Dear Andrew and Staci


I arrived at 2:30 yesterday as walk-in registration for the Sea Gull Century began at 3:00 p.m. I registered and picked up my rider packet. There was a $15 difference between early registration and walk-in. The $15 is essentially insurance should the event be canceled (as it was in 2015). But I think next year I will just register online and avoid check-in (although you still have to appear to go pick up your T-shirt).

Fenwick Island, Delaware

After registration I went to Fenwick Island, Delaware for Fishers Popcorn, a required stop for this trip or I would not be welcomed home. With temperatures in low 70s, it was too nice not to ride. I saw, felt, the wind and knew it was coming from the north. I headed north and it was tough riding. I only rode five miles to Bethany Beach before turning around to enjoy the great tailwind back to Fishers.

The Famous Fisher’s Popcorn


At check-in at the Hampton Inn, a young man told me a big story how his car broke down, he and his wife and child were stranded, and they needed a place to stay. Since I had a room with two queen beds I offered him one of those. He did not accept. The front desk clerks were almost beside themselves that I did this. When the security guard went out to talk to him, they drove off. I may have been born at night but I wasn’t born last night. Hehe.

South Bethany, Delaware


Morning came too soon. Lots of cyclists were in the breakfast room as it opened at 5:00 a.m. I stuck my nose outside. It was 52º but no wind. Arm warmers and a vest would be enough for today.

Leaving the Hampton Inn


It was a few minutes before 7:00 a.m. and before sunrise. Rather than ride on US13 in the dark to get to the start line at Salisbury University, I made my own route. I wouldn’t start at the official start but make up for any distance by riding back to the hotel after the ride. I had studied the map that the event uploaded and knew they would come down Division Street to St. Lukes.

The original course map. It differed from what they actually used.

When I arrived at Division Street, no one was there. No one. I knew I was early but with 5,000 riders on course surely I could not be the first. I wasn’t. I eventually (4 1/2 miles) found the course. They had come down Old Pokomoke Road. I joined the ride there.

Snow Hill, Maryland


At the first rest stop, I saw a course map. The organization had printed out the map, displayed it on the trailer, but there was white tape over the first portion. They drew in a new route. They had changed the route but not on the uploaded PDF map I was following. No worries. It was fun for a while thinking I was first on the course.

Pokomoke River at Snow Hill, Md.


At the first turn where the two routes separate, I was unsure where to go. I studied the map before I left but not that turn. Were we using the white or yellow seagulls? I asked the photographer and he didn’t know. I asked one couple and they thought they were on the 100-mile route. Stay the course! And it was the right choice.

Chincoteague Bay


This was the fourth time I did this ride. What makes each different is the weather and the people you meet or ride with. Today’s difference was the weather. Temperatures weren’t bad, ranging from 52º to 64º. There was very little sunshine. I would wear the arm warmers all day but eventually unzipped the vest. But the wind that wasn’t present at the hotel was present beginning around 8:00 a.m. And it was strong. All-day long.

Two and three years ago I rode with riders from the Blair Cycling Club (Pa.). Last year I met a woman, essays written in spanish thesis printing edinburgh source url alternative drug to viagra cv writing services in abu dhabi source url enter exforge y cialis afforestation essay conclusion template see follow link 2 09 writing an effective conclusion to essay lipitor pomegranate follow site acquisto viagra pagamento in contrassegno restaurant sample science research proposal go site pharmacy propecia analysis essay and design of chemical processes 3rd edition ebook source link best admission essay ghostwriter websites ca cost of medications crestor simvastatin sample secondary essays clomid menopause Sandra, and two of her friends, and we rode together for 60 miles. Today I met nobody until eight miles to go. Here the Assateague Century and Princess Ann Metric routes come back together.

Near Newark (4 miles)


As I turned after the airport, I briefly met a young couple, Andrew and Staci, who were new to cycling and riding their first long event. Staci seemed impressed that I rode 100 miles. I should have ridden with them but had been riding well (18 mph) and wanted to keep up my pace. Staci asked if riding in the wind was easy.

Rest Stop 2 – Newark


If they are reading this, I will tell you what I know. Riding in the wind is hard. Some say it’s harder than climbing because “you can’t see the wind.” But I disagree. Look back six days at the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, which had plenty of climbing. I averaged more than five miles per hour faster today than when climbing over the Shenandoah Mountain near Harrisonburg, Va. on Sunday.

Quepanco Station at Newark, Md.


The key to riding into the wind is to get into a group and draft. Or get lower. Or do both. Generally, I found a group the last three times here. Today, not so much. But one can always “grab a wheel” and jump in a “paceline.” Paceline is mostly a misnomer because on this ride there are mostly wheel suckers. I have yet to see a true rotating paceline like I rode in Indiana in August.

Approaching Verrazano Bridge, Assateague Island


I rode most of the miles solo today. Other times I jumped in with a group for a bit. Fighting the wind is not as hard if you are in a group.

Verranzano Bridge at Assateague Island


My first segment took me to Rest 2. I skipped Rest 1 which is always crowded. I’m usually able to find port-a-johns on route and with temps in the low 60s, I wasn’t depleting my water bottles. Segment 2 took me to the rest stop at Assateague Island.

I can find my own porta-a-johns; this one at Snow Hill


Segment 3 was from Assateague Island to Rest Stop 4. It was here, just after Berlin, that I realized I set a personal record for miles in one year. I was feeling good about that when a group of four went by and I jumped on. One rider pulled for 1-2 miles then dropped back. Another pulled for a while then dropped off. But they stayed upfront. There was no rotation. Finally, I went to the front. And I promptly rode off the front. Damn me.

Rest Stop at Assateague Island


Despite arriving together at Rest Stop 4, we were not a group and I didn’t see them leave or wait for them. They may have all been friends. Or complete strangers. I don’t know. I didn’t see where they went once we stopped. The sign at the stop said 17.3 miles to go and I went solo the rest of the way. It was here, with eight miles to go, that I briefly met Andrew and Staci.

Rest Stop at Assateague

Arriving back at the college is always neat. The route goes under US13 through a pedestrian underpass. Coming out the other side you are at the finish with people congratulating you including the Salisbury University cheerleaders. The event is well supported by the University. The track and field team were the volunteers at Rest 2 (and maybe Rest 4). Apple pie and vanilla ice cream were offered at the end (or cherry pie and chocolate ice cream).

Barry and Cheerleader


I was disappointed today as I saw no horses at Assateague Island. We were at the very northern tip by road which is the Maryland State Park. I talked to a ranger and he explained that they haven’t had a great experience with 5,000 riders in the park as some of them have tried to pet the horses. I almost went into the national park where I knew I would find horses but decided not to.

Sand dunes at Assateague Island


Staci asked me if I rode this before and then stated I probably do these all the time. So Staci, here is the answer.

Pickle Pops – I did not try one


Dear Andrew and Staci,

I used to do century rides all the time. Or I feel like I used to. But I had knee replacement surgery 18 months ago. If that didn’t slow me, I had a memory-loss accident a couple of months later. The only century ride I completed in 2018 was this one. The Alpine Loop Gran Fondo last September I cut short and the Horrible Hundred last November in Florida I also cut short. The latter was because I was with friends who weren’t riding the full 100. I even competed in the World Hillclimb Championships in Santa Barbara and earned the title as Worst Cyclist in the World.

This year we did a planned 95-mile four-country ride in Luxembourg but I was sick so no need to add five miles to call it 100 although some in my group did. In Indiana in August, the Spokes of Hope Century Ride was cut short (65 miles) by thunderstorms. At the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo in Harrisonburg, Va. six days ago, I stopped at 78 miles.

Staci and Andrew


After 18 months of previously completing only one century, it was important enough for me to finish this one – and to finish fast. I began to think I may never finish another one. I felt bad pedaling away from you (Staci and Andrew) when normally I would have ridden and talked for a while. I wasn’t just being a dick. Really, I wasn’t.

Windy at Assateague Island


I was impressed that you both have only been riding for just four months. To increase your mileage to ride a Metric Century is a big accomplishment! I was most impressed with that than anything I saw on this ride.

I hope the two of you keep riding. Cycling is healthy, especially when you avoid crashing. For the minutes or hours you are on the bike you are in a different world. Maybe next year you will want to ride the full Century route. If you do, let me know, and I’ll try to ride it with you. But above all, keep riding, and I wish for you Peace on a Bike. – Barry

Race Bib

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