Q&A with Cycling Expert (or How I Finished My First Metric Century)

A sign warning cyclists in Cincinnati not to flip over giant concrete barricades and into the Ohio River also captures the essence of the author's cycling expertise.
This column was originally published May 24, 2018 in the Republic-Monitor.
Last Saturday, I attended my first-ever cycling event. With one event under my belt, and the fact that I have a column in print, I’m obviously now, unequivocally, an expert.
And, since I am an expert, the only responsible thing seemed to be to publish a Q&A, to make my invaluable wisdom available to the adoring public.
Which event did you attend?
The Country Side Tour, part of the Fat & Skinny Tire Fest, held at Winona Lake in Warsaw, Ind.
What’s an actual cycling event like? Does anything out of the ordinary take place?
Not unless you consider a bunch of spandex-clad adults singing “Bicycle Race” by Queen while sacrificing a live chicken at a bicycle-shaped altar “out of the ordinary”. (The organizers of FSTF might deny any live animal sacrifices, but they’re lying.)
No, nothing really weird happens, other than the realization that a bunch of supposedly sane people decided to commit a Saturday to riding their bicycles in a huge loop when they have other reliable forms of transportation available.
How far did you ride?
There were different distances available, but I picked the 62-mile mark for a couple of reasons.
First, I don’t think I’m ready for a “true century” ride yet, which is 100 miles. Second, I like telling people I rode a “metric century” (100 kilometers), because it sounds cool and slightly more impressive than 62 miles.
I think I might apply this sly embellishment to other forms of exercise, like bragging about how I do a metric century of push ups and sit ups every morning.
You have hypoglycemia, which for the Patriots fans reading this means low blood sugar. How did you maintain the right balance of nutrition? Got any “pro tips” for eating right on a long ride?
Usually, when people talk about cycling, they say “Don’t forget to eat”. You start riding, you feel good, you wanna cover ground, and you might not remember to “fuel up”, a jive term used by hip cyclists.
When I’m cycling, like when I’m doing just about anything else in life, I’m constantly eating. So my pro tip would be, amidst all the snacking, “Don’t forget to ride the bike.”
What was your favorite part of the ride?
Everyone, from the event organizers, to the fellow riders, were really friendly and encouraging, which makes cycling any sort of long distance a lot easier.
Were you self-conscious riding a bike that cost a fraction of most other bikes at the event?
I wasn’t until you asked, so thanks a lot!
None of the other riders shamed me for riding a bike which was a Ford Taurus compared to their Mercedes and BMW’s. But on the other hand, no one included me in the “Nice bike! Tell me about those components!” conversations, either.
I felt a bit of pride at this, like the aristocrat who brings a lowly milkmaid to the royal ball. As I rolled it past all the high-dollar cycles, I leaned in close to my budget bike and softly whispered, “Ours is a true love.”
Will you be back to the Fat & Skinny Tire Festival?
Yes, and I hope to return with some cycling friends and my family when I’m not so pressed for time, so I can take in more of the events, like the mountain bike races.
How can we ever repay you for being so generous with your cycling expertise?
I’m a simple man. All I ask is that you worship me directly instead of building an altar in my image. And fry that chicken after you sacrifice it.
See more cycling columns here.
You can learn more about the Fat & Skinny Tire fest here.

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