Used to ride a fair bit in my early teens, did a couple centuries (on mountain bikes!) with a buddy when I was 15.

Got out of riding, and now it's time to get back into it.

Put some miles on early this spring on my mountain bike, and sprang for my first road bike end of May. After that, I started getting a bit more serious about it.

Did a few 35-mile rides, and commuted to work regularly, a 19-mile round trip. Went for a 50-mile club ride, was pretty fun to draft other folks a bit.

A couple weeks ago I figured it was time to start upping the ol' miles, so I did a 55-mile ride followed by a 77-mile ride 4 days later. No real sweat - it was a pretty flat area, and at 2,000' elevation (I live at 5k, so it was kinda cheating, heh).

Back home this week, and it's century time!

There are a couple organized centuries coming up; cost around $50. But I figure support teams and riders to draft off is for wimps, so I'm going alone dammit.

(Actually, I think a supported ride sounds quite...luxurious, and probably very fun. But I also like riding alone, it's good for the brain.)

There were two options for routes; 100 miles riding around the Gallatin valley, or 100 miles going over two mountain passes with lots o' climbing.

The smart move for the inaugural solo century was obvious; do the flat one, and train on the hills a bit more before hitting up the mountains.

Naturally, I chose the mountain option.

It went quite well, actually. From my house the loop is a bit longer, plus I missed a turn and had to backtrack on one section so I ended up sitting at 116.something miles in 7.5 hours. For a solo time with that much climbing, I'm pretty happy with that.

Did not really notice when mapping out the course ahead of the ride that the second pass (rating 3 on the MapMyRide scale) occurred at mile 80, right...when....you......get........tired. That one kinda sucked, I ain't gonna lie.

But at the end of the day - it was a blast, and I'd do it again for sure. Probably not for a couple days, though.

Random notes:

1. Picked up new-to-me shoes yesterday, to replace my 18-years-old Spec. Mountain comps (the ones with the paper insoles). While I questioned the wisdom of heading out on an ambitious ride in new sneaks, but it ended up working out great - they got more comfy as the ride progressed, and for the first time I did not have numb feet. Killer.

2. Brooks saddles. 7.5 hours in a Team Pro, in complete comfort. Well worth the purchase price, and the time breaking it in.

3. Compact cranks are neat. My Madone came with a standard Ultegra, which I swapped for an FC-R700 50-34 before the ride. The extra ratio on the low end is really nice.

4. The only lingering fit issue is handlebars, hands start going numb within 20 miles. I feel like flatter bar-to-hood angles would help; any thoughts welcomed.

Comments? Complaints? Jokes?