Not a Race Report: Marin Century (Subtitled: Mean Things I Thought About Century Riders)

Yesterday, I did the Marin Century. And, despite the fact that I haven’t done any biking in months and everything lately has been SLOW and shitty, I biked the whole thing, with the 7,000 feet of elevation gain and the stupid extra three miles, in like 6:45 (which sounds like a lot but isn’t for the hills and the wind and my bike needing a bottom bracket replacement and etc, etc) and I felt crazy strong the whole time and had the highest wattage I’ve ever seen for anything over four hours.

So. What was my secret?

I basically ate so much I felt sick. The whole time. I started eating and drinking right from the start, from the free bagels at registration, and never stopped. Tired? Eat something. Legs hurt? Eat something. Guy in front of you being annoying and you want to give him space? Eat something. I ate so much I actually still don’t really want to eat. Today, I kept looking at food and wrinkling my nose and being like, ugh, do I have to. I also don’t know that I ever want to see another Oreo.

But, besides the insane amount of burping this caused, it worked.

My second secret was the secret of any long-distance: sometimes it sucks, sometimes it doesn’t. Just before four hours, I felt terrible, awful, wanted to lay down on the side of Highway 1 because maybe if I was on the ground the wind would be less shitty. Instead, I ate some more and drank some more and kept going, and it passed. I don’t know what I did for the 7+ hours I was out there by myself — all that stopping at every aid station took at least an extra 40′ plus there was a rather drawn-out incident with some bib shorts and a port-a-potty. I talked to a couple people, but not really, since I don’t like people. I talked to myself, but not really, since I don’t like to look crazy. I mostly did the long-distance mind zoning out thing. Oh, and I thought mean things in my head.

What mean things you ask? Well.

  • I started around the same time everyone started, which meant there were lots of different people doing different distances and the level of abilities ranged from those “hammering” in a “pace line” to those still pulling the price tags off their bikes. This made the first 30′ or so sort of a shitshow. And, at the top of the first longer climb, people were just stopping and gathering right in the middle/sort-of-side of the road. There was only one lane closed, so cars were waiting to get by the other way and there was a police officer and a mess of people and this couple in front of me starts weaving wildly looking for their friends and taking up the whole road and are about to stop right there in front of me, just as it’s dropping into the descent. So, I say under my breath, “Stop being sketchy.” Except, since I hadn’t really talked to anyone yet because I pretty much just woke up, played with Tupac, and rolled out, instead of coming out as a whisper, it came out as a way louder than I intended rasp. “STOP. BEING. SKETCHY.” After that, I kept my thoughts to myself. Like…
  • Stopping at the top of the hill just because it’s the top of the hill is inefficient and also dangerous and it makes me dislike and judge you.
  • Stopping abruptly in the road makes me dislike you and also want to hit you.
  • Are you seriously wearing earphones on this large a group ride with open traffic? Are you even more stupid than you look?
  • Because, fyi, if you’re a guy and wearing a full-on BMC team kit (or any pro team kit) and you can’t ride at least as fast as me, then you’re going to look stupid anyway.
  • If you’re a guy and you sprint to pass me and then can’t keep it up every time my steady effort catches back up to you, then you’ll also look stupid, but more importantly you should feel stupid.
  • If we’re leap-frogging and you acknowledge it, that’s cool. We can be friends. (And, also in hour five, it was nice to have someone to ride with.) But, if we’re leap-frogging and you just keep ignoring me, then we will be frenemies forever.
  • If you pass me on the right when I’m already to the right of the road and I don’t see you and you crash, it would be your own fault.
  • If you jump on my wheel so I can “pull you” and you don’t say anything, you’re really just tempting me to slam on my brakes. That would also be your own fault.
  • Maybe if you can’t ride in a straight line, you should practice that some more before you sign up for a Century.
  • Standard lanes on roads are 12 or 13 feet wide. Minimum regulation width is 10 feet. Bikes are maybe a foot across. It should be possible then to ride two-abreast without hugging the yellow lane. Surely, we can do this.
  • I know you’ve seen pros riding downhill with no hands. Generally, though, it’s because they had to in order to put on a jacket or zip up a jersey or grab some food. Also, they are better at it then you. When you ride downhill with no hands in your cargo shorts in the middle of a group of people for no reason other than to show off, you don’t look cool. You look like a moron.
  • If you want to race, sign up for a race. If you want to race and you sign up for a Century, we all assume you’re a jackass who couldn’t hack it in a real race.

I’m not the only person who thinks mean things about other people, right?

15 thoughts on “Not a Race Report: Marin Century (Subtitled: Mean Things I Thought About Century Riders)

  1. Once again a brilliantly insightful piece that opens our collective eyes to how feeling shitty and being shitty are two different things. Usually. But funny too.

  2. I just didn’t understand all the stopping. Stopping at the bottom of the hill to prepare for it. Stopping in the middle of the hill cause it’s hard. Stopping at the top of the hill, why?

    1. Oh yeah, I meant he was wearing cargo shorts and riding downhill with no hands. Poor verb modification on my part. Though, he did also stick his hands in his pockets at one point.

  3. Thank you for writing this. Somebody had to. It’s like century rides are now the showcase for all the people who piss drivers off. It’s where I finally understand the source of motorists’ rage (well, some of them; some are just wacko). Ugh. Well-put.

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