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Is a 6 hour 10 minute century (100mi) time good?

Old 04-01-19, 11:38 AM
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kevinabbot
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Is a 6 hour 10 minute century (100mi) time good?

I am 17 and 115lbs and I am 53. So this weekend I decided to go out for a 100 mile bike ride on a paved bike trail. It had other cyclists and it went from rural to almost downtown DC so it had a lot of spots where I had to slow down and go around people but it was pretty flat. I completed it in 6 hours and 10 minutes (moving time). It was solo and I ate while I rode and only stopped briefly.

I am just getting into cycling and wanna do distance 60-100 mile races. I ride the trek domane. Any training tips or thoughts on this?

By the end I wasnt dead and I could have probably gone harder but it is what it is. First 60mi I averaged 16.25 and last 40 I averaged 14.75mph
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Old 04-01-19, 12:30 PM
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I am not a racer so can't give you any advice (except maybe do cyclocross?), but I don't think 6'10" on a mostly flat ride is good. Could be that your small size is a disadvantage on the flats, since your overall power will be lower, but it's only 10 minutes faster than my first ever (accidental*) solo century with 4200 ft elevation, 2 categorized climbs, and 30 miles on busy MUPs during a weekend in July. I spent most of the ride with my HR chilling in the middle of Z2/Z3 as a 36 year old, 135lb, 5'9" road cyclist with half a year of experience almost entirely from bike commuting. But you are young and have plenty of room to improve.

*Accidental because I was only planning on going about 97 but encountered a road barrier and got lost meandering around looking for a detour at mile 80.

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Old 04-01-19, 12:33 PM
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It's about average.
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Old 04-01-19, 12:33 PM
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I'm no trainer or coach, but your time was good for a new young endurance cyclist, or a 50 yr old like me. A good century for a "trained" amateur cyclist (with a couple years of training) is done in under 5 hrs. (20mph avg).

To train for it, on your next ride go out and ride at 20 mph for as long as you possibly can to get a baseline of where you are at currently. From that point on, do 30-50 mile rides (some with high power intervals) 4 days a week. And once a week do a longer ride (60 -100 miles) and set a goal of riding at 20mph for just 5-10 minutes longer than the last time you tried. And when you find you can no longer hold 20mph that day, simply back off a little, ride a bit slower and finish off that ride strong. I did this type of incremental training a few years ago and was able to do a century in 5 hrs 15 min, though I did have some other riders to share the pulling with, which makes a huge difference. Riding solo will definitely add some time, whereas using aero-bars will reduce your time.
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Old 04-01-19, 12:44 PM
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The amount of vertical change makes all the difference. Six hours is a fairly decent time. My wife did her very first century in 6h31m, with about 2,800ft of vertical in it.

If it was flatter than that, even with your small size you will only get faster. I'm still (kinda) chasing the solo 5-hour-century, but open roads and conditions have had me fall short. I've managed ~5h10m twice.
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Old 04-01-19, 12:47 PM
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Good job.

In your weight and height category you should be climbing like a mountain goat.
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Old 04-01-19, 01:14 PM
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For just getting into cycling, yes it's respectable. Ride consistently and train and at your age you could be at the 5 hour mark soon. As others have noted, elevation makes a big difference.

I'm 61 and will never do a 5 hour century, but that's OK. A few of mine for example:

Miles Elevation Time
108 11,437 8:40
104 10,538 8:24
100 3,140 5:53
100 5,295 6:17

Wind and other weather factors also makes a difference. Rain or heat can slow you down a lot.
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Old 04-01-19, 04:43 PM
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Good for you! I did my first solo century at 18 in the Finger Lakes district in New York, quite hilly. Took me 7-1/2 hours and I was slaughtered. It was a warm, sunny day and I ate 1 orange and 1 candy bar at 50 miles and drank a total of 34 oz. water. Back then standard water bottles were 1/2 liter. Funny now to recall that.

If you want to think goals, a 6 hour century (riding time) with 3000' is a decent time. Doing that in 5.5 is getting competitive. Figuring out how to do that with one quick water stop is another milestone.

There are a zillion training methodologies for getting fast at distance riding. My advice is a hilly Saturday ride, hard as you can, about 4 hours. Sunday ride, easy, 1/2 the Saturday distance and elevation gain. On Saturday, take the hills hard and the flats easy. Tuesday, speed work, ~20 miles. Thursday, hill repeats.~25 miles. Road races are hilly, often 100'/mile.

Or better yet for the Saturday ride, find a club or bike shop with group rides and show up. "Nothing happens until you show up." It'll be easy to find a ride with riders faster than you and that's what you want, but don't start with the fastest. Start with moderate rides and hopefully move up to competitive group rides. Keep at it until you are in the front group. Learn to paceline, to attack and defend. It's a long-term thing. It is said that it takes 7 years to become as aerobically fit as you can, so a goal would be to achieve that in your early 20s.

Google "dc group bike rides."
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Old 04-01-19, 07:55 PM
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You don't need to do 100 mile rides. You wouldn't race even half that distance at this point. And average speed matters very little in actual races. Trying to ride a solo 100 miles as fast at you can is very unspecific for the actual racing you'd do. Not that it can't be fun or good general training or a chance to explore or any of a number of other reasons, but for race training it's one of the last things I'd recommend doing or do. I can count on one finger the number of solo 100 mile rides I've done in the last 5 years, and in that same time period I've actually raced a few 100+ mile races.

Far, far, far more important is learning how to ride safely and efficiently in a group. If you want to race, getting plugged in to the faster/harder/better group ride scene is the most important first step (to being successful).

Especially in your locale and at your weight, you're going to have to learn how to be a ghost in the field, meaning you need to learn how to be very good at drafting, moving around in a group, and putting yourself into good positions for the finish.
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Old 04-01-19, 09:26 PM
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It’s great, but as rubiksoval said, it’s not particularly relevant to racing. Lurk a bit in the 33, especially in the training thread.
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Old 04-01-19, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jimincalif View Post
I'm 61 and will never do a 5 hour century, but that's OK.
I'm told there's a route in Colorado where you can ride 100 miles downhill.
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Old 04-02-19, 12:00 AM
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How long have you been riding? If not long, were you active in other sports, especially endurance sports?

The difference between a seasoned racer and an average joe just starting out cycling is like the difference between an old VW and a modern Ferrari. If you are just starting out, congrats on your time. For a pro racer, that was a rest day. Don't feel bad. That's just reality. If you want to race, be aware that it is a lot of work. Even the starter ranks may well be racing at speeds you've never sustained and as you move up, things get a lot faster. But all of us who race or did had to go through the same thing.

When I was 22, I put in a 5000 mile year with some big rides. Watched the State Championships. Wow! Were those guys fast! The next year I joined a club and started racing the "B" races. Rode one open 105 mile race and got lucky. It rained really hard and the race was slow. 4 hours 20 minutes. Loved it. Devoted my life to racing the next year, rode the "A" races and a lot of open races. Rode 120 miles to the top of eastern Massachusetts' highest mountain nearly every week. Did a ride one day, 50 miles out, 50 miles back starting at the highway around Boston. 5 hours flat. No stops. (Plus ~8 miles to and 8 from the highway.) That year the same long race was on a nice day. The first 30 riders finished under 3:58. It was also the hardest thing I have ever done. If all had gone according to plan, I would have been still stronger the next year.


If the idea of racing makes you tick, go for it, But be prepared to be humbled. Only a very few, very gifted people can step into that sport and do well quickly. The good part? If you stick it out, you will get to be one of the top 0.1% in fitness and you will get to know what it is like to live in a finely tuned body very few people will ever see. Even if you don't dedicate your life to racing, you may well find you like riding fast and now have a body that can.

Re: your bike path ride - slowing frequently is a real killer, both to average speed and your legs because you have to accelerate back to speed every time. If I am going to do a timed solo century, I seek out country roads with as few atop signs and lights as possible (or right turns at them). I wouldn't seek out a bike path.

Edit: read rubiksoval's post. Good points. And yes, racing a distance is very different from riding that same distance solo. Time means nothing in a mass start race. It is all about staying in the lead pack or putting in the big effort to leave that pack, usually with the help of others and above all, not being dropped when the pack accelerates and wasting as little energy as possible while hanging on. You are training to build up resources; of energy and of strength. Racing is all about using those resources wisely.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 04-02-19 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 04-02-19, 06:29 AM
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You have an important question to answer for yourself sooner than later. Your decision can make a big difference in how happy you are on your bike.

Do you want to be a license carrying person who enters races, or do you want to do "challenge" "gravel grinder" or "fondo" type rides?

I don't race much at all, but I have had a different experience in dipping the tip of my toes in the pond on the race side versus the "fondo/challenge" side of things.

You can private message, as I'd rather not muddy the waters with my experiences so far with that.

Otherwise, you're doing fine. Do what you enjoy. I would suggest at some point joining a local group ride at some frequency. Even in fondos you need some larger group skills and those rides will help with that confidence.
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Old 04-02-19, 07:14 AM
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YOU DID GREAT!!!!!

IMO, what matters ------

1st -- DID YOU HAVE FUN ?


2nd -- do you want to continue to ride because it was a BLAST ?

3rd -- want to make the effort to get stronger ?

If the answers were YES to all three, you are hooked and and keep on pedaling
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Old 04-02-19, 08:04 AM
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Solid effort. Join a club, hook up with fast group rides, start entering races. Don't overthink that you're not fast enough to start racing... you'll improve quickly with experience.
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Old 04-02-19, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
You don't need to do 100 mile rides. You wouldn't race even half that distance at this point. And average speed matters very little in actual races. Trying to ride a solo 100 miles as fast at you can is very unspecific for the actual racing you'd do. Not that it can't be fun or good general training or a chance to explore or any of a number of other reasons, but for race training it's one of the last things I'd recommend doing or do. I can count on one finger the number of solo 100 mile rides I've done in the last 5 years, and in that same time period I've actually raced a few 100+ mile races.

Far, far, far more important is learning how to ride safely and efficiently in a group. If you want to race, getting plugged in to the faster/harder/better group ride scene is the most important first step (to being successful).

Especially in your locale and at your weight, you're going to have to learn how to be a ghost in the field, meaning you need to learn how to be very good at drafting, moving around in a group, and putting yourself into good positions for the finish.
Plus

Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Its great, but as rubiksoval said, its not particularly relevant to racing. Lurk a bit in the 33, especially in the training thread.
Plus

Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
You have an important question to answer for yourself sooner than later. Your decision can make a big difference in how happy you are on your bike.

Do you want to be a license carrying person who enters races, or do you want to do "challenge" "gravel grinder" or "fondo" type rides?

I don't race much at all, but I have had a different experience in dipping the tip of my toes in the pond on the race side versus the "fondo/challenge" side of things.

You can private message, as I'd rather not muddy the waters with my experiences so far with that.

Otherwise, you're doing fine. Do what you enjoy. I would suggest at some point joining a local group ride at some frequency. Even in fondos you need some larger group skills and those rides will help with that confidence.
Equals http://rockcreekvelo.org

Join a local junior team that has volunteer coaches.
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Old 04-02-19, 09:25 PM
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At age 51 just hitting the 100 mile mark in one ride is victory . I did 100 miles on The Katy in 2017 the last time I cruised 100 miles in one ride.
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Old 04-03-19, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
At age 51 just hitting the 100 mile mark in one ride is victory . I did 100 miles on The Katy in 2017 the last time I cruised 100 miles in one ride.
I started riding again at 50. Took me until ~56 before I was doing doubles. You're still young! We'll do 70 on the tandem tomorrow, my wife's age. Not flat, almost no trail, but not hilly either, only 2300'. I'll only do a couple over-100 rides in the mountains this year.
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Old 04-05-19, 03:04 PM
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Well first off, you were able to ride 100 miles. That's the hardest part--just going the distance. So congrats! Secondly, 6-hours and 10-minutes on a paved path where you had to slow down for people is a really good time, definitely above average. As far as training, doing some form of interval work during the week (there are tons of websites and books out there) mixed with relatively longer rides on the weekends (50-75) will help you stay faster for longer. The interval work will also help you do real racing if that's what you meant. One thing that helped me the most is finding a regular group ride near you. That will help get you out consistently, you'll meet other riders and pick up tips, and it's more fun than slogging along by yourself all the time. It'll also open a whole other world of rides that are word of mouth only, and guys that want to try their legs out in different parts of where you live. But you're off to a really great start. I hope you'll post more about how it's going.
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Old 04-14-19, 01:34 PM
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Sounds quite good. Average numbers.
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