Sea Gull Century – The Dry Roads Edition

IMMEDIATE REACTION – While it should never be about speed this ride tends to be about speed. I have never failed to do this in less than six hours (16.7 mph) until today. In most rides, I can jump in with other riders for a while but today was a solo ride. Yet in 2020 when this event was canceled due to a cold with a scary-sounding name, I still averaged 18 mph solo. I didn’t have the energy and should have stopped at the cafe at the entrance to Assateague Island. It was a Bonk.


The forecast for Saturday looked grim. Showers in the morning with steady rain in the afternoon. Half an inch of rain. Mid 60s.

Parking at the Hampton Inn, Fruitland, Md.

I watched the forecast all week and decided on Wednesday to cancel my two-night stay in Ocean City for Friday-Saturday and booked one night for Thursday at the Hampton Inn-Fruitland (Salisbury). I would do my own Sea Gull Century on Friday and take advantage of the nice weather.

Hampton Inn and Suites, Fruitland, Md.

I have ridden in the rain a lot. If the temperature’s warm enough and you are with friends then it might be okay. But I wasn’t planning to ride with anyone at the SGC. I have ridden this event enough that I knew or thought I knew every turn. I didn’t need to ride this in the rain.

Seatick Rd

It is a rain or shine event along with a no refund policy. I had paid my $100 and really wanted to ride this 100-mile course. Fresh off some personal records for speed in Corolla, North Carolina, I was in my peak end-of-season fitness. And I wanted the ferry.

The new Scottish Highland Creamery, Oxford, Md.

On Thursday I drove to Salisbury but first stopped in Easton for a St. Michaels loop ride. I went out to St. Michaels, rode through the beautiful residential section, cut over to the trail, and then headed to the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry. The operator was Brooke, a lovely woman who had been from Warrenton, Virginia. And stopped for ice cream, of course.

Oxford Ferry

Dinner last evening was across the street at the Texas Roadhouse. I ordered a 6-oz. sirloin, a cup of chili, and corn. That seemed to be an adequate meal. A the Hampton Inn my breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal (but probably not much bigger than a cup), a scoop of scrambled eggs, and a thin-sliced ham patty. Should have gone with the waffle. Or lots of oatmeal.

Perryhawkin Church Road

Last year it was overcast and almost cold. I blew by the first two rest stops stopping only at the one at Assateague State Park. I took only a bagel. Two bottles of fluid shouldn’t have been enough but it was. Because I rode well last year I wasn’t worried about nutrition today. I carried two SIS gels, two chewable carbs, one pack of Honey Sticker chews, and a banana I got from breakfast. And two bottles.

SGC Markings on the Road

I was ready to roll and reviewed my directions. On Tuesday an email had gone out to all riders:

IMPORTANT NOTE: **Route Detour** Please be aware we were required to add a last-minute detour to the route affecting BOTH metric and century riders. Updated RidewithGPS links can be found on our website (

Somerset, Md.

Despite knowing every turn of the route I went to the SCG page and downloaded the route to my Wahoo. And indeed the route was different this year compared to the past. We were no longer going through Snow Hill (a neat little town), along the bayside, or through Newark. Whether this was temporary for this year or permanent I do not know.

Washington High School – Rest Stop One

It was 55℉ (12.8℃) when I started. I wore my Schleck Xperience kit, arm warmers, and a vest. The low rising morning sun brought much-needed warmth and it was very pleasant riding until I came to one of the forested sectors. The temperature seemed to drop 10 degrees inside the forest and the sun was completely blocked from reaching the road. It wasn’t until three hours into the ride that I finally removed the vest. The warm warmers came off 30 minutes after that.

Porta-johns are the most welcome feature at Rest Stop One

I had made my own route change. Instead of leaving from the college at the official start, I would ride out the door from my hotel in Fruitland. It was less than one mile before I would pick up the route of the SGC. I could return to the college for my check-in to pick up my swag (t-shirt).

Maggs Gym at Salisbury University

The first rest was set up at Washington High School in Somerset, Md. The porta-johns were all in place as was a tent for the food and snacks. It was two miles after this stop where I came to the first fork in the road. My map had me going straight on Dublin Road but the painted SCG markings turned right on Arden Station Road. I first followed the markings but then did a U-turn. Once I was no longer following my Wahoo but some paint in the road I could be in trouble. I have missed marked turns before but never missed a turn on the Wahoo. In Wahoo I trust(ed).

Had a great bib number this year

The routes came back together, maybe at Mitchell and Dublin Roads. Two other times the painted directions and my Wahoo downloaded map would disagree. I always followed Wahoo.

Pusey Branch, near Snow Hill

Why the change in route I do not know. It could be for safety or police reasons as the old route to Snow Hill and Newark featured crossings of busy US 113. A few years ago there was a light that cyclists used to cross 113 near Newark that went onto Newark Road. That featured an odd grade crossing of railroad tracks that many riders crashed on. The newer version featured riding on 113, with the help of police, but they were there for hours stopping traffic.

Berlin – It is much more quaint than this photo

The new route featured many more miles in the country. The roads were “heavy” (chip and seal) and my speed was slow. Once out to Berlin, it was the same run into Assateague Island. A park ranger told me 3-4 years ago that for his event they try to move all the wild horses to the south end of the island to avoid the crowds of cyclists.

Assateague Island Hill Climb

I did not stop today at the Maryland State Park which is where the main lunch rest stop is for the SGC. Instead, I turned right to go to Assateague Island National Park. I have a pass to get me in. Before I reached the entrance I came upon three horses grazing. I said hello, took a photo, and then headed back.

Assateague Island

There was one small change from the past years’ route. Instead of following Sinenpuxtant Road today’s route was to follow Assateague Road back to Berlin. That saved two miles and at that point was probably just to shave miles since the new route was already over 100 miles in length.

Assateague Island. Watch your wheels.

I had decided to get something to eat in Berlin. I was thinking the convenience store called Uncle Willie’s. But when I arrived the clientele hanging around outside did not give me a good feeling about leaving my bike behind while I went inside to make a purchase. I continued on.

Uncle Willie’s

The SGC route takes riders around the beautiful downtown in Berlin but I chose to ride through it. I found a burger place and then made a stupid decision as I usually do when I am tired. I decided that time was more important than food and would just roll on to the end. I had less than 50 km to go.

100k to go. This was a milestone today as I felt sluggish all day.

As I got closer I was feeling very sluggish. No power was coming from my legs. I was just pedaling – maybe pedaling squares in cycling parlance. With 12 km to go I turned off the route back to the college and changed it to route to start. I didn’t need to go to the college on my bike. That could be sketchy too to leave it outside unlocked.

Assateague Island. Looking at the Atlantic Ocean.

I headed back to the Hampton Inn. I hadn’t been tracking average speed and even if I did, I display it in kilometers so I wouldn’t know what my goal was. But when I uploaded my ride to Strava and saw my average I was disappointed my speed wasn’t higher. But I was bonked.

THE FUTURE: “Never say never. But never.” (Mike Tomlin). I’m not saying I will never do this event again but doubtful. Of course, this would change if a friend or friends are going and want to ride in a group. Last year for $100 (?) I got a T-shirt. And a bagel. I acknowledge that free snacks and drinks are available on course at four places but I typically don’t take advantage of them.


If I want to stay in Salisbury the hotels are much more expensive the weekend of the SGC if you can reserve one. In my case, the Hampton was $82 more per night (tonight vs. Thursday night). A better route for me is a solo ride starting in West Ocean City and riding to Salisbury, saving Assateague for near the end. I always like building towards the big crescendo.

Windsock. Lots of red (wind in my face)

It’s a fun ride. A flat but windy course. But I don’t need the event to ride. I doubt that I will come back specifically for this event. But never say never.

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