The first century ride I participated in was in 2010 on my 29er. It was not planned that way. I intended to ride the Schwinn I used to have, but I had a mishap the weekend before. Two large dogs came out of nowhere. The lead dog rammed my rear wheel on the side so hard it bent the rim and popped the inner tube. Fortunately I was able to catch myself to stay upright. I had no time to get the bike fixed before the century ride.
Riding on a 29er with massive knobby tires is an experience I will never forget. It amazed me that I was able to keep up with road bikes for several miles. Sensibility kicked in after awhile so I would not burn out too soon.
Ben, who drove the sag wagon, came around to check on me several times to make sure I was okay. The last time I saw Ben, he could see I was exhausted from having to work extra hard. He offered to give me a ride to the finish line at the park. I thanked Ben for the offer, but I was determined to complete the course even on a 29er.
The last ten miles seemed to take as long as the whole ride. It felt like the park was saying, “catch me if you can. Ha ha.” Relief flooded my body when I finally saw the park. A few of the riders hung around long enough to make sure I made it back. They were so happy to see me that they clapped and cheered as I arrived. Wow.
I have since then ridden several 100 plus daily miles for overnight or month long bike pack trips with Bob. No, I don’t use my 29er for those trips. Once was enough. What we use are rebuilt mountain bikes fitted with tires that handle all surfaces. The way we travel, those bikes suit us just fine.