The following is Matt Wills’ account of his journey of 100, 100 mile rides starting December 31, 2013. Most of his monthly gravel centuries departed from Lincoln, but occasionally they had other departure points, such as from Bellevue to north of Council Bluffs. There were also unidirectional rides to Ponca and Indian Cave State Parks (where he rode home the next day). Winter rides started as cold as 8 degrees, or could be in slushy snow. Two were over-nighters beginning at 10:00 P.M. due to summer heat, to Beatrice and back.
I remember riding over 100 miles in one day for the first time. It was a big group road-bike ride and we went all the way to David City and Wahoo and home. That was a big deal and a really fun day. I also remember the first time I rode over 100 miles on gravel roads. I don’t remember the exact route but I remember being south of DeWitt on beautiful country roads on my cross-bike with Paul.
I remember being able to remember all the rides over the 100 mile mark because although I rode pretty often the long long rides were pretty far and few between. Even at that time I recall the idea of doing one 100-mile ride for each month of a year being an interesting goal. How would you plan the long ride day during the cold winter months and the rainy spring months? A century ride in June is easy to plan but how would a February century even be possible some years?
Then I remember hearing about a crew in Minneapolis doing just that – a year’s worth of 100-mile rides, at least one per month, back to back to back to back… Carl Gauger thought it would be fun to try it and so we did. We rode each month together with one or two exceptions. I always rode with a few friends, but I remember Carl having to do one or two solo due to his schedule.
The first year’s worth went by and so did the second year’s worth. Then, it became a typical monthly goal, with no particular end date in mind. It’s fun to plan the date and discuss the details with friends each month. I remember doing the math to determine when the month number 100 would be, but even five years ago 2020 seemed like a long ways away.
The route for the ride for month number 100 was determined just like any other month’s route was determined – by respecting the wind. The wind was forecast to be from the north, so Prague was chosen as a destination for the route. The weather leading up to the ride made for smooth gravel roads and mostly dry dirt roads. It was another fantastic day spent in the beautiful countryside with great friends. I’m already looking forward to months number 101, 102 and so on. I’m confident those future rides will be just as enjoyable to plan and just as fulfilling to complete.