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The Flattest Century in the East - Race Report

Joshua Graef

Posted on September 19 2016

Saturday, September 11 2016 was a 100-mile bike ride spanning Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It's more a ride than a race with a rolling start and three checkpoints at 30, 50, and 70 miles. Although the name would suggest it's a flat course, it is not. It just happens to be the flattest.

Two years ago I did this race with very little training. I rode my bike around 17 times that year, but I was also doing crossfit. I felt I could handle it, but I would be mostly wrong. The first 25 miles were great, the next 25 were still reasonable, but I died after that. The last 25 miles I had absolutely nothing left and went around 4mph to the finish. At each rest stop I rested anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half! Crazy.

This year I vowed to do more bike training. I was no longer doing crossfit (I now do strongman personal training) and had a few open days a week to fit in some biking. Did I do more? Absolutely not. I biked exactly 7 times this year. Four weeks before the ride I rode 60 miles, but had to cut it short and call someone to pick me up at the 50 mile mark. 

But I wasn't worried, and neither was my trainer. 

We had been starting to train for that ride with mostly lactate threshold training and really focused on the aerobic aspect of the various lifts I was doing. It wasn't crossfit, it was tailored to my specific deficits and needs on the bike. 

So how did I do? I did great. I finished with a time I was happy with, but the best part for me was I never took more than a 5-10 minute break at any rest area. That was a huge win for me - to be able to keep putting out power after hours of sustained effort. 

For experienced cyclists, a century ride is not the most spectacular accomplishment. But I rode my bike seven - seven - times this year. I'm not proud that I shirked my training, but I am proud of myself for proving that I can still do what it takes. 

I'm very happy with the training I've gotten from my new gym. After my last triathlon, I swore off triathlons forever. Now, seeing the results my training has given me for this race in a month's time with barely any auxiliary training on the bike I am rethinking that and have signed up for a half ironman in Lake Placid. 

Except this time I'll get on the bike more than 7 times. 

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