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I’m truly an amateur cyclist; sometimes I chase a KOM or two, but Phil Gaimon I am not.  Normally I focus more on actual events but this year hasn’t really given me a chance for that which I definitely understand.  So I was very excited to see that Trek brought back the Century Challenge on Strava! The photo above is from Smith’s Bike Shop in La Crosse, with many of the local participants present.  It was great to have the camaraderie from the shop.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept – Strava is an app (and website) where users can post their workouts, including bike rides and runs.  They often have challenges, and occasionally companies jump in to sponsor a specific challenge.  Last year Trek introduced a new challenge, offering a reward for riding at least 100 miles in the month of July.  They gave away t-shirts that corresponded to the distance ridden – 100, 500 or 1000.  I had some long distance events I was training for last year, the Day Across Minnesota (DAMn) and Ride Across Wisconsin (RAW, a Bike Fed event!), so it was the perfect opportunity to pile on some miles. I didn’t quite hit 1000, finishing around 850 as I tapered for DAMn.

The author and his brother-in-law after an early July century ride.
The author and his brother-in-law after an early July century ride.

When I saw that Trek was bringing the challenge back this year, it felt like a perfect opportunity to motivate me to do something bigger.  Just thinking about the challenge of riding 1000 miles in 31 days got me really excited!  I’ll need to average just over 32 miles a day for each and every day in July to hit the goal.  Doing RAW last year taught me that I’m much more capable of big challenges than I sometimes give myself credit for.  The grit that I developed riding over 225 miles in a single day gives me confidence in my ability to complete the goal.  However, you don’t have to aim for the 1000 mile goal!  To complete the challenge you only need to ride 3.2 miles a day to hit 100 miles in the month of July.  I’m pretty sure my kiddos would do that, if I got them on Strava (sort of like cell phones, I’m pretty sure they don’t need to be sucked into the data end of riding yet). Even Zwift and other virtual miles count – so if it’s too hot, or rainy, or even if you just prefer to ride inside, you can still participate.

The gold stem cap for 1000 mile riders.

In a world where we’re all experiencing turmoil and some sense of loss, bicycling hasn’t been cancelled and won’t be.  Trek is here to provide the carrot, in this year’s case a stem cap corresponding to the distance ridden, and a custom coffee mug to remind you of your accomplishments.  I plan to reward myself with a gold chain for my road bike to match my stem cap if I’m successful.  Then I’ll sit back and sip coffee from my pro mug, and enjoy my achievement.

This is a chance to be part of something bigger!  Whether you’re clipping in to the latest aero road bike or going on a cruise to get ice cream, count your miles and earn a reward.