Ridin’ solo

Last year, I had training partners to head out on a century every time I did, I had wheels to suck and others that would want to stop to pee and add to my feet-on-the-ground time. Last year, I had others to plan out the route, others that would pick the pace. Others that would share their food if I bonked or suggest stopping for a Coke at mile 50.

Sunday, I did my first century by myself. I rode solo, for nearly 100 miles, and it was the hardest ride I’ve ever done. I don’t think it would have been any less hard had there been others riding with me; I probably would not have focused as much on the paincave I was entering if someone else was riding with me though. No, riding by myself was a learning experience. I had a mechanical and had to fix it myself. I ran out of water and had to get more from the bars along the way. I had the bar stool tempting me to sit and have a margarita every time I needed another 20ounces of water, but I didn’t sit. Sometimes I didn’t even take off my helmet. I was on a mission.

I started by heading out to Lake Linden, one of the more-sketchy routes in the Keweenaw. At least, the road between Hancock and Dollar Bay is bad, as the shoulder is non-existent and the traffic is fast. I quickly got to Lake Linden and headed out towarded Dreamland. There’s just something really cool about the names of towns in the Keweenaw…

I realized about five miles past Mud Lake Road that Bootjack Road wasn’t the best road to ride a century on. I couldn’t do it anyway, since the road is only about ten miles long, but the false flat and bubbly pavement made me feel like I was riding through sludge. I had to stop and check my tires to make sure I wasn’t riding flats, because I felt like I was.

Rice Lake Road was of even less caliber quality. I made it up the first hill and quickly decided to turn back and reroute my remaining 70 miles.

The Dreamland Bar was my first aid station. I was out of EFS and Nuun already (seriously, 50ounces in 30 miles? … ) so I headed inside for a can of Coke. I needed something, because I felt dizzy, anxious, and tired. It was a little later of a start than I wanted (I left my house at 10am) so I was getting close to my normal lunch time, and I downed to packs of Justin’s honey almond butter to hold me over.

I felt better once I got on better roads. Trap Rock Valley Road is one of my favorites, but I wasn’t on it too long before I made the turn toward Gay. Unfortunately, all the work I put in trying to get up the steep hill was lost when I dropped my chain at the top. and by dropped, I mean: Slammed it between my small ring and the frame. And it was stuck. I didn’t want to yank to hard for fear of dinging up my frame or -worse- breaking my chain, and when I thought it was back on I was fooled. It fell off again, and I felt the anxiety come back. But, I finally got it back on, it stayed on, and I happily cruised all the way into Gay.

I was a little embarrassed to walk into the Gay Bar (yes, it really is called that) and be dripping with sweat, but I was out of fluid, thirsty, tired, hot, and thirsty. I was really thirsty too. I bought a large coke and grabbed the same sized cup of water, and had enough change left over for a Snickers (the original energy bar). The ice was nice, and it made my water bottle nice and cold for about five miles. By the time I got to Dollar Bay I was dry again, so I stole some water from a hose at a church (I am probably going to hell, but not for that).

I made it almost home, practically crying as I weaved through the rough streets and fast traffic of Ripley. Nothing is more nerve wrecking than a grandma that won’t budge over the dashed yellow line (or in my case, when she does budge, but only to drift to the right of the white line). I was beat. I took the bike path home to avoid any more motorized vehicles, and when I got home I took a cold shower and drank a cold glass of milk. And I got it done.


15 thoughts on “Ridin’ solo

  1. About a month before my Ironman I rode 35-miles to an open water swim event, swam 1.5-miles and rode back home. It was 95 degrees and I was out of everything within 10-miles of leaving the lake. With 1,800 feet of climbing to go and no energy I proceeded to push through my worst ride ever. Even the downhill sections sucked. I stopped at a gas station less than 4-miles from home and bought 2 Gatorades (and a Snickers) because I was convinced I couldn’t make it home without collapsing.

    I still enjoy my solo rides but I have started to pack extra stuff just in case I start to fall apart alone.

    You’re an amazing athlete & great job getting the ride done.

    All the best,


  2. This will be in the back of my mind while I’m trying to get through 56 next Sunday. (I still can’t believe you talked me into this…) You are one dedicated and amazing athlete, Meg!

    Still don’t get the coke thing yet. Assuming I’ll probably figure it out at about mile 68 when my body is game for anything to get me those last 2.3 miles.

    Hopefully see you at the Copperman this weekend! xo!

    • hehe, you caught that eh? truthfully, bars are the only places along the routes that are open and watering holes- we don’t really have any gas stations or coffee shops that aren’t adjacent to a bar.

  3. Nice ride – I remember the Gay Bar from the Color Tour 200 km a few years ago when they had it in October. Forty two degrees at the start and finish plus snow flurries.

    These chain drop guards work well but a bit pricey:



    Any miles on the new tires yet ?? Again if you aren’t comfortable using them, don’t.

    Was in Negaunee last week but no time to get up to Houghton. It was hot and humid – sticky tarmac and lots of sweat hence the need for lots of water and electrolytes.

    Good luck,


  4. Pingback: Who’s idea was this? « in training

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