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First Century ride

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First Century ride

Old 05-05-18, 06:05 PM
  #1  
voyager1
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First Century ride

I am looking at rides in my area, this route on Sept 30, 2018. At this point my longest ride has been 11 mi (last Saturday). Had planned on going 20ish today but I am off the bike for three days because of an sinus/bronchitis infection. I think I can get the training in for this, I have been riding 4-5 days a week since April 1. I do one day hard, a couple of recovery rides, a mid week longish ride and then a weekend long ride was my plan. Planning on doing some hilly rides. I have been making my training plan kind of based off what I did when I was running marathons.

But here is the thing, is this route maybe too much for a first timer?
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/26823808

My road bike is a 1991 Trek 1200. It is pretty much stock except I have upgraded the tires to these
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...olorCode=black
Here is the specs on the bicycle if that helps:
https://www.vintage-trek.com/images/t...rekCatalog.pdf
I have also upgraded the pedals to Shimano dual sized pedals that can use regular shoes and bike shoes. Those original pedals were clips and straps, I can't imagine riding in those.

I am looking at getting some lights, I know that is important riding and being seen.

Thanks in advance for all the comments and advice!
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Old 05-05-18, 06:17 PM
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Dan333SP
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There's no reason you can't build up to a century by September. Lots of plans out there for beginners like this one-

https://www.bicycling.com/training/a...ide-a-century/
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Old 05-05-18, 06:32 PM
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If you're not looking finish at some target time, then it's absolutely doable. Just ride more--longer, more often. Once you can sit on the saddle for 3-4 hours comfortably, you can probably manage 6 or 7 to complete the century.
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Old 05-05-18, 07:50 PM
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As centuries go, that looks like a very reasonable place to start: not entirely flat, but for the most part fairly easy going, with a couple of steep-ish bits here and there to keep it interesting. Being so late in the season gives you plenty of time to train, and the weather should be relatively mild, which should make it even easier-going. You'll want to learn how to deal with hills, but I think the only thing you have to get used to is spending a lot of time on the bike.

I've known the big gran fondo in my neck of the woods to be the first century for a lot of folks, but it's coming up here in just a couple of weeks, and people are always trying to train for it through the winter and early spring, which is tough. And there's considerably more climbing to it. Some of those folks end up in the SAG wagon, but I don't think you have any such thing to worry about with the event you've chosen.
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Old 05-06-18, 07:44 AM
  #5  
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The link that Dan gave you is a great, concise plan for preparing for a century.

I rode my first century around 6 or 7 years ago when I was 58 years old and I'm not particularly athletic or skilled. So, with a bit of preparation and ride management, you'll be fine.

A few thoughts from my experience (overlap with the article in the link):
- building up your endurance is key. I didn't personally do things like speed training or intervals. I just rode. I did try to ensure my rides had a roughly comparable elevation profile as the century I was going to do and I built up to a long ride of around 70 or 75 miles. If you can do that, you should be good for the extra 25 or 30 miles.
- Managing your pace is also very important. It's really easy to get so excited your first time on a century that you go out too fast, especially if it's a mass start. You can get psyched out if people are passing you by and think you need to keep up. You won't know if they're starting too fast and may bonk or if they're, just plain and simple, much faster than you are. Better to start off slower and, if you're feeling strong at 70 miles, pick up the pace then. If you end up riding centuries on a regular basis, you'll gain more and more experience in how to pace yourself so you can enjoy the ride.
- Hydrate!!! On my first century, I made two big mistakes ... I went out too fast (see above!) and didn't hydrate sufficiently. At around 75 miles, I hit a wall. I did finish but I was hurting. I tried eating an energy bar and it tasted like sawdust as I was getting dehydrated. Especially if it's going to be a very hot day ... my second century, the temperature hit the mid-90's with high humidity and I was also struggling to finish (btw, I've felt better and stronger at every century ride I've done since those first two so, hang in there, experience does help!)
- I think, too, one of the biggest hurdles we have to come over in any life challenge is the mental aspect. In cycling, whether it's a distance greater than we've ridden before, or a long ascent, it's very easy to over-think - beyond just the process of good planning and training) - and psych ourselves out. I've done that more often than I care to admit ... it's so easy to put a limit on ourselves that's lower than what our capability is. I hate when I do that :-)

Best of luck ... riding 100 miles is a pretty cool accomplishment although your non-cycling friends and family will think you're being silly.
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Old 05-06-18, 05:12 PM
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I'm going to be the voice of reason here.

The OP has trained for marathons and knows what he is up against. It is doable but it won't be comfortable and increasing mileage by a factor of 10 in 19 weeks risks injury or illness.

Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
There's no reason you can't build up to a century by September. Lots of plans out there for beginners like this one-

https://www.bicycling.com/training/a...ide-a-century/
It's like the people who write these articles don't even ride.

A century is going to burn 3000 to 4000 calories. You need to stuff your face. I do so up to the moment I clip in and 1500 calories in the three hours prior to starting a century not out of the question. Slowing down shouldn't be an issue in the early miles anyway because you should be going slow. The claim that eating will divert blood from your legs and slow you down makes me wonder whether the author has every ridden over 50 miles in their life.

Anyway, the OP has some stuff to learn about cycling vs running but this won't be foreign to him. Increasing miles from x to 10x in 19 weeks is a lot. Better start riding some long rides, and soon too. Also factor in reduced volume recovery weeks which are absolutely essential.


-Tim-
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Old 05-06-18, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I'm going to be the voice of reason here.

The OP has trained for marathons and knows what he is up against. It is doable but it won't be comfortable and increasing mileage by a factor of 10 in 19 weeks risks injury or illness.



It's like the people who write these articles don't even ride.

A century is going to burn 3000 to 4000 calories. You need to stuff your face. I do so up to the moment I clip in and 1500 calories in the three hours prior to starting a century not out of the question. Slowing down shouldn't be an issue in the early miles anyway because you should be going slow. The claim that eating will divert blood from your legs and slow you down makes me wonder whether the author has every ridden over 50 miles in their life.

Anyway, the OP has some stuff to learn about cycling vs running but this won't be foreign to him. Increasing miles from x to 10x in 19 weeks is a lot. Better start riding some long rides, and soon too. Also factor in reduced volume recovery weeks which are absolutely essential.


-Tim-
Hmm. Training for anything risks injury, I think, and if he wanted to be comfortable, I don't think he'd be planning on doing a century EVER.
As for stuffing ones face.... Maybe you're a big guy?
I haven't been riding too long, but I've done my share of centuries, and I've yet to consume anything close to 1500 calories within three hours of the start. Within three hours? Maybe half that - maybe - closer to 1/3. I snack along the way, but I'm pretty sure I don't consume anywhere near 3000 calories during the ride - again, about half that (but maybe pushing 2000). In aid-station terms, 3000 calories is like sixty half bananas. Maybe I'll get a peanut butter sandwich, but never a whole one at any stop, and I'm certainly not scarfing down bacon cheeseburgers or fries with mayonnaise along the way.
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Old 05-06-18, 07:17 PM
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People eat too much before and during long rides, IMO. Yea, you need to replenish electrolytes with some sort of drink mix, and you need to consume some calories or you'll bonk, but loading up on thousands of extra calories before a ride? Naw. I did 42 miles in about 2 hours today (it was a fast, small group) on just water and without having had any breakfast. If I were doing double that, I'd probably have a couple bananas and a cliff bar or similar, plus something like yogurt and granola or oatmeal in the morning. YMMV, I guess.

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Old 05-06-18, 07:51 PM
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Everyone's different. For me they ride starts with a good breakfast. I personally like oatmeal and fruit. I can do 50 miles at a reasonable pace with nothing but water. Anything past that and I need to start supplementing electrolyte and calories around mile 25-30 with small bites and diluted Gatorade every 15 miles thereafter or I'm done. You have plenty of time up build up. Start with progressively longer rides and work up to 75-80. By then you will know what you require to stay functional in the saddle until the end. Take advantage of all the SAG stops and make some new friends!

for the record. There's nothing wrong with an older bike. My bike is a 93 and my son just did a century last weekend with me on an 83 Peugeot. Pedals move and wheels turn. It's that easy.
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Old 05-07-18, 08:11 PM
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Time in the saddle is my biggest training concern. No avoiding having to sit on your bike for close to eight hours. Any fitness beyond that will be icing the cake. I don't eat more than a normal light breakfast, knowing there is food along the way. Drink before you're thirsty, and for us guys over 60, don't have too much coffee prior to starting. The toughest part of my century last summer was staying with my group, while needing to pee BADLY, before the first rest stop. (I made it, but it wasn't fun). Hills add another layer of planning, but it sounds like the OP will have plenty of time to prep.
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Old 05-07-18, 08:15 PM
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Chuckling at "upgraded my tires"... they're consumables.

It seems to me that runners have a much easier transition to cycling than the reverse, so the old saw about increasing your mileage no more than 10% a week is probably moot.

Bottom line, the more riding and more miles you get in your legs before your event, the more enjoyable it will be. It looks like you can bail out about mile 75 if you're truly miserable, so do it!
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Old 05-07-18, 09:05 PM
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I started off training for a 200km ride with a lot less of a plan than you and I managed to succeed, despite being fat and lazy. I even enjoyed myself! I've never done a marathon and I still think it'd be harder for me to do one than to go crank out a 200km brevet. I think if you've got a decent bike fit and keep the mileage increase steady and gradual you will do fine. I think you're wise to train on some hills, start doing some hill repeats or intervals instead of just going hard. Don't worry about missing a ride here and there. I need to get lots of sleep, recovery is the area I have a hard time doing properly.
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Old 05-08-18, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
It looks like you can bail out about mile 75 if you're truly miserable, so do it!
You can bail out - awesome!
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Old 05-08-18, 05:48 AM
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First off, 4700ft of elevation gain is no joke. It's spread out over that 100 miles, so like another poster said, it's not too bad. Have you ever climbed that much in one day? That's one thing to consider.
Here's my 2 cents, for what it's worth.
If it's your first century.. take it all in. Stop at ALL the rest stops, refill your water, take advantage of food (but don't eat too much) and allow your body a few minutes to stretch out and get your ass off the saddle. If you're not on a time crunch, take your time, listen to your body. You're going to burn a lot of calories, and that's a lot of sitting. So, just do a few long rides before then and see how you do and you should be fine. I personally do not ride anything over 40 miles on my training rides. That's just me though. I do one or two century rides per year... it's a cool accomplishment.. but most of my rides are 80 miles or less. So doing a century without doing a 'long' ride before hand is definitely doable. Just take your time, don't push too hard at the beginning and have fun.
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Old 05-08-18, 06:35 AM
  #15  
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I ride 2-3 self-supported centuries per month. Hydration, nutrition and comfort are my keys. It took me several longer rides to get those keys dialed in. As the length of your rides progress, make your necessary fit and comfort adjustments. If you can run a marathon, a century ride is no big deal. Most of all, ride for enjoyment.
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Old 05-10-18, 04:52 AM
  #16  
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Looks like that century ride has 6 rest stops - so think of it as 6 17 mile rides. So, definitely follow one of those training plans, start doing some 20 miles rides, then longer etc.

For me, doing a metric century is always a good enough gauge on how I will feel doing a "real" century - that would be equivalent in your case to making it to the 4th rest stop. The key is usually that saddle time issue - if your legs are losing power, you just ride slower. If your butt is killing you, it is agony. Building up saddle time is the only way to build up butt toughness - carve out the time to do a 60-65 mile ride in advance.
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Old 05-10-18, 12:27 PM
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I'll echo the sentiment that yes, you can do it (especially given your marathon experience/history.)

I'd suggest going on some longer rides and focusing on doing 40 / 50 / 70 mile training rides two or three days a week as opposed to 11 mile training rides five days a week... Commuting is fine, but that's not going to prepare you for a century ride with the profile that one apparently has (relentless rollers and a couple of good hills.)
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Old 05-10-18, 08:18 PM
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11 miles is not enough. You can still probably finish a century if your motivation is high, but you'll feel very sore and tired at the end. Do progressively longer rides until you can ride at least 60-70 miles comfortably, then try a century.
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Old 05-11-18, 04:47 AM
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People keep saying if you can run a marathon, riding a century is no big deal. In terms of general fitness, sure - unless it's a really hilly one, a century probably takes less energy, and it generally doesn't beat one up as much. But people who are in shape generally finish a marathon much quicker than they finish a century. Heck, it's possible to walk a marathon in less time than a lot of folks take to ride a typical, moderately hilly century, so there's the mental issue of being prepared to spend all that time just riding a bike. The time aspect (when will this ever be over?!) is often more agonizing than the physical effort or any discomfort. (Ironically, novices tend to add to this agony by spending too much time at the aid stations.) Typically you're out in the middle of nowhere, too, and towards the end, unless you make a concerted effort to ride with other people, you're likely to find yourself in a sort of no-man's land, which, if you're not used to or prepared for long rides by yourself, can be pretty demoralizing.
But none of this is to say a marathon runner can't successfully and happily complete it, only I don't think it's so much like running a marathon. The last few miles could be lonely and more like training for a marathon.
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Old 05-11-18, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dan333SP View Post
People eat too much before and during long rides, IMO. Yea, you need to replenish electrolytes with some sort of drink mix, and you need to consume some calories or you'll bonk, but loading up on thousands of extra calories before a ride? Naw. I did 42 miles in about 2 hours today (it was a fast, small group) on just water and without having had any breakfast. If I were doing double that, I'd probably have a couple bananas and a cliff bar or similar, plus something like yogurt and granola or oatmeal in the morning. YMMV, I guess.
I agree. I do solo centuries every few weeks or so when not doing my normal 25-50 mile dailies, and will usually have a pb&j in the middle, or maybe a bar or 2. !00 miles is easy-peasy if you're in even halfway decent shape. Overeating and overthinking it makes it much more difficult than it actually is. Take a few bars, some water/sports drink, and get out there and knock it out, OP.
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Old 05-11-18, 09:04 AM
  #21  
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A marathon is way harder than a century, both physically and mentally, as well as training and actually doing it.

I've done both.


-Tim-
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Old 05-11-18, 11:43 AM
  #22  
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@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.
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Old 05-11-18, 12:36 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
A marathon is way harder than a century, both physically and mentally, as well as training and actually doing it.

I've done both.


-Tim-
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.
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Old 05-11-18, 05:54 PM
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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.
This raises another interesting point/question.
Most organized centuries are not races, or even timed, and those that are timed frequently only time select segments (typically hills). Is there a running equivalent? To what extent do people enter a marathon primarily for the social and scenic experience? And if they do, is it a big deal to train for that kind of event? I would think no more than for a social/casual century like local rec clubs put on (which seems to be the type OP is looking at).

Last edited by kbarch; 05-11-18 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 05-12-18, 06:35 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
This raises another interesting point/question.
Most organized centuries are not races, or even timed, and those that are timed frequently only time select segments (typically hills). Is there a running equivalent? To what extent do people enter a marathon primarily for the social and scenic experience? And if they do, is it a big deal to train for that kind of event? I would think no more than for a social/casual century like local rec clubs put on (which seems to be the type OP is looking at).
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.
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