On our way out on the West Flank Road.
On our way out on the West Flank Road.

I would like to share with you an unforgettable event which will bring back wonderful memories to some Udhailiyah residents and to many others who helped make this event a success story.

Date of event: May 2nd, 2002 - Location: Udhailiyah Camp, West Flank

This was a sponsored century ride cycle event in support of my niece's medical expenses. We raised a total of $8,750.00.

We had been living in Udhailiyah Camp, working for Saudi Aramco Oil Company. Wondering what I could do to raise funds to contribute to my niece’s medical expenses, the suggestion came up to do a century ride. Not giving it any thought as to the slightest possibility of not completing it, I asked three of my cycling friends to support me in the ride. Without any hesitation, they were also eager to do the century ride, so the decision was made. Flyers were sent out to friends in the different camps asking for sponsorships. The response was over whelming for this worthy cause.

The route was mapped out, details were planned, everyone was ready to help out and we were set to go. We had many friends who wanted to do the ride with us, except they would meet us at the 50 mile marker and then ride in with us. We decided that since the ride was for a blessed reason, we could and would do it.

Our normal training regime varied to the different priorities of our group. We usually did one and a half to two hour rides in our compound at least a couple of nights or early mornings, depending on the time of year/temperature. On the weekends, we tried to go off camp for 30 to 50 miles depending on the weather. The course that we normally rode on had 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 and sometimes wild dogs around the area. Even though none of us had ever done a century ride, we were determined to do it even though we realized that the donations we would collect were based on the miles completed by each of us.

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

  • Weekend 1: 50 miles
  • Weekend 2: 50 miles
  • Weekend 3: a 42 mile road race sponsored by Udhailiyah local cycling group
  • Weekend 4: 60 miles

During the week, some of us ran and did gym work as well.

4:30am start in Udh Camp.
4:30am start in Udh Camp.

On May 2nd, 2002, we started the century ride at 4:30 am along with a support vehicle. It was a silent, tranquil, dark morning, and the temperature at that time was 75 degrees. We gave it no thought and without hesitation, got on our bikes and started riding out of camp. (Mike Higgins 50+, Ron Harker 50+, Doug Horn 45+ and myself 50+).

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 driven to the half way mark and were eagerly waiting for us along with two additional support vehicles. It was awe-inspiring seeing everyone waiting for us.

We all continued with our same strategy, keeping everyone focused, yet enjoying the scenic morning. About the sixty mile marker we had a very strange 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. It was the most inspirational ride we have ever done. We felt it was something of a spiritual experience. The sky was magnificent and opened to the heavens, with the most beautiful cirrus cloud patterns. There was just enough tail wind to lightly push each one of us. It was not only inspiring but up lifting; I kept on saying that God was on the back of my bicycle seat.

Once we started approaching Udhailiyah camp, we looked at each other and we all knew that this was truly an unforgettable ride. Crossing the finish line was quite a moving experience and we owe it all to the grace of God. We completed the century ride in a total of 5 ½ hrs, and the temperature at the completion of the ride was 105 degrees F.


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

Special thanks to all the riders who assisted us in completing this Century Ride, to my husband Pedro, who planned out the ride and was the main support vehicle. Everyone in the community who contributed to the planning and to all of our friends and sponsors, we could not have accomplished this without each other. We cherish those wonderful times in Udhailiyah. "A Friend in need is a friend indeed."

Email update from my niece 02/20/09
"I had a hole in my heart and veins in the wrong spot with very high pressures in the lungs and heart. This was repaired by closing the hole and rerouting the veins. The pressures came down on their own over time. I am doing very well considering that the adult cardiologist gave me only 24 months to live. A pediatric cardiologist that specializes in heart defects from birth came to my rescue. The money that was raised helped to pay for the expenses to get to the Mayo clinic (flights, hotel, food, etc.) and some of the medical bills I received from all the medical care I had in those few months. The money also helped to pay my mortgage and my other bills while I was not working. Thank you all so very much for your kindness".

Since Pedro and I left Aramco in 2004, our life has been an eventful whirlwind. We settled in Diamondhead Mississippi, another grandbaby was born to complete a total of five grandchildren and we survived hurricane Katrina. Madrid Spain was our next move as Pedro worked on the design of the Juaymah and Hawiyah Gas Plants expansion projects. We were delighted when we were told that we were going back to Saudi Arabia, so we settled in Dammam and Pedro was assigned to the construction phase of the Hawiyah Gas Plant Expansion. Presently we are now living in Jeddah and Pedro is working for KAUST.

To all of our friends, mi casa es su casa, come and visit us in Jeddah.

Patricia & Pedro Munoz
Jeddah, KSA

See more photos of Patricia's Century Ride here: Memories of a Century Ride in Udhailiyah.