Sunday, June 7, 2009

The 100 Grand

Saturday was the big day...the day I've been looking forward to and preparing for for almost a year - the 100 Grand!

It. Was. Awesome.

I arrived at about 7:30am to get my wrist band and the map of the route. My friend, Cat, called me to let me know she was running late. My other friends, Melissa and Ben, were supposed to be coming from Chicago to join us, too. Unfortunately, their car broke down on the way to GR last night, so they didn't make it. A mechanic informed them later that someone had put tampons in their gas tank. Classy, huh?

So, Cat arrived and we started the ride at 8:30. The first thing I noticed was how difficult the map was to read. Fortunately, every turn in the whole route was marked with a color coded arrow indicating which direction to go for each of the distance options. It was very well organized, and I hope every ride I do from now on has similar markings. I didn't have to remember to watch for streets...just look for the bright neon spray paint. I loved it.

The first rest stop was at 21.3 miles. They had lots of snacks and fruit, water and Gatorade and a bake sale to keep us fueled up. I bought a peanut butter, chocolate covered rice crispy treat that tasted amazing! We also ran into lots of women from the group ride. My in-laws were also at the ride, but they started earlier than us riding with some fast Bissell riders, and we never saw them again after the start.

At the first rest stop (I'm in yellow, Cat's in red)

The second rest stop was at 40.4 miles. At this point, I was beginning to have some doubts about my endurance. I was feeling nauseous and tired. However two things at this rest stop actually restored my energy and excitement - lunch and potties. They provided chicken wraps, BBQ sandwiches, was tasty. And apparently, my body needed to "get rid of some no longer needed materials," so the nice clean bathroom was quite welcome. After this, I felt great and was ready to keep going.

Feeling unsure but ready to keep going

At this point, the ride split up. Those doing the shorter distances turned one direction and those doing the full 105 miles turned another. It was pretty lonely on the long route, except for a large group from Herman Miller who came up behind us. At this point, I had my only mechanical issue - I dropped my chain while shifting. But I easily slipped it back into place, and off we went.

As Cat and I and the Herman Miller group were waiting to cross a busy street, Cat didn't want to clip out, so she started riding circles around us. As she came around behind me, she cut it too close and hit my back tire falling over and knocking me over with her. We both got a scraped knee out of the deal. It was kind of hilarious!

Our minor battle wounds

The third rest stop came at 66.2 miles. This stop was memorable for how awesome the trail mix tasted! It was just what we needed. I couldn't believe how good I still felt at this point in the ride. I was now past my longest ride ever, and I was ready to keep going. The entire route was hilly. I didn't know Grand Rapids had that many hills! And some directions presented a nasty head wind. Even so, I felt like we kept a pretty good pace going.

Still feeling great at 66 miles

The fourth and final rest stop was back at the park where we had lunch. More cookies and fruit to snack on. A few of the riders who've done the 100 Grand before informed us that the last part of the ride is the hardest. I was ready to tackle it!

No! No more! Just kidding.

The final 25 miles were indeed the hardest. They saved the biggest hills for the end. Cat and I started counting down every five miles and rewarding ourselves with twizzlers for making it each time.

My awesome hubby was waiting for us at the finish - my own personal cheering squad! He even brought me a taco! What a sweety.

The total ride distance was 103 miles, and I honestly could have kept going. Our average speed was 14mph - slower than I expected but very acceptable considering all the hills and wind and not riding in a group. The whole ride took us 9 hours, including a good hour of stop time. My bike performed wonderfully, and the weather was great. Around 70 degrees with the rain holding off until after we finished. I am very happy and ready to do another century! Maybe the Holland 100 in July...

We did it!


My route map


  1. it was saweet! thanks for the fun day!

  2. Awesome! What a great accomplishment! I've yet to do a full century - hopefully this summer. Way to go!

  3. Congratulations! What a ride!!

  4. Congratulations! Most rides around here have rest stops every 12-14 miles, so I was surprised to see how few and far apart yours were. Sounds like yours had a better selection of food, tho.
    A hundred miles is a challenge, but with the proper preparation, it's very doable.

  5. You rock!! Wait to go- I love the fun pics. Looks like you had a blast :)

  6. Congrats on your first (but I'm certain, not your last) Century ride! I enjoyed reading about your experience because it reminded me of MY first Century.

    I too had that moment of "UGH!" at the 40 mile mark. Getting past that really helps. The long ride also shows you how much eating and putting back some of the calories you're burning really affects your performance.

    Awesome job!!!

  7. You started at 0830 and finished when?

  8. Congratulations and great job!