One hundred miles on a bike (almost)

For years I’ve been on the fence about splurging on a new road bike. I finally made it happen this fall, and I decided to break her in with a century ride last weekend. While the ride is one I’ll never forget, it’s also one I’d rather not repeat.

Last weekend, three people, three road bikes and a dog packed into my Honda Civic and headed north. I convinced my husband, Wade, and friend, Malory, to join me on this mission of crazy, and sign up for the Itascatur Headwaters 100 Century Ride with me.

Packing up the circus to head north!

The ride is an out-and-back from Park Rapids to Cass Lake, MN following the beautiful Heartland Trail. Despite a major route change this year due to construction, I couldn’t have asked for a better intro to a century. The route was flat and easy, and put on a great display of the changing leaves.

The highlights of this route were:

  • The boardwalk of Dorset
  • The Nevis Muskie
  • Paul Bunyan in Akeley
  • The Chippewa National Forest
  • The Mi-Gi-Zi Trail
  • Leech Lake


Ready to ride (after Wade fixes that thing on my bike)
The crew
Quick pit stop with Paul Bunyan in Akeley

Despite a constant downpour of rain and being woefully under-trained, things were going remarkably well right up until mile 38. I got my first flat. We got it changed and that lasted right up until my second flat. We got it changed and that lasted until Malory’s first flat. Both of us had multiple punctures in our tires.

The race mechanic told us it’s not uncommon to have more flats during rain because gravel and grit sticks to tires.

Nothing can bring this girl down!

After so much wasted time changing tubes (one pit stop took a really, really long time), the sun was starting to get low. Our chances of finishing were getting slim. Wade had long finished by this time. *Side note: He actually did 115 miles because of some bad signage and got lost!

We were 94 miles down with just 6 miles to go. But our patches and repairs just wouldn’t hold. We had to call it quits.

Calling for a pickup (see my sweet rooster tail?)

Admitting defeat that close to the finish line was pretty depressing. And having to quit, not because we couldn’t finish, but because of equipment failure felt worse. Still, Wade picked us up with victory beers in hand. We didn’t get that “odometer shot” showing 100 miles, but I still feel like we can say we did it (almost).

And, despite the major bummer, there’s nobody I’d rather do a century ride with again than Malory. We did a great job pacing each other. Plus, there’s not many people I could sit next to for seven hours and still have things to say to at the end!

Love you, Malory!

The race didn’t end how I wanted, but I’m calling that motivation for next year. Who’s with me?!




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