Solo Century

There is not doubt I’m a true introvert!  The more I ride my bike, the more I realize how much I enjoy the times of solitude out there.  Friday was one of those times that just makes my heart sing!    I took the day off with the intention of riding the solo century that I had planned and cancelled when the grandson was born.  The planned route was a conglomeration of several different destinations pieced together to equal 100 miles beginning and ending at the house.  I pretty much “live tweeted” the entire day, so if you’re a follower, I apologize in advance for the re-tweets!



I actually planned my nutrition for the day for a change.  My plan was to set an alarm for 45 minutes time and make sure I ate something within 15 minutes of that regardless of whether I was at a convenient place to stop or not.  That plan worked really well.  Between the 4 Honey Stinger waffels, the Peanut Butter & honey on a thin bagel, the two protein cookies, and lunch at Subway, I felt really strong the entire day and finished with lots of gas still in the tank.


My original plan was to get out of the house about 6:30, but Pam convinced me to give her an extra hour of sleep.  I ended up leaving around 7:45, which was OK except that it put me at my planned lunch stop at 1:10 instead of noon.  Not a big deal, but it did get me home an hour later as well.


The really nice thing about doing this ride on my day off was the complete lack of traffic all day long!  It sure was a different experience from riding on a Saturday.


My first real rest stop came at Sparta where I stopped at the c-store for some Gatorade.  The temperatures were perfect for riding, but with a long day ahead of me I didn’t want to overlook the need to replenish my electrolyte supply.  I drank half the bottle and kept the second half for later.


I couldn’t help but stop to photograph this sign between Sparta and Rogersville.  Someone obviously wasn’t happy over the loss of some cattle!  I suspect they probably had a good idea of who took them!

Shortly after this, I realized the wind was picking up and that it was probably going to be against me most of the way to Fair Grove.  It wasn’t bad, but it did slow me down a little.  The saving grace was that if it was against me all the way out there, it would help push me the final miles home.


As I planned the ride, I realized that I had NEVER ridden my bike to Fordland!  I’m not sure why, but it is just someplace we’ve never ridden to.  I knew it was just about a skip and a jump from Rogersville, so I set out to add that destination to my ride list.  I’ve got to admit, now that I’ve ridden there, it’s not gonna be the last time.  I especially liked PP Highway between Fordland and K Highway.  It really seemed isolated and quiet out there!


For some reason, I’ve got a propensity for getting myself on gravel roads by seeking out and mapping routes I’ve never been on before.   I knew that my passage over Lon Road would have about a quarter mile of it, but this one caught me by surprise.  Luckily, it wasn’t more than a mile long, but on the skinny tires of my road bike, it was a very annoying mile!


As I started getting close to Strafford, I realized it would be after noon before I hit town.  A quick calculation of my mileage told me I would be there at around 65 miles, which made me briefly reconsider my planned lunch at Fair Grove.


In the end, I decided to keep to the original plan so I just grabbed another Gatorade at the c-store and continued on!  To be honest, the reason I decided not to eat in Strafford was the fact that the Subway there is in a truck stop and I just didn’t want to deal with that!

At this point, I was doing some quick calculations of mileage and realized I was probably ahead of the game by a couple of miles so I started thinking about whether the final loops toward the end would be necessary or not.  I was still feeling good, so I decided to go over the top of Radio Tower Hill on the way to Fair Grove rather than an out and back over the Ugly Sisters.  I think the climb is just a bit harder going north over Radio Tower, so I had originally bypassed it.


I pulled in to Fair Grove’s Subway about 1:10 and I’m telling you that sandwich hit the spot!  As I finished up and headed out for the final leg, I couldn’t help but think that I had this one in the bag.  I was feeling good, I knew I was as close as 21 miles from home and I had the wind at my back!

It was during this final stretch that I started feeling a little discomfort in my back.  I attributed it to the fact that we had added a dead lift to our weight routine on Thursday, and kicked myself for not thinking ahead.  Luckily, the discomfort never got to the point where it bothered me much at all.


My on the fly calculations had turned out to be pretty darn accurate.  I crossed the 100 mile mark less than a mile from my driveway with a rolling time of 6:05:39.  I had set my goal at 6:15, so I was plenty happy with the effort.  I got home at 3:00, celebrating an awesome day on the bike!


You can click the map for the full GPS track.

God bless….


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5 Comments on “Solo Century”

  1. Sounds like a great ride. Back in the late 70s, early 80s, I used to ride through Bois D’Arc, where my aunt and uncle lived, from either Joplin or Columbia, depending on whether I was coming from the grandparents or college. Beautiful area you’ve got down there.

  2. I also like to ride most of my Centuries alone — some of the folks I’ve ridden with before take to long at the two rest stops I plan (when I ride alone those two stops are under five minutes each).

  3. I’ve started packing lunches too, my current fave is a “Banana Burrito” a multigrain flatbread with honey and sunflower butter spread on it wrapping half a banana, some almonds, and dark chocolate with chili powder. Those hold off the munchies. spaced about 30 miles apart.

  4. Steve A Says:

    Tracy, AKA Gramps?

  5. Sandra Says:

    What a great day.

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