't say that they dominated the positive experience at all.
I'm glad to have the mileage in the books and I'm excited to ride more centuries. I may not be up for a group ride like this soon. But that is no fault to the organizers of the Horsey. The ride and route was awesome. They did a phenomenal job and I'm incredibly glad I took part. I think I'm just more of a casual long distance guy.
Get out there.