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First Century

posted in JoMo's Musings by Last Ditch Racing


The title might suggest that this is some history lesson, but thankfully, it's not. A 100 mile ride in the cycling community is called a, "Century." 2009 Saw me start road biking a bit, and I've done a couple of longish rides, but the longest has been 81 miles....until today.

Good friend and personal trainer Scott Kahkonen and I were invited by Livestrong proponent and survivor Jeff Bennett to join him and the, "Not Dead Yet," team at the Dempsey Challenge ride today. From the event website: "The Dempsey Challenge is a fundraising experience for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston."

Scott and I knew that pro cyclist George Hincapie would be at the event, but we were pumped to hear that fellow pro Dave Zabriske would be in attendance. We're huge fans of his DZ Nuts product and really get a kick out of his sense of humor. We soon found out that Ted King of the Cervelo Test Team as well as Irish pro Stephen Roche were on hand! Oh yeah, Patrick Dempsey was there too! ;-)

As we made our way to the staging area for the ride, Scott was looking for our fellow Not Dead Yet members, and happened to miss that Big George himself was sitting about 10 feet away, just chillin'. My wife fired up the camera and we asked George if we could snap a couple of pics. He was most gracious and you would have thought we were giddy schoolgirls seeing the hottest boy band outside their tour bus! ;-)

Staging area. Mind racing. 100 miles?! Are you friggin' kidding me?! What the hell did I sign myself up for, and more importantly, why?! The last year has seen me loose 50 pounds, join my oldest son in the Dojo for Matsumura Shorin Ryu Karate, and attend a bunch of classes at the gym, all the while wearing skin tight outfights that embarass those who know me. Not much new on that front. ;-)

Riding to the first rest area, and I see a couple chase cars. Look a bit closer and it's the group with George Hincapie, Patrick Dempsey and Ted King. I tuck in a couple back from George and make pretend I'm Lance Armstrong for a second. How many times has Lance had this view!? We're going about 24mph and George is barely pedaling. :-)

As we reach the first rest stop and pull in with the superstars, DZ Nuts himself is pulling out. He must've really wanted that Lobster dinner! ;-) I hook up with the Mojo team from the county and tack onto the back. I'm nowhere near strong enough to take a pull at the front of their group, but the train ride to the next stop is amazing! Smooth and fast at more than 20mph.

50 miles in. Cramps started about mile 40. Not as bad as they have been, but quads and hamstrings feeling like they're verge of just saying f$%k it, and locking up-pole vaulting me off the bike. At the rest area, I try and stretch. Every time I try and stretch a quad, the hamstring spasms and cramps. Vice versa. Damn-can't stay here all day, although it is beautiful. Sunny and at the end of a lake.

Back on the bike and I soon learn why the organizers put the rest area there. Small grade up through town. Right turn and....holy crap.....are we supposed to cycle up this ski jump of a hill!? Really!? Really!? I look halfway up and a fellow masochist is trying to unclip without falling as he cheats gravity. He promptly lays his bike down and sits on the shoulder looking downhill. My quads are angry. Dammit-I fed them, watered them, and replaced electrolytes for them. How many friggin' bananas and peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches have I had today, anyway!? Gels, Clif bars, Endurance drink mix-you get the idea.

I shift to my granny gear. Only it feels like granny is a harsh Eastern European dictator. I get slightly higher than the aforementioned masochist and mentally run through the process of unclipping on a hill without killing myself or fellow riders. I unclip and as soon as my feet hit the ground, both quads seem to fully retract to just above my knees. A few deep breaths and they start to relax enough to attempt walking. I walk up the hill. The walk of shame. Dammit. Better than than another fall and more stitches on my knee. ;-)

A bit further on and I'm getting cramps on my inner thighs-I think to myself, "That's a new cramp, I wonder what muscle that is?" Then I remember I sucked at anatomy and just focus on pedaling through the pain, hoping I don't have to try and get off the bike again.

Rest stops are frequent enough that we're able to nickel and dime our way towards the finish. I hook up with a guy on a nice Lightspeed Titanium ride and he's out in the wind in front of myself and a nice young lady. We're all just trying to survive. I put on a bit of speed and get out front and tell him to tuck in and I'll take a turn up front in the wind. Somewhere, the cycling Gods are smiling and perhaps all that damn caffeine in the gels is kicking in. My legs feel like....legs! I get into the drops and pull Mr. Lightspeed along at about 27mph. Awesome! He thanks me later and tells me the pull inspired him to push on. Makes my day and we commiserate and swear grinding up a hill at 0.003 mph around the next bend.

I skip the last rest stop and decide to power(relative term) through the last 9 miles. I'm feeling good and not asking why. Out of the saddle charging up hills, maintaining a decent speed on the flats and throwing caution to the wind on the descents. I'm loving it! As corny as it sounds, I actually said to myself that I was Living Strong! Sporting the Mellow Johnny's jersey and riding in this benefit with my newfound energy, it seemed appropriate. Across the line and Scott, Allie and Sharon are there to hoot and holler. Another awesome moment!

The day was not without its' costs. My left knee started to bother. I had fallen on it a few months ago while standing still(with one foot clipped in) a few months ago and it's been a bit funky. Now it hurts. Might need further evaluation. Frozen veggies and Ibuprofen on it tonight. We'll see if I can walk on it tomorrow.

100 miles on a bike. Being in a group with George Hincapie. Sharing the day with friends and my loving wife. Quite the day of making memories! For those interested in stats, here they are:

101 miles. 6:34. FWIW, I hit 100miles at 6:30, which became my goal near the end. Average speed 15.4mph, avg watts 115, Max speed 42.6, max watts 548. 5,606 feet of climbing. 2,595 calories burned.

Livestrong Everyone! :-) Cheers! John


sarahsmiley Author Profile Page said:

Great entry, John. You are quite the inspiration. Maybe I can actually get it done next year! Amazing all you have done in a relatively short period of time. Enjoy your celebrating.


the goffer Author Profile Page said:

Sweet write-up, Jomo. Hats off (well, helmets off) to you for such an amazing ride... It may be time for me to bite the bullet and get a ride with some gears on it so i can join you for a mile or two on the next one!

PS. would that be a female East European dictator? if so, did you get her number?

Most assuredly an East European female dictator. She's easy to find-she lives just North of the 50 mile mark of the Dempsey Challenge! ;-)

Cav Author Profile Page said:

Way to go John - great entry - awesome and feasome at the same time. Had me on the edge for a moment...Kudos to all. Cav.

Thanks for the comment Cav! You're next! :-)

ShawnERPA Author Profile Page said:

You rock John,

If you're looking for that 50 1bs I think they're right in front of me. My exercise the past year and a half has been walking up the stairs to work and walking down again to leave six days a week. Oh I did have to run out the door to try and get a license plate number from a drug seeking back pain patient. Does that count?

My Specialized tri-bike has an inch of dust on it. Well, keep praying ExpressCare takes off and therefore I can too. Would love to ride some time. My son Wes loves the rally videos. "
Dad, that's really your friend? He's sooo cool!"



PS that's the Gracilis Muscle. Actually I think I did as well as you did in Antatomy come to think of it. Maybe it's not

Shawn, all those stairs do count! :-) We'll see you out there next year on some of these charity rides, I'm sure. You'll have to bring Wes up to the New England Forest Rally in July to see the cars in the flesh! :-) Cheers! John

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