|The green dot shows the point at which I reached 100 miles today.|
The 2014 Washington County Bicycle Club Century route was intentionally less hilly than last year’s, but still it was strictly a hardman group that reported for duty this morning at Barton Park. Six of us traveled north to Fond du Lac County, then east to Sheboygan County. After a brief stop in Random Lake, we dropped into northern Ozaukee County. At Belgium one of our riders opted to continue at a slower pace while the rest of us sped down the Ozaukee Interurban Trail to Port Washington. Turning west, we rode through Grafton and then realized we were low on fluids and calories. We addressed those needs in Jackson, then looped around Little Cedar Lake. Heading east again, we passed just south of West Bend but we weren’t done. We made a final rest stop at Goeden County Park during a quick tour of Trenton. Back in West Bend, the riders went their separate ways. Just like last year, it would have been silly for everyone to return to Barton Park when all of us had ridden there in the morning from our respective homes.
It was a day of milestones for me. The century was my 100th ride so far this year. Early in the ride I surpassed 3,000 miles year-to-date, and by tacking on a few solo miles after the group disbanded I established a new personal best for miles in one day: 114. That beats the 113 miles I rode on Oct. 17, 2010.
I really enjoyed today’s ride but I will have a long debate with myself about whether there should be a 2015 club century. Two years in a row, the only riders to show up were guys for whom the completion of a century isn’t particularly challenging. (As a group, we averaged more than 18 mph today.) In 13 attempts, I have never failed to complete a century. My first one was in August 2006 on the MS 150 Best Dam Bike Tour, an elaborately supported charity event with a SAG team of professional mechanics, well-marked routes, and multiple rest stops overflowing with food. The Washington County Bicycle Club doesn’t have the money or manpower to host that kind of event, and the do-it-yourself nature of the century in its present incarnation simply doesn’t appeal to most members. What I have to consider now is whether a West Bend-based century should live on outside of the club and be marketed only to those hardcore riders. That’s what happened with Cheesehead Roubaix, which in its first year was a WCBC event most club members ignored. Time proved there was a bigger market for that ride, and time may prove there is a bigger market for a no-frills century.