I rode 22 centuries last year. Enough, you’d think, to make riding a hundred miles an easy and thoughtless routine. I can tell you with conviction, that it is never, ever routine. No matter how strong a rider you are, a century is still a full day in the saddle. I could spend the next 100 lines of text here listing issues that you can and may encounter during a century ride. General categories include: weather, equipment, road conditions, other riders, digestion, energy output, etc.
I was pleasantly surprised to see almost 20 riders at the start of this ride. It was a nice day and a nice route. Several of those starting riders were interested in a shorter ride and peeled off early. Several more were feeling lackluster at the 50 mile point and took the shortcut home. One stayed in the area after lunch. Five riders cleared 100 miles for the day, but only two of the starting 20 completed this ride as cued. Riding a century is never, ever routine and that is one of the things I love the most about long distance rides.
I had a great day in the saddle. I probably logged a little over 110 miles, but I peeled off near the end to go more directly home. I rode with many riders I hadn’t met before. One of my favorite Ramble riders, Dave, was one of the five to complete 100+ miles. One of the reasons I like riding with Dave is that in spite of the numerous problems he encountered on this ride, he still considered it a successful ride. That’s randonneuring.
Here is his honest, informative and well-written account: http://bikesncoffee.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/dnf/