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My Third Century

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

My Third Century

Old 09-20-22, 10:34 AM
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Random11
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My Third Century

When I started cycling almost five years ago, a Century seemed like a "bucket list" accomplishment--something I'd like to do, but wasn't sure I'd ever be able to. Someone had posted on BF (and I've repeated it many times) that you should be able to ride as far in a day as you typically ride in a week. Two years ago I was riding more than 100 miles a week, so decided I'd try to complete a Century. I made it as easy as possible--Solo ride on a completely flat MUP with a route that allowed me to return to my car several times to replenish food and Gatorade. I had no problem doing the miles (actually 107 miles) and repeated the next two years, most recently last week-end.

It appears I"m making this an annual event, and am now thinking I'll do three more. I'm 72, so if I follow through on that, I'll ride my last Centruy when I'm 75. We'll see if I'm still interested in doing that when the time comes, or even if I'm able. I'm well aware that health issues can crop up in us senior citizens that could keep me out of the saddle.

I might also comment on the recent thread on what constitutes a Century. I rode 107 miles all in one outing on the same day, with several stops to eat and drink, none more than 15 minutes, so I'm calling that a Century.

My biggest take-away on this goes back to my first paragraph. If you're contemplating a long ride, you should be able to ride as far in a day as you typically ride in a week. My typical ride is 15-20 miles, but I ride almost every day and cover 100-125 miles almost every week. I do occasional longer rides, but it's rare that I will ride more than 50 miles. So from my experience, if your weekly mileage is as much as the long ride you're contemplating, you should be able to do it. My riding 15-20 miles a day was sufficient for me to complete my Century with no problems. I you're interested in doing longer rides, you could do this too.

I'll mention that I was feeling fairly fatigued after 50-60 miles, but I kept riding and actually felt better at 85-90 miles than I did around mile 60, and felt like I could have gone further when I finished. Maybe my second wind came because I knew I was nearing the end of my ride. I'm passing this along to suggest that you don't have to do long rides to build up to longer rides. 15-20 miles a day was sufficient for me to do a Century without any problems. That was two days ago and I've cycled my typical distances in the past two days. A good night's sleep was all I needed to recover.
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Old 09-20-22, 12:32 PM
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Great accomplishment. At our age.

All mine have been metric for a decade and a bit.
I cut the number of days down but still go 20 most rides and 40-50milers a couple of times a month.

I'll train up - come ride the Cascade foothills for next year.
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Old 09-20-22, 02:48 PM
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Old 09-20-22, 03:16 PM
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Old 09-20-22, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
...come ride the Cascade foothills for next year.
I'm sure I'd enjoy that. One of my sons, who lives in Florida and is a classical musician (and cyclist) plays in a summer orchestra in Bellingham most summers. This past summer he had his bike shipped up with him and spent several weeks riding in the mountains up in your part of the country. He says the reason he takes that summer gig is that he enjoys spending time in Washington. It's a beautiful part of the country.
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Old 09-20-22, 08:21 PM
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My thought is that you should ignore the number of years since your birth date and concentrate on how old you feel. I have been doing that and rode my last Markleeville Deathride (130 miles, 16,000 feet of climbing, all at high altitude at the ripe old age of 66. I attempted the Davis Double Century also and would have finished except for a disastrous mechanical failure. I expect to continue doing such things as I approach your age (coming up in 3 years!). Bear in mind that I've been riding distances pretty much continuously for 50 years so I have experience and longterm conditioning on my side. Your three centuries in three years a short two years after starting cycling is admirable. Kudos to you and keep striving for stretch goals!
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Old 09-20-22, 09:00 PM
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Cool. I’m always surprised how fatigue and assorted pain and discomfort come and go on long rides. At times I wonder, “I’ll never make it. How do I get back?” And then, poof it’s all good or something else is amiss. Too much fun.
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Old 09-21-22, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
My thought is that you should ignore the number of years since your birth date and concentrate on how old you feel... Kudos to you and keep striving for stretch goals!
Thanks for the encouragement. Here's my thinking on doing my last one at 75. I will have accomplished my goal of completing a Century, with several of them behind me. I'd like to quit riding Centuries because I've decided I don't want to do them anymore, rather than quitting because I can't do them anymore. Time will tell if it works out that way.
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Old 09-21-22, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Cool. Iím always surprised how fatigue and assorted pain and discomfort come and go on long rides. At times I wonder, ďIíll never make it. How do I get back?Ē And then, poof itís all good or something else is amiss. Too much fun.
It's a good feeling to finish strong!
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Old 09-21-22, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
Thanks for the encouragement. Here's my thinking on doing my last one at 75. I will have accomplished my goal of completing a Century, with several of them behind me. I'd like to quit riding Centuries because I've decided I don't want to do them anymore, rather than quitting because I can't do them anymore. Time will tell if it works out that way.
i"m with you there! I've actually stopped riding organized centuries because I feel that I can now ride 100 miles with my riding buddies without a huge support team any time I feel like it. That said, I would like to ride another double century in the next few years (perhaps about the time I hit 70). For that, I definitely need the support that an organized ride provides, and it's possible that I might not finish, as occurred on my last double century attempt. I'm not sure if I will still feel this way when I hit 75.
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Old 09-21-22, 10:05 PM
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I've been doing a particular event ride in the Cascades since 2000, not every year, but many times. Lately, I've been riding it every year, just to see how it goes, i.e. how old am I really? The calendar says 77. This year I was the 7th oldest out of 800. The oldest rider is usually about 80, sometimes a few years older, and sometimes that oldest rider doesn't finish. The ride is well over 100 miles and has about 9000' of climbing, so it's an all-day thing. I've found that since I was 70. every year is different and needs a slightly different approach. For next year, I'm going to focus more on strength work.

I've found the most successful on-bike training to be 4 hour hilly rides, done as hard as possible, working up to that distance/time by May for a ride at the end of July. Not too many hills in Florida, but one can simulate that on the flat, going hard for say 10' every half hour. Not the same as a hill though, because one would have to force the pace. But strength work is good for everyone, hills or no hills. Sarcopenia is a real thing.

Good for you and keep at it!
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Old 09-22-22, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I've been doing a particular event ride in the Cascades since 2000, not every year, but many times.... Not too many hills in Florida, but one can simulate that on the flat, going hard for say 10' every half hour. Not the same as a hill though, because one would have to force the pace. But strength work is good for everyone, hills or no hills. Sarcopenia is a real thing. Good for you and keep at it!
I'm very impressed with your riding! Sounds like your performance is well beyond mine, and you are five years older. I hope to be going strong in five years (and ten years, and...), so riders like you are an inspiration for riders like me. Regarding hills, my daily ride is over rolling hills here in north Florida. No flat stretches, and maximum 10% grades, although for short distances. Most of the hills are shallow. I did my Century on a completely flat MUP, so the terrain was much less challenging than the rides I do most days. I'm not sure I have the discipline to do intervals, but the rolling hills I ride pretty much force me to.
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Old 09-22-22, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
I'm very impressed with your riding! Sounds like your performance is well beyond mine, and you are five years older. I hope to be going strong in five years (and ten years, and...), so riders like you are an inspiration for riders like me. Regarding hills, my daily ride is over rolling hills here in north Florida. No flat stretches, and maximum 10% grades, although for short distances. Most of the hills are shallow. I did my Century on a completely flat MUP, so the terrain was much less challenging than the rides I do most days. I'm not sure I have the discipline to do intervals, but the rolling hills I ride pretty much force me to.
IME one doesn't have to formal intervals unless racing. You're doing informal intervals, probably better for what you're doing. I sometimes do formal intervals if it's raining and I ride indoors. Outdoors, I haven't found much value in doing them, though I sometimes do hill repeats if time is short. I'm not a strong rider, really. I've just been doing it for a long time and have figured out where to put my energy. The "secret" is to go easy/moderate on the flats and hard on the hills.
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