I drove to Maryland this past weekend to participate in the 25th annual Seagull Century bike ride with my friend Mary. Her first century and my third. We left New Jersey via the Cape May ferry on a gorgeous afternoon with bikes strapped to the rear of the car not knowing quite what to expect. Now we hope to participate in this event again.
The ride starts and ends on the campus of Salisbury University on Maryland’s eastern shore. We opted for the classic 100-mile Assateague century (other riders chose the 62-mile Princess Anne metric century or the 100-mile Snow Hill century). About 7,000 people participated in this year’s ride, which raises money for various charities.
Assateague served as the highlight of the ride. Due to the federal government shutdown, the route took us to the state park instead of the national park. We saw one wild pony in the salt flats after going over the bridge to the island. The bridge looked steep, but I zipped over it quite easily. The bridge only juts up to 98 feet, but the flat terrain that surrounds it makes it appear higher and steeper. If you ever wanted to ride a century, this one offers very beautiful and extremely flat terrain with a total ascent of only about 850 feet. As centuries go, a relatively easy ride.
By the time we reached the final rest stop at mile 85, I felt pretty low on energy. I had slowed my pace about 2-3 mph to ride with Mary, which actually meant I ended up pedaling longer (probably an extra 1-2 hours). I also led the way for most of the day, so with few chances to draft I had worked pretty hard to get to mile 85. Fortunately the rest stop had pie a la mode for all riders, and I now know that pie a la mode works wonders to revive an exhausted cyclist. I got back on the bike determined to finish, and about 10 hours after we started, we crossed the finish line.
Surprisingly our legs felt fine the next day, so we poked around at the Ocean City boardwalk for a few hours before heading home. When we got to the ferry terminal in Delaware, we realized we had three hours until the next available ferry so we unstrapped the bikes from the rack and went for another ride. We logged almost 20 more miles riding through Henlopen State Park as well as the historic district in Lewes, Delaware (both very bike friendly).
A 120 mile weekend – and congratulations to Mary for completing her first century. We need to pick a date and route for the next one.