I’m back

Had a great time at my parents’ house last week. It is always good to get together with all my siblings and their families. I’m reminded how blessed I am to have this heritage.

Basically, what we do is hole up down in the swamp. At times there are over 20 of us staying at the house. Last summer some of the family started building a bunkhouse. My dad finished it up and this was the first summer it was in use. Made for much better conditions in the main house! The cousins loved it.

I did take my bike and rode nearly every day. Two of my nephews rode with me a couple of times. However, the big daddy was Friday, June 29th. That is a special day because it marked the completion of my first century ride.

I started out planning to do a loop around a nearby lake — Lake Wacamaw. However, as I neared the town of Bladenboro, I saw a sign that read, “Supply 52.” All I would have to do is jump on this road (NC Hwy 211) and ride it to Supply, turn around and come back. I could then say I completed my first century ride.

The blue line shows the 100 mile route that runs out 50 miles and then back to the start. Click here to expand the map. Once you have expanded the map, click on it to be able to view more detail.

I had plenty of water, some gel, and a power bar. It was around 9:40 in the morning and weather was good. I pointed my Allez toward Supply.

The going was pretty good. I was averaging 20 mph without and trouble. As I looked ahead of me it appeared that I was climbing ever so slightly. This made me happy because I figured I would need some downhill coming back.

Now, understand, when I say climbing, we’re talking very shallow grades. This is a very swampy area, so the rises and falls aren’t really that noticeable – at least when you are fresh. You can be surprised how hard it is when you are tired!

The first 40 miles were really easy. This was well within my range. The next ten were not. Between the 30 and 50 mile marks, I entered the “Green Swamp” — meaning I was on a long flat road with absolutely nothing around. It was right about this time I ran out of fluids. I had to decide to keep going through the swamp to Supply (which I figured was at least 10 miles beyond the 50 mile mark) or turn around and ride 15 miles or so to a gas station I had seen.

I decided to turn back. I had no idea what was in Supply. I figured it was safer to stick with the known.

By this time, it was starting to get rather warm. As I rode along, I started getting thirsty. This was not good. I even stopped sweating as much. If I didn’t get water soon, I was going to bonk.

Thankfully, I made it back to the station and loaded up on fluids. I also got a bag of ice and filled my jersey pockets with the stuff along with my two extra bottles. Boy that felt good!

Anyway, to make a long ride short, I came back to the area where I thought I had been climbing slightly. Now, it was obvious that I had been going downhill! Instead of being able to pedal with ease to the finish, I was going to have to climb. Oh boy.

There isn’t much to say after that. I had plenty of water, but by this time the sun was high and I could feel my arms begin to burn. My legs were telling me they had never taken me this far before. After five and a half hours on the road (5:11 in the saddle), I was near the finish. Honestly, with two miles to go, I felt like stopping and calling for my wife to come pick me up.

I didn’t, of course, and I can now say that I have completed my first century! Someday I’ll do an official one, but at least now I know I can do it.

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About Jonathan Pait

Jonathan started riding mountain bikes in the early 1990s. After discovering the ride can start at the end of his driveway, he moved to the road in 2006. Little did he know that first pedal stroke would lead him on an adventure that has become much larger than the bicycle.