Century Ride in Saudi Arabia

by Patricia Munoz
riding in the saudi desert

May 2nd, 2002

This was a sponsored 100 mile cycle event in support of my niece's medical expenses.
Amount of money raised was $8750.00.

Mike Higgins, 50+
Ron Harker, 50+
Doug Horn 45+
Myself, Patricia Munoz 50+

We have been living in Saudi Arabia for 13 years. We work for Saudi Aramco Oil Company and we live in a small company owned camp in Udhaiiyah.

Wondering what I could do to raise funds to help out, the suggestion came up to do a century ride. Not giving it any thought as to the possibility of not completing it, I asked three of my cycling friends to support me in the ride. Flyers were sent out to friends in the different camps asking for sponsorships. The route was mapped out and it was decided that since the ride was for a blessed reason, we could and would do it.

Our normal training regime varies to the different priorities of our group. We usually do one and a half to two hour rides in our compound at least a couple of nights or early morning, depending on the time of year/temperature. On the weekends, we try to go off camp for 30 to 50 miles; depending on the weather. The course that we normally ride has a mixture of flat roads and hills. They are old company roads to mothballed facilities, which are very quiet, with the exception of a few Bedouins with herds of camels or sheep around the area.

With the hot weather approaching and all of our different schedules, May 2nd was the only time available. The date for the ride did not give us much time to get the mileage in as it was already the end of March. So over the next four 4 weekends we followed a schedule:

Weekend 1: 50 miles
Weekend 2: 50 miles
Weekend 3: a 42 mile road race sponsored by a local cycling group, (Mike, Ron & Doug)
Weekend 4: 60 miles
During the week, some of us ran and did gym work
May 2: The Century Mile

We asked other riders to help support us and meet us off camp at the 50 mile mark and ride in with us. One other rider 60+ would join us at the 25 and ride with us to the 50 mile mark.

On May 2nd, 2002, the four of us started the century ride at 4:30 am along with a support vehicle; the temperature at that time was 75 degrees F. We drank lots of fluids, eating energy food every 40 minutes, while talking and keeping each other focused. We enjoyed the desert sand dunes and the camel herds trying to cross the road and before we knew it, we were approaching the fifty mile marker.

The other riders were waiting for us at the half way mark along with two additional support vehicles. At about the sixty mile marker we had a slight tail wind from the South, which was very unusual for that time of the year. The sand dunes are formed by typical north winds, and normally at this time of the year, the wind would have been a strong head wind. Continuing with our same strategy, we completed the century ride in a total of 5 and � hours, and the temperature at the completion of the ride was 105 degrees F. It was the most inspirational ride we have ever done. We felt it was something of a spiritual experience. The sky was beautiful and opened to the heavens, with the most beautiful cirrus cloud patterns. It was not only inspiring but uplifting, I kept on saying that The Lord was on the back of my bicycle seat. Riding into the camp and crossing the finish line was quite a moving experience and we owe it all to the grace of the Lord.

The four of us who completed the Century could not believe how good we felt afterwards and for the days that followed, without aches or pains. Having read century ride training regimes, we were more than impressed with our efforts. Guess our basic core fitness is stronger than we realized and we are all living proof that there is cycling life after 50!

Special thanks to all the riders who assisted the four of us in completing this Century Ride, to my husband who planned out the ride and was the main support vehicle, and to all of our friends that sponsored each of us.

Patricia Munoz
Saudi Aramco

group photo
group ride photo

Copyright ©2002 Patricia Munoz. All Rights Reserved.