I am a cyclist, genealogist, soccer referee, grandfather (x6), and cancer survivor. And I have ridden 95,000* miles cancer-free.

You have stumbled upon the personal blog of Barry Sherry. It is my private journal but made public. After keeping a journal for years I decided to push this out to the web. Maybe someone will find some information of value.

I have included the names, and in some cases, photos of others I have met in my journey. If you are mentioned and do not want to be, kindly contact me and I can change that.

Enjoy the blog. If you would like to know more about me, click my About Me page.

*as of Jan. 2023

The Citrus Tour


I was here for the MS-150 — the first MS-150 event of the year in the U.S. I went to registration at the Omni Resort yesterday at 5:00 p.m. As a “VIP” (“Club K” for those who raised at least $1000) we were told a perk would be an “Exclusive VIP experience at packet pick-up.”

I’m not sure what that experience was. I walked up. They gave me a jersey. I walked away and then had to go back. “Do I get a t-shirt as well,?” I asked. They went and got me a t-shirt. They did have a room with wine and hors d’oeuvres but that wasn’t my thing. I looked. I left.

The coolest “VIP” experience at registration I had was at the Livestrong Challenge-Philly in 2009. When I went to the registration desk a volunteer found my name. Then she rang a bell loudly and announced, “Barry Sherry raised $3000.” Then everyone in the room (or tent) cheered. So my thought was something similar would happen here. But maybe I missed it but it seemed like the same experience for everyone at packet pick-up.

Riders getting ready to roll

This morning there was to be “VIP parking at the start line.” As I drove in I asked two volunteers about VIP parking. I even showed them the screenshot of Club K perks. They knew nothing about VIP parking.

Tent Village at the Omni

My planning for the ride included a hotel which was actually a resort. But being a resort meant no breakfast at the hotel. Instead, I passed a McDonalds on the way and got an order of hotcakes.

I was concerned about nutrition and brought Skratch drink mix and Honey Stinger gummy chews. I also brought Hot Shot anti-cramping mix. As I grabbed what I wanted for my ride, I completely forget the Hot Shot. Crucial mistake.

Opening ceremonies recognized those riding with MS, the biggest earners, and the largest teams. The National Anthem was sung by Sonya Bryson-Kirksey (and someone can check me on this). Are helmets not hats? I removed my helmet but I would guess that less than 10% of men did. Or maybe respect for the National Anthem has died.

Always mindful of whom I’m riding for

The rollout was in groups. I expected it would be staged by the previously mentioned categories or by distance but that we would all roll together. Instead, there may have been one minute between each group as they announced them and let them roll out.

Rest Stop Bravo

We rolled slowly and it was immediately apparent that we would have stiff winds. Once it was safe I started passing riders. I had a guy join me and we briefly talked about not being able to ride a 12-hour Century (which it would have been at the pace we were riding). When he picked up the pace he was followed by a rider named Sharon (we had nametags on our backs).

At first, I wasn’t going to follow but we were all going the same pace. So I latched on. After a mile or two I went to the front and told him that I wasn’t going to let him do all the work. He dropped to third wheel and after a mile, Sharon told me he was about 20 yards back. I soft-pedaled for a while but he never came back. I never saw him again the rest of the day. Sharon, I would see her a lot.

Pickle Pops – No words

There’s a proper way to ride a Century. First third – go slow. Second third – ride at a normal pace. And then use what’s left in the tank for the big finish. I knew I was probably going out too fast although I felt good. I wasn’t sweating that I noticed but I was still concerned about losing too many fluids. I would drink a lot today.

Waiting at a traffic light in Davenport – Mile 9
First Rest Stop is just to the right

We were riding along and one of the larger teams came by. Sharon and a couple of riders joined in and I tagged on in the back. There was a split and I was caught out. I decided I would bridge up to the faster group and was about to make the catch when they went through a yellow light but it turned red for me. I waited for the light to change and the group that I tried to ditch caught up to me. When it finally turned green I let them go ahead and I sat in on the back.

Top Fundraiser (I assume)

The first Aid Station was only 10 miles in and I blew by it. I stopped at the second one, Bravo, and they were serving sandwiches. Hmm. It was 9:00 a.m. I rolled out from Aid Station Bravo and rolled through a glass field on the shoulder/bike lane. I went about 200 meters then turned around. I found a discarded shingle and spent about 10 minutes sweeping the glass off the bike path. #DOGOOD

Neat water bottles at Aid Station Bravo

At Mile 60 I felt “pre-cramps” if there is such a thing. I could feel the telltale sign of a cringe when I dug deep for more power. I tried to conserve where and when I could. I drank. I took on more than eight bottles of fluid. I was riding with a team – Road and Trail Bike Club (Lakeland, Fla.) and gently let them go up the road without me. The subtle accelerations needed to control the whiplash effect on the rear weren’t there for me. I did not want to dig deep. They never went far ahead but I never caught them. One of their guys dropped back and I passed him.

Rest Stop 4 – Lake Wales Scouts

At Mile 80, Aid Station Bravo (again), I departed on my own. I was happy to ride at my own pace. I wanted to ride solo. While there is a very real benefit of riding in a group, I didn’t have the energy to raise the pace even one kph faster to stay with the group or to match accelerations when needed. While a tailwind most of the way back, the advantage of group riding was less.

At this point, I wanted to be left alone, wind or no wind. Whether in a group of 10 or a group of two, we try to stay together which meant that I would have to find a little extra on turns and the little rises that they called hills. (Note: They’re not hills.) Riding alone I could go as slow as I needed to and not push to the point of cramps.

Rest Stop 3 – Charlie

I was caught at a light by a woman I had stopped earlier to help her with a flat from the field of glass. (She needed SAG/bike shop to make the repair). I was glad to see her riding and she was going about two kph faster than me. Normally I would match her pace so we could work together but I did not have the extra gear. Then I was caught by Sharon. She gave up waiting on the two guys she had been riding with and Sharon and I rode together until we came to an intersection. She went straight when we should have turned left. I briefly followed then yelled to get her attention. I would have ridden right up to her but I didn’t have the gear.

Road and Trail Bike Team

We had a brief interchange – basically it was “this is not the right way,” and “are you sure?” I was. We went back as team Road and Trail were coming by and making the left-hand turn. We jumped in with them.

Cute – but SHARE THE ROAD is better

The first real cramp came at Mile 95. It was bad and I wasn’t sure I would handle it. The pain was intense and my reaction was to get off the bike and stretch. As we came to a left turn at a “T” the group got into the left turn lane and stopped behind five cars waiting for the light. I had no choice. I could not coast and didn’t want to unclip and put a foot down. I kept pedaling softly and took the empty right turn lane but then went straight across the intersection to make my left turn. The group came by and I briefly tried to stay with them. I did right to Mile 98. Then I took to the sidewalk to keep moving while they waited at a light. I had to pedal at my own pace. Coasting wasn’t working and I could not add pressure. Lightly pedaling was the best way to keep the cramping from being too bad.

Crystal Lake Park – Mile 30

Still, the group finished about 30 seconds ahead of me which wasn’t bad. I would have given them 30 minutes. I was hurting. I slowly rode to my car, moved gingerly as I dismounted, found my Hot Shot, and chugged that down.

I walked over to find lunch. No one knew where it was. On the website, it said lunch was provided by PDQ. I then found some empty PDQ containers in the trash. We discovered the 25 and 50-mile riders ate our lunches.

PDQ Lunch Boxes – No lunches for distance riders

I was tired. It was 3:00 and I needed lunch. While there was a dinner at 6:00 back at the Omni, I knew I would not be going back to my hotel, cleaning up, and then returning for dinner. Partly I was afraid that I might cramp up during dinner and that would not be pretty.

In my GPS I found a PDQ eight miles (air miles?) away. I drove to it and then asked the manager if they provided the lunches to the MS Ride. They had and I thanked him for it. I also told him that the riders who rode the farthest didn’t get any. He gave me a complimentary lunch. It’s a great place and not just for free food.

Lunch at PDQ

An MS ride is more than a ride. It’s about the mission to rid the world of MS. I like to connect with people and hear their stories. The first person was a young woman, wearing a tutu (maybe a bad idea for a distance ride). She had written on her bib she was riding for her mother. I told her I was riding for my daughter and showed her the cool stem cap. (She can be seen in the Davenport photo.)

I asked her how far she was riding and she told me she was going to ride 100 but was now thinking about 60 (The routes were 23, 50, and 75 so maybe she was thinking about 50 miles). A group, her group, was rolling out of the rest step and I just missed jumping in with them but left in a hurry to catch them. And then I started regretting not spending more time with her and offering to ride 100 with her. It was obvious no one in her group was willing.

The second person I talked to was Sharon. She was in the Top 50 fundraisers as evidenced by her blue bib number. She told me her connection was seven or eight friends who all have MS. She also said she lost her 35-year-old niece within the last year to MS due to a blood clot. Of course, neither of us knows for sure what may have caused the blood clot, be it MS, medications for MS, or medications for something else.

DISTANCE: 101.2 miles
TIME: 6:04

Unexpected Gravel


Riding gravel is the new “in” thing in cycling. The advantage over road cycling is that riding on gravel roads means very few cars. And that alone is enough for many gravel riders.

New Drivetrain Day

The disadvantage is that the bike is harder to control. In addition, I always feel like I am one piece of gravel away from having a flat tire.

Clean cassette and chain

Although I have a gravel bike, a Trek Checkpoint, I have not come to embrace the new fad in cycling. I am a fearful gravel rider.

Generally, I am one of the fastest descenders on group rides. I seem not to be able to recognize or process risk and am probably inches away from a serious high-speed accident. But put me on gravel and I am absolutely the slowest descender. Others in the group are flying down these roads over gravel and I am holding a handful of brakes.

Near Rixeyville

I am not comfortable descending and don’t think any amount of practice will make me enjoy it. I ride it to join friends on group rides but that is about it. And perhaps if paved roads simply aren’t available.

Culpeper detour. Just walked through it.

I needed a metric century because I was doing a fundraiser for my upcoming MS-150. I challenged my friends that I would ride in distance the number of miles they raised in dollars. I went to RideWithGPS and mapped out what I hoped would be a perfect metric century. RWGPS uses Google Maps so I assign no blame to RWGPS. I drew the route and it showed as 100% pavement. I was set.

Near Culpeper

It was a combination of my Remington routes and a Culpeper route which I always route clockwise. I decided to ride this one counterclockwise because it would be new to me.

Post Office Lignum, Va.

I headed out on familiar roads even if the direction wasn’t. I quickly came to “Climb 1/6” and then Climbs 2-5. Almost all the climbing seemed to be done in the first 30 km. I was happy to get what climbing there would be out of the way early because it was to hit a record-breaking 80 degrees today.

The Climbs on the mapped route appear on my Wahoo

The sixth and final climb was just ahead at 63. km to go. The country road was beautiful with almost no traffic. And then the road turned to gravel. Oh no. This was not expected. I slowed down. I did not know how far the gravel would extend. Well, it was three km (two miles) when it turned to pavement for the final climb of 500 meters. And then it was back to gravel for another three km. In all, it was four miles of unexpected gravel. This was not fun.


I tried to choose my line and stick with it. The gravel alternated from packed dirt (which is actually quite alright) to newer gravel that had been put down within the last year or so (not quite alright). I didn’t know how far it would go and was quite relieved when I reached pavement at the end.

This was a beautiful route but the map drawing let me down. I already went to the drawing board and changed it. I hope that I found all asphalt roads this time.

Moo Thru at the end of the ride

DISTANCE: 62.2 miles (100 km)
GRAVEL: 4.0 miles

Reflections on the Year – 2022


Another year of riding. Another year of life!

Slowly, many of the events that disappeared in 2020 started to come back in 2021, and even more in 2022 as some of those old ones resurfaced. Some never did. But whether or not there were events, I rode. Above all, it was another year of living. Another year of life.


Events that have become regular on my schedule disappeared this year. The Livestrong Challenge, after a two-year hiatus, returned but on the same date as Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo so I could not attend. Sadly, I had no involvement with the Texas4000. The Ride to Conquer Cancer (Richmond, Va.) and the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo (Harrisonburg, Va.), but closed this year, and are uncertain whether they will return in 2023. And I think my annual Somerset to Punxsutawney (Pa.) rides are all in the past.

(In no particular order)

  • Pan-Florida Challenge
  • After ‘while Crocodile
  • Searching for Aurora Teagarden
  • A New Ferry Ride
  • Maryland Cycling Class
  • Sea Gull Century
  • Hanging with Mr. Miller
  • Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo
  • No Longer Worst

10. PAN-FLORIDA CHALLENGE. In March I went to Fort Myers, Fla. for a two-day cancer ride. On Saturday we rode 100 miles from Fort Myers to Sebring. On Sunday we rode 105 miles from Sebring to Tampa. All of it was into a headwind. I was very anxious to see how I would do with back-to-back centuries in late winter. And I passed the test.


9. AFTER ‘WHILE CROCODILE (only because I’ve used See You Later Alligator before). After the Pan-Florida Challenge, I met a 75-year-old friend and we rode in Shark Valley in the Everglades among the alligators. I love this ride. Not so sure that she did.

Just my friend

8. SEARCHING FOR AURORA TEAGARDEN. After I rode the Glimcher Keystone MS ride in State College, Pa. I drove to Montour Falls (near Watkins Glen), New York. In this Hallmark-looking town in the Finger Lakes, I was looking for the main street with a waterfall cascading down the hillside at the end of the street. This is the setting for the Hallmark Channel’s Aurora Teagarden series. I found the town. I found the street. But no waterfall. It was dry. But I had a wonderful 45-mile ride topped off by meeting some Lowmaster cousins for the first time.

On that hillside is supposed to be a waterfall

7. A NEW FERRY. Every good ride needs a ferry and I didn’t have one since the parties were still fighting over Historic White’s Ferry in Leesburg, Va. / Poolesville, Md. But I went to Maryland’s Eastern Shore and found one near St. Michael’s / Easton. The Bellevue-Oxford Ferry crosses the Tred Avon River and is absolutely delightful. In all, I made five trips to ride the ferry.

The Talbot, Bellevue, Md.

6. MARYLAND CYCLING CLASSIC. The first UCI race in North America came to Baltimore County and I was a course marshal. I pre-rode the course in northern Baltimore County two days prior and ran into EF-Education First. I also got to chalk a message on the pavement for Toms Skuijins.

Magnus Cort-Neilsen gives me a thumbs up as the team rolls by

5. SEA GULL CENTURY. I was riding along minding my own business for 90 miles even thinking this would be my last Sea Gull Century. Then I passed a young lady who was struggling to finish her first century. For the next 45 minutes, I had a purpose and that was to see her cross the finish line. Up to that point, the ride was somewhat boring then all of a sudden it had a purpose. The best rides don’t all have the fastest speeds or the longest distance. Sometimes it’s the unexpected things that make a ride great.

The Finish

4. HANING WITH MR. MILLER I had gone to Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo and purposely decided that on Saturday I would not ride with the fast kids but save some energy for Sunday. Our group went 30 minutes later, I picked up a goathead or two and flatted, and then just turned around. Being the first one back for lunch gave me the chance to chat with NBA Hall of Fame player, Reggie Miller. (He said don’t call him “Mr. Miller.”)

Barry and Reggie Miller

3. PHIL’S FONDO. After a three-year hiatus, I was able to go to California, thinking it may be my last time. But I am always treated so nicely there and I had a ton of PRs on all the climbs. Even hitched my ride to the World Tour Pro when Rick Zabel went by pulling six other riders.

Mulholland Drive – The rider farthest up the road on the left is pro rider Rick Zabel

2. NO LONGER WORST. After Phil’s Fondo I drove to Santa Barbara looking for Gilbraltor Road. It was in 2018 that I finished dead last in the Hillclimb Worlds (I do have my reasons). I was able to ride up the climb in one hour, taking a whopping 12 minutes off my performance from four years ago.

1. MWARBH. There is nothing to compare. And after almost 10 years off I came back for a second time in two years, this time with my granddaughters. So very special.

This is the hardest bicycle climb in the world. And having my daughter and granddaughters dressed as chickens – priceless.

Hi Chickens!!! MWARBH


I rode 1,098 straight days of at least 10 miles. That streak ended on January 3 with a foot of snow. But it freed me up so that I didn’t ride just to keep the streak going because I rode in truly miserable conditions the past three years just to keep the streak going.

A foot of snow on January 3


On August 22, I took my grandson, Aiden to Williamsport, Pa. to watch the Little League World Series. It was an incredible day that was better than any day on the bike.

Aiden, in blue, watching Japan and Latin America (Nicaragua)


On November 19, “riding” a new streak since I hadn’t missed a day since August 22, I was traveling from South Carolina to Florida. I hoped to ride somewhere but planned to meet John Andre and his family for dinner. I ran out of time. We went straight to dinner which was at the Garden in the Land Pavillion at EPCOT in Walt Disney World.

A surprise visit to EPCOT


I gave up a day of riding to drive to Pittsburgh with my daughter and two grandsons to watch the Steelers play.


My Trek Pilot, which was destined for the landfill with a cracked chain stay, came back to life. I paid Ruckus Composites, in Portland, Oregon, for carbon repair, and rode 2,100 miles since I got it back.

Old bike and it made it up Mt. Washington again


Annabelle’s bike was dangerous so when we returned from New Hampshire we went to the Bike Lane in Reston and got her a Trek FX.


I was enjoying riding with a group called the Old Cranks out of Warrenton, Va. But I didn’t like to drive to their start location opting instead to ride in. Twice I rode 15 miles to make the 10:00 a.m. departure time only to discover they rolled out at 9:55 a.m. And yes, I had responded that I would be there. I stopped riding with them because someone doesn’t know what a published start time means.


While in Santa Monica at an In-N-Out Burger, I paid a 12-year-old one dollar to watch my bike while I went in and ordered. (His dad was with him.)

I gave him one dollar to watch my bike


Not the sound, but the biometric tracker. I started wearing the Whoop band and am geeking out on the data it provides. Notably is my recovery score. Almost always, on the day of a big event, I wake up with a recovery score in the red and I still don’t know why. The morning of the Mount Washington Hillclimb my recovery score was 8%. Yikes!

8% Whoop



My 1100-day (actually 1,098) streak was broken on January 3 with a foot of snow. Without a streak to continue it kept me from purposely riding in freezing rain or late at night when I couldn’t otherwise ride. It meant I didn’t ride every day, in fact, I missed 25 days in all. Assume those were horrible weather days and would have been mostly 10-mile days that’s still 250 miles I left out there. But probably more.


I still rode when it was cold. Just not as far as in the past.

The Reflecting Pool, Washington, D.C.


Jeremy Powers is a former cyclocross champion and now spokesman for the Whoop Band. After riding up Mt. Washington he looked at my Whoop Band and told me that I was wearing it wrong. He then took it off me and fixed the strap for a neater look. My bad.

Phil Gaimon and Jeremy Powers soaking their legs in the Peabody River after the hillclimb


In June I flatted near the Manassas Airport. A sliver of metal was protruding from the tire and I had no way to extract it and thus repair the flat. A man stopped, saw what I needed, and in 10 minutes returned with his Leatherman tool. And he gave it to me. Not lent. But gave.

This is not a cheap tool. On Amazon, the price is $181.


Me. Riding in a group on the Pan-Florida Challenge a rider had a flat. While the entire group rolled on I decided to stop and help. The rider was on a borrowed bike and did not know how to change a flat. Once I got him rolling he told me he was riding a metric century and since he was almost halfway, he was turning around leaving me to ride solo to catch the group that I was in but was now 10 minutes up the road. He had SAG support phone number. I should have just left him call in for assistance.

Caught the group as they were rolling out from the next rest stop


In the Pan-Florida Challenge, I was stuck in a group that was going slower than I wanted. I told the group I was going to bridge up to the next group which I could barely see about a half mile ahead. It took me 11 minutes to close the gap and catch on. Their group of six became my group of seven but finished with only four. But it sure was fun catching them and seeing their faces when they realize a rider from the slow group behind caught them.

Jumping on the back of the group


In October I wanted to listen to Whoop and back off a little when my recovery was in the red zone. I switched my Wahoo to display kilometers and removed Strava Love Segments so speed would not be an issue. And I haven’t switched back. The advantages are I am no longer fixated on keeping a certain speed or traveling a certain distance. (I used to always finish with .00 miles.) The disadvantages are that I no longer know how fast to pace myself when I’m riding with others. I just ride.


Although I have talked about my rear Garmin Varia light for a couple of years, it wasn’t until October that I read a review where a user paired his unit to a friend’s computer on a group ride. So on a ride with Tim, I took his Wahoo and paired it to my unit so he could get the same display that I was. After one ride of seeing the display, he went to REI and bought his own later that day.


Foster’s Grille – Manassas, Va. With outdoor seating and bike parking next to the train station, along with employees who know me by name, this place is the best. They added Coke Zero to their soft drinks this year too. Pro Tip: Mondays they offer a senior discount.

Fosters Grille, Manassas


Scottish Highlands Creamery, Oxford, Maryland. Perfectly positioned near the end of a 60-mile ride on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and right after a great ferry ride. A single includes two scoops. But check operating hours. One day I rode there and it was closed.

A proper way to finish 125 miles


Moo-Thru, Remington, Virginia. Often the focal point of a Remington ride. Actually, it is always the focal point of a Remington ride.

Moo Thru, Remington. Va.


This very hilly ride in central Florida is horrible if you don’t like hills or, officially, “only horrible if you miss it.” Or this year, horrible to ride in it. The weather forecast of rain “later in the day” was woefully off. I cut my ride short to 45 miles, got back to the hotel to relax and watched the rain come down. The temperature never got above 55 degrees and I didn’t feel like getting my bike and my shoes soaked.

Back to the hotel


A mileage goal isn’t usually my goal but I first achieved 10,000 miles in 2019. I did it again in 2020 and 2021 so that became my goal this year too. But because I didn’t ride every day it just seemed harder to reach 10,000 miles. And in some ways, that made it more rewarding.


When I am on a solo ride, I connect my phone to an Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0 speaker on my handlebars. I can listen to music and if loud enough, others can hear me coming on the trail. I have a Sirius XM subscription. My favorite: Yacht Rock although the 50s and 60s music do well too and always Christmas tunes during the season. Cost: Around $30.


Frederick County, Maryland, became one of my favorite places to ride with three covered bridges near Thurmont plus the haunted Sachs Bridge in Gettysburg.

Sachs Bridge


I never thought I would compete for a KOM on the Mapledale Climb but in November I had a good ride and saw I was within reach of a KOM. I had been 9th but finished second that day. Then I saw the profile of the person who held the title – Mighty Mouse. I’m not a fan of people who hide behind fake screen names and there was something about seeing Mighty Mouse that told me I had to claim the crown. And I did.


Domane – 5,884
Pilot – 2,232
Checkpoint – 1,953

The Domane got almost 60% of my miles but the Pilot came back online in late June. Since then the Domane was ridden for 3,029 miles or 58% of my road miles while the Pilot gave me 2,232 miles. The Checkpoint is used for gravel (rare), trails (rare), and bad weather.


In 2020 I was happy when I took four KOM segments. Then last year I somehow took 121. (Don’t ask.) I never expected to take more than a handful in 2022 but Strava said I took 42. Wow! I’ll take them.

The fastest ride was a solo ride. Loop
The fastest walk was getting to EPCOT on time
The longest ride here was Sebring to Tampa, Fla., the second of two 100-mile rides.
On October 8 I rode 125 miles but it was broken into three rides
I don’t know how Strava selected these
My favorite is any pictures of the chickens at MWARBH


DISTANCE – 10,070 (16,206 km) miles. It was my fourth time over 10,000 miles and my fourth consecutive year.

From RideWithGPS

There is a slight difference between the two tracking programs, Strava and RideWithGPS (10,068 vs 10,071) despite the same files being uploaded to both. I don’t worry about the minor discrepancy.


WEIGHT: 178 (just a little bit up from the end of last year)


I have no goals. Safe riding. Happy riding.

Advice from the Jensie


It was chilly, if not cold, at the start. Just 52° (11°C) and pretty windy. There was a forecast of rain moving in in the afternoon. My options were a 100-mile ride or a 70-mile ride. Plus I would be adding the distance to and from the hotel.

I met Scott at the start

I was thinking about the century ride and whether I would have enough time to ride 100 miles and beat the rain. Maybe the weather would force my hand. But there was something else.

Massive start

I have been wearing the Whoop band which measures biometrics. Last night, and the two nights prior to that, my “recovery” rate has been poor. My body is not recovering the way I need it to and therefore a big effort may be hard to achieve.

Just random cyclists

I was out the door by 7:00 a.m. and was at the start by 7:20 a.m. I was ready to roll but wanted to meet a friend first. Scott lives in the area and we planned to meet at 7:30 a.m. But he was running late and we did not meet and get rolling until 8:00 a.m. I felt like everyone who was riding was already on course and ahead of me.

A “private” port-a-john just 10 miles in

As I pedaled the first 15 miles I didn’t feel right. The jump in my legs was not there. Or maybe worse, the enthusiasm I have for riding the bike was missing. There was a group of 30-somethings, probably four men and two women although maybe it was three and three, that went by me. It was a group that I might normally jump into (if they didn’t mind). But I didn’t have the energy to stay with them.

Rest Stop one (of one)

I didn’t need Whoop to tell me that. I was off. I decided then to take the 100-mile ride off the table and do the 70-mile ride. But the weather started turning. There was some spitting rain already and I had to rethink my strategy.

Volunteer at Rest Stop one supporting UVA (he attended)

I remembered what Jens Voigt said when he retired. He loves riding his bike but the two things he will no longer do is suffer and ride in the rain. And I knew that even if I rode 70 miles, that I would be suffering. And I would probably be riding in the rain.

Bikes at Green Mountain (Rest Stop one)

That made my decision easier. There’s something nagging about shortening the route as though one has failed. I had to put that out of my mind and convince myself that it was okay. But I knew that today, it was the right thing to do. This was the fifth time for this event. I have ridden the 100-mile route twice and the 70-mile twice so I knew the route and what I would be seeing or missing. My decision probably would have been different if this was my first event or first century.

Raining during lunch

I came to the 30-mile cutoff and turned. I would go short today. Well, it wasn’t exactly short. I added one extra loop around the lake and there was the distance to and from the event. So I still rode 45 miles.

Back to the hotel

But at the pavilion, as I ate lunch, I watched the rain come down. I knew it was the right decision for me on this day. I rode in the light rain back to the hotel. When I got back I cleaned my bike and then went to the hotel’s whirlpool. It was outside and still only 52° and raining, but it felt so good to slump all the way down in the water.

Relaxing in the whirlpool (photo from the prior day)

I wanted more miles today. But my body said no. And the thought of dealing with soaked shoes and soaked clothes while traveling was one I didn’t want to deal with. There will be other rides but Jens is right – no need to suffer or ride in the rain.

EPILOGUE – I felt very good about my decision today. It rained all afternoon and was generally miserable outside. The thought of soaked shoes while traveling was the worst. I could have washed my clothes but not much to do with the shoes.

Hillclimb Worlds Redemption Tour


Four years ago, retired pro cyclist, Phil Gaimon, invited me to race in the Hillclimb Worlds Championship in Santa Barbara. “It will be fun,” he said. I went but knew everything was against me.

Pacific Ocean – West Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, Calif.

Earlier in 2018, I had a memory-loss head injury. I had a knee replacement. And I was carrying way too many pounds. If that wasn’t bad enough, I rode two of southern California’s toughest climbs, Palomar Mountain and Mount Baldy, the previous two days. I had no legs left.

Two riders climbing Gibraltar Road

What happened that day was that I finished dead last in the world. We went in waves by age group although these were individual time trials. I got dropped by my group before reaching the base of the climb. So I truly was racing the clock.

Gibraltar Road

I think had I stayed with my group I may have been able to win a 2-up sprint at the end. But it doesn’t matter. I am the world’s worst hill climber.

Today was not the ideal day to attempt a do-over but it was the only day I had. I left the Hampton Inn and Suites Hotel in Agoura Hills precisely at sunrise and drove to Santa Barbara. It was farther than I thought but had always been my plan to ride here no matter what. So I would make it happen.

Hang gliders just chilling

It was a beautiful sunny day although a little on the cool side. I wore arm warmers at the start knowing they would be coming off. And I had a technology failure. I’m not sure how it transpired but it did.

I needed to do two things before this trip. The first was to find the hillclimb segment on Strava from four years ago and “star” it so that it would show up in my Live Segments on Wahoo when I rode. The second was to “pin” the route so that the route would show up. Alternatively, I could create one from scratch.

Gibraltar Road

I do not remember doing the former. But I did find the route and edited it to remove two miles of riding back and forth in Santa Barbara. And then I needed to sync this with my Wahoo, which I did around midnight before leaving for LA. I think.

The Pier in Santa Barbara

Actually, I thought I synced this and checked to see that it was there. When I reached Santa Barbara I turned on my Wahoo and did not see the route. And I certainly did not remember the turns we took from the oceanfront to the start of the climb.

However, on my Wahoo app on my phone, the route was there. I don’t know why or how it’s on the app but not on the Wahoo computer itself. So I looked at the map and tried to remember the turns I needed. This would be a mistake.

Gibraltar Road
Rattlesnake Canyon Park

Some did look familiar to me. But every canyon road looks the same after a while and I was climbing. But it didn’t feel right. I stopped. I tried to find out where I was and could see that I was not on the right road. I went back down, turned, and thought I was on the right road until I came to the intersection of Coyote Road and Mountain Road. It wasn’t right.

Gibraltar Road (for real – here’s a sign)

I had to ride back DOWN Mountain Road to get to the start of the climb. But it was a pretty road. Along the way, I passed a house that I didn’t really notice. I noticed the mailbox. It was a piece of art – a cyclist with deliveries in the rear. I would learn this house was owned for 20 years by comedian Steve Martin.

This was Steve Martin’s house for 20 years

I got to the start of the climb and thoughts about abandoning the day came over me. I did not have all day to ride because I would have to return the rental car by 2:00 p.m. in El Segundo.

“Delivery in the rear,” Mailbox sculpture in front of Steve Martin’s house

Without a map, I was playing in my mind how I could time the climb. I knew that I could ride it and once it’s uploaded to Strava the data will be there. But I would like to know how I was doing.

I decided that I would make it a Lap. And then I could display Lap data which would include time and distance. I would switch to kilometers knowing it was a 10 km ride. And I would have to average 6:00 per kilometer to finish in 60 minutes.

Gibraltar Road
Rattlesnake Canyon Park

My time, which got me dead last in the Hillclimb Worlds, was 1:12 (one hour and 12 minutes). I wanted not only to beat it but beat it by enough that it would be clear it was not the worst time in the world.

And thus I started. Whether it’s a canyon road or a cliff road, it sure is pretty. To my surprise, the Live Segment popped up so I would not have to resort to a mishmash display of lap data.

Hang gliding from near the top

The Live Segment data displayed includes distance remaining (10.0 km), time elapsed, prior best time (1:12:23), time ahead or behind, and provides an ETA for the pace one is riding. Just to punish you, it also displays a graphical representation of the entire climb that is color-coded by section depending on the steepness. (Avoid the red)

Gibraltar Road

Almost from the start, I was ahead of my pace. I expected that. Then I started to focus on the ETA. The first time I looked I was on a 58:00 pace. Good, I wanted to continue that. Based on my experience over the weekend at Phil’s Fondo, I seem to improve more significantly on the lesser grades. When the road really gets steep, the 2022 Barry does not seem significantly better than the 2018 Barry. I could see the second half was steeper than the first.

In fact, I went through the first five kilometers in 28 minutes and I knew that double that was 56. Yet my ETA had slipped to 1:00. It also knew there was real pain ahead.

Hang gliders in flight

I gave it my all. My bike was a little clunky. Shifting wasn’t right since I landed at LAX and rebuilt the bike. I did not have access to a pump. Normally that would be OK but since my Saturday flat was refilled with CO2, it bleeds faster. My tire was low. And I did not have perfect rolling resistance as my rear brake rotor was out of true and rubbing.

The last kilometer seems to be the steepest. My ETA was showing 1:00:30 and I was getting it down to 1:00:10. I was watching the countdown to 0 meters remaining and it came and went. It was -4 then -20 and so on. I’m not sure when the climb ended and if it ever displayed my final time. I was deprived of seeing PR displayed on the screen.

It would not be until I finished the ride and uploaded it that I saw the “official” Strava time. And Strava time is official whereas Wahoo time is not (although it is usually the same).

But screw the disappointment of not breaking one hour. I shaved off 12 minutes. That’s huge. But I wasn’t even close to the best of the day. It looks like five of us rode and I was 4th. But all are younger and I’m doing OK for tackling this climb.

Hillclimb Worlds – Proud to wear these socks (now)

In terms of speed, at Hillclimb Worlds, I averaged 5.1 mph. Today was 6.0 mph. That’s 18% faster (than a turtle). But 18%!!! I’m happy.

TIME: 1:00
WEIGHT: 177 lbs.



And a word about the logistics of this trip. I wanted to minimize car rental costs which I did in two ways. First, I did not rent at LAX. The additional fees heaped on the rental cost are best borne by business travelers. Go offsite somewhere.

I rented offsite at Enterprise Car Rental in El Segundo. I avoided the LAX fees. Many places allow you to return vehicles to a different location. Three years ago, Enterprise charged $100 to return the car to LAX. I didn’t even inquire this time.

I arrived Thursday but didn’t need a car until Friday when I drove to Agoura Hills. I made my reservation for 2:00 p.m. Friday returning on Monday at 2:00 p.m. A three-day rental was enough.

LAX shuttle to the hotel

I took a free shuttle from the airport to the Hilton Garden Inn – El Segundo. On Friday I went for a long bike ride (70 miles) and finished at Enterprise Car Rental. I put the bike in the car, drove back to the hotel, and picked up my stuff.

The car was inadequate based on its description as a midsize SUV. It would not hold my bike and my bike case. I asked and the staff (Marissa, actually) at the HGI, told me that I could check it there. I also asked if when I return if I could take their shuttle and they said of course.

Jeep Compass – A “midsize” SUV

I returned the car today at 2:00 p.m. and the Enterprise staff took me back to the hotel. I picked up my bike case, tore down and packed my bike, then took their 4:00 shuttle to LAX. Keep in mind I stayed there on Thursday only, having to stay in Agoura Hills, Friday through Monday.

Bike packed and ready to fly

So a 3-day car rental. No additional shuttle charges to or from hotels. I am quite pleased with how that worked out.

Phil’s Fondo


I was out the door of the hotel shortly after sunrise for the six-mile ride to the start of Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo. I watched the Chocolate Chip route depart at 8:00 a.m. then got in the back of the line for the Sugar Cookie route when Reggie Miller rolled up. I asked him how he was feeling and he said OK. He had a stiff back yesterday and was walking gingerly. Frankie Andreau called for more riders to go to the front. Reggie went up front. I stayed in the back. 

VeloFix – Before rolling out I paid $10 to true a front rotor

We had a neutral rollout with a police escort for three miles. There were a number of riders up ahead. Even though we stayed together to the Westlake Blvd climb, I never saw Reggie again. Imagine that, a world-class athlete 10 years younger than me and I never caught him.

The Chocolate Chip route rolling out

I had no goals planned. Like I have for the past two-plus weeks, I did not display speed or distance. That was not a goal. Stopping at the rest stops was. This was a ride to enjoy. Take it slow if you must, And eat cookies. Lots of cookies.

Good Morning Thousand Oaks!

At the first rest stop, I ate a cookie. The second one came on Pacific Coast Highway and was much too close to the first one. But I stopped and had a cookie. The third one I rode by without stopping. 

Rest stop #1 – Sponsored by UCLA Cycling Club

I was pretty happy that I went over the Westlake Blvd climb in record time (PR). I wasn’t watching speed but Wahoo was displaying Strava Live Segments. I lowered my time by four minutes. 

Descending Mulholland

I was hopeful on PCH I could beat my prior time on a flat stretch. But that was set with a tailwind three years ago and today there was a stiff head or cross headwind. I was losing time on a segment which I wasn’t going to finish because we would turn to Potrero Road before the end of the segment.

View of the Pacific Ocean from Mulholland

A small group went by and it was the only draft I would take all day. There were six riders being led by a guy in an Israel Premier Tech kit. A pro kit by itself doesn’t mean that much as they are available for anyone to purchase. 

Mulholland Drive – The rider farthest up the road on the left is Rick Zabel

The rider was young and strong. I thought we might be trading pulls but he was nose in the wind all out and we were hanging on. It was glorious. 

Rest stop #2 – on PCH

After 4-5 miles he pulled off as we began the approach to Potrero climb. I pulled alongside side of him and thanked him for the monster pull. 

Cookies at Rest #2

As the group pulled away to attack the climb I was next to rider #101. We both remarked on how strong that rider was. As I was reaching the top of Potrero I saw the Israel rider headed back down the road. I remarked that he was probably going to ride it a second time. And I think he did. 

The Cookiemobile would lead us out on the ride

It turned out that was a pro. Rick Zabel who rides for Israel Premier Tech. I also saw him going back up Mulholland as I was descending. And he passed us on the descent on Mulholland. It all makes sense now. 

Rest stop #4 at the top of Potrero

Potrero Road is a beast. I hit the first ramp with a PR then had a mile and a half of a false flat (actually 2-3%) before the real climb began. It’s tough. Some people were walking. One guy broke his chain and had no choice but to walk. Another was paperboying so dramatically that he almost got hit by an oncoming truck. 

Riding on the PCH

Although I had a PR on Potrero, it wasn’t nearly as much as on the other climbs. I think the lesser grades I pulled back more time. But at 16% grade, I creep. I wasn’t going to pull back time on the steepest section. Or perhaps, this year we hit Westlake early and Potrero late in the ride. In the past Potrero was at Mile 8 and Westlake around Mile 20 so maybe I was fresher in the past.

Waiting for coffee at the start

At the top of Potrero Road, I stopped at the Rest Stop. Half of a cookie was enough. Plus a banana. The finish was just 12 miles away. 

A cookie on PCH

But first, three more Live Segments. The longest was an 8-minute effort in which I shaved off one minute. That was followed by two smaller climbs. Then finally it was downhill or flat, flat and windy, to the finish. 

Scary in Ventura County


PR-Westlake Blvd Climb – 18:35 (Old 23:26) Today: 313/451 All-time: 4214/7108
PR-Potrero Grade – 18:06 (Old 18:52). Today: 214/432 Age 44/105 All-time: 3905/6704


I took almost five minutes off the Westlake Climb but only 46 seconds of Potrero. Yet today I was only in the top 31% while on Potrero I was above the line (top 51%). I am thinking Potrero is so steep in its upper pitches that it didn’t matter how much I weighed – I was going to go slow,. But the weight difference in three years paid big dividends on Westlake.


PR-Phil’s Cookie Fondo Westlake – 15:47 (Old 19:35) Today: 307/459
Potrero Wall – 10:12 (PR – 10:02). This was surprising. Hmm

Pizza chefs

PR-Potrero Final Ramp – 3:56 (Old 4:02). This section is 0.27 miles at 14% grade. I’m going to go slow no matter what. Or fall over. Today 199/430 Age 45/106

DISTANCE: 59.6 miles
AVERAGE: 14.9 mph
WEIGHT: 177 lbs
COOKIES: 2.5 (plus one more at lunch)

It's Phil's Fondo. It was a good ride with lots of cookies.
At the silent auction, I was the high bidder on an ELEMNT Roam

Hanging with Mr. Miller


My plan was simple although I blew it yesterday. Today I would ride the shorter of the two routes offered for Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo. I was already in a huge deficit by accidentally riding 70 miles yesterday.

Riders gathered at Whizen Plaza

I left the Hampton Inn Agoura Hills hotel and rode the mile and a half to the Whizen Plaza. Retired pro, Frankie Andreau, was the emcee getting the rides started. The 45-mile “Chocolate Chip Cookie” ride would leave at 9:00 a.m. while the 35-mile “Sugar Cookie” ride would depart at 9:30 a.m. While 35 miles doesn’t seem like much, these have some big climbs in them. In this case, there was 4,500′ of gain over 35 miles.

Phil Gaimon and Reggie Miller lead the riders out

At the start, there were only about 20 of us remaining for the Sugar Cookie route. Almost everyone went with the first group. Frankie asked how many first-timers there were and more than half raised their hands. But I knew from my ride four years ago not to do the longer route to have something left for tomorrow.

The Cookie Car

We rolled out and followed the “Cookie” car for two miles until it pulled off. We were in a group although it was splitting up as the roads turned up. I did not want to ride in the front of the group but it was the pace I was comfortable at. So there I was in the front group of nine when we came to rest stop One. While some were debating whether to stop I knew we must get a chocolate chip cookie.

Rest stop one – Cookies!

We stopped and I got a chocolate chip cookie. I split a banana with another rider and was debating whether to roll out with the group again and let them go. That decision was made for me. I got my bike off the rack and the rear tire was flat. A quick inspection and I found a goathead in the tire.

Goathead. An invasive species normally in grasses – not on the road.

There were still three riders behind me as one had a triple flat – also goatheads. They stopped at the rest stop and saw me. But they left before I was finished. I thought they might wait for me but two of the riders, Razzle Dazzle, were clearly together, and I think the third one was too. So they were a unit and I can see that they may not have even thought about waiting for the last rider on course.

Cookies. Why we ride.

Decision made. The CO2 gave me enough air to continue but I did not want to ride the route without a spare and another CO2 cartridge. I told the guy at the rest stop that I was turning around. He seemed surprised but I was comfortable with that decision. I just wanted to get back, and get a new tube and CO2.

Mulholland at Malibu Creek Park. I caught and passed the rider in blue.

I held my breath. On the descents, the bike did not handle well. The squishy tire required me to brake more than I wanted to. But I came to the Mulholland climb I had done before a couple of times. And this time I was more than one minute ahead of my PR, even with a soft tire. That alone made the ride wonderful.

Barry with Frankie Andreau

Arriving back, I was first. Well, I didn’t complete the miles anyone else did. I got a new tube and CO2 from VeloFix. I grabbed lunch and sat with Frankie Andreau. Reggie Miller, the former US Olympian and NBA All-Star joined us. It was fun meeting Reggie. I called him Mr. Miller and he corrected me – “please call me Reggie.” I guess I was hanging with Reggie.

Barry and Reggie Miller

DISTANCE: 22.4 miles
SPEED: 14.5 mph

The Best Highway — to Avoid


It’s one day before Phil’s Cookie Gran Fondo. I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn – El Segundo. Yesterday I did a short test ride after I rebuilt the bike. I reserved a rental car and would pick it up at 2:00 p.m. I had time for a ride. Even a long ride.

Bike trail in Santa Monica

Pro cyclist, Krista Doebel-Hickok, posted a ride yesterday on Pacific Coast Highway. It looked like a recommendation and I scrubbed plans for a shorter ride (35 miles) and decided I would do this. A quick search and I found a site called Spinlister that referred to PCH From Santa Monica To Malibu as the “perfect California bike ride.”

In fairness, there were some warnings that this trip wasn’t for everybody. But I decided it was good enough for me. The views of the ocean, the sound of the surf breaking on the beaches, and the smell of the fresh salt-water air would offset any negatives the highway experience might throw at me. Right?

El Segundo Trailhead

The trip through El Segundo to the beach was through a mostly residential area with lots of stop signs. I counted 12 and most were four-way stops with traffic so I had to stop and put a foot down for each one. It wasn’t bad, in fact, it was a pleasant ride. But it wasn’t one where average speed would be great.

Presented without comment

Once I made it to the beach I got on a bike trail. It was the Marvin Braude Bike Trail. It is generously wide and weaves back and forth along the beach. At Culver City, it becomes a combination of urban bike paths and bike lanes through Venice. There I picked up the bike trail again.

Riding between the water

In Venice, the bike trail next to the ocean got very crowded. I am sure it was nothing on a Friday morning in October compared to a Sunday in August. Large parts of the trail were two paths. One was marked exclusively for cyclists while the other was for pedestrians. Despite the presence of the large green markings for Bikes Only, this did not stop many people from walking among the cyclists. We shared the trail with many roller-bladers who were logically welcomed on this path rather than with the walkers.

Rollerbladers. Welcomed,

The trail came to an end north of Santa Monica and then the adventure on the Pacific Coast Highway began. This is a four-lane highway with a small shoulder. There are stretches where cars and parked, and worse, a food truck. The food truck, in order to open to customers on the grass side, parked right up to the white lane. Cyclists have nowhere to go except into the traffic lane.

World-famous Santa Monica Pier

Traffic here, Santa Monica to Malibu, was heavy. While a Friday morning around 10:00 a.m. seems better than rush hour or possibly weekends, it may not have been. Bumper-to-bumper traffic creeping in this stretch would be safer than the cars whizzing by at 50-55 mph.

Diversion off PCH and through Malibu
Malibu Road – it runs parallel to PCH for 2.5 miles

My ultimate destination was Point Dume Recreational Area. There were no signs to the area from the south as I went in through a residential area. It looks like a beautiful area for hiking with absolutely wonderful overlooks. It is here where there are some of the best viewing areas for humpback whales migrating from December to March.

Point Dume Natural Preserve

Going north, there were a number of pinch points where I had to merge onto the highway. At each one I stopped, took a photo, took two looks behind me to make sure it was clear. And I relied heavily on my Garmin Varia radar.

Food trucks blocking the PCH shoulder

Going south, there were a lot more times that I had to ride in the traffic lane. Despite the presence of one sign which said Bikes May Use Full Lane, I wondered if any drivers saw the sign. More importantly, I felt that none cared.

Point Dume

I was so thankful I got back safely to Santa Monica and picked up the trail again. I diverted to In-N-Out Burger in Culver City. It was busy and I found a dad with his son, maybe 13 years old, and told the son I’d give him $1 to watch my bike while I went in to order. It was perfect.

In-N-Out Burger, Culver City

I head back to El Segundo to pick up my rental car. On the trail.

I gave him one dollar to watch my bike

The bottom line is the ocean views and saltwater air did not counter the angst of riding on the PCH. I would not recommend this stretch of road. I’m glad I did it once but I am not looking to ride it again.

To be certain, this is only the stretch from Santa Monica to Malibu which is a 💩 show. About eight miles north of Point Dume on the PCH is where Mulholland Highway meets the PCH. We ride this stretch north during Phil’s Fondo. And this stretch is fine for most road cyclists. Wider shoulders and no pinch points. Also better ocean views. In short, avoid PCH from Santa Monica to Malibu. But further north, enjoy the ride.

DISTANCE: 69.5 miles
WEIGHT: 177 lbs

When the Magic Happens – Sea Gull 2022


Last night I stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites, West Ocean City. I was asleep at 10 p.m. hoping to get a full eight hours before getting up at 6 a.m. I was most interested in my Whoop Band recovery score which seems to always be poor before a big event.

Assateague State Park

It did not disappoint. Yesterday I did an easy 22-mile ride in Easton on the way here. I didn’t want to not ride at all and this short ride would not stress me. My Whoop score for the ride was an easy 13.0.

I went to breakfast at 6:30 a.m. I sat down to eat and then looked at my recovery score. It was only 31%. I was already in the red. That signifies that I have not recovered but not riding was not an option. Riding and sucking would be.

Whoop Recovery score before the ride. This is not good.

I knew no one who was riding today but hoped to see some riders from the Blair Cycling Club (Altoona, Pa.). I used to see them but haven’t for 3-4 years so either we don’t have good timing or they no longer come to this event.

The weather was cool. It reached 80℉ (26.7℃) and I certainly hoped for more of the same. But a cold front came in overnight. It was 55℉ (12.8℃) at the start. Despite a brief appearance of the sun at the rolling start, it was gray and windy.

I didn’t want to be fixated on speed. I removed the speed display from my Wahoo. And I switched the units from miles to kilometers. It’s different. They go by faster than miles but to see “164 km remaining” on the head unit at the start was sort of daunting.

The sun peaked out for a minute at the start

I wore my red Roosters kit, arm warmers, and a vest. Many riders had knee or leg warmers. Even spotted some with balaclavas. I started riding and passing people. I should have been mindful of riding the first third easy, the second third normal, and having enough to finish strong.

Instead, I had a tailwind and took advantage of it. I was passing many riders and passed a guy on a blue bike. I noticed that he picked up the pace and followed me. He never quite sat on my wheel but I knew he was behind me. Eventually, he came beside me and complimented me on my pace. Then he added that he hoped I didn’t mind him “hanging back here because I kept a great pace.” Ha! After a compliment it was OK.

Rest-2, Newark, Md.

About 10 minutes later, a guy wearing a Marines jersey came flying by, followed by two riders. The third rider was the guy that had been following me. I jumped on. We went a mile or two when the guy with the big engine pulled off. Apparently, he thought he was pulling friends and asked “Where are they?” And then he sat up.

Crossing the Pawpaw Creek

The second guy took a turn. When he pulled off he dropped too. I then followed the guy who had followed me for so long. That was fair. We came to a Live Segment on Strava and I wanted to set a PR. But not by sitting on. So I moved to the front and pulled him to the end. I got my PR. We turned the corner and he was gone. Damn.

Snow Hill, Md.

I came to Rest-1 at MP23 in Snow Hill and kept going with a brief foot down because of the foot traffic. There was a group there called Heavyweight Cycling. Most were big guys. I asked where they were from and was told Raleigh-Durham. I never saw them after the stop although they were motoring before it. Pretty cool kits.

Chincoteague Bay

In Newark (MP42) I kept going through Rest-2. The location changed from last time. I did not see if it was a water-only stop or food. Actually, I put a foot down and opened my second pack of Energy Chews. I ate a couple then took off.

Chincoteague Bay

It started to rain. It was more spitting than anything. But it was gray and windy and I thought if I’m getting soaked then I will look to turn this boat around. I’ve ridden this event enough times to know that I don’t need to. The roads were wet but the rain didn’t last long. Actually, my kit wasn’t even wet. The gray soon gave way to sunshine.

Train station in Newark, Md.

It was a nice run into the state park at Assateague. The port-a-johns were busy. I went for food. I took a bagel. One bagel. Then I turned my nose into the wind. It would be a 30-mile headwind.

The Verranzano Bridge at Assateague Is.

My goal, if I had one, was a six-hour century. I would need to average 16.7 mph. I had no clue how I was doing because I wasn’t displaying speed. And if I did, it was in kilometers so that may or may not have been useful. But I knew this. When I came through Berlin I knew I had 30 miles or so and probably two hours and finish by 2:00 p.m. – and that would give me a 6-hour century including stops.

Assateague Island

At 1:00 p.m. I had 27.5 km remaining and I figured I would finish by 2:00. As I came to Rest-4 at Adkins Mill (MP83) I rolled through.

Food tent at Rest-3, Assateague Is.

I also knew then that I was screwed on nutrition. One bagel is all I grabbed from four rest stops. No fluids. After the ride when I checked, I had consumed slightly more than one bottle of fluid over 100 miles.

Rest-3 at Assateague Is.

I continued on. After going through Berlin, a larger group went by and I started to go with them. But this was a solo ride. I passed two accident scenes with a cyclist down. Both were in groups. I don’t know these people but I know they are not professional bike handlers. It wasn’t worth it riding in the big groups that form on this ride.

Muscrat Love. I see this guy almost every year.

I found a side road outside of Berlin to go down and have a nature break. As I got back on the road a group of Major Taylor Cycling Club riders went by. They were going just a little faster than me and I was drawn in. It was easier than fighting the wind.

The horses on Assateague. They were the only ones I saw but I saw some.

Not sure how long they were together but there soon was a split with half the group riding off the front. Since I was a passenger in the back I was caught out by the split. The new group was slower and smaller.

Salisbury cheerleaders at the finish

It was here that my ride changed. Every year I have done this ride there was something special about it. The first couple of years I met and rode with some riders from the Blair Cycling Club (Altoona, Pa.). In 2018 I met Sandra. She had been dropped by two friends and I basically towed her the last 60 miles. Then she left without saying goodbye or thank you. In 2019 I met Andrew & Staci, two cyclists riding their first Metric. There was always something magical but not this year. Not in 2022, nothing.

I rode solo most of the day. I was reflecting on this may be my last Sea Gull. There was nothing special about this ride. Around M90 we passed a young lady struggling. By struggling I mean she looked like she was capable of going faster but was pedaling squares.

I was at the back and I told her that she would do well to hang with us. She thanked me and she jumped in. We were in twos at that time so she was on the back with me. Sarah* made it a mile at pace but then tailed off. I quickly decided to drop with her.

Brief convo – “Have you done this century before (not have you done a century before)?” And Sarah told me this was her first. I knew then I would help get her home, if not at a great pace then at least at her pace. Although we rode side by side a little bit, I mostly tried to have her follow my wheel as we were into a brutal headwind (last 30 miles). I never could get the pace right as she kept losing my wheel.

But for the last 10 miles we talked and I encouraged Sarah. Some of it was cycling. Some of it was just about life. This may have been the best I felt towards the end of a century but it was nice for me too to have a diversion. She made it and I was as proud as she was. (But she refused to ride an additional 25 miles with me.)

The Finish

For a ride that had nothing for 90 miles, just being able to help Sarah gave my ride meaning. It was a great Sea Gull Century.

As for those additional 25 miles. I love the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry. I rode it yesterday on my way to Ocean City and thought that after the Century I would stop there on the way home. The reason was two-fold. First, this would be my last planned ride in Easton, Md. for the year. And second, I wanted to see how my body would respond to 125 miles. Even more, how it would respond to 25 more after riding 100 with a little break (driving).

A boat in the Tred Avon River, Oxford, Md.

I drove to Oxford and parked at the dock. I started riding and I felt good. There was no sluggishness in the legs. As I headed toward Easton I saw I was seconds off my best pace but could not lift the pace anymore. So the legs felt good but I really couldn’t dig much deeper.

I then had this fear. I would miss the last ferry. I saw a sign yesterday that it was at 6:15 p.m. I would have to ride hard the entire way. If I missed the ferry I would have to turn back and the 22-mile loop would be a 44-mile ride after the Sea Gull. And I would be pushing darkness.

Crossing the Tred Avon River

When I got to the last three miles I was rolling. I came in 1:00 faster than my previous PR. I had already been designated the “Local Legend” of the “Bellevue Breezeway” with four attempts in the last 90 days. This would be ride number five.

The Talbot, Bellevue, Md.

I got to the ferry as it was coming in. I wanted to think I made the last ferry of the day but after I disembarked I saw it make another trip to Bellevue.

The Talbot

I’ve been riding well and finished the Century with a 17.9 mph average. Maybe better, I didn’t have a drop off in my last 22 miles as I finished the loop with an 18.1 average. Overall, I averaged 18.0 on the day. Very well down (pat on my own back here).

A proper way to finish 125 miles

Maybe most importantly, this Sea Gull had a purpose. Maybe I’ll return. You never know when magic will happen.

End of a long day. Chesapeake Bay Bridge

DISTANCE: 125 miles
SPEED: 18.0 mph
WEIGHT: 176 pounds