My bike and camp tour reportsLocation: Maywood near Sheboygan WI

Event: Century Bike Ride

Date: 9/20/2014

So this event came up on the radar only a week after my first 100m ride at the Peninsula, and I thought ‘what the heck, why not’.

However, unlike the previous week I decided to camp, using an old tent that I hadn’t used or even seen in over 10 years.

Friday morning I was running late so I stopped at the storage unit on the way out of dodge to pick up the tent. A quick look at the contents and it all seemed to be there.

I got to the campground pretty late on, around 5 or so by the time I’d registered and wotnot. The campground was actually just a field set aside by the ride organizers to accommodate any fools who wanted to camp. There were three of us in total.

You couldn’t drive to the tent area so I hauled the shit across a couple of lawns, through some trees, over a small footbridge, up some steps, past a firepit and over yonder by them there bushes. I had the tent under one arm and was dragging the sleeping bag, a change of trollies, a box of granola bars, a hammer and some other essentials all packed up in an old Post Office sack.

I picked a spot and rolled out the contents of the tent bag. I had the poles and pegs and the flysheet but no inner tent. WTF?

At this point some joker came over and asked me to help him put up his tent. He said he’d then help me with mine afterwards. What f**king tent, I didn’t have one. I was too proud to tell him what was going on so we spent a half hour messing around like Laurel and Hardy trying to get the blokes tent up in a gale-force wind.

On completion he offered to come help with mine and I made some excuse about having to run to the store first before it closed.

So I dragged all my shit back to the car and took off looking for a motel. Then right around the corner from the site was a Gander Mountain. So, I went and bought a tent.

Back at the site I drag all my shit back over to the tent area and I’m looking for the joker who I’d helped with his tent, but his doors are zipped up and he’s nowhere to be seen. By now it’s getting dark and I’m cold and it’s windy and I’ve got the mother of all gut aches.

Anyway, after chasing the instructions around in the wind for an hour I finally get the tent up and my stuff inside.

A trip downtown for some pepto bismol and an hour killed in Starbucks drinking $5 cups of shite coffee and I throw the towel in for the night.  ‘Course the wind is howling all night and my tent isn’t setup properly so it’s flapping around like a pair of Cyril Smith’s underpants on a clothesline. I figure I got maybe an hours kip, then the alarm went off and lo and behold it’s time to ride a century, for fuck’s sake.

Century Ride Day:

With stomach problems the day before I was running on coffee, pepto bismol, a snickers bar and a half a banana. Oh and a doughnut too.

I set off on the 7 am rolling start, registered for the 100m route but retaining the option to ride the extended 112m route. I kinda knew that it would be unlikely that I’d make the 112.

The wind was hellish. It was blowing a steady 20 and gusting into high 30’s. The first 50 miles out to the turnaround point was into a headwind. It was also very hilly. I’d read online that it was a hilly route but I wasn’t expecting it to be so bad. It was. And my stomach was sore and churning and though I desperately wanted to fart it was just too risky.

When I pulled into the first rest-stop I thought I maybe had 30 or 35 miles under my belt. I was gutted when the volunteer told me that I was only at mile 23. That sniveling rat bastard enjoyed the look of disappointment on my face and I just stopped short of giving him the finger.

Incidentally, I only saw one other bike with straight bars, it was a road/hybrid. In fact I’ve ridden two centuries now and haven’t seen another MTB. Anyway, the rider of the hybrid was a guy in his mid/late 20’s. He was carrying 20 lbs more fat than he needed. He was riding with his girlfriend, a thin rake-handle riding a nice road bike.

Then, about 35 m or so into the ride I came to a long hill and saw the guy half way up the hill and his girlfriend parked at the top waiting for him. I overtook him and as I passed I could see he was in a lot of discomfort, breathing extremely hard and sweating profusely. I asked if he was OK but he didn’t have the breath to answer, he just nodded.

Later in the ride I saw them both at one of the dual rest-stops. They’d set out on the 50m but their day was over. The poor bloke was knackered. It looked as if he’d been getting some medical help from the SAGs.

After the rest stop I got lost out in the boonies. My route map was wet and creased and I was having a hard time deciphering it. So I turned on GPS and looked at a couple of ‘get me home’ route options. One option was a convenient 25m which would get me back to the start at around 99m total. So I set out using GPS. Then I noticed my iPhone battery getting low, so I switched in the backup battery and the iPhone gave me an error message saying ‘device unsupported’. It wouldn’t let me switch in the battery backup. I was pissed. I’d been using the backup all Summer though never really needing it, now the first time I actually needed it it went on the fritz.
So the last 25m was stop/start, messing with the GPS, the map and even stopping to ask directions a couple times which I generally don’t do. See how I’m evolving.
About 5 miles from home I picked up the return arrows and rode in with 99.25 on the clock, so had to pedal round the fucking parking lot like a clown.

Then I had to pull the tent, get packed up and drive 2 hrs back home. I couldn’t face any of the food they had on offer. There was chili and some chicken dish and soup and it just didn’t look as though it was going to sit well. All I could manage was a can of coke. What wouldn’t I give for a rag pudding and a plate of mash.

So this was a mother of a ride and a rat bastard of a day. Two days in fact.

I was happy to chalk this one off and get the hell out of there. Sheboygan’s a bit of a dump anyway.