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Looking for advice for first century

Old 08-03-16, 06:24 PM
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Looking for advice for first century

I have signed up for a charity century in the middle September and am looking for advice on prep and what to take on the ride. I am currently riding about 60 - 75 miles per week. Longest ride is 53 miles with minimal breaks. Any advice on prep and what I should take (nutrition, etc) on the ride would be great.
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Old 08-03-16, 07:07 PM
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Work up to a bit longer rides. I'd say if you can do 75 or 80 miles, you can do 100.
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Old 08-03-16, 07:41 PM
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2 peanut butter sandwiches and a banana should be enough food. bring powerade or gatorade if you don't have problems with it
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Old 08-03-16, 07:58 PM
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I just my first century ride yesterday and learned a few things. One is eat a good dinner the night before and drink a lot of water the morning of the ride. Take supplements like B vitamins, potassium and bring along some snack food and gels. I would also buy some anti leg cramps pills just in case you get cramps.

A well stocked saddle bag will help for any trouble you might encounter. I was lucky, no issues but my body did threaten cramps at 85 miles into a 117 mile ride w/ 5,600 ft of elevation climb. Stop and take a 5 minute break 2-3 times and stretch you less and body, walk around but hydrate and pace yourself.

Good luck, have a great ride!
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Old 08-03-16, 08:14 PM
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Knowing what will be available at the rest stops will help with your preparation. Usually there will be fruits;
bananas, oranges, etc. Bars from sponsors; Cliff, Kind, etc. But bring some of your own food/snacks if you
have a sensitive stomach. During training you'll get an idea what works for you; gels, hydration tabs, bars,
cheeseburger, etc. How much food and liquid intake will also be formulated. Prepare for the weather; if you
train/ride in all kinds of conditions(hot sunny, rainy, windy) - that will get you ready. Bring a spare tube, some
tools, a pump. Have fun; good luck.

I've volunteered as a marshal for most of the charity events in my area; always a lot of fun:
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Old 08-03-16, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Work up to a bit longer rides. I'd say if you can do 75 or 80 miles, you can do 100.
Yep. It is as simple as this.

60-75 miles/week is not enough. OP needs to ride more.

A month isn't a lot of time to build that kind of endurance. He can do it but it isn't going to be the most comfortable thing he has ever done.
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Old 08-03-16, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Yep. It is as simple as this.

60-75 miles/week is not enough. OP needs to ride more.

A month isn't a lot of time to build that kind of endurance. He can do it but it isn't going to be the most comfortable thing he has ever done.
Yep. "Ride more" is pretty much the answer to every cycling related question ever posted here. If you were 25, doing a 100 with your base miles would be uncomfortable, bot do-able (I've done exactly that). At 50+, you're probably out of your depth. You'll be able to do 70, no problem, but your body will not be prepared for 100. My recommendation - draft someone the entire way. Good luck.
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Old 08-04-16, 05:33 AM
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You should aim for a couple or three 75 mile rides prior to the event. If you can handle that distance physically, you'll be able to cover 100. The last 25 miles are mental!
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Old 08-04-16, 06:55 AM
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I just finished my first imperial century a few weeks ago. I had done many metrics but it was my first participation in an organized run. As stated above eat and drink early and often. Oh, and pace yourself!

Good luck!
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Old 08-04-16, 10:28 AM
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Bottom line: If you can ride X miles in reasonable comfort, you can ride 2X miles in reasonable discomfort.

If your goal is to ride the 100 miles like it was a walk in the park, you need to train by going longer distances. But if your goal is to finish and you're willing to deal with reasonable discomfort at the end, you're probably already there.

As for the century itself, I'd say:

Eat early and often. You might lose your appetite as the day goes on.
Drink early and often. If it gets warm, take/drink something to replenish your electrolytes.

One other thought:

Even though riding 100 miles is your goal, don't ride it looking at the odometer the whole time, counting off the miles until the end. That will make it seem to take forever. Just get on the bike and ride. Enjoy the scenery. Chat with other riders. And before you know it, you'll be done.

I think it's human nature to be goal oriented. And at the end of a long ride, you find yourself counting off the miles as if there is some kind of goal to be achieved. Mentally, that negatively affects your enjoyment.

One day, I got to thinking: I love cycling. I think about it when I should be thinking about other things (e.g. work). I sit around and look at pictures of my friends and I on our cycling adventures. Given all that WHY am I ticking off the last few miles as if I'm glad to be done with it?

So instead, I try to focus on being in the moment and enjoying what I'm doing.
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Old 08-04-16, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post

...

One day, I got to thinking: I love cycling. I think about it when I should be thinking about other things (e.g. work). I sit around and look at pictures of my friends and I on our cycling adventures. Given all that WHY am I ticking off the last few miles as if I'm glad to be done with it?

So instead, I try to focus on being in the moment and enjoying what I'm doing.
Oh yeah. This.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

OP, riding more like 100 to 130 miles a week will help.

My weeks leading up to a big event ride:
(actually, a lot of the summer looks like this, but with fewer rides over 50 miles.)

Tues: 35-40 miles in the evening. This is usually a fast (for me) group ride, so it's a harder effort ride.

Thurs: a ride if I can get to it. 25 miles?

Sat: a longer ride, with some hills. Group or solo. 50+ miles, but 60 to 70 is better. I'm trying for a mostly steady paced ride.
Sun: a medium paced group ride, a little easier. 35+ miles.

That's 120 miles to 150 miles a week.
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Old 08-04-16, 04:19 PM
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All good advice here. If it is a supported ride, and most Charity rides are, more than likely you will get plenty of food. They will have sag stops about every 20 miles normally. The route sheet will tell you how many and how far. Pace yourself and as it was said drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry. Don't skip a SAG stop just because you are feeling good, you can judge that after your second century. Whenever you get the chance get in with a group that happens to be going about the same pace as you. If you can't stay with them don't worry about it but while you can it will be easier.

Most of all have fun, look around and realize you are doing something you enjoy and not working.
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Old 08-04-16, 04:55 PM
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I just did my first, recently, and I put some of my recovery drink powder in my water. I think it helped. I used Source of Life Energy Shake by Nature's Plus, and a pinch of sea salt.
Long sleeve shirt was critical, because I have fair skin and do not use sunscreen.
My biggest lesson learned is to bring a cue sheet that has large-enough font that you can see it while riding. Have it accessible. I got lost on my 103-mile century at mile 98! lol Did 14 "bonus" miles, as a result.
Do not rely on arrows painted on the road, which you could miss or mis-read while under fatigue or at-speed or both, and do not depend on course marshalls who should direct you, but may stand stupid because they might mis-judge you as a rider not connected with the event.
Try to get a 70-miler in before the event. Bring a tube, spoons and mini-pump. (I brought some first aid gear).
Another good reason to ride behind another rider (or group of riders) that is doing your pace is that more-than-likely, they will be familiar with the route, so you won't have to refer to your cue sheet every 15 minutes.

Last edited by 1989Pre; 08-04-16 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 08-04-16, 04:59 PM
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You really need to work up your distances -- say 35-40mi/ride, minimum. Time-wise, 2-1/2hrs to ride 40 miles maximum -- Or if you prefer, a 15-16mph riding pace, not including rest stop times. Otherwise, you're out there too long!!!

100 miles at 12mph is 8hrs of saddle time! 16mph and you are at 6hrs! Remember, that is saddle time, not total time. Traffic stops add up, too! Adding two scheduled 10-minute rest stops and one 20-minute lunch stop (plus one 'bio-break' stop) and there goes another hour. Mid-September is just 12hrs of daylight. Not sure when your ride starts, but keep that in mind!
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Old 08-04-16, 08:14 PM
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Thanks for the advice! I guess I need to get more bike time!
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Old 08-04-16, 09:40 PM
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I admire anyone who can do a century on a couple of peanut butter sandwiches and a banana but I ain't one of them and you may not be either. If you are currently doing 53 mile rides you are close, you want to work in a couple/three 65 through 80 mile rides prior to the century. While you are doing that pay attention to how you feel. If you take along some light snacks and finish low on energy then you probably either will have to supplement what the ride gives you to eat at rest stops or else plan on eating a lot of it. I've done two typical centuries with typical bike club rest stop food offerings and I ran out of energy at about 80 miles on both of them. Earlier this year I did a 75 mile loop on a local century, pigged out on the rest stop food and felt fine. And just last week I did my fourth century during RAGBRAI, finishing as strong as I did on the other three. RAGBRAI is a 400 mile long banquet, you can eat as much as you want pretty much as often as you want and that is what works for me! But if you can do it on a couple of sandwiches, more power to you!!
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Old 08-04-16, 10:58 PM
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On randonneuring rides, we normally stop every 30 miles or so and snack as required- a couple of candy bars or the equivalent in corn dogs, sandwiches or whatever floats your boat will work.
If you're trying to do this thing in 5 hours, then yes, a couple of 5 minute breaks in there. If you're aiming for, say, 8 hours, then by golly, stop for 20 minutes 2 or 3 times or however much you like, no hurry can make it a lot more fun.
If you need an excuse to stop, take a camera and take pictures.
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Old 08-05-16, 01:50 AM
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It's been more than 30 years since I last rode a century, so I've worked my way up very gradually over the past year since resuming cycling in August 2015. I can handle 40 mile rides now, no problem. I know from previous rides of 100-250 miles it's mostly a mental challenge beyond basic physical conditioning.

My last centuries were in the 1970s-'80s in SoCal and Baja California, mostly barely supported. We had a sag wagon for emergencies. Some rides had cantinas along the way, but others didn't. The Mexicali-San Felipe ride around 1980 was probably the most grueling, with no place to stop and eat until we reached San Felipe. I carried a six pack of beer in my handlebar bag, water bottles and some snacks, but no full meals. While I wouldn't recommend beer as a nutritional substitute, I was young and dumb and it worked for me, other than needing to pee halfway through the ride.

My plan after the weather cools a bit this fall is to ride solo along our extensive MUP and bike lanes. No need for support, there will always be rest stops within 15-30 minutes of almost any direction I go. I'll carry some water and snacks, but I'll plan to stop to eat at the most convenient restaurants off the bike paths.

I can ride my own pace, my own route, and not worry about keeping anyone waiting at the finish. I figure if I start by 6 a.m. even at a loafing pace of 10 mph I'll be done by nightfall.

I may invite a friend to ride at least part of the way but mostly it'll be me and my app recording the ride for digital posterity.

Once I get that out of the way, I'll think about an organized group century for next year. I also plan to add a lighter, nimbler road bike by next year. My current 35 lb comfort hybrid is fine, but does slow me down just a bit now that I'm in better shape.

Last edited by canklecat; 08-05-16 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 08-05-16, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Work up to a bit longer rides. I'd say if you can do 75 or 80 miles, you can do 100.
^^^^^^^^^ That.

Better immediately start upping your daily miles significantly and do one big mile day weekly starting at 40 miles, with a day of complete rest following that day. up the milage on your weekly 'big mile day' 10 or 15 miles each week from now until then. Give yourself 3 full days rest the last 3 days leading into to the event. You'll get it done, though it's gonna be a bit of a gut check.

And yep on the 2 or 3 PBJ sandwiches and a banana, I cut them into quarters and pile them into a 1 gallon ziplock bag in my bar bag so I can access them on the go. Lots of water and sports drinks during the event, I also eat gels during big rides, seems to help, maybe start trying different gels now and find a few that you find palatable and sit well with you. I like all of the Gu gels and also the Honey Stingers. You can do this.
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Old 08-05-16, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Hunterdog View Post
I have signed up for a charity century in the middle September and am looking for advice on prep and what to take on the ride. I am currently riding about 60 - 75 miles per week. Longest ride is 53 miles with minimal breaks. Any advice on prep and what I should take (nutrition, etc) on the ride would be great.
I have ridden as a solo rider on a few charity centuries, and a few self-supported ones. To train, I follow a 10-week Century training program originally published in Bicycling Magazine with increasing mileage from about 100 to 190 miles per week over that period. I find the time by incorporating training into extended commuting.


A basic advice is I keep in mind during the century is “Ride my own pace,” in particular not too fast at the beginning, and ride the entire route at a pace comfortable for me. Even when I pick up with another rider, I make it clear that’s my rule if our paces are not compatible.


Originally Posted by Terex View Post
Yep. "Ride more" is pretty much the answer to every cycling related question ever posted here… At 50+, you're probably out of your depth. You'll be able to do 70, no problem, but your body will not be prepared for 100. My recommendation - draft someone the entire way. Good luck.
Another strategy on charity rides done by myself, is to start early and perhaps be picked up by a group riding at a suitable pace and ask to draft with them. That adds a kick to my pace, but quite often I fall slightly behind at turning a corner, and its amazing how a slight drop behind can be impossible to catch-up, attesting to the value of drafting. Also, you might catch-up to a slightly slower rider and draft him/her, and they could reciprocate, synergizing both of you. But always,“Ride your own pace.”


Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
…As for the century itself, I'd say:

Even though riding 100 miles is your goal, don't ride it looking at the odometer the whole time,counting off the miles until the end. That will make it seem totake forever. Just get on the bike and ride. Enjoy the scenery. Chat with other riders. And before you know it, you'll be done.

I think it's human nature to be goal oriented. And at the end of a long ride,you find yourself counting off the miles as if there is some kind of goal to be achieved. Mentally, that negatively affects your enjoyment.

One day, I got to thinking: I love cycling. I think about it when I should be thinking about other things (e.g. work). I sit around and look at pictures ofmy friends and I on our cycling adventures. Given all that WHY am I ticking off the last few miles as if I'm glad to be done with it?
So instead, I try to focus on being in the moment and enjoying what I'm doing.
Frankly, I’m a mileage junkie, and I like to think of the century as five 20-mile rides, or particularly near the end as ten 10-milers.Nonetheless, @Biker395, your comment about being in the moment is well said. I can remember being on long tours thinking to myself that when I get back to work, sitting at a desk, how I’ll wish I was back out here on the Road.



Last edited by Jim from Boston; 08-05-16 at 06:15 AM.
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Old 08-05-16, 06:25 AM
  #21  
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Food & water at event rides
Most event rides / charity rides have plenty of rest stops. The well-run ones won't run out of food for the slower riders, but it could occasionally happen at one of the stops. There's usually something to eat, but the "good stuff" may be all gone. I'd carry one energy bar "just in case".

(A few years ago, the Kentucky Horsey Hundred had their resupply truck stuck in a traffic jam. They drove out, parked in the highway median, and transferred the food off the truck. That's a well run ride!)

I'd bring two water bottles, even if the distance between stops is short.

Drafting
Like the previous posts, I like jumping onto the draft on a big group that passes by. Fun! And it often bumps up my speed by 3 or 4 mph.

But:
It's so easy to get caught up in the faster speeds, and work too hard.

Most of these groups are just random riders that grouped up on the road, and some of the riders may be a little sketchy. If I see riders not holding their line or the group isn't safely passing solo riders, I'll get off.

Riding with just a couple of other riders is easier.

Last edited by rm -rf; 08-05-16 at 06:33 AM.
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Old 08-05-16, 07:23 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Food & water at event rides...
Drafting
Like the previous posts, I like jumping onto the draft on a big group that passes by. Fun! And it often bumps up my speed by 3 or 4 mph.

But:
It's so easy to get caught up in the faster speeds, and work too hard.

Most of these groups are just random riders that grouped up on the road, and some of the riders may be a little sketchy. If I see riders not holding their line or the group isn't safely passing solo riders, I'll get off.

Riding with just a couple of other riders is easier.
Good advice re drafting (safely).
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Old 08-05-16, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
It's been more than 30 years since I last rode a century, so I've worked my way up very gradually over the past year since resuming cycling in August 2015. I can handle 40 mile rides now, no problem. I know from previous rides of 100-250 miles it's mostly a mental challenge beyond basic physical conditioning.

My last centuries were in the 1970s-'80s in SoCal and Baja California, mostly barely supported. We had a sag wagon for emergencies. Some rides had cantinas along the way, but others didn't. The Mexicali-San Felipe ride around 1980 was probably the most grueling, with no place to stop and eat until we reached San Felipe. I carried a six pack of beer in my handlebar bag, water bottles and some snacks, but no full meals. While I wouldn't recommend beer as a nutritional substitute, I was young and dumb and it worked for me, other than needing to pee halfway through the ride.

My plan after the weather cools a bit this fall is to ride solo along our extensive MUP and bike lanes. No need for support, there will always be rest stops within 15-30 minutes of almost any direction I go. I'll carry some water and snacks, but I'll plan to stop to eat at the most convenient restaurants off the bike paths.

I can ride my own pace, my own route, and not worry about keeping anyone waiting at the finish. I figure if I start by 6 a.m. even at a loafing pace of 10 mph I'll be done by nightfall.

I may invite a friend to ride at least part of the way but mostly it'll be me and my app recording the ride for digital posterity.

Once I get that out of the way, I'll think about an organized group century for next year. I also plan to add a lighter, nimbler road bike by next year. My current 35 lb comfort hybrid is fine, but does slow me down just a bit now that I'm in better shape.
It's awesome that you have that many miles of paved trails to ride. I may need to load my bike up and spend a day or two riding there, it's only a little over two hours from me....
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Old 08-05-16, 01:04 PM
  #24  
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Yeah, drafting can be tricky. The groups I've ridden with that ride my slowish pace of 12-15 are so skittish all over the road that drafting isn't safe. The experienced riders who'd be safe to draft with are too fast for me, at least at my current level of conditioning.

Looking at my videos of recent group rides, it's like watching kids in carnival bumper cars. It's amazing there was only one crash, an unforced spill by the one guy who repeatedly veered all over the place and into my path repeatedly. The loudest sound on my recording was me slamming on the brakes every time he'd swerve into my path.
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Old 08-05-16, 01:10 PM
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canklecat
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Originally Posted by tgmcmonigle View Post
It's awesome that you have that many miles of paved trails to ride. I may need to load my bike up and spend a day or two riding there, it's only a little over two hours from me....
Yup, worth the trip over to Foat Wuth. I keep discovering new bits of the trails, between tips from other cyclists, exploring the maps and just bumbling around on my own. You can even ride on some of the grassy levee tops with the right bike and tires, although it's exhausting.

My plan is to start from home (west side, just south of White Settlement), ride down to the Clear Fork section, then toward Benbrook Lake, double back and ride north toward the Stockyards, then back down to the opposite side of the river, north again, and possibly out toward Gateway Park to get in enough miles for a century.

I need to guesstimate rest stops as well. The reason I'd hit the Art Cowsen trail near Benbrook first is because there's a shaded park but no restaurants or bus service. I'm planning to do the hardest bit of the ride around midday where I'm within walking distance of the bus route in case I poop out or have mechanical problems. And there are fast food joints and stores within walking distance of much of the trails closer to downtown.
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