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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

From beginner to century rider

Old 12-25-20, 10:22 PM
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From beginner to century rider

Hello everyone!! Im A bmx rider that turned to road biking a few days ago. I want to attempt HNH in august. Not to race, but rather to finish. I know that this is a lot to ask but I was wondering if people could give me tips for doing a century, and also for road riding in general. I would love any help that people could give. Also if people could help me understand all of the steps towards training and completing a century that would be great. Iím so eager to learn and excited to start training. Thank you all!!
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Old 12-26-20, 08:00 AM
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https://www.google.com/search?client...ycling+century
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Old 12-26-20, 11:37 PM
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About 6 years I went from a zero mile a week couch potato to a monthly century ride in 10-months. My quick list advice:
  • Get a bike that you're comfortable on (financially as well)
  • Commit to weekly and monthly goals that are obtainable. I started at ~50 miles a week (minimum of 3 rides). At 6-months in I was doing ~125 miles a week (minimum of 4 rides).
  • Figure out a nutrition plan that works and is maintainable. I, for example, couldn't mentally give up soda. But I reduced my intake from 40+ ounces a day to 12 ounces a day.
  • Find a riding buddy that is either on the same level or willing to ride at your level at least twice a month.
  • Find a riding buddy that is of a higher level of fitness to ride with at least once a month to push you (I introduced this at month 6) but not crush your spirit.
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Old 12-26-20, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by softreset View Post
About 6 years I went from a zero mile a week couch potato to a monthly century ride in 10-months. My quick list advice:
  • Get a bike that you're comfortable on (financially as well)
  • Commit to weekly and monthly goals that are obtainable. I started at ~50 miles a week (minimum of 3 rides). At 6-months in I was doing ~125 miles a week (minimum of 4 rides).
  • Figure out a nutrition plan that works and is maintainable. I, for example, couldn't mentally give up soda. But I reduced my intake from 40+ ounces a day to 12 ounces a day.
  • Find a riding buddy that is either on the same level or willing to ride at your level at least twice a month.
  • Find a riding buddy that is of a higher level of fitness to ride with at least once a month to push you (I introduced this at month 6) but not crush your spirit.
thanks so much for the advice. Where should I ride? Iím kind of confused on where to ride since I am in the city and there are not much open roads.
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Old 12-27-20, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Ctmcycling View Post
thanks so much for the advice. Where should I ride? Iím kind of confused on where to ride since I am in the city and there are not much open roads.
Ride out very early in the morning, 5am. That will get you to the edge of the city, out to the open roads without meeting rush hour traffic and return back to the city after the rush hour traffic.

I also live in the city. Ride out 5:30am, but also return before the rush hour traffic at 7:30am. I reach the edge of the city in around 20 min to venture outside the city into the mountains.
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Old 12-27-20, 09:23 AM
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On where to ride- we can't help with that without knowing your area, which we likely don't.
But check what you can find for nearby bike shops and for nearby bike clubs, see if you can find out where they ride.
I believe on Strava (which I don't use), they have features showing high-ridership routes.
"In the city" can vary a lot, and there are places to ride in downtown Dallas, Fort Worth, etc. Maybe your area is especially sucky, so hard to say without knowing where that is.

On general strategy, go ride two or three times a week, 20-30 miles, work your way up to longer rides.
If you're young and athletic, it probably won't be that hard to do a century.
If you're old and fat, it's more of a challenge.
If you're serious about training, look into that, but be aware that a lot of the training is relating to racing, not to just riding around. So yeah, to perform your best, maybe you ought to sit in your garage for months on some computerized torture device. If you want to have fun, I'd advise a different route, though.
It is actually possible to ride a 100 miles (and longer) eating regular food. So you can get into all the nutritional drinks and stuff, but that's not a requirement.

I assume by HNH, you mean "Hotter'nHell" in Wichita Falls, Texas? Of if you mean some other event, clue us in.
It's a fairly flat course usually with lots of wind. Temperatures vary. I've done it three times, and it wasn't just super-hot any of those three times. But ride in the wind, ride in the heat, and it won't be a lot different.
The first two times I rode it, I was on my Worksman cruiser and took about 9.5 hours, so the bar is not real high. I had done a couple of 100k rides prior to that.
If you try to go fast, you'll have 10,000 people in the way, so to do a faster century, do a different location, or do that route at a different time.
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Old 12-27-20, 09:53 AM
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The Strava Heat Map is here: https://www.strava.com/heatmap#6.65/....88917/hot/all
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Old 12-27-20, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
On where to ride- we can't help with that without knowing your area, which we likely don't.
But check what you can find for nearby bike shops and for nearby bike clubs, see if you can find out where they ride.
I believe on Strava (which I don't use), they have features showing high-ridership routes.
"In the city" can vary a lot, and there are places to ride in downtown Dallas, Fort Worth, etc. Maybe your area is especially sucky, so hard to say without knowing where that is.

On general strategy, go ride two or three times a week, 20-30 miles, work your way up to longer rides.
If you're young and athletic, it probably won't be that hard to do a century.
If you're old and fat, it's more of a challenge.
If you're serious about training, look into that, but be aware that a lot of the training is relating to racing, not to just riding around. So yeah, to perform your best, maybe you ought to sit in your garage for months on some computerized torture device. If you want to have fun, I'd advise a different route, though.
It is actually possible to ride a 100 miles (and longer) eating regular food. So you can get into all the nutritional drinks and stuff, but that's not a requirement.

I assume by HNH, you mean "Hotter'nHell" in Wichita Falls, Texas? Of if you mean some other event, clue us in.
It's a fairly flat course usually with lots of wind. Temperatures vary. I've done it three times, and it wasn't just super-hot any of those three times. But ride in the wind, ride in the heat, and it won't be a lot different.
The first two times I rode it, I was on my Worksman cruiser and took about 9.5 hours, so the bar is not real high. I had done a couple of 100k rides prior to that.
If you try to go fast, you'll have 10,000 people in the way, so to do a faster century, do a different location, or do that route at a different time.
im in Richardson and by HNH I do mean Hotter ní Hell. Thanks for the advice and I will use it during my training.
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Old 12-27-20, 11:09 AM
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~
One general thing I've found to be true over the decades is that once I'm in good enough condition to ride 40 or 50 miles in relative comfort, riding 100+ miles is just becomes a matter of fuel and hydration, the specifics of which I have found out by trial and error.

Is this meant to discourage people from using the forum to ask question? Anyone can Google anything. I thought this was a forum for discussions with real people.

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Old 12-27-20, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Brett A View Post
~
One general thing I've found to be true over the decades is that once I'm in good enough condition to ride 40 or 50 miles in relative comfort, riding 100+ miles is just becomes a matter of fuel and hydration, the specifics of which I have found out by trial and error.


Is this meant to discourage people from using the forum to ask question? Anyone can Google anything. I thought this was a forum for discussions with real people.
Not at all. He wants a training plan, the link gives him numerous choices. Nobody here is going to type in a multi-week training plan for him. Or maybe you'd like to offer him something beyond "trial and error?"
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Old 12-27-20, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Ctmcycling View Post
Hello everyone!! Im A bmx rider that turned to road biking a few days ago. ...
I assume in a few days you have not considered equipment yet. But, you probably have a bike.

You may find that you need to spend some quality time with a bicycle saddle to decide if that is the right one for you for distance. There is no generic answer, everyone has different preferences. For example, I have tried some saddles that other long distance riders really like, but I found them to be medieval torture devices.

And good cycling shoes are also important. If your foot starts to hurt when you are half way there, you might have trouble finishing. And if you use cleated type shoes, then the pedals to go with them is another expense. (If you buy pedals and install them your self, one side is left hand thread.)

Clothing, like bike shorts, jersey, etc.

I assume you have a helmet and good glasses to wear already.

Go to several bike shops, talk to several sales people before you spend a dime, then think about what they said as you start riding, If you suspect that a bike shop salesperson is not very knowledgeable, and many are not, ask his or her experience with long distance riding to see if they have anything useful to say. And you could ask if anyone at that store has ridden the ride you want to ride to see if they have any specific input.
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Old 12-27-20, 01:10 PM
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RideWithGPS has a heat map you can toggle on and off on their maps. With RideWithGPS you can also search for rides others have done in your area. You should look into a local bike club. It's fun to do club rides and you can also find good rides in your area.
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Old 12-27-20, 09:06 PM
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I didn't know that about RWGPS, have to look for it.

I always said if you can ride 60 miles in good form you can ride as far as you want. It does take a little food for me to make it to 60 miles except in the height of the season.
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Old 12-28-20, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I didn't know that about RWGPS, have to look for it.

I always said if you can ride 60 miles in good form you can ride as far as you want. It does take a little food for me to make it to 60 miles except in the height of the season.
Well, 60 hilly miles! It's a button in Route Planner. It has a lot of really peculiar dead ends though. Locally, I maybe know why, but folks looking for new routes might be mystified.
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Old 12-28-20, 04:09 PM
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Is it possibly a feature only available to paid accounts?
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Old 12-28-20, 04:19 PM
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Comfortable shorts and saddle.

Ramp up mileage as training. 20, 30, 40, 50, over a period of time. As much time as you have before your century.

Many people use gels and other methods of nutrition on the bike. Never worked for me. I don't use gels. I might eat an energy bar 40 miles in. But one thing that did me well was actual food at mile 60-65 before getting hungry. One a timed event, turkey sandwiches were served at the mile 60 point and nearly 8,000 ft of climbing. I had never tried a sandwich on a ride but this thing was like miracle food. At the end of the 100 miles and 10,000 ft of climbing, I was sprinting for the finish.

So after that, I started eating a small sandwich at mile 60. Did 23 centuries in one year few years back and that sandwich was great on every single one of them!

I learned to eat at mile 60, quick REAL sandwich. Cruise the pace from 65-80. Then my energy level seems to recover and rise around mile 80 allowing me to finish the ride strong without fading.
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Old 12-28-20, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I assume in a few days you have not considered equipment yet. But, you probably have a bike.

You may find that you need to spend some quality time with a bicycle saddle to decide if that is the right one for you for distance. There is no generic answer, everyone has different preferences. For example, I have tried some saddles that other long distance riders really like, but I found them to be medieval torture devices.

And good cycling shoes are also important. If your foot starts to hurt when you are half way there, you might have trouble finishing. And if you use cleated type shoes, then the pedals to go with them is another expense. (If you buy pedals and install them your self, one side is left hand thread.)

Clothing, like bike shorts, jersey, etc.

I assume you have a helmet and good glasses to wear already.

Go to several bike shops, talk to several sales people before you spend a dime, then think about what they said as you start riding, If you suspect that a bike shop salesperson is not very knowledgeable, and many are not, ask his or her experience with long distance riding to see if they have anything useful to say. And you could ask if anyone at that store has ridden the ride you want to ride to see if they have any specific input.
i actually worked at a bike shop so I bought all my gear for Christmas. I have the bibs, the shoes/pedals, and jersey. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 12-28-20, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Ctmcycling View Post
thanks so much for the advice. Where should I ride? I’m kind of confused on where to ride since I am in the city and there are not much open roads.
The DFW area and specifically Dallas is a great city for cyclists.
Many excellent bike trails and around White Rock Lake is one of the more popular spots.
See: https://www.alltrails.com/us/texas/dallas/road-biking
Start building up the time you can spend riding on your rode bike so that by the summer you are more comfortable with putting in 4..6 hour rides, especially in the TX heat. Will see if HTH happens for 2021 year.

Last edited by joesch; 12-28-20 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 12-28-20, 09:13 PM
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Thanks Iíll definitely check that out.
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Old 12-28-20, 11:26 PM
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Check into the rides and routes out of Richardson Bike Mart and those used by Plano Bicycling Association; also Greater Dallas Bicyclists. I've heard good things about the Shawnee Trail Cycling Club in Frisco, but haven't actually ridden with them.
I'm on the south side of Garland. The local Greater Dallas Bicyclists routes start at Poteet High School in Mesquite, and go down into Sunnyvale. I ride up into Richardson some. If you pick the right route, traffic isn't too bad, but you can hit some long or non-changing lights, too.
Some of the bike trails work pretty well, some are a little too crowded (Katy Trail) or have at-grade intersections.
One reason the routes down White Rock Creek and around White Rock Lake are popular is that you seldom have to stop at intersections. There are places where it's better to use the roads when going around the lake, due to pedestrian traffic or rough trails.
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Old 12-28-20, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
Check into the rides and routes out of Richardson Bike Mart and those used by Plano Bicycling Association; also Greater Dallas Bicyclists. I've heard good things about the Shawnee Trail Cycling Club in Frisco, but haven't actually ridden with them.
I'm on the south side of Garland. The local Greater Dallas Bicyclists routes start at Poteet High School in Mesquite, and go down into Sunnyvale. I ride up into Richardson some. If you pick the right route, traffic isn't too bad, but you can hit some long or non-changing lights, too.
Some of the bike trails work pretty well, some are a little too crowded (Katy Trail) or have at-grade intersections.
One reason the routes down White Rock Creek and around White Rock Lake are popular is that you seldom have to stop at intersections. There are places where it's better to use the roads when going around the lake, due to pedestrian traffic or rough trails.
thank you. I actually worked at the Richardson bike mart. I will for sure do some rides from around there.
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Old 01-04-21, 08:33 AM
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In modern times - with all the high tech equipment available - the Century Ride has become more of a mental exercise than a physical accomplishment.

Get a real good bike, a real good route and an accomplished riding partner and you can do it. But maybe the real question is: Can I ride a 100 miles without hurting real bad?

The answer to that question depends on your ability to maintain a manageable pace early in the ride - paying enough attention to your body to keep the engine stoked and all bicycle/body contact points lubed and pain free.

Good luck!
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