Best Century Yet, How could it not be…

Well I road my century last Saturday the 19 th.  Reach the Beach,  104.9 miles, early season ride in Oregon.  Weather could be an issue.  36oo feet of climbing 50% of which is in the first 20 miles.

As I have mentioned my training was set to be 10 weeks, but sickness set in and left me literally off the bike for 8 days, and I only got 8 weeks of training, and even got some strange cold 2 weeks out from the ride, but was able to train thru that one.

Last year I made the ride in 6 hrs 11 minutes and my goal was to break the 6 hour mark this year.  I took last years course data and plugged it into the Garmin and changed the MPH from 17 to 17.4 mph.  this would just about do it.

the day prior I had the Day off work and did my Pre century rituals to a T.

I cleaned the Bike, lubed the bike and redid my bar tape as some gaps were developing.

Next I did the 90 min easyish ride as Al Painter suggests,with 2 90 second leg openers.  I have a loop around town that I can do twice, no big hills, but one long 3% consistent stretch about perfect for the Leg openers. It was a nice ride.  I took the Leg openers to task and felt I really put out a big effort on that stretch once per lap.

then I got our travel trailer ready for the wife & Kids to go to the finish and wait. (its at the beach so its not torture)

after they left 5 pm.

Then it was Haircut time.  I did this my first year and now I enjoy it.  this year I went with 1/8 inch on the sides and a 1/4 inch thick mohawk across the top, about 2 inches wide. perfection.

Then Dinner half a 12 inch pizza.  and cook up some waffles for breakfast.  time to pin the Jersey, lay out all the bars and drink mixes.  then about 8 pm Race across the Sky.  I love this movie and it has become very inspirational to me.  some of the side stories are just astounding.  that is a HARD race and somehow they manage it.

9:30 time for bed.  fall asleep reasonably soon, but about 3:30 started not sleeping so well. figured I got about 6 hours sleep max.  Pretty typical before a long ride.  up officially at 5 breakfast, shower, dress, and added some embrocation to the legs. final load of gear and leave the house about 6:30.  Had wanted to be out at 6 but it was 39 degrees and I was in no hurry to get out in the cold on the bike.

Park about 1.6 miles from the start, so I dont have to worry about parking and towing etc close to the start. easy little ride to warm up, all feels good.  Get to the start and one last bathroom break.  ready to roll about 7am.

First leg is 14 miles with some rollers and small hills.  settle in with a couple fast guys one with a radio shack kit from last year, looks good in person, easy to follow.

Ran this section at 18.5 mph.  not bad to start but section 2 is the big hill that will slow things down.

Section 2 is 8.8 miles 950 feet of elevation and the steepest sections of the course. I ran this section at 15.7 mph and was literally not passed by any riders,  strava has me at 10th of 75 on this section. Not at all in a group over this hill and better that was as staying in a group can slow things down in alot of cases.

so far 22 miles at 17.5 mph.  already over my goal and only 1000 feet of climbing the balance of the 80 miles. feeling pretty good at this point.

the next 2 sections of 18.1 miles and 9.9 miles.  both small rollers no big climbs.  section 3 came in at 19.8 mph, found a great group and we were really moving pretty good.  section 4 found another good group and we drilled it at 21 mph.

this puts us at the half way point and I have bumped the average to 18.8.  seriously Im starting to worry about the end and all the wind that this ride is know for in the last 15-30 miles.  but Im loving being ahead of schedule.

Now is leg 5 and I done really find a group in fact I am not really in contact with any other riders.  its 13 miles and I am breaking wind for myself.  Im pushing pretty good but again a bit worried about the future,  I eventually about mile 8 start to pass a few slower groups then about the 5th group find a group of 3 that are faster than the others but obviously slower than Ive been going,  I am ready for a rest so I sit in with them, then after a min or 3 we are moving again, up in the 21 mile range for the last 3 miles.  just like that we are at the next stop.  finished the mostly solo section at 19.9 mph.  Ill take that any day of the week 60+ miles into a ride.

at this stop the lady in the group says Hey, we will be leaving in a bout 5 you can join our group if you like.  Heck yeah I say.  pretty compatible and good pacing I like it,  the next section is a bit difficult in that it has the only Highway section, and can be windy.  Well the wond was not too bad, with the HWY its more difficult to pass slower riders due to car traffic. but we mad the next 12 miles at 19.3 mph.  this takes us to the Lunch stop, before th last hill climb of consequence, and then downhill into the wind to the beach.

to this point 76 miles in I have averaged 19 mph. and things are looking good for a great final time.

The next section is 14 miles and climbs 525 feet in 10 miles then a quick 4 mile descent.  it winds and curves thru the forest. and is just striking in its beauty.  we are really hitting the climb until we lose one in our group so we stop and wait for her (about 2 minutes)  I seem to be leading the charge up the hill,  David has legs today apparently and I still cant believe how well the pacing is going.  the 14 miles is at 19.9 mph.  and the descent portion was Sweet.  Averaging 26 mph, I am #2 of 86 on the descent and only off the #1 spot by a couple seconds.  we were moving.

Last was the final descent to the beach & the last 5 mile windblown slog along the beach Flat and Slow.

the last section I came in at 19mph.  14 miles.  I was running solo as my group could not keep up, and I was just working with who i could to get thru the wind.  I am 14th on this section, so not bad at all.

Well my final time as you can imagine was nothing short of shocking to me.  I took 40 minutes off last years time.  40 minutes,  seriously,  I kept expecting my garmin to be broken or in KPH setting or who know what.

Final time was 5:32 for 104.9 miles.  final average was 18.9 MPH.  Blew me away.

my firs thought was I can never ride this century again as how can I ever replicate this.  but I likely can.

this WAS an epic Day.    I have another 104 planned for June 2nd, and I hope to do well there also.


Set 8 PBs on the ride and a couple KOMs.  I am 6th of 18 on the full ride on Strava, but that includes breaks so not sure how to look at that data.




  • I loved reading this account. One idea for doing the ride again is to set a completely different goal. Maybe help a friend finish their first century.

  • Fantastic, David!!! That’s one awesome average – wow! Al’s leg openers work, too. I highly recommend them to my friends, but most don’t do them. They cannot seem to understand how on earth they possibly could, but they do!

    Anyway, I understand how you wouldn’t want to do the ride, again. :) Although if you did this good through the challenges you had, imagine what you could do next year!

    Thanks for sharing, David. It’s nice to read positive stories.

  • Awesome story David and congratulations on a huge PB :-)
    It is a wonderful thing when the body clicks on the day of a big event and you ride better than you could imagine.
    That Al Painter just may know a thing or two about training ;-)