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Any thoughts/comments/reports on the Seagull Century?(37 posts)

Any thoughts/comments/reports on the Seagull Century?Scott B
Oct 15, 2001 12:02 PM
As for me, I had a great time. Finished at 18 mph for the full century (a personal best for me) and saw some of the wild ponies when coming out of the rest stop at Assateague. Managed to stay in the paceline of my "boombox buddy" for around 50 out of the first 60 miles. Only bad thing (aside from the 2 riders I saw being tended to by ambulances) was turning DIRECTLY into the wind with about 7 miles to go right by the Salisbury airport - it felt like I was going backwards at that point. How did you other Seagull riders fare?
Great Ride, too many ambulances.....Len J
Oct 15, 2001 12:23 PM
for my taste.

Weather was incredible, 60 at the start, high of 78 during the day.

We ended up doing the old course (sounds like you did too) and it was much less crowded than last year. We finished just under 5 hours on the bike after doing the first ten miles at about 16.5mph, so we felt OK about the speed.

We saw three people taken away on strechers, 2 other people down and heard that the reason that they rerouted us before the last rest stop was because a paceline went down with multiple serious injuries. I have not heard an update on this. I really think that they have to do something to enforce rider safety issues. There are too many inexperienced riders on the same narrow roads as very fast pacelines. There are also a large number of inexperienced riders trying pacelining for the first time who don't realize how unsafe they are. I found that the safest thing to do was give people I didn't know an awful lot of room, this paid off as several times this saved me from a crash when they would do something inappropriate. I suspect that this was the culprit (based on what I saw) in many of the wrecks.

I really think that SSU has to decide what kind of ride they want to have. They have two completely different rides going on at once, one for all those people who (because it is a flat century) want to set a personal best, and one for all the "social" riders who want to enjoy the event. It's why they get 8,000 people. Having them both on the same course creates some of the safety problems. They also don't seem to have anyone "policing" safety.

All in all it was a great day. I just wish it wasn't as unsafe.

Great Ride, too many ambulances.....Scott B
Oct 15, 2001 12:38 PM
Well, it just goes to show, there are only two types of riders - the maniacs who go faster than you, and the idiots who go slower than you :-) You are right, though, about the mixing of skill levels. Even if they broke up the 100 milers (i.e., fast folks do traditional route, "slower" folks do new route) there's still no way to guarantee compliance. Scariest moments for me (aside from passing the crash sites) were at the start, as well as the rest stops - just too crowded with too many oblivious people. Any idea what newspaper might carry followup reports on the ride/injuries?
You're right......Len J
Oct 15, 2001 12:47 PM
about two types of riders. The only way to truly make it safer is for someone to enforce safety, and I don't think that the students are capable of that.

We skipped the first rest stop because that entrance/exit is about the most unsafe road into/out of a rest stop we've ever seen. The rest didn't seem as bad as last year since they split up the crowds.

I checked the Salisbury paper Sun. & there was no mention. I think the College publicity people do a good job of keeping it quiet. Several years ago someone was killed on the ride & it never made either the local news or the newspaper, so I don't think it will become very public. You might try calling the Organizers, I think thier number is on the web site.

Heard that about 15 people went down....Greg Taylor
Oct 16, 2001 5:08 AM
...when a paceline got taken out. Don't know who, how, or why. A buddy who saw the aftermath said that they were on the left side of the road....sounds like something went wrong getting around a clump of slower riders.

Riding in a paceline is a bit like unprotected sex -- it's best to know your partners VERY well before doing anything risky. If I'm going to do 25+ mph with someone in a paceline, I want to be introduced first. Barring that, have the "squirrel alert" cranked up if you want to hop into pacelines with strangers. Seagull gets lots of folks who are doing this for the first time, but they are generally pretty easy to spot. They don't signal, they aren't smooth, and they take unacceptable risks.

Personal opinion, but I think that Seagull is about as safe as it is going to reasonably get with 7,000 riders. If it wasn't fast, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun. Are we supposed to go only as fast as the slowest rider on the course? No. That would be silly. Are slower riders supposed to keep to the right? Yup. Are faster riders supposed to use their heads and ride responsibly? You betcha. Can we still go fast? Sure, when the conditions allow it.
Heard that about 15 people went down....look271
Oct 16, 2001 5:25 AM
I think I saw more people down this year than I've seen in 7 years COMBINED. That's too bad. We used some traffic lights as ways to sprint in front of large clumps of riders. I think next year we may try to get out real early-no later than 730 and go. This way you avoid alot of this.
Oh man, what a great day ...pmf1
Oct 15, 2001 12:44 PM
It was my 9-th time in a row. I can't recall a nicer day. Perfect weather. Almost no headwind (there is ALWAYS headwind at the airport -- usually much worse than this year). My wife and I did it together (I had to pull for 85 miles).

It was the most crowded I've seen. We saw a few numbers in the low 7000's. Also lots of crashes. I personally saw or rode past 3 of them. Saw more than a few ambulances. I think its a result of a lot of inexperienced riders doing this ride. The course is flat, well marked and there was a cop at every intersection directing traffic. They do a good job running this ride.

We did the traditional route. Anyone try the new route? Less crowded?
Had some friends....Len J
Oct 15, 2001 12:50 PM
do the new route & they said there were only 100 people at the lunch stop. Sounds like everbody decided that everybody else was going to do the new route (Like we did).

We rode past itpmf1
Oct 15, 2001 1:03 PM
And almost no one was turning except the metric riders (same turn-off). In retrospect, I wish we had turned. Its funny that even though I only ride that ride once a year, its so familar after doing it 8 times.

They ought to do away with that first stop -- its a pain to get in and out of it. Instead, they ought to have a single food stop where the water stop is. Riding from mile 22 to 64 without a food stop is a long ways if you don't realize that stop #2 is only water.
My family hates it...and I didn't even ride!MikeC
Oct 15, 2001 12:47 PM
My wife had planned last weekend as a camping trip with our kids and another couple with their kids. Our destination? Chincoteague. So all the way down she had to put up with us talking about the bikes we saw on car roofs, and a weekend of me griping about dodging pony poop at eight miles an hour on the paved trails, wishing I could be going ten or twelve mph faster with the Century riders.
Oh, well. Next year my friend and I will incorporate the ride into our trip (of course, the weather could never be as spectacular)!
Had a Gas....Rode with "Bill" From This BoardGreg Taylor
Oct 15, 2001 1:22 PM
Did the "traditional" route with "Bill" and a couple of my buddies. I agree that the ride has gotten rather crowded -- not enough folks took the "new" route. Yes, things were a little squirrely out there with the mix of abilities. Saw a couple of falls, really no more than normal. The DCVelo guys had what appeared to be most of their team at the ride...we tagged onto the end of their paceline for a while, and were treated to an honest 30+ mph. Hopped off because that was TOO fast for conditions...too many people.

By the way, "Bill" is an excellent rider, and his new Pegoretti is a very sweet bike. Both are a fine addition to any paceline...
Brings back memoriesPeetey
Oct 15, 2001 1:34 PM
I was working on the NASA base at Wallops Is. in the late 1970's. I used to do a lot of riding around Chincoteague and up to Snow Hill. Maybe I'll try and get back for next year's ride.
This was my first time, and I thought that it was an absolutebill
Oct 15, 2001 1:41 PM
blast. Perfect weather, beautiful scenery, cool bikes. Yeah, mixing it up with different abilities was a little rough, but when you think about it, given the number of riders, I don't suppose that the injury statistics are terrible. I saw two injuries -- one down on gravel; I'm not sure what happened to the other rider, but she was pretty banged up.
Even so, I thought that it was pretty well run. I'm not sure what else the organizers could have done to make it safer. People have to watch out for themselves. I thought it was a decent mix of providing a good environment for people to have the kind of fun that they wanted to have without going overboard either way.
There was one spot that seemed to be slick with oil or tar, which was almost a disaster, but road hazards are part of the game, I guess. I say that with the luxury of returning in one piece, but it was as well supported and organized as any group event that I ever have attended. I must say that, I'm not sure that, compared to other $20 events, you really got $60 worth of fun, but, for being big, it was well run, with police support and all, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
We skipped the first rest stop, too, and no one was more surprised than I to find no food at #2.
Joined in some hellacious, huge pacelines, where I probably was too ignorant and excited to be scared. I guess it was D.C. Velo or some other big club (some of those lines are now a bit of a blur) that we joined for awhile that was rocking at 30 mph. I saw my heartrate peg at about 85% of max, and we finally dropped off the back (hey, it's 100 miles!). Picked up another line doing about 25 mph plus just right about near that damn airport, which also was pretty cool, although when I got dropped, I didn't realize that my other buddies weren't right behind me, and I did the next few solo in of the few headwinds of the day. Greg Taylor, who participates here, said that he had dropped off because he observed that the line was, in his words, "a bit squirrelly" which it was, but that's why Greg is known to be smarter than I. BTW, if you ever want to ride with a guy that can pull a line, Greg's your man. "Tractor Taylor," he is.
Good summary & you are......Len J
Oct 15, 2001 2:03 PM
right about it being a blast. This is the third or fourth time I've done this & will be back next year. I just wish it were safer.

Plenty of eye-candy though.

I was in that DC velo group for a while also, what a rush. I also was in a Paceline doing about 25 around the Airport that was pcking up riders as we went (and also shedding them). I lasted until about 1/4 mile past the Airport before I cramped.

Squirrly lines were the order of the day, but where else can you ride at so many different paces in the same ride?

so, what were you riding/wearing? I may even have riddenbill
Oct 15, 2001 2:13 PM
with you.
I was on my blue/yellow Pegoretti, wearing a Campagnolo logo jersey. We were riding with the Lardbutts (I was an honorary Lardbutt for the day, which I do, btw, consider an honor -- those guys, no spring chickens they, rock).
so, what were you riding/wearing? I may even have riddenLen J
Oct 15, 2001 2:57 PM
I was on a 2001 Trek 5500 Carbon red. & was wearing a yellow AIDS Alaska Vaccine ride shirt with a yelllow Camelback. I don'r remember seeing you, but then again doing 25mph for a couple of miles, 90+ miles into a century, my wife could have been next to me & I'm not sure I would have noticed :-)

One of the guys more or less with our group rode past his wife.bill
Oct 15, 2001 3:15 PM
Without acknowledging or, indeed, apparently, without seeing her. He was witnessed doing this. He lived to tell the tale. Wow. I know I wouldn't have lived.
Great day. Best one I've done. (Weatherwise.)look271
Oct 15, 2001 4:15 PM
My friend Dave and I did it together. Didn't get into any pacelines except for one a mile or so from the "icecream and pie stop". Way too many crashes. We got out fairly early (around 8) and rode past most of the casual riders early. Saw team Lardbutt-passed them 2x, I think. Had a few riders suck our wheels-those who helped to pull were welcome. especially the nice couple on the tandem who we rode with a little before the lunch break. Those who didn't pull, we dropped. Too many unfamiliar riders with too many chances for a bad crash. Couple of funny things, though. While walking back to my bike at the 1st stop (I don't know why I went back there; we usually just ride by it) I heard a woman say"just after this is the 1st hill of the day!" !! Hill?! You must be kidding. Went past a few riders, one of which said "Oh to be 22 again!" I laughed and said "Hey,I'm 42!" All in all, a good ride. Finished with a 20.6 avg, so I was happy about that. It still is one of the best organized rides I've done.
The Lardbutts were Organizationally Challenged This Year...Greg Taylor
Oct 15, 2001 8:52 PM
We had folks all over the place...the 'butts didn't do a good job of sticking together this year. We had folks all over the place. Most years we do our own paceline and keep to ourselves until past the airport, and then we all cramp up simultaneously. Not enough Geritol, I guess.
The Lardbutts were Organizationally Challenged This Year...look271
Oct 16, 2001 5:05 AM
I've found that keeping to yourself is the safest way to go. Last year we had an organized paceline but not this year. No matter; it was still a great ride. Some of the big pacelines that went past us were really irresponsible-no "on your left" or any type of warning. No wonder there were so many crashes.
Agree 100 PercentGreg Taylor
Oct 16, 2001 5:13 AM
We generally do our own paceline and don't let others rotate in. Didn't do that this year because we were short a few guys. Had to pick and choose who we worked with. It worked out pretty good -- bailed from a few groups out of a sense of self-preservation. Lots of folks can go fast. It's another thing to go fast safely.
How was the food? Did you get your $ worth?MB1
Oct 16, 2001 8:03 AM
I would like to hear what the folks who did the ride think about the cost vrs. reward for the Seagull. Was it a good value.

Maybe I just don't get out much but from the descriptions above this is one ride I sure don't want go get near. Kind of reminds me of the Mexico rides that are so popular in SoCal-a crazy mix of crowds, abilities and attitudes on roads that are no longer big enough for what the event has become.

I'd rather do the 508.
Nah, No waypmf1
Oct 16, 2001 8:14 AM
The food isn't all that great considering it costs $40. Its not bad, but salty stuff is sorely lacking from the rest stops (this is not unique to the Seagull though). Too much sugar, The pie and ice cream at the last stop is unique. I'm so sugared out at that point that I can barely eat one piece of pie and cannot handle ice cream.

Also, I wish they gave out short sleeve t-shirts. I find the long sleeve ones useless.

For me, the ride is a tradition. If there was another similar ride, i wouldn't do it. My wife and I take Friday off and go to Ocean City. we go for a ride on the coastal highway, walk on the boardwalk and have a nice dinner. On the way home we always stop at the same farm stand where they sell these huge pumpkins for $10 (they'd easily cost $25 in DC). I buy 2-3 of them. The kids in my neighborhood marvel over the jack-o-lanterns I have on Halloween.

Personally, the Reston, Bay to Bay, Bay Country, PPTC are better centuries. The best was run by the Winchester Wheelmen in the Shenandoah Valley (Blue and Grey). They quit doing it. I wish they'd start that one up again.
Depends on when you sign up...Len J
Oct 16, 2001 8:14 AM
Cost was $40 if you sign up early. For that you get a $20 long sleeve shirt, 4 rest stops, 3 with food, (actually the food is pretty good & plentiful) all rest stops with both Gatorade & water, Police blocking most intersections and sag wagons/medical running up and down the route.

If you sign up after Aug 31 its $60. At that price it probably isn't worth it.

Len and guys, a couple more questions.MB1
Oct 16, 2001 8:31 AM
Miss M is thinking about this for a mid winter century for us.

Are there enough stores/fast food stops along the route to do it unsupported? (Every 40/50 miles is plenty for us).

I'm thinking fixed gears would be ideal, right? Is the route worth the drive from DC or is the attraction the event?

Any thoughts?
Yeah, its doablepmf1
Oct 16, 2001 8:40 AM
From DC its abour 2-2.5 hours to Salisbury. The ride starts right in front of the campus (Mags Head Athletic center). Go through the tunnel by the center. The route is well marked by white painted seagulls that probably stay for several months. You probably don't even need the map (It may be on their website), but may want one since at least two of the turns were signalled by signs rather than arrows. There appears to be a store near mile 40 where rest stop #2 is. There are also several near Assateague which is around mile 60. There is a store near the last rest stop around mile 85. Its definitely doable unsupported.
Not many stores....Len J
Oct 16, 2001 8:48 AM
between Salisbury & the coast if you get off RT 50.

There are no hills, the route is beautiful but there is not enough diversion to make it interesting. Once you get out to the coast it's nice though. Most of the route is shaded also which might make a mid-winter route a little colder.

IMO the event is the attraction. Where else can you see 7000+ riders all at once?

Just my .02.


If you are looking for a nice mid-winter ride you might want to try a couple of rides around Easton & Cambridge. There is a 50 mile loop from Easton To Tilghman Island that is pretty scenic & has wide shoulders. There also is a fairly nice 65 mile loop through the Blackwater refuge just below Cambridge. (Blackwater has more pairs of Bald Eagles than anywhere else except Alaska although I am not sure what thier winter habitat is). Just come prepared for lots of wind. If you come let me know & we'll set something up. (Just feed Miss M something so she'll take it easy on these old legs).
On windy days we like hills, might be a nice ride for the tandemMB1
Oct 16, 2001 8:59 AM
If we do it I'll try to let you know-sometimes we don't decide until Firday night. We ride centuries year round though so it might be a cold but sunny winter day when we do it.

We actually don't ride all that fast, we just don't stop much (one eating/refill stop a century is usual) so some people think we ride fast when what we are actually doing is finishing early.
On windy days we like hills, might be a nice ride for the tandemlook271
Oct 16, 2001 12:16 PM
Its's a perfect ride for a tandem. When the great god of cycling wanted to build a route for tandems, this is what he had in mimd. A fixie or sigle speed would work, too. As I recall, there's a little convenience store between miles 50 and 60 as you approach Assategue.You also pass through a little town called Berlin at around mile 70-75. Could find grub there. One of these years I'll do it on a single speed or fixie (got to get a fixie, first!). As for your question about value, I think that it is worth it, but not the $60 if you reg late. The food is good but not great. It has it's problems, but the police at most intersections make it nice in that you can pass safely through them without getting creamed. This is certainly worth $40 to me.
Fixies would be fine...Greg Taylor
Oct 16, 2001 8:54 AM
There was a guy on a Surly Steamroller tooting along just fine. Slap on your 52 and let it roll. The only caveat is that it can get windy.

As for food, I don't remember too many places to stop, but then I wasn't looking. There is a snack bar at Assateague park, but you may want to call and see if it is open in the winter.

Whether the route is worth the drive is a judgment call. It is rural, but not really what you would call scenic, except for Assateague. Lots of chicken farms. For me, the event is the attraction. There are prettier routes much closer to home...the guys that I ride with have half-heartedly thought about putting together an impromptu century that loops in Mason Neck (think Gunston Hall, out beyond Belvoir) and then heads out to Clifton. This is VERY pretty, and there is a natural stop at the little country store in Clifton.
I haven't seen much of the Eastern Shore so it might be a niceMB1
Oct 16, 2001 9:06 AM
change. Done a hundred plus centuries (that sounds crazy doesn't it) since we got married (1999) so a new place to ride is always good. Just don't like crowded organized rides.

Love those chicken bad do they smell?
Let's just say....Greg Taylor
Oct 16, 2001 9:30 AM
...that the smell can get overwhelming. Last year, a farmer parked a manure spreader next to the road and, I guess, headed in for lunch. The rig was directly downwind, and the road was straight...and we smelled the thing waaay before we saw it. I'd swear that the odor was strong enough to blister the paint on my bike.
I'm sorry, but the eastern shore is uglypmf1
Oct 16, 2001 10:24 AM
Its flat, covered mostly by crop fields and the chicken barns really smell bad. At least the smell would be less riding in cooler weather. I agree with the other poster ... its an attraction. I'd hate to live there.
Is not! Well, I guess I could have done with a couple fewerbill
Oct 16, 2001 11:08 AM
miles of cornfields (all brown, now) and chicken farms. Any tidewater area, though, has it's charms; the vegetation (scrubby stuff, but actually prettier and more colorful in the fall and winter than in the summer, if you ask me), the occasional lagoon, and the sky, which you sometimes don't get much of in hillier climbs with big deciduous trees. Most of all, even if you don't see the ocean, it's always cool to know that it's right close.
I'm always expecting the East Coast to be like Big Sur or HawaiiMB1
Oct 16, 2001 11:24 AM
with nice ocean views and big climbs. I guess when you lose the climbs you lose the views too.

The smells make me think of dairy country or pig farms. At least there isn't smog.
I'm always expecting the East Coast to be like Big Sur or Hawaiipmf1
Oct 16, 2001 11:55 AM
Keep looking for that silver lining ...

Big Sur. That's a good one.
I must come to the defense...Len J
Oct 16, 2001 12:24 PM
of the Eastern Shore.

It is not quite as bad as some make it out to be (depending on where you are).

1.) If you love the water, Talbot couty, where I live is wonderful. Sailing, fishing, water sports. Some incredible views, sunrises & sunsets.
2.) If you love to bike, there are very few places as good. Wide shoulders, little traffic, plenty of back roads, and generally courteous people.
3.) Great Seafood.
4.) Plenty of wildlife. Deer, Birds (Including Eagles & Hawks)
5.) Did I mention Nice people.

1.) There are too many chicken farms, especially as you get further south & into Delaware.
2.) You have to travel to shop.
3.) Cultural activities are about a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 (New York being a 10)

I've lived in Philadelphia, Outside Philadelphia, Plano, Texas (outside of Dallas), Germantown, Tenn (Outside of Memphis) High Point, NC (Outside of Greensboro) and I can tell you that every one of them had tradeoffs, just like Easton MD.

(Now that I've defended the area, they may let me stay)