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What's the hardest bike ride you've done?


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For me it was a century. I've done many, but this one in particular was after not riding much for a few years. I thought, "I've done it before, I can do it" After aboot mile 80 I was coasting in on fumes:wacko: this was the hardest century I've ridden. The take away from this is, don't underestimate a century when not in shape ;)

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Wo46 and I were riding a century and the last 20 miles we had a 15 to 20 mph head wind  

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I don't ride centuries and usually I don't ride much road.  The toughest ride was only about 50 miles from a bit east of Mashpee Commons on Cape Cod down to Woods Hole then north to North Falmouth and back to Mashpee on 151 then back to where we were staying.  It was a dangerous ride with stretches on rt 28 where there is no shoulder and lots of tourist traffic at speed.  Back on 151 isn't as bad but is still high speed traffic.  The trip was longer because whenever possible I'd duck off the main roads and go well out of my way to stay on some back neighborhood roads.  I think that was the last long trip on the roads that I did.  Now I just stick to off road trails with just the necessary hops on the road to connect them.

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The one where I broke my right leg at the tibial plateau and shattered my left wrist.

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Wind is the big culprit for me, or maybe biting off too much distance and then thinking, oh shit, I still need to get home!  OK, so it is the combination!  Probably on a longish ride for me, maybe 40-50 miles in the windswept farmland south of me. 

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5 minutes ago, Philander Seabury said:

Had to be pretty bad to be worse than the gate. :(

 

The tibial plateau is what supports the knee.  It took the whole summer to recuperate and I still have pain in that knee every freaking day.

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It was to be about 50 miles, I got lost, ran out of water, and became dehydrated.

I got oriented, found a store and hit the Gatorade, hard. Was feeling better and it was pretty much all down hill to home.

Cruising along on fairly level ground, about 10 miles to home, feeling pretty good when my leg began to cramp.

I stretched it out and walked a bit, continued on, cramped again, stretched and tried again.

Gave up and called for rescue. My daughter hauled me home, where I showered, ate oranges and drank Gatorade.

Had leg cramps that had me screaming for a couple hours. 

Limped while walking for a few weeks, never really regained decent bicycling form.

 

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TOSRV West (230 miles in 2 days), Ride the Rockies (2002, 2010, 2011, 2016), Bicycle Tour of Colorado (2010, immediately following Ride the Rockies)

 

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2 minutes ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

Hardest...  I've been riding a while so how to decide...

The longest? That would be the Jersey Double.  If anybody tells you New Jersey is flat, they're a liar.

Worst crash? Then the century where I crashed at mile 93.  Afterwards I couldn't swing one leg over the saddle, but could manage the other.  Rode the last 7 miles, as I found out later, with a fractured pelvis and a fractured rib.

Most nettlesome? Then the century where I flatted 5 times, including twice on the front wheel of all things.  It seemed like I'd never get to the end of that ride.

Loneliest? That's the local bike club ride where the riders gathered together after the ride but decidedly and pointedly ignored anybody who wasn't part of their regular clique.

Most frustrating? The century where my rear tire sidewall blew out just before mile 70, and the SAG support had already left for the day.  I duct taped the tire up, took off the rear brakes, and rode until mile 97 when a sliver of glass punctured the rear tire.  At that point I had to abandon and take a lift back to the start.  Abandoning so close, now that was hard.

2106500353_Ducttape.thumb.jpg.46bbcc6848bb8b25fe7990d071f28e85.jpg

 

For this year anyway, the most difficult for me was the ride to Lake Desolation.  Riding up a 4 mile hill, in the dark, on my touring bike towing a loaded BOB trailer became a mind over matter situation for me.  Fortunately I have no mind, so it all didn't matter, and I made it to the top eventually.

Winner! For the best use of duct tape. 

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The Katy trail..only because having the shingles..All of April and the itch remained for most of a year...and the ride was in June...

Yeah it was hard. 

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43 minutes ago, jdc2000 said:

TOSRV West (230 miles in 2 days), Ride the Rockies (2002, 2010, 2011, 2016), Bicycle Tour of Colorado (2010, immediately following Ride the Rockies)

 

jeebus...found the badass

how was ride the Rockies? You took your 'lectric bike right?

edit: you're all badass

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June 2009 the Granite Pass between Shell Wy and Burgess Junction on WY Route 14. Literally had to push my fully loaded bike and Bob trailer most of the way up over the 9033 foot pass. Got to the top and my tire was flat. Had to inflate and coast down to Sheridan WY the next day to fix. 

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Similar to LJ. Organized century from Grand Island to Lincoln. Temps were forecast over 100. They released us at 6:15. The first half was relatively flat and mostly comfortable. At York, I took a little longer snack break. Drank down my water and refilled them before starting the 2nd half. 
The heat started to set in but it was still pretty flat and the asphalt was newer than it had been so riding was good. Made friends with an Ironman triathlete before she got into aero position and really got after it! She pulled away. 
By Seward, it was really hot. I drank both bottles empty before refilling them and some grapes and a cookie for snack. The last 20+ miles had a lot of hills. The wind off the pavement was as cool and refreshing as a blow dryer. Both water bottles were empty when I got to the last rest stop. I refilled my bottles and worried about a lady under the canopy who was beet red. Her husband was trying to convince her to wait for a ride to come but she was determined to finish her first 25 miler. 
A while later on the road, I was catching a guy. He was swerving and erratic. I asked if he was ok when I caught him. He said yes, but I could tell he wasn’t. A little bit later, an official vehicle was checking on another rider. I stopped and told them to check on the other guy and I described his jersey. They radioed to someone else a description. 
I was only a few miles from the finish. I was out of water. Sun was about high noon and the road was a moderate but steady uphill grade. I was in the first stage of heat stroke. I was irritable. I was calling people names just for driving courteously! I finally made it to the finish. My Ironman friend had faded at the end and had only finished a little before me. She handed me a water bottle from the cooler which I downed and went in for another. I put both my wrists in the ice water of the cooler for a little while before getting my bottle. I drank half and put the rest in my bike bottle for the couple miles to my son’s place. Said goodbye to Rosie after a little chat and finished the ride. WoW met me there with street clothes. After a shower and lunch, I felt like a new man.

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Every year since 2003 (except for 2020 when the virus canceled the ride) I ride in the Pumpkin Pie Ride.  (first Sunday in October)

One year..  at a rest stop, maybe 60 miles, I was hungry.  They had GREAT sloppy joe sandwiches.  I had 2.  OMG what a bad mistake.  After the rest stop, a few miles down the road, there was a climb (large for my area, not so much anywhere else) up out of the Illinois River valley.  It was like I had 2 bricks in my stomach.   I got to the place where I had to choose, between 100 and 75 miles.  75 was my choice...  It took most of the ride back to feel better.   I learned what not to eat... 

Then the was the year it was 38o at the start of the ride.  And I forgot my full finger gloves.  My hands were cold for a long time... 

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14 minutes ago, Bikeguy said:

   I got to the place where I had to choose, between 100 and 75 miles.  75 was my choice..

Those cut off points are tough. In my area they save all the toughest climbs for those that don’t cut off for the shorter route. 2020 was no riding for me but 2019 my riding was really limited because my wife wasn’t well. I opted for a couple of the 60 mile routes on the two organized rides I did. I felt like a cheater when that turn off point came up and I had to decide and I went for 60. That was enough miles for someone who hadn’t been riding much.

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I'm probably forgetting some of our self-made touring rides with just dearie....since am riding with clothing, some trips camping gear, etc.

Riding in humid heat 95-90 degree C from downtown Toronto to Niagara on the Lake, by going around the perimeter of Lake Ontario.  It was a 107km. ride for the day ...it was really the humid heat, not the route, since it includes Waterfront Trail.  Of course, air quality isn't the greatest when it's quite humid heat in that part of Canada in summer. :( 

Or riding from Vancouver BC to Marysville, WA (holiday inn) which was close to 108 km. or so.  It was summer but poured steady rain ...riding in it for 3 hrs. in rain for part of ride, where I didn't want to stop to put on jacket..what was the point? I was wet already and in shorts. I kept on cycling.  My feet were so wet, that the skin turned dead white..(sorry, did I offend?). Then afterwards made mistake of wearing flip flops...walking to restaurant. Really didn't want to bike to supper. Big mistake, my feet in pain = no orthotics. I could barely walk 3 blocks back to hotel.  Next day rode on and met up with a Seattle cycling couple in that city. The guy was a radonneur....he had just finished a 220 km. ride in 1 day. Yes he was fit.

Most dangerous ride:  Was cycling trip in Quebec, on highway in pouring rain and whole convoy of 10-15 logging trucks were speeding steadily by.. only a 75 km. ride but it was scary..wondering how close we were to the logging trucks on slick high speed highway. So glad that part of ride was over...

 

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31 minutes ago, Kirby said:

I repeat the story of my childhood cycling adventure.  Sure it was only 10 miles total, but this was for two people who never really cycled.  Luckily ice cream treats were involved.  And yes, the picture is still hanging in my bedroom.

 

A chain donut coffee shop is a welcome site in a rural area after ..only 60 km. before another 40 km.  Sometimes I wish Canada wasn't so friggin'  BIG.

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Hardest? Probably Alp D’Hues? Although Brass Town Bald after a long, climb-filled ride was tough. Surprisingly my double century wouldn’t be on this list, nor my fixed gear century, as I’ve had 2 or 3 bonks that trump them.

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5 hours ago, shootingstar said:

I'm probably forgetting some of our self-made touring rides with just dearie....since am riding with clothing, some trips camping gear, etc.

Riding in humid heat 95-90 degree C from downtown Toronto to Niagara on the Lake, by going around the perimeter of Lake Ontario.  It was a 107km. ride for the day ...it was really the humid heat, not the route, since it includes Waterfront Trail.  Of course, air quality isn't the greatest when it's quite humid heat in that part of Canada in summer. :( 

Or riding from Vancouver BC to Marysville, WA (holiday inn) which was close to 108 km. or so.  It was summer but poured steady rain ...riding in it for 3 hrs. in rain for part of ride, where I didn't want to stop to put on jacket..what was the point? I was wet already and in shorts. I kept on cycling.  My feet were so wet, that the skin turned dead white..(sorry, did I offend?). Then afterwards made mistake of wearing flip flops...walking to restaurant. Really didn't want to bike to supper. Big mistake, my feet in pain = no orthotics. I could barely walk 3 blocks back to hotel.  Next day rode on and met up with a Seattle cycling couple in that city. The guy was a radonneur....he had just finished a 220 km. ride in 1 day. Yes he was fit.

Most dangerous ride:  Was cycling trip in Quebec, on highway in pouring rain and whole convoy of 10-15 logging trucks were speeding steadily by.. only a 75 km. ride but it was scary..wondering how close we were to the logging trucks on slick high speed highway. So glad that part of ride was over...

 

95-90 C heat would be hard to ride in. My blood would boil. 

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2 minutes ago, BuffJim said:

95-90 C heat would be hard to ride in. My blood would boil. 

Not quite but very close.

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I'd have to go with the North/South trail ride this year that we attempted to stretch into a century.  Ended up with 93.1 miles, 5700 ft of climbing on my FS mountain bike, in 12 hours overall time.  Fortunately, I was in shape for it so didn't feel that bad.  Unfortunately, we wasted too much time at the beginning waiting for slower riders and ran out of daylight to get the 100 miles.

https://ridewithgps.com/trips/56790718

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Longest was a solo ride I did in Ohio. Rode from home, Liberty Twp, to Loveland and took the Little Miami trail north to Xenia. Some other trail west to Dayton and picked up the Great Miami trail south. When I reached Middletown, it was getting dark and I didn’t want to ride on the roads without lights so I called Wo7 for SAG. My computer said 108 miles so I rode around the block until she arrived. 110 miles. 
Hardest was the Garrett County Gran Fondo in MD/WV near Deep Creek Lake. They had 25, 44, 62, and 100 mile options. I signed up for the 62. After climbing for miles with a 39x27 low gear I opted for the 44 mile route when I got to the split. The hardest part was I couldn’t maintain a steady cadence to climb with all the other cyclists at different speeds. Finished with 43 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing. Still a hard ride.

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Going to the grocery store, pulling the trailer, about five miles away. My back was "out" and I could barely walk. Sweated bullets the whole way but didn't puke.

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20 minutes ago, petitepedal said:

The last couple of days on the Great Adventure  were hard..the heat was a biggie, sleep was lousy and then the shoulder issue...my shoulder was so inflamed..I couldnt wear my camelbak over my right side..I got cranky and misserable...but I would do it again. :cheerleader:

And we were very thankful you completed it with us!  😊You did well. 

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1 minute ago, Square Wheels said:

You needed gears like this, it's the only way I was making it up.

top.jpg

You are right. And one of the multi repeat riders told me at the start, “you’re riding up on that gearing?!”  I knew then that I was in trouble.  

I rode a 36t front, 34t rear if I recall correctly. 

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1 hour ago, Tizeye said:

Photo update, today, 1/16/2021. Wiping out at a high rate of speed on an unbanked 90 degree turn 9/10/2020 as couldn't brake hard enough and tires lost traction. After 4 months, the fractured clavicle healed but the hematoma remains. While initially ballooned out to size to size of grapefruit in the final couple of miles during the post accident ride home, appears to have maxed out this week as not get getting the stretching twinges - otherwise not painful. Hopefully will begin absorbing down over the next few months.

Only thing I can think of is with the left being the road rash and fx clavicle side, caused by landing inside the handlebar. The only injury on the right was a puncture wound on the calf, presumably by brake lever. No vien punctured so wasn't a 'control bleeding' issue as just oozed blood which clotted quickly.

 

accident - 2000px.jpg

Ouch!  Wow, four months later you’ve a hematoma like that?

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9 minutes ago, Zealot said:

And we were very thankful you completed it with us!  😊You did well. 

Some good sleep..some food and maybe the end of September instead of the beginning..and I would do it again...if my surgery fixes the shoulder :D

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15 minutes ago, petitepedal said:

Some good sleep..some food and maybe the end of September instead of the beginning..and I would do it again...if my surgery fixes the shoulder :D

I rode the GAP solo early Sept this past year. Was the soggiest, most humid ride I think I’ve done yet!  But my shoulder did fine.  You’ll be good when you heal. 

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11 hours ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

 

Most frustrating? 

2106500353_Ducttape.thumb.jpg.46bbcc6848bb8b25fe7990d071f28e85.jpg

 

I’ve ridden with this guy. Great guy to have with you in a pinch!  Always thinking. 😊 

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11 hours ago, dennis said:

Trans-Iowa. 336 miles, it took 33 hours. 30 mph winds, thunderstorms all night. Temps dropped to the 30s overnight and I did not bring pants. One guy I rode with dropped at 6:00 am(26 hours and 270 miles into the race). He crawled into a ditch and slept. We had to leave him behind. An hour later the other guy I was riding with said go on without me. He didn't finish. I opened a can of coffee that I had been carrying all night and it exploded it my face. When I finally made the last turn and had a tailwind for the last 15 miles I knew I could finish before the time cut-off.

Arrowhead 135. I attempted it four times and finished twice. It's cold, snowy, and really difficult. 

JayP's fat pursuit. I've tried twice and not finished twice. 120 miles in the GYE with lots of snow. I think I pushed my bike for 4 hours.

Chequamegon 100. I hit a tree with my face and shattered my nose. I had to ride back to the start bleeding like a wounded deer.

The first of two sunrises in Iowa.

DSCN2225

 

Respect!

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The most painful ride I had was riding back home after I crashed and separated my shoulder and broke ribs. The paved road wasn’t too bad but my gravel road was dreadful. Driving myself to the ER was a breeze compared to that. Driving home from the ER was interesting with my arm in a sling.

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Back around 1978. It was an unsupported, flat century ride. The temps were in the upper 90s but I've ridden in that heat many times recently in New Mexico although NM didn't have that white stuff called humidity which the St. Louis area had an abundance. At the half way point the group I was with stopped at a bar for a hamburger, fries, and a couple of beers. Not the best for a long ride. I did remember to fill up my one little water bottle. I neglected to put on sun screen so I was a little red already. The way back was desolated with no where to get water and little shade. I got dropped and shortly later I started to feel bad. I wasn't thinking to straight and my water bottle was empty. Then I notice that I had stopped sweating! I could peel salt flakes off my arms. Fortunately for me there was a small waterfall about 3 miles from the end. It was a hangout for the locals to drink beer. I ran into the waterfall like a crazy person. It was cold and wet and I was attempting to drink it all. After many minutes I got out and one of the people offered me a beer. I figure it was wet and had some carbs. I swear that I was almost drunk from that one beer. I made it back to my car and drove to a store where I bought some cold Cokes and candy bars.

Still when I got home I had lost 10 lbs which probably was water weight. I was sunburned, dehydrated, probably had heat stroke also. I was closer to death than I'd like to imagine. Now I usually bring 2 large water bottles for any ride and taught my kids to always bring a lot of fluids and stuff like Gu or energy bars on long rides.

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McKenzie river trail as a loop.  Most everyone shuttles this.  We rode back up.  <Mountain> No idea of stats other than it was 65 miles.  This was pre-strava and garmin days

Crater Lake century.  <road> 6600 ft, 104 miles

Those two really stand out.

I really wanted to bag a MTB century, but my health things got in the way.  I should have done this when I was 30.  Post MS, I have trouble pushing too much and tearing the body down.

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I have a 62-miler and a 69-miler, each of which I'll never forget for the wrong reasons. But those are nothing compared to what some of you have done. 

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