by Chris Beckley (and my Dad)
The sun had just risen as my Dad drove into the Charles County
Community College campus parking lot with our racing bikes on the roof
of the car. We were off for our first century ride with the PPTC
Century on September 18th.
After a lot of riding on my mountain bike, I had proven myself
enough to get a new Giant TCR 2T road bicycle in August of this year.
At age 11 (6th grade), I was the happiest boy on earth to get such a
neat aluminum bicycle.
By the start of the century ride, I had already biked 500 miles.
My dad had done a lot of bicycling 30 years ago, including a ride
across country in 1976 for an event he called "Bike Centennial '76". We
got out his old road bike and got it going again after cleaning it up
and changing the tires. We went through a couple of new tubes before we
got the hang of changing one without having it blow up when inflated.
So here we were ready to try for our first century ride. We had
left Herndon just after 6 AM and had just managed to beat the raising
of the Wilson Bridge on our way to La Plata, MD to get an early start at
the ride. After surviving the cold breeze on the first downhill out of
the campus, we were off at 7:30 AM, along with a lot of other riders.
The route was well planned with arrows painted on the road.
Every 25 miles there was a rest stop. The stops were GREAT! Three out
of the four rest stops on our century were at the same park. PPTC had
set up a band to listen to while we ate sandwiches, bagels, fruit,
cookies, and lots of snacks. They even had pie and ice cream at the 90
mile stop. Now who would have expected that on a bicycle ride? I love
sweets and it was nice to pig out knowing that I had burned several
thousand calories on this ride.
The century took us about 9 hours to complete. We were thrilled
that we did it. Thanks to PPTC for doing such a nice job on it and
thanks to the good weather. My Dad says thanks for his granny gears.
So what's next? Well, it's Fall and there are more century rides to be
done. So off we go.
[PS: The next week after the PPTC we did the Reston Century. A
nice route, but the rest stops did not compare. No rhubarb pie!]