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First Century ride

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

First Century ride

Old 05-12-18, 06:49 AM
  #26  
voyager1
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
I've always wondered what kind of bike ride (length, climbing, and intensity) is equivalent to a typical 3.5 hour marathon? Have you ever done a sub-5 hour century? I've done two that were just over 5 hours that wiped me out.
I have seen this talked about in the past, I did a Google search to see what cyclists vs runners think. FYI the Lets Run forum is pretty much the wild west of the Internet and I only skimmed the thread, so you have been warned. I picked two sites, one runner one cycling to be fair. One thing though, I know a lot of ex runners who are cyclists, I don't know anyone who went from the bike to running. I think a lot people get into cycling because they like being fit, being outside and used to run but can't because of the wear and tear of running (and the continuous impact it does).

https://www.bikeforums.net/triathlon...r-century.html
Marathon 26 miles = cycling miles??

Marathon vs 100 mile bike ride
What's considered fast when cycling?
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Old 05-12-18, 07:03 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by pesty View Post
@voyager1 - I used to have that exact bike, still love the paint job on it. it was my first real road bike (not counting my dad's 1970-something Huffy).

I will tell you from personal experience that doing 100mi on that bike might be a bit brutal compared to what's out there these days, but it's absolutely doable. Route doesn't look too bad for a first century. In addition to the pedals, I would suggest investing in some bike specific shoes and learn to use the clipless pedals. They don't have to be super stiff road specific shoes, but a slightly stiffer touring or commuting shoe will help you transfer power to the pedal more efficiently and prevent foot fatigue and possible pain. Also, if you haven't already, take the bike to a shop and make sure you get the stem set to the right height, and the saddle set to the right height and for-aft position. Being in the wrong position for 5-7 hours on the bike can really lead to issues.

My recommendation for preparation would be to gradually work yourself up to being able to do 60-70mi in one day by yourself. If you are able to do that, you should be able to get through 100mi supported ride with groups. Just remember to pace yourself, whatever pace you can do 60 miles in, do 80% of that over the 100. And do try to find a group to ride with, not only will having people to pace and draft off of make things easier, having someone to talk to will make the time pass easier. I just did a two day charity ride totaling about 190mi and the longest previous ride I've done since September was 67 miles. I typically ride 13-20mi a day during the week and try to squeeze in a 40-50mi ride on the weekend. It's all about getting your body to the point that it's comfortable doing the work and comfortable being on the bike for that long. Once you get to that point it's just pacing and not over exerting yourself.

I'm not going to go into food, nutrition, etc, because if you've trained for marathons, you should already know what works for you and everyone is different.

Good luck, though I doubt you'll really need it.
Wow thanks for the great response. The bike choice was a compromise. I had planned on getting a new Specialized Elite or Trek Domane AL 3 with a bonus , but then Specialized had the recall (and the store here is snooty) and my bonus didn't materialize like I thought. I really didn't want to put a bike on a credit card till if I knew I would like riding. I already had the Trek 850 and when the 1200 showed up (same year as my 850!) I drove over to Atlanta and got it. The bike has been well taken care of, it is in incredible shape, I really got lucky. If I love riding this much next spring as I do now, I really want to get a new bike (probably a Trek not sure what model) .

My goal is to be able to ride 80 mi before the date of the ride. I figured if I can get to 80 2 weeks out, I should be good for the 100mi. I am also planning on doing a couple of 100K rides on a bicycle trail near here solo. I figured that would help with the mental. Also there are several groups around here, so I should be able to get some time riding with people so I am not all over the place scaring people !
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Old 05-12-18, 07:28 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by voyager1 View Post
A lot of people do marathons just for fitness or that they enjoy running. Also for many people breaking 4 hours is pretty tough especially for people who aren't very athletic. The folks who train hard to break 3 hours or run Boston are the minority.
Ah, yes, I suppose I knew this. But your numbers highlight the difference between marathons and centuries, and running and riding generally. Regardless of whether one approaches either as a race, generally speaking a century takes significantly more time than a marathon. Depending on the profile, mid-pack non-race century times are 6.5 -7 hours. Meanwhile, it seems that four hours is generally about the limit people can tolerate uninterrupted activity of any type except sleep. Consequently, completing an essentially non-stop century in five hours is a different kind of endurance test than running a marathon in under three. And because of this, the approach of more riders during a century is generally more relaxed, with multiple, extended breaks. If a person sets out to ride a century the way most folks run a marathon, I expect they'll find it agonizing. But honestly, I haven't known of any novice riders who've actually done that - as a rule, they go with the flow and take greater advantage of the aid stations.
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Old 05-12-18, 10:03 AM
  #29  
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Just a note here. Unless you really suffer on climbs, flat centuries are absolutely harder than hill centuries. I've done 100mi / 3000ft stuff before that destroyed me while 100/10000ft stuff I came fresh out of in comparable fitness levels.
100/10000ft has so much downhill that you get to rest almost half the ride.

Just something to think about. I think your route looks fine though.
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Old 05-12-18, 04:29 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by gurk700 View Post
Just a note here. Unless you really suffer on climbs, flat centuries are absolutely harder than hill centuries. I've done 100mi / 3000ft stuff before that destroyed me while 100/10000ft stuff I came fresh out of in comparable fitness levels.
100/10000ft has so much downhill that you get to rest almost half the ride.

Just something to think about. I think your route looks fine though.
Yes. Interesting observation! But even with the same elevation, a ride can be more or less challenging depending on the overall profile. More or less continuous climbs in the mountains - 250-500'+/mile for several miles, 3,000' + elevation per hour - while slow going, won't leave me feeling dead (admittedly, you're not likely to get a course like that for an event where you return to the start). On the other hand, a relentless series of short climbs and descents without some stretch of easy in between are what kill me.
Not that OP's ride is like either, but for instance: most torturous ride ever was a metric with about 7,600' gain, and it was much more exhausting than 11,000' in just 46 miles that I'd done a few months before. That may sound backwards at first, but the thing is, descents aren't much help when they just lead directly to more 15-20%+ climbs. Rides like that leave me feeling beat up, as opposed to merely tired and rather hungry.
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Old 05-12-18, 05:15 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
I've always wondered what kind of bike ride (length, climbing, and intensity) is equivalent to a typical 3.5 hour marathon? Have you ever done a sub-5 hour century? I've done two that were just over 5 hours that wiped me out.
I doubt one can compare a marathon and a century. In my case, I rode many centuries in 6.5/7 hours, no problem (even did a sub-5 once, but with a very strong tailwind all the way), but I know I could never run a marathon. Running just isn't for me, I'm tired after 1/2 hour.
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Old 05-12-18, 08:12 PM
  #32  
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I do both. I ran a half last weekend. Have a climbing century next weekend. The main issue with a marathon is committing to a training program. I will run a marathon in November. The training for it will begin June 2nd. During that time I will ride 3 or 4 centuries. My fitness level will be high enough that I can jump on the bike and reel off a century on a whim. The century is very dependent on course/rider. The hardest part is being acclimated to the bike. Even if you have the fitness, your body must be ready to be on that bike for 5+ hours. What is going to stop you from the finish point will be something besides your legs. Even with the SAGs, something will give out. It could be your shoulders, lower back, elbows, etc. For me, it is holding up my head for that long. I ride a lot in the drops. The trapezious muscles really ache after a while. At some point, you want to quit pedaling and get off the bike. When that happens during the marathon you just slow down/start walking. You will still be making progress towards the finish. Then you start running again. Comparing the 2, I would say running is physically harder. For me, finishing the century is mentally harder. When running, once I get within 3 miles I know I will make it. I will actually pick up the pace then. That last 3 will mentally go by fast as I count down the miles. Not so on the bike. The last 5 seems to take forever. I am scanning the horizon thinking, "Where is that #*+?!@ finish line? Please, finish line, show up! I am tired of having this saddle up my @ss. I want to get off."

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Old 05-14-18, 11:26 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by gurk700 View Post
Just a note here. Unless you really suffer on climbs, flat centuries are absolutely harder than hill centuries. I've done 100mi / 3000ft stuff before that destroyed me while 100/10000ft stuff I came fresh out of in comparable fitness levels.
100/10000ft has so much downhill that you get to rest almost half the ride.

Just something to think about. I think your route looks fine though.
I think this all comes down to personal preference and pace. My first century was Marin County north of SF Bay and was somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000ft (was 180lbs at the time). Felt dead for about 3 days. Whereas I did about 110mi about a week ago with less than 3,000ft (@210lbs) and followed that up with 80mi the next day and another 20 the day after that. I've done the Hotter than Hell, which is about 101mi and only ~2500ft of climbing at 21mph average and felt fine after. I think it all comes down to what you're used to riding.
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Old 05-14-18, 11:38 AM
  #34  
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I speak for myself but the hardest part of a century is a happy butt. When my sit bones start to ache I lose all energy and it's game over.

Last edited by exime; 05-14-18 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 05-14-18, 11:56 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by exime View Post
I speak for myself but the hardest part of a century is a happy butt. When my sit bones start to ache I lose all energy and it's game over.
I think some people suffer more of this for sure but

- good saddle
- a lot of time on saddle
- standing up once in a while even if you don't have to to relieve pressure

these help a lot.

also not related but remembering to have a relaxed upper body and lifting yourself from your core instead of putting all the weight on your hands / wrists / shoulders. these will go a long way on a century ride.
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Old 05-14-18, 12:07 PM
  #36  
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I did my first century at age 61 and the most recent at age 63. If you fail you will be less of a person//irony alert!
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