My Most Boring Ride Ever

by Terry Arnold

October 7th (1995) dawned a fine fall day and I was in quest of the Mighty 400. Riding 400 miles in 24 hours has been an unfulfilled goal of mine for the last 5 years. This year alone I had four unsuccessful attempts. Frequently, hot weather has contributed to these failures. So I decided a nice cool fall day would be chosen for my next attempt. And I selected a very flat course to ride - Hwy 11W for the 6.5 miles east of Paty Lumber is probably the flattest road in east Tennessee.

At 7:30am, I left my driveway on my quest. So it was up and down and up and down 11-W all day with stops at my house as needed to refuel. I started fast hitting 100 miles in 4:59, 150 in 7:40 and 200 in 10:20. Daylight was running out so I put my lights on and hit the highway again. My original plan was to continue riding 13 mile laps through the night. I quickly changed to riding just the streetlighted section of 11-W and my laps became only 3.5 miles each. So the up and down and up and down became a much higher frequency.

With darkness and the many miles pedaled, my speed was dropping. The 300 mile split was 16:45. The ride through the night was pleasantly uneventful. It cooled enough to wear a windbreaker but i was comfortable in shorts until the last five miles. The MIGHTY 400 MILE DRAGON was slain at 7:00 Saturday morning and I added 7 more miles to make a 407 mile total. I estimate I did 21 laps of the 13 mile course and maybe 35 laps of the 3.5 mile night course. VERY BORING but I got my 400!. The computer showed an average speed of 18.5 mph, so I rode about 22 of the 24 hours. The winds were light and variable. High temperatures in the mid-70's and lows in the 50's.

If anyone is interested in what fuels (food and drink) these long distance rides of mine, come to the KBA Fall Dinner where I discuss Paris-Brest-Paris and display my favorite fuels.