Beginning bicyclists find a ten mile bicycle ride is just about right for some nice recreational exercise. It’s good outdoor fun. But like any activity, the more you do it, the better you become. Ten miles soon builds into 20, 40, and up. For bicycling enthusiasts all over the country, 100 miles is a nice Saturday or Sunday “century” ride.
Once bicyclists are able to do a century, some might try a double century. For others the next step might be to see how far they can go in a day. Not everyone can complete in the Olympics, but anyone can set a goal and try to achieve it. Once our riders decide to make their way to Middleville, Michigan, on Father’s Day Weekend each year, they are ready to amaze their friends, families, and most of all, themselves!
Practically none of these bicyclists are full-time athletes. Women and men from all walks of life have participated and excelled. “Ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary goals. You don’t have to be elite to be successful.”, said Michael Shermer of La Canada, California, in 1988.
The participants ride for medals in five-year solo age classes, 18 to 75+ (M/F), as well as 3 tandem classes (MM/MF/FF) and classes for hand-cycles and ElliptiGos. Upright and recumbent bicycles are not differentiated, and all are welcome. Enameled mileage pins, in 50 mile increments, reward riders who complete 200 or more miles. Riders who return and accumulate 1000 miles at the Challenge earn a 1000 Mile Jersey.
While all riders get their names in the event’s Record Book, some riders set their sights on a Personal Best, an age group record, winning Overall High Mileage or breaking the OHM record.
The course has changed over the years, but remains, as Bicycling Magazine once reported, “One of the ten toughest one-day bicycling events in the USA”
(Registration opens at 12:01am on 1 January.)