I did it! I rode a hundred (and two) miles in the Pumpkin Patch Pedal, extending my personal record distance by a third and meeting my major season goal of completing my first century!
The day started out fairly cold, around 54°F, so I was wearing arm and knee warmers to keep me comfortable. I was a bit worried when I saw that there would only be three rest stops, and that the last one followed a particularly long leg (the stops were at 25, 50, and 84 miles) but I set out gamely and as it turns out the route is very flat, much flatter than my last two big rides. Not climbing up hills meant less strain on my legs, always a good thing. But it turns out this is a mixed blessing, because it also means you don't get to rest (or go fast) on the descents, that you hardly ever change your position, and that you pretty much never stop pedalling. We had a headwind for most of several hours in the afternoon, never more than five or six miles per hour, but enough to cancel out any slight downhill and make everything else (including long five-mile flats) feel like a climb. It did warm up by the end of the day to something like 77°F and I have a few lovely spots of sunburn to show for it.
I set out alone but was fortunately to fall in with some great riding partners. I missed a few names--but thanks, Brian and sister; Donna and Jen; Cynthia, Sue, Bill and friends; and especially to Joan and Jim who ended up pacing me for sixty miles. These people offered great (and distracting) conversation, a good, comfortable pace, and periodic shelter from the wind. I expected to be by myself but I only rode ten miles alone. I hope I'll ride with all of you again!