Riding a Century?

Having just registered for another century race/ride in Huntsville, Alabama, I am left wondering about term “century.” When a runner registers for a marathon, he knows that he is set to run exactly 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 kilometers). Now, when a cyclists registers for a century the number varies from 100.5 miles to as much as 108.7 miles (on the ones that I have ridden). Why is this? I’ve tried to do a “poor man’s” research on the history of century rides, but no dice. Any idea?

3 thoughts on “Riding a Century?

  1. Very simple brother: It’s not easy to make a 100 mile route come out exactly at 100 miles – especially when they don’t close 100 miles of road. Not only that, the organizers generally try to put certain landmarks or sections of road into the ride so that makes it even more touchy.

    I am really tight with Matt Assenmacher, the owner of a couple of local shops and a master bike builder. He puts on a century every year and I’ve seen how he puts the routes together and picks the roads… For two years we were just under 100, this year we were just over. The trick is, you have to build the routes around the rest stops because they’re pretty much set. Then they avoid major highways and bad intersections. Then, once all of that is set on a map (Map My Ride), we go out a week before and a group of 10-15 of us ride it and average the distances with several computers to see how the map program did. We also note trouble intersections that need to be swept of excessive gravel – then they do that day before.

    Point is brother, it’s a HUGE production.

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