June 17, 2000
Bicycle:  Cannondale H-300
Ride Info: MACC Fund
On Saturday morning, I rode my first century, the Trek 100, to benefit Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer. I was pretty nervous driving up to Pewaukee, WI (just west of Milwaukee) at 5 AM, wondering whether or not I could go the distance on low training mileage (only 340 miles since I bought the bike in mid-April). However, I did 67 rainy, windy, hilly miles three weeks earlier  (the StateLine 60), and I felt that if any of those three factors were removed I might be able to do 100. More ominously, my left knee had been aching a bit throughout the week (the chondromalacia that curtailed my running career). A wiser man would have stayed home, although one may argue that a wiser man wouldn't have even signed up. I sort of signed up by accident myself. I had a scheduling conflict with next Sunday's Swedish Days ride, so I looked for a ride on June 24 instead. Beware of late-night surfing... after searching several web sites for rides I found the Trek 100 and signed up, not realizing that it was June 17 until I received my e-mail confirmation. I was already signed up for the 35-mile Boulevard Lakefront Tour on June 18 and had not meant to sign up for a century the day before! Oh well, since it was benefiting children with cancer, I would have felt like a real loser if I had blown off the Trek 100. Besides, I had a strong urge to do some sort of endurance event since my knee injury wiped out my ultra running plans two months earlier.
Anyway, I got there about an hour before the start. There was a vast breakfast spread including fruits, yogurt, bagels, granola bars, Nutri-Grain bars, juice, milk and more. The women there enjoyed seeing the men waiting in line for the bathrooms (indoors, but there were only two stalls and two urinals). There were no lines for the women. By the time I got my bike out of the car and pumped up the tires, the first wave of riders was starting at 7:30. There were maybe seven groups of riders spaced a few minutes apart, and I lined up toward the back. The police stopped traffic and cyclists dominated the road for the first few miles. Eventually there were some cars, but generally traffic was light. I passed the first rest stop at 10 miles but stopped for the second one at 18. I was going a bit fast, averaging 16.5 mph, but I wasn't too concerned.
The weather was almost perfect, sunny but not hot with a light wind. This gave me some confidence since I felt that if the weather cooperated I could probably finish. The scenery was really nice, semi-rural with several mild hills and little car traffic. After 11 years they have this ride very well laid out and organized--I would highly recommend it for a first-timer. I soon reached the northwesternmost point of the route and headed south. I skipped stop #3 and finally found myself riding alone for awhile (not in front, of course, just alone). I passed a farm with a car for sale... a '69 Chevy with a 396 (any Springsteen fan  knows what song I sang for the next mile or two: " Racing In The Street" ). Between 40 and 55 miles I felt great. When the 100K route split off, I continued on the 100M route with no doubt that I could make it. Around 50 miles the out-and-back portion of the route began and I saw riders returning home 20 miles further along than I was.
I stopped in Palmyra at 55 miles. Since I had felt a few twinges of soreness in my left knee, I raised the seat to relieve the stress a little bit. South of Palmyra, there was a little loop on the map that looked so innocuous, like a little thing tacked on just to get the mileage up to 100. That was so far from the truth--this was Kettle Moraine country. The hills were the toughest yet one of them seemed to last over a mile. I came back to Palmyra nine miles later a tired boy. I was still in good spirits, but I was about to push into uncharted mileage territory. The next 25 miles were a bit rough. There were more and more hills. Each successful climb was met with the sight of another hill ahead. I managed without slipping into my granny gear, but it was getting tougher. I started to worry about things like, had I been drinking enough water? Had I eaten enough at the rest stops? Was my electrolyte balance okay? Ouch, is that knee going to hold up for another 30 miles? With all these chondromalacia-aggravating hills?
I pulled into the Scuppernong Trail Head rest stop at 73 miles vowing to right those wrongs and set my body straight. When I stepped up to the tables, I was disappointed to see the same foods as at all the other rest stops and breakfast. Earlier, I had exclaimed with glee, " Oh boy, Nature Valley cinnamon granola bars! My favorite!" Now it was more like, " Oh no, I can't eat another one of those @#$%^& granola bars!" I ate half a banana, drank a little and continued on. Each hill became more challenging, but I was not the only one having a hard time. Several times, I looked back at the bottom of a hill and saw other riders behind me. I thought surely they would pass me before I could pedal myself to the next summit. To my surprise, they were struggling as much as I was and didn't pass for miles. Although I was at an emotional low, the scenery was gorgeous. The road wound through Kettle Moraine State Forest with sunlight filtering through the canopy of trees. In retrospect, I wish I could have enjoyed it more, but I was feeling really wiped out and fretting over my knee. Finally, I returned to civilization with a rest stop at the Wildwood Restaurant. The sign said " home of the 10-pound pizza," but the restaurant was closed! More granola bars and fruit. At least the orange quarters were particularly invigorating. There were only 15 miles to go, but it hadn't quite hit me yet that I could finish this thing. For better or worse there were a dozen extra chairs at this stop, and I plopped my butt into one. Riders came and went. It seemed like I was there for a long while, but it was probably just ten minutes. Finally, a big pack of riders pulled in and I decided to be on my way.
Although my average speed had been dropping, I was encouraged to note that I could be done in another hour. Heck, an hour bike ride is nothing I do that before work sometimes. The hills were easier here as I went through several small towns on the outskirts of the Milwaukee metro area. The crowd had really thinned out--I saw only half a dozen other riders from there to the finish. The last rest stop came with only about five miles to go. I felt much better than at the previous stop. I took off for the home stretch through Pewaukee village streets and attacked those last few miles with renewed vigor. I didn't see another rider the whole way in. As  I finished, two high school cheerleaders waved their pom-poms and congratulated me. I finished the 100 miles in about 6:40 (excluding rest stops) for a 14.9 mph average. I had considered seven hours to be an optimistic goal, so I was pleased.
The aftermath... I very nearly died on the way home. On the southern edge of Milwaukee, I was cruising down I-94 in the center lane and suddenly found myself in the left lane, not knowing how I got there. Yikes! I pulled off at the next exit and into a restaurant  parking lot. I was going to go in, but instead I found a remote corner of the lot, reclined the seat and crashed (figuratively). I awoke a mere 15 minutes later feeling 100 times better. After stopping in for a bite to eat, I was alert the whole way home from there, thank goodness. Overall, my body took the century amazingly well. My butt wasn't sore at all, and my hamstrings felt great--I could climb the stairs without wincing. Everything felt fine except that wonderful knee of mine. The next day, I got up at 5 AM to go ride the BLT, but just walking to the bathroom and feeling each bend of my left knee told me I would be better off staying home. I didn't want to turn a positive weekend into a disastrous one, so I went back to bed.
A follow-up e-mail from the MACC Fund announced that there were more than 1,500 registered riders in the 11th Annual Trek 100. They expected to net over $400,000, making the Trek 100 the largest one-day fundraiser for childhood cancer in the United States.
To commemorate my first century, I ordered a Trek 100 jersey:
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