Last weekend my husband and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary. How did we mark such a momentous occasion? By spending 7 hours on our bikes doing the Lifeline 100 Century Ride in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, of course! What could be more romantic??
Lifeline 100 Century Ride Recap
We’ve been planning on doing the Lifeline 100 Century ride all summer, but didn’t sign up until we made it through the Reston Metric Century in August. I did my best to make sure we trained for the century, giving up my weekend long runs for another day in the saddle and doing the Conte’s bike shop hill rides as often as we could–10 times, I think! By the time the day arrived, I was pretty sure we had the endurance to cover 100 miles, but wasn’t sure what the terrain would be like, although the ride is classified on the easy side.
Do we look ready?
The event had a rolling start, but century riders were encouraged to start between 7 and 7:30. We left home shortly after 5:45, and arrived at the venue–Kinder Farm Park–right around 7. The sun was barely up and it was cold–in the upper 40s! We reluctantly shed our outer layers, got our bibs, used the restrooms, and I hit start on my Garmin.
The first several miles were on a wide bike path–the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail–which took us almost to Annapolis. As we approached the Severn River, I recognized the area from the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon I’d run so many years ago!
We wound through historic downtown Annapolis and missed our first turn of the day–we noticed the markings to turn right as we cruised straight through the intersection. D’oh! After a short stretch along some busier roads, the route took us through neighborhoods and then towards the Chesapeake Bay for the first rest stop.
Even though we hadn’t been riding for very long, I was ready for this stop. My breakfast had not been ideal–I had eaten 1/2 bagel with PB in the car–but it was all I was hungry for. After an hour of riding, I was ready for the PB & J sandwiches and orange slices–and the real restrooms!.
After the rest stop, we rode through a neighborhood along the bay where the scenery was absolutely gorgeous! Bright blue skies, sparkling blue water, and the Bay Bridge in the distance! After looping through that neighborhood, we backtracked towards Annapolis and then headed west.
I knew the century route parted ways with the metric century route before the next rest stop, and I focused my energy on not missing that left turn–which was very well marked. The roads before that split were busy, but then we were back on quieter country roads. It was all good until a pick-up truck pulled onto the road in front of me, diverting my attention from the painted arrows on the shoulder telling me to turn left. Luckily my husband noticed the arrows and yelled at me to STOP before I cruised up the next hill!
The next rest stop also was along the water–and sponsored by Pirate’s Cove restaurant, which donated bread pudding with rum sauce to the offerings. (It was good, but I really could have used another PB & J!).
Although the course had been relatively easy so far, the last few miles had some hills and my hips were feeling achy. We took a long break to stretch our muscles and take some pictures with the pirates. It was getting warmer, so I shed my arm sleeves and refilled my hydration pack. A volunteer explained the next section of the route, and told us there were a few challenging hills ahead.
The next section of the course completed the lower loop in the map above. Most of the route was on back country roads–we saw sheep!–but there still was a lot of traffic–some more considerate of cyclists than others. There was at least one challenging hill in this section–but nothing as challenging as the Conte’s or Farm to Fork Fondo hills.
If we’d studied the cue sheet, we might have skipped the third rest stop–which was an unmanned stop at a park. Since we did pull in, I used the rest room and ate a few of the PB crackers I had brought to tide me over to the next rest stop.
Soon after we rejoined the metric century route, we encountered another challenging hill, but I was ready for it. Most of the hills were rolling–enough incline to change gears and use different muscles, but nothing scary!
The fourth rest stop was less than 10 miles after the third one, but that didn’t keep us from stopping! This was a fully staffed stop with Gatorade, water, and lots of food. I went for the tomato sandwiches (yum!) and potato chips, while my husband went for the Nutella sandwiches.
I was still feeling pretty good physically, and giddily told my husband that we only had 25 miles more to go–a typical leisurely Sunday ride!
This section of the course took us up to the top of the map–near BWI airport. This terrain had some hills, but it felt like the down hill segments were steeper than the up hill climbs–maybe because I expected the climbs to be harder or maybe because they were more gradual. I was glad nothing was too steep because the few times I did stand up, it was challenging to recruit different muscles.
It was obvious that BWI is a hub for Southwest airlines!
As we cruised into the last rest stop at Friendship Park, my husband recognized it as a place he had ridden from with his friends. Even though we only had 10 miles to go, we enjoyed the snacks–especially the baked potatoes with Old Bay seasoning!
The last 10 miles of the Lifeline 100 Century Ride were mostly on bikes paths again. At Friendship Park we picked up the BWI Trail, then we got on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail. It was nice to end on a relatively flat course–although there was a final climb to the finish line!
The smiles are genuine–I promise!
At the finish area, they were grilling up hot dogs, hamburgers, and veggieburgers. Since I had just eaten at the fourth rest stop, I didn’t get any hot food, but I did indulge in an oatmeal raisin cookie!
Our total moving time for the century was about 7 hours (7:02) and our total average pace was about 15 mph. When we were done, we were done, but I felt pretty good the next day and even went to indoor cycling class on Tuesday!
- The Lifeline 100 was a well-run and well-organized event–we got lots of pre-event emails, event-day logistics were a breeze, and the volunteers were fantastic.
- The convenience of doing a ride close to home was tempered by a higher volume of traffic on the route, but most cars were considerate.
- I need to find the right balance between taking in the scenery and watching the road for route markings.
- My roadkill count wasn’t as high as Holly‘s and Teresa‘s: 1 skunk, 2 birds, 1 raccoon.
- 100 miles is a long way to ride but the miles ticked by with perfect weather and lovely scenery.
Please come back for the October Ultimate Coffee Date link up this weekend!
How do you like to celebrate special occasions?