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Certifiable CyclePath! (Notes on my First Century+)

Monday, September 27, 2010

I had such a WONDERFUL time on my first Century Ride this past Saturday as part of the Multiple Sclerosis CitytoShore Fund-raiser. My Team Captain and I cycled from Cherry Hill to Ocean City, NJ which included an extra 25 mile loop so that we could rack up 100 miles on Sat. followed by another 75 miles on our Sunday return trip to Cherry Hill.

Here's the tune running through my mind as I was gearing up for this event:

Our early departure Sat. @ 6:30 a.m.:

How many cyclists were there for the event...? Over SEVEN THOUSAND cyclists of ALL stripes! I loved the name of one group: CyclePaths...and am happily snatching that title for myself! :

My worries about zigging where I should zag and inadvertently colliding with others, despite the numbers of cyclists, were groundless...everything went SO SMOOTHLY!

The weather was PHENOMENAL...85 & sunny on Sat., 75 & partly sunny on Sun.

There is something so vibrant and soul-shaking about witnessing such vistas out on the open road moving miles and miles on the power of one's own legs, sailing right by gas stations, untethered by the pumps...a sense of freedom, power and belief in oneself coupled with the sun, wind, aromas of the open land and good will of the cyclists and the community which welcomed us with open arms...just had me filled to bursting, goosebumps rippling through my body. This must be the cyclist's equivalent to the "runner's high!" What a heady mix!

While approaching the two bridges to Ocean City I resolved to try something I've been envious of ever since seeing another cyclist doing this earlier this year: whipping out my camera and snapping shots while riding my bike. I didn't think I'd be coordinated enough but thought, "what the heck? at worst I'll just have some bum shots to delete!" Turns out I got a few nice ones of the land and water sprawling out around the bridges, plus I did something else I hadn't done before: Took a shot of myself while riding on that gloriously sunshiney hot day:

The organization of the ride was excellent as well with many volunteers helping to direct traffic so that riders would safely navigate intersections. The community was so supportive as well, with folks out on their lawns applauding and cheering us along, encouraging us to be sure to come back again next year. There was nary a single unpleasant encounter with a vehicle, no honks or hoots of harassment.

One fellow had his house all done up in Halloween Horror style and dressed in goulish mad slasher cowl, hood and mask thrashing his long gray plastic knife at us as we rode by.

There was a beautiful 85-year-old Japanese woman on the ride with her single-speed bike. I asked if I could take her picture and she agreed. I told her she was my HERO! I want to be like HER when I'm that age!

We later discovered that she was a MASSAGE THERAPIST! She had inquired of a fellow why he rode a recumbent bicycle, thinking that he was crippled or deformed in some way. He explained his history of back trouble which wouldn't allow him to ride a regular bicycle.

She instructed him to sit down and proceeded to work her magic on him:

I don't think he's ever felt so fine!

My riding partner had been having trouble with some back pain between her shoulders and this lady was all too happy to cooperate! What a tiny powerhouse she was! Worked all those kinks right out! She shared how she has limited her practice to working in a hospital only with cancer patients. Such a kind, caring soul!

Here's a few more pics to give you an idea how many cyclists were EVERYWHERE...these are from the various rest stops:

A little line-dancin' fun to the pumped up music courtesy of the DJ's at each rest stop:

The support for riders was excellent as well. My riding partner had a flat during our return trip on Sunday and although we were FULLY PREPARED to deal with it (thanks to our crash course on changing flats from a fellow bike club member!) there was a support van immediately present, hopped out, changed the flat, no charge, no muss, no fuss and we were on our way! I can't recommend this ride highly enough to anyone / everyone! We're hoping to do it again next year and would love more company!

I've posted a couple videos from the bridge outside Ocean City. One as we entered on Saturday afternoon and the other as we departed early Sunday morning:

I have to confess that right up until I hit the 80 mile mark on Saturday I've had this niggling, nasty little voice of doubt eating away at me: "are you REALLY up for this? do you REALLY think you can nail a HUNDRED miles? you probably won't even be able to WALK after doing THIS to yourself!"

But at the 80 mile mark it dawned on me: I was feeling pretty fine! Not only was I going to do all 100 miles, but I would do them and feel GREAT!

Those final 20 miles on Saturday were some of the sweetest I'd ever had on my bike! I just squashed that nasty little voice FLAT! As we approached Ocean City I could begin to detect the scent of salt water in the breeze. Soon we began to see marinas and little harbors and inlets. Anticipation was busting out all over! Along with that earlier song thrumming through my brain and making me bounce along at times on my seat, a couple others revved my engine and powered up my legs and arms:
I was BURNIN' for that CENTURY!

There were signs along the way with quotes from some rock / pop songs which were intended to rev us up. AC/DC...? nah... Ozzie? no thanks, but hey, THIS one will bring me right on home!

I saw a number of cyclists shaking their hands at times during the ride, trying to deal with numbness. I remembered: oh, yeah *I* used to have that problem! No more! Also: don't know whether to chalk it up to the different seat I swapped mine out for or the greater care I've been taking to ride lightly, standing often, but: no troubles down there! No numbness! Sit bones a tad tender but nothing I can't deal with! Been stretch, stretch STRETCHING those muscles to avoid any significant soreness and must say I'm feeling pretty darned GREAT!

Here we are Sunday morning on our departure from Ocean City:

Breaking through to my century was such a LIBERATING, EMPOWERING feeling! I feel like, okay, let's hop on my bike, spin the wheel and go wherever I want to go! The SKY'S the LIMIT!

So my hat's off to EVERYONE in my SparkFamily for all your support, pats-on-the-back, caring kicks-in-the-pants and for being there through thick & thin! This just wouldn't have been possible without you!

Somehow I have a strong intuition that TRAINOF4 may have had a hand in this past weekend as well and thank her for being there too!

With our certificates of completion (yeah, me, with the upside-down!):

Keep Runnin' Down YOUR Dreams People! It's such a SWEET, SWEET Deal!


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MEGA_MILES 9/25/2011 10:12AM

    Congrats Don. That's quite an accomplishment. How did you conquer the problem with hand numbing?

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    emoticon YOU are amazing! I LOVE THAT song! Thx for sharing your experience - spark us on and more!

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RHYNIC 4/7/2011 8:15AM

    Wow. I want to do that some day. You could sell that race to anyone. Great blog. Thanks.

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REYVE01 3/22/2011 1:18PM

    That was a great blog.... it looks like a lot of fun. emoticon

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    That was one of the best blogs I have read in a while! Sounds like you had an emoticon ride! Are you guys in a heat wave there? 85 degrees? Kudo's to that 85 year old woman-she is awesome and very inspiring as well! Your my hero second to Lance Armstrong emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/29/2010 3:34:09 PM

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LMB-ESQ 11/29/2010 2:54PM

    Wow... incredible.... I want to do one! I have to find a local bike club to do it with... Argh! I need more time! It'll happen... one of these days.

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BARBARA_BOO 10/10/2010 6:50PM

    This one says it all.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DENISEZAKIYA 9/30/2010 11:39PM

    This is so incredibly inspiring!!! Are you going to do an Iron Man?

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SUZIAND 9/30/2010 10:22AM

    WOw....probably the best, most inspiring blog I've ever read, Don!

You truly are one of my know that...right??

Thank you so much for sharing!


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JCORYCMA 9/29/2010 10:30PM

    Great blog about a GREAT ride! You are so inspiring! I'm just catching up with your balance board - lol! But a bike is in my future....

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    That is awesome. Way to go. I am glad you had such a great ride.

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_VALEO_ 9/29/2010 4:35PM

    What a memorable ride and adventure, Don!

YOU DID IT! emoticon

Thank you for sharing those moments (I love the videos and I could almost smell the Ocean; this Japanese lady is just incredible.)

My hat's off to YOU!

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JESPAH 9/29/2010 12:25PM


You are quite the amazing fella.

Bottle this feeling and keep it, if/when there are dark places. Hold it in your heart, forever.

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LADYGWEN25 9/29/2010 9:10AM

    WOW DOn.. that is SO AMAZING! what an accomplishment.. you continue to inspire me. :)

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ETTEZEUS 9/29/2010 12:13AM

    Congrats! What an accomplishment!
Great blog and loved that 85 yo Japanese woman!~ She's awesome too!

Hope you enjoy many more great rides!

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L*I*T*A* 9/29/2010 12:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GOEGIRL 9/28/2010 11:58PM

    Fabulous blog! I loved all the photos - and that 85 year old massage therapist - wow! Congratulations on the great accomplishment!!!

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CASSIOEPIA 9/28/2010 9:57PM

    Loved it Don! My cousin just completed a seven day Cops for Cancer bike tour, nearly 800 km (500 miles). I followed her blog every night, and it sounded like she had a blast. What a great achievement you have done, especially the part about blowing past the mental barriers we set on ourselves.


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BOTZZZ 9/28/2010 9:53PM

    Don, this is nothing short of amazing! I am happy for you and am glad that you had such a good time while on your ride, here's to many more miles ahead of you!

As Ever

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FRECKS96 9/28/2010 9:26PM

    Woo Hoo!!!!! That is so amazing Don!!! Congrats on your awesome accomplishment!

You are truly an inspiration to so many people and I can't wait to see what you do next!

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CARRIE1948 9/28/2010 9:34AM

    Way to go!

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LOGHOUSE 9/28/2010 9:32AM

    Hi Don;
As a vetran of 15 MS150's, your blog brought back many great memories for me. And your description of hitting the 80 mile mark on your first century and thinking "gee, I still feel pretty good!" (to parahrase) is exactly how I felt and what I thought years ago when I did my first 100 miler. I can totally relate to your entire blog. Nice job, and HIGH FIVE ON THE CENTURY and a GREAT WEEKEND !!!

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VALERIEMAHA 9/28/2010 9:05AM

    Not only did I have a smile on my face even before opening the blog, which never left, but I'm also crying in joy (I'm a certifiable Pisces wuss). Your BLISS and SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT is palpable and off the charts wonderful Don.

You started this journey about 2.5 years ago with 120 pounds to shed and the myriad voices inside you to deal with...and LOOK AT YOU NOW!

You are such a SparkAmbassador, spreading good will, generosity, and compassion in your path. You are the PRIME DIRECTIVE of SparkPeople, besides being a certifiable cyclepath (took me a minute to "get" it)!!!

Your are TRULY living out your "mantra" --

Alive In The World
by Jackson Browne

I want to live in the world,
not inside my head
I want to live in the world,
I want to stand and be counted
With the hopeful and the willing
With the open and the strong
With the voices in the darkness
Fashioning daylight out of song
And the millions of lovers
Alive in the world

I want to live in the world,
not behind some wall
I want to live in the world,
where I will hear if another voice should call
To the prisoner inside me
To the captive of my doubt
Who among his fantasies harbors
the dream of breaking out
And taking his chances
Alive in the world

To open my eyes and wake up alive in the world
To open my eyes and fully arrive in the world

With its beauty and its cruelty
With its heartbreak and its joy
With it constantly giving birth to life
and to forces that destroy
And the infinite power of change
Alive in the world

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SASSYCHRIS1952 9/28/2010 6:18AM

    I enjoyed this blog! What an accomplishment! And great pictures! A few weeks ago, I was in Atlantic City, then visited my sister who lives in West Berlin NJ which is about 10 miles south of Cherry Hill. Small world huh! emoticon

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ZELLAZM 9/28/2010 5:31AM

    Woohooo! You did it and did it well! Thanks for the great report and all the photos and tunes - makes us feel we really were along with you, Don!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MIZZSB 9/28/2010 3:51AM

    Don you look really great!! And you look so happy!!!

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HEALTHY_CAROLYN 9/28/2010 1:43AM

    Right from the first moment of reading this, I had a smile on my face, since I'd seen your update earlier and was just waiting to read about your grand adventure. I loved all the details of the day, and I'm so glad it was such a wonderful experience for you. I truly congratulate you on all your accomplished, physically and mentally.

emoticon emoticon

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LUCYSUNFLOWER 9/27/2010 11:39PM

    Woohoo! I love this blog! AND the pictures!! Way to go - you are amazing!

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BOBBYD31 9/27/2010 11:29PM

    Don, Awesome Buddy, totally Awesome! that was a great blog and would love to know how far the little old lady made it, that is fantastic! i fi get a new bike that is something i would like to do also. hope to meet you in pittsburgh in march for the race, right now we have 45 team members and 25-30 confirmed attending. hope we get over 50 runners and walkers...

again congratulation on a fantastic feat, truly amazing!

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