Century count

My annual shadow shot ... it seems to have more impact during autumn.

My successful participation in the recent Cadillac Challenge — my 26th century — has produced fresh images and memories of all of the 100-mile bicycle rides I've completed over the last two decades.

While I have already shared extensively on Pedal2Page how one undertakes such an arduous task, pointing out the many highs and lows, I thought I would take this opportunity to briefly review each and every one of those long road trips. I once wrote "just call me Mr. Century," so it's time to put a little meat on that boastful remark.

— Fall Frolic (September 2002, 2003)

These were the first two centuries I did. The route went from Gorham to Fryeburg, Maine, and back. The first year was with my friends Vern and Ralph, while it was just Vern and me the second year. Both were done in five hours and 50 minutes, with an average speed of 17.7 miles per hour.

— Lobster Ride (July 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014)

This was a fundraiser for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, which I have been a member of for many years. It started and finished in Rockland, Maine, with the first half on interior roads and the second half along the coast. I rode this with my friends Vern and Jon. I recall you received a cool pair of socks for your efforts.

— Ride For The Roses (October 2004, 2005)

These rides were part of the Lance Armstrong Foundation weekend events in Austin, Texas. I cycled both of them with my friend Jeff, a former bike messenger. The start was a madhouse, with 7,000 people waiting to take off. The course followed roads in the Texas Hill Country, with hot conditions — even in October — and very little shade.

— Dan Michaud Memorial Ride (August 2005, 2007)

These centuries began and ended in Brunswick, Maine. Accompanying me on the first one were friends Jon and Harry, while I did the second one all by myself. The only thing I remember is that it was very hot on both occasions.

— Tri-State Seacoast Century (September 2006, 2012, 2018)

A very unique event, as it starts and concludes in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, but also ventures into Massachusetts and Maine. Plenty of beautiful scenery along the Atlantic Ocean, which I shared with Jon and Scott. A pretty easy ride; good for first-timers.

— Dempsey Challenge (October 2010)

A fundraiser tied to the actor Patrick Dempsey of Grey's Anatomy fame. The start/end points were in Lewiston, Maine, and it featured some monster hills.

— Maine Lighthouse Ride (September 2011, 2014, 2015)

As a rider, you visit nine lighthouses along Maine's coastline. It began in South Portland, Maine, and also finished up there. A major fundraiser for the Eastern Trail, I pedaled with friends Jon and Scott. Again, a relatively flat route for those who might want to attempt their first 100-miler.

— Cadillac Challenge (October 2013, 2020, 2022)

By far, the hardest century I've ever done at 6,500 feet of elevation gain. Taking in the roads of Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, and Acadia National Park, I endured the first two with Jon and Alan, and did this year's edition as a solo sufferer. For breathtaking views, no other century in America tops this one.

— Pedal The Penobscot (September 2019)

A route that mostly follows the historic river by the same name. It is a fundraiser for the Bangor Land Trust, starting and ending in Brewer, Maine. I did this ride with my friend Scott. I plan on doing it again, because I'm getting older and this is the easiest century I've ever participated in.

— Self-supported centuries (September 2017, April 2021, December 2021)

Let's just say, I needed some more miles.

There you have it, the 26 centuries over the last 20 years. While I've competed in a hill climb in Pennsylvania and the recent Maine Senior Games road race, the real test for me — for both my physical and mental state — has always been 100-mile rides. I hope to do more in the future. Stay safe!

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