Well Spoke'n

Exploring the World by Bike

A Century Day

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Leaving Mt. Pleasant this morning, we put in our longest day yet, arriving in Ludington on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, after a 185 kilometer ride.

In the world of running, the marathon is the endurance event – the measure of accomplishment in long distance running. In cycling, a 100 mile ride is the equivalent in magnitude. It’s referred to as Century Ride. (One hundred miles is 160.9 kilometers.) Our total distance of 185 equates to 115 miles.

I’d like to regale you with stories of the day and a photo-log of the happenings but honestly, it was a heads-down, do-nothing-but-pedal kind of day. We got started a half-hour earlier than usual (a 5:00 a.m. wake-up instead of 5:30 a.m.) so we could enjoy the cooler part of the day.

The key for success on a long day like today is team work. Last night, over dinner the conversation centered on the plan for the day. Who was going to ride together? What was the pace we wanted to keep? The consensus was to start at a reasonable pass and maintain it throughout the day.

We rode in pace lines, where a group of riders would follow closely, one behind the other. The lead rider, just like migrating birds, absorbs the brunt of the wind and makes life easier for the riders following. Everyone takes a turn. Usually we would switch the leader every kilometer or two.

Mentally retracing the route, the highlight was riding along Lake Michigan in cottage country, late in the afternoon. We were sheltered by a canopy of trees so the air was cool, which certainly makes the riding easier. Oh yes, and then there was the gin and tonic at the end of the day at the local “biker” bar. I’m not thinking they were imagining spandex-clad bikers when they hung the sign outside the bar, but we were a hit with the locals at Bob’s Bar in Ludington, just the same.

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One of the traditions of the Cycle of Hope is to acknowledge all the riders who completed their first century ride with the Cycle of Hope. Today, 13 riders out of 50 completed their first century. The power of teamwork in action.

Details for today

Distance: 185.6 km. / 675 km. total

Route Map: Mt. Pleasant to Ludington, Michigan

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