What do you consider a long bike ride? I would say that anything over 50 miles is long, but many cyclists would consider any distance over a century ride (100 miles long). With that in mind, here are the ten milestones of a century bike ride (part 2) Part one is HERE.
Milestone Six: Dry Mouth
You've made it halfway and the lush countryside around you seems to have suddenly turned into the Gobi Desert. At least that's what your mouth is telling you. No matter how much tropical-rainforest-melon-aide you drink your mouth remains bone dry. This seems especially ironic as just minutes ago your nose ran with the intensity of 1000 Niagara Falls.
Milestone Seven: Mirage
It's hard to believe but you made it to the finish. There's the finish line just a few feet ahead. You are a Centuryman! But wait! You remove your sunglasses and stare at the finish line. It turns out just to be railroad crossing with an optimistic sign that a happy 3rd grader created which reads, "Keep Going only 40 miles to Go"
You wonder if the other cyclist around you actually heard that scream, or if it was just something in your head.
Milestone Eight: Death March
You now watch with a sort of happy-go-lucky sadomasochism as the miles slowly, and I do mean slowly, and when I say slowly I mean like a snail on a Sunday crawl slowly, click by. Mile 59………mile 59 and a quarter……mile 59 and a half…..mile 59.58. You now live for the aide stations. If you can only make it to the next one, you'll be happy.
Milestone Nine: Monkey Everything
Your legs are beyond lead. Your butt stopped itching and burning long ago. Your hands and your neck have turned to mush. Your head is always down. There could be a horny rhino charging down the road with the look of love in its eyes and you wouldn't see it until it mounted you. And even then you would just let it do its business, share a cigarette, and keep peddling.
All you see now is the slow, inevitable revolutions of your feet as they forever propel you down the road. Bug bites, dry mouth, mirages, death march, all seems like a long lifetime ago as you just keep the feet moving one rotation at a time.
Milestone Ten: The Setting Sun
Just as the sun kisses the earth, you roll across the finish line. You stop for the last time and dismount your bike. Your legs don't work too well when it comes to that once familiar walking motion.
But you've done it. You've ridden 100 miles in one day. You are a Centuryman! A smile temporarily crosses your sweat- and salt-stained mouth…that is until you realize that you still have another 5 miles to ride back home because your wife is still at her mother's with the kids.