The Century Route

One of the controversies that erupted this last weekend, between me and my riding/life partner, revolved around Saturday’s century option. On Saturday, Anne rode the 75 mile route of this year’s MS-150 bike ride and I rode much of that route with her. At about mile 20, I peeled off and took the extra loop that comprised Saturday’s century option. In a perfect world, this extra loop would have run another 25 miles, but this is the real world, so things don’t always work out that neatly. Sometimes a century route is a few miles over a hundred and sometimes it is a few miles under. When you ride a century you just have to realize that your mileage may vary. Saturday’s was a few miles under, so by the end of the day, I ended up with only 95 miles instead of the proscribed 100 miles. I’ve written this post not to defend my fragile ego, but because this is the first century that I have ridden in many years. Circular logic works, because circular logic works.

Frankly, I was a little relieved, having caught this modicum of slack. I was also surprised that I caught up with Anne as quickly as I did. Maybe it was this mutual sense of surprise that helped to spark the subsequent controversy. Riding together again, we exchanged news of what we had seen and done on our solo sojourns. It was at this point that the supposed mileage discrepancy first became an issue. Somewhat defensively, I took the tack that I rode the century route, thereby transferring the onus onto the MS Society, whose route it was. I subsequently learned that the MS Society had their bases covered, because while Saturday’s century route was only 95 miles, Sunday’s was 105 miles. You see how these things sort themselves out?

As the remaining miles clicked away a certain repartee developed between Anne and I. She continued to contend that I had not ridden a full century and I continued to contend that I had ridden the century route. I took exception when she chose to characterize my ride as century like, or worse, century lite. I tried to use the comparative analogy of fruit juice and fruit drink. Fruit juice is made from 100% fruit, while a fruit drink comprises only some subset of its content from real fruit, like 95%. I don’t think that my analogy really worked and it definitely didn’t help my case. Switching to grades, I pointed out that a 95% is an A just like 100%, while 75% is only a C. Anne pointed out that 100% is actually an A+. At this point, I decided to cut my losses and return to my century route argument. This whole, so-called, controversy was really just a tempest in a teapot, and it did help us pass, actually quite congenially, those last few miles. In retrospect, the whole question is rather moot, since we both all too willingly bailed, on Sunday to the short, 41 mile route. Plus by splitting up, Anne got to ride at her pace, without all my usually chivying and chafing, and I got a chance to cut loose. I call this a win-win situation.  

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