It all started at the after-party for last year’s 50 States ride, a new friend was really talking up the Seagull Century. Flying high having just finished my longest ride to date, and helped I’m sure by a Fat Tire amber ale, we resolved to give it a shot in 2012.
So, 12 months later we found ourselves lurching through traffic to get over the Bay Bridge on a Friday night. After catching a huge dinner and a crazy infield fly rule in the NL wild card game, we reached the shore and hunkered down for some shut-eye. A generous and scrumptious pre-dawn breakfast from Nick’s parents, and we were off. It was a glorious day – sunny, and reaching the upper 70s by midday, only to have a front move through and make things a bit chilly at the very end. A great day and a wonderful ride – here are my thoughts:
So many cyclists! They said nearly 8,000 riders took part, the biggest ride I’ve ever partaken in. I was happy to see the crowd was pretty diverse, too – ages, races, and even levels of cycling experience. I saw bikes from beach cruisers, to a Rivendell Betty Foy, to Trek Madones. And it was great to ride with John, Nick, and others.
- Conditions: Quiet roads through farmland and forests, and flat, flat, flat. We hit some headwinds on the last 30 miles or so, but somehow it felt like we rode tailwinds for the first 60 (how does that happen?). I think I averaged 17+ MPH for the first half of the ride, which is unusually fast for me. Also, there’s very few stops, so you just go— it felt like I hardly had to unclip.
- Police: The cops were awesome – manning every lighted intersection, waving cyclists through reds, and holding auto traffic. They held cyclists a few times to make sure traffic backups didn’t get too bad, but they did a fantastic job for us. Kudos.
- Newbie-friendly – I’d highly recommend this ride for anyone unfamiliar with long bike rides. The whole thing is so well supported, as a rider you don’t have to worry about food and water (every rest stop has snacks), hills, trafficky roads (see above), or even cue sheets – just follow the white seagulls painted on the roads!
- THE OCEAN – gorgeous.
- PIE – at mile 80, it was the greatest thing ever.
- Post-ride beer – it’s set up so that you ride by the cheering section on your way to the finish line. Brilliant.
- Salisbury is a long way from DC, so we were grateful for a place to crash the night before. They’ve organized enough events around the ride that one could easily make an entire long weekend out of it. (including a wine tasting ride Sunday, yum)