# Touring - What is a century

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View Full Version : What is a century

babysaph
03-19-06, 12:01 PM
Now I know what century means but what is a real century on a bike. Is is riding 100 miles without stopping. If you stop how many times can you stop? For how long. 10 minutes? 1 hour? Overnight? I came from a running background and a marathon wasn't a marathon unless you ran it without stopping? What do you guys think?

zonatandem
03-19-06, 12:09 PM
It means riding 100 miles in one day . . . the amount of stops/rests is up to the individual rider.
Have ridden over 100 centuries and a half dozen double centuries; you may need to stop to pee/eat/fix a flat etc.

babysaph
03-19-06, 12:14 PM
Thanks. I think I can do that if I can get off to let my butt rest

jamawani
03-19-06, 12:16 PM
When ripples in the background microwaves in the cosmos have led scientists to conclude that the universe is 13.7 billion years old - what, indeed, is a century?

Machka
03-19-06, 01:07 PM
Now I know what century means but what is a real century on a bike. Is is riding 100 miles without stopping. If you stop how many times can you stop? For how long. 10 minutes? 1 hour? Overnight? I came from a running background and a marathon wasn't a marathon unless you ran it without stopping? What do you guys think?

The general definition of a century most people I know go by is this:

100 miles, completed within a 24-hour period of time including all breaks, and ridden as "all at once" as possible.

"100 miles" - of course, because anything short of that would not be a century

"Completed within a 24-hour period of time" - because some centuries ridden in adverse conditions can take a long time. Take the Susitna in February in Alaska, for example.

"Including all breaks" - because the time you record for your century should include all breaks.

I've mentioned this before, but if it is possible for Person A to do a 5 hour century with no breaks, while Person B rides for 5 hours (like Person A) but needs an hour's worth of breaks during the ride in order to complete the century, thus actually covering the distance in 6 hours .... those are two completely different rides. If Person B were to announce that he/she did a 5 hour century, it would detract from the accomplishment of Person A who really did the 5 hour century.

"Ridden as "all at once" as possible" - because riding for 50 miles, then taking 12 hours off to sleep, go shopping, go to work, or whatever, and then riding another 50 miles really doesn't capture the spirit of the century. Breaks are fine, of course, so the rider can stop to eat, use the toilet, stretch, change clothes, make adjustments to the bicycle, or whatever ... but within reason.

Mentor58
03-19-06, 05:18 PM
So I guess my idea to ride 3.3 miles each day this month as hard as I can to set a personal best isn't cricket? :)

Steve W.
Who has been trying to relearn mtb biking, and has the pain to prove it.

zonatandem
03-19-06, 05:23 PM
You would then have ridden 100 miles in 30 days.
Maybe that'll qualify you during 'century month' . . . . N-a-a-a-a-h!

ken cummings
03-19-06, 05:35 PM
Now I know what century means but what is a real century on a bike. Is is riding 100 miles without stopping. If you stop how many times can you stop? For how long. 10 minutes? 1 hour? Overnight? I came from a running background and a marathon wasn't a marathon unless you ran it without stopping? What do you guys think?

The old LAW [now LAB] felt that a century should take les than 12 hours or over 8.33 MPH. average. If it takes much longer then that maybe the rider was not ready to go that distance. You want non stop? I understand that an early RAAM rider went over 400 miles without putting his feet down. Now most of them know more about sleep breaks. That 8 1/3 MPH might be a reasonable rule for shorter rides too.

Machka
03-19-06, 05:36 PM
Who has been trying to relearn mtb biking, and has the pain to prove it.

You need to come to Canada and try mtn biking on snow! Falling on snow is a lot softer than falling on rocks, tree roots, and the ground!!

Machka
03-19-06, 05:51 PM
The old LAW [now LAB] felt that a century should take les than 12 hours or over 8.33 MPH. average. If it takes much longer then that maybe the rider was not ready to go that distance.

The problem I have with that definition is that it doesn't take into consideration adverse riding conditions.

Take the Susitna, for example:
http://www.susitna100.com/
As far as I (and most likely the participants and organizers) are concerned, that is a century ... a difficult century. And if you look at the results, you'll see that the finish times are between about 20 hours and 24 hours.

One of the centuries I did, in February 2003 http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=21945&highlight=February , was done with a low temperature of -32C/-25C and a high of about -22C. That century took me 15 hours ... but the reasons for that were: 1) I had to ride my 40 lb mountain bike because of the road condition; 2) My bicycle froze up on me and rode like an old tank - I couldn't get any speed out of it; 3) The road conditions weren't condusive to fast riding; 4) In order to avoid hypothermia, I had to come in and change my clothing at regular intervals. 5) Because my waterbottles froze within minutes, I also had to take regular breaks in order to eat and drink. I took 8 breaks in total to change, eat, drink etc., but kept them as short as I could. My total time for the ride (including breaks) was 15 hours and 20 minutes. That is by far the longest century I have ever done. In decent conditions, most of mine are somewhere between 7-9 hours depending on how aggressive or relaxed I want to ride.

So ... that's why my definition allows for 24 hours. :) Most people should NOT need anywhere near 24 hours to complete a century, most could quite easily complete one in less than 12 hours. But on occasion, under certain circumstances, more time is necessary.

ken cummings
03-19-06, 06:06 PM
Ah Machka I used words like maybe when I recalled that the LAB felt that a 12 hour limit was reasonable. Fuzzy soft limits at that. After reading your ride description I took another look at your icon and realized it was not just a cute picture but showed us the Super Heroine (or Villianess) that would do a ride like that. We do not have weather like that here but did once have as nasty a century. The Mountaingate Century was 50 laps on the mile long, 20% grade of Mountaingate Drive in LA. A friend did 33 laps and said one racer did the whole thing. Everyone else bailed.

toolboy
03-19-06, 11:34 PM
You need to come to Canada and try mtn biking on snow! Falling on snow is a lot softer than falling on rocks, tree roots, and the ground!!
AND .... you would only have to do 62 miles as a Century in Canada is 100 km!! :)

Machka
03-19-06, 11:50 PM
AND .... you would only have to do 62 miles as a Century in Canada is 100 km!! :)

There are various types of centuries such as:

1) Metric century - 100 kms (62 miles)
2) Imperial century - 100 miles (162 kms)
3) Double metric century - 200 kms (125 miles)
4) Double century - 200 miles (323 kms)
5) Triple metric century - 300 kms (186 miles)
5) Triple century - 300 miles (482 kms)
and so on.

However, I don't keep track of the number of metric centuries I do, because to me they don't "count" in the grand scheme of things (too short).

I do keep track of the number of imperial centuries or anything longer. And when I do my centuries for the Century-A-Month challenges, they are imperial centuries ... 100 miles.

Mentor58
03-20-06, 06:59 PM
You need to come to Canada and try mtn biking on snow! Falling on snow is a lot softer than falling on rocks, tree roots, and the ground!!

I spent a year in Alaska (Delta Junction, 87 miles to the ATM and only 100 miles to Kmart), and I loved it. I used to have bells on the bike so that bears and moose would know I was coming. It was a good year.

Steve W.

TRaffic Jammer
03-20-06, 07:04 PM
I totally want to try those double rims and tires in the snow!
-32 century? Machka...by ANY definition, that's hardcore.
Good on ya!!! Iditabike?

Machka
03-20-06, 07:47 PM
I totally want to try those double rims and tires in the snow!
-32 century? Machka...by ANY definition, that's hardcore.
Good on ya!!! Iditabike?

I have my eye on the Susitna first ... that's only 100 miles in the snow, ice, and slush. Unfortunately, so far it hasn't fit into my schedule or budget.

I'd have to get a different bicycle. The winter bicycle I currently have is the one in the photos below, and it is a bit heavy and cumbersome.

My other concern is possibility of falling through the ice ... which happens now and then on those events, if the temperatures are too warm. I've done that once while snowshoeing on a river a couple years ago, and I'd really rather not do that again!! :eek:

However ....... the Susitna and Iditabike are both on my mind!! :D

foggydew
03-21-06, 01:21 AM
I think both metric and imperial centuries are worthwhile tracking and definitely believe that the metric centuries "count". In my best cycling year, I did 52 metric centuries which I am quite proud of. Of course, many of those metric century days were also long enough to be imperial centuries but oddly enough, I didn't keep track of them!! I guess we all have different standards and goals and I hope we can respect that...

There are various types of centuries such as:

1) Metric century - 100 kms (62 miles)
2) Imperial century - 100 miles (162 kms)
3) Double metric century - 200 kms (125 miles)
4) Double century - 200 miles (323 kms)
5) Triple metric century - 300 kms (186 miles)
5) Triple century - 300 miles (482 kms)
and so on.

However, I don't keep track of the number of metric centuries I do, because to me they don't "count" in the grand scheme of things (too short).

I do keep track of the number of imperial centuries or anything longer. And when I do my centuries for the Century-A-Month challenges, they are imperial centuries ... 100 miles.

philso
03-21-06, 02:23 AM
after my 3rd or 4th century, i started loosing interest in my time and decided to enjoy them more. stopped off one year at a bar on the course and let someone buy me a beer. personal best? 3 free beers at 2 different bars, and still managed to finish in top 1/2. best way to ride, in my book. lol