A few days before I left to ride Paris-Brest-Parisa friend asked me if I'd feel any kind of letdownafter the ride was over. I wasn't really worried.There's no end of silliness that my imaginationcan't engage. Case in point:Yesterday I completed a new milestone on my unicycle,a metric century of 62 miles. The Clarksville LaborDay Weekend Classic in Tennessee is billed as one ofthe flattest century rides in the country.A lot of bike riders use this as their first 100 milecentury ride, my brother was one of them. Kudos tomy brother!At first I wasn't sure if I really wanted to do thisride on a unicycle or even if I'd be able to. MyMiyata air saddle has been shipped to David Stocktonwho's fitting it on a new frame from Hunter Cycles.On the day before the ride, I took the Viscountsaddle off my 24" trainer, trimmed down the seatpostwith a pipe cutter, and took it out for a brief 4 mileride. Everything seemed to be okay, though I probablyshould have put in a shim on the seatpost.On the morning of the ride, I left about 20 minutesbefore the official start so as not to get tangledup in the mass start. I was also worried about myspeed, since the SAG vehicles would pick up anystragglers at 4:30 pm, and I figured an early startwould give me an extra margin of safety.About 2 miles into the ride, the 62 mile and 100 milecourses diverged. After 40 minutes of riding I startedgetting passed by people riding the metric century.It was fun being out on the road with other riderswho would whoop and holler as they passed. By thetime I'd arrived at the first rest stop (15 miles)I was still ahead of some of the slower metricriders. I arrived at the rest stop about 2 hoursafter I'd started, without a single dismount. Thiswould be my longest continuous riding for the day.Thereafter, I would be forced to dismount aboutevery half hour to relieve myself of saddle pressure.I didn't have a cyclocomputer on the Coker, but Icould estimate my distance by checking my watch.I was probably averaging slightly over 8 miles anhour. After the third hour, the traffic from themetric riders had mostly passed me by, includingsome children on mountain bikes. I would oftenpush down on the nose of the saddle with myleft hand, stand up and balance on the pedals torelieve saddle pressure. This slowed my progressand was tiring on the quads, but kept me goingforward.After 4 hours into the ride a yellow VW beatle SAGvehicle pulled up and warned me that there was a fastpaceline approaching. It was the lead group in the100 mile ride, perhaps 25-30 riders strong. Soonafterwards, I rode into the second rest stopat mile 31, near the Jefferson Davis monument.(Why a monument to Jefferson Davis in Kentuckywhich fought on both sides?) The 31 mile halfwaypoint to the metric ride was the 70 mile point forthe century riders, and I got the chance to see manyof my friends in the Harpeth Bike Club riders there.I pulled out of the second rest area feeling prettystrong, but knew the next section would take itstoll. My initial plan was to stay on the unicyclefor 30 minutes, then take a 1 minute break torelieve the saddle pain. So I was constantlywatching my wristwatch, waiting for the blessedbreak time. Occasionally I'd cheat and dismountafter 20 minutes. Additionally I was having someminor problems with the saddle twisting wheneverI'd apply too much torque. I was regretting nottaking the time to shim the seatpost.On my other saddle I've got GB handlebars whichhelp (a little) to get some relief while riding.I'm not sure how much this would help for longerdistances, but I've got to find some solution forlong rides. I also took some Ibuprofen, whichis pretty rare for me.After leaving the second rest stop, the next onewould be at mile 49. On my bicycle, I'd normallypooh-pooh these short distance rest stops, but in mypresent transportation mode I welcomed them. For the remainder of the ride I would be passed by theslower 100 mile riders. It was great to hear their encouragement, and it kept me going when all I wantedto do was get off the stupid unicycle. Several timessomeone would whip out their camera and say "I've got to get a picture of this." Even a few cars notassociated with the ride would slow down and yellout "Totally awesome!".One advantage (the only advantage?) with travelingat such a slow speed is that I never missed any ofthe road markings. At one point I yelled at someriders who missed a turn and redirected them to theroute. At another I yelled but the riders were toofar ahead to hear me. I later heard one of themexclaim as we met at the last rest stop, "I've alreadydone my 100 miles!"The toughest part of the ride was the last few milesinto the third and last rest stop. We encounteredsome brief rain, which wasn't unexpected and actuallysomewhat refreshing. The overcast day had kept theworst of the heat from scorching us.I had miscalculated the time/distance and thought Ihad another half hour until the last rest stop. Itwas somewhat discouraging. Then the rest stop appearedas an unexpected surprise. I talked with a few ridersincluding two of my brother's riding buddies, Kenny andJim. They told me my brother was only a few miles behind.Leaving the last rest stop, I was feeling confidentthat I'd finish the ride, with only 13 miles to go.It helped that there was a continuous stream ofriders still on route. Interestingly, most peoplewere curious as to the difficulty of climbing thehills, (what hills?) which were the least of my problems.Saddle comfort is the only killer issue. I wonder if(like bicycling) saddle comfort will increase withtraining? I hope so.Soon after I left the last rest stop, perhaps 10 milesfrom the finish, my brother passed me. He was lookingin pretty good shape and said he only hit a roughpatch between miles 60 and 70. He would have enoughtime to shower and get back out and take some photosof my arrival.I arrived about an hour later, still ahead of a veryfew scattered 100-mile riders. My finish time wasunder 8 hours. On the way home we stopped and atedinner with some friends from the Harpeth Bike Club,always a pleasant way to end any kind of ride.-Rubic
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