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  1. #1
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Attempted Century (DNF, but not totally bummed)

    Saturday morning I made my first century attempt in 16 or 17 years. 25 to 35 miles a day is fairly routine for me, and I did a metric back in September (3h 45m) so I figured that the imperial was the next logical step.
    I chose my course with a few things in mind:
    - I would be riding alone, so I needed a lap course where I could re-load at my car each time around.
    - It would be variable weather, so again, going past my car allowed me to change for my next lap (if needed)
    - I didn't want to get stranded in the middle of 40+ miles away if I had some mechanical breakdown
    - I wanted rolling hills and a course I was familiar with, since the first 30 miles would be in the dark.

    I decided that the Flying Wheel Summer Century 25 mile route would be perfect. Starts/ends at Marymoor Park, so I can leave my car there for $1.00 and refuel/change/bathroom-break each time around. The route is on roads with wide shoulders, low traffic, and part of it is on an MUP. The overall loop is 24.2, so I thought I'd finish out the last 6 miles I'd need on the Sammamish River Trail.

    I woke up at 5:00am and took the puppy out. It was cold and foggy. Really cold... And really foggy. That kind of cold fog that I haven't seen outside of the PacNW: You can see the individual droplets in the beam of your headlight, the fog is so heavy; and it's cold enough that it should be snow, but somehow it's still just fog.
    It didn't get any warmer by 6:00am when I was loading my gear. The fog didn't break, and the sun wasn't anywhere near coming up yet. Even with bibs, fleece long johns, tights, a polypro turtleneck, my microfleece lined long sleeve jersey, wool socks, long gloves, and a microfleece hat I still could feel the chill in the air. At least I knew I wasn't over-dressed. After all, it was only 33 degrees, and not getting much warmer all too soon.
    I got to the park and set up my bike: Headlight; check. Tail lights; check. 750mL bottle of water; check. 750mL bottle of Accellerade; check. Seat bag with tube, levers, phone and ID; check. Tire pressure; check. I set up the back of my Jeep with a quick-grab pile for each lap: A banana, 2 Accel Gels, and a refill for each water bottle. I could zip into the parking lot, snag my keys from jersey pocket and have the car open, be refueled/refilled, hit the can if needed, and be on my way in 5 minutes. I did some stretching, chatted with a guy who was setting out on an "easy 18 miler" run, put on my helmet, fired up my lights and hit the road at 6:45am. Sunrise wouldn't be for another hour, and it wouldn't really get light for another 2.
    Zipping along in the cold dark fog felt pretty good. My headlight was cutting through just fine, and the extra LED light I put on my helmet was giving me some added illumination to view my computer. 17mph. Hrm, well it's a little quick to start out, but I felt good so I just backed off a little bit to 16mph. By the 11.5 mile mark, my first rest stop, I was warmed up. I hopped off the bike for a quick break, slurped a gel, had some banana, and got back on the bike. The hills around the back side of the loop felt smaller than I remember them. Maybe my mind was playing tricks since I couldn't see the whole hill. I made it back to my car and took a quick stop.
    There were some more riders gearing up, and they were very encouraging when I told them I was on a century attempt and 24 miles in already, just past sunrise. I kept the chatter to a minimum, and got back on the road after a quick refuel/refill. The second lap started out feeling great. I was zipping along at 17 - 17.5mph, the rest stop went quick, and I headed toward the hills on the back side of the course. They felt a little more noticeable this time around, but not bad. Certainly not as tough as I remember them the first time I rode this 24 mile loop. I was positive that I had another 2 laps in me as I rolled into the parking lot after lap number 2.
    Quick stop, refuel/refill, hit the can, get rolling. About 5 miles into lap 3, another rider joined me for 6 miles up to the rest stop. We were chatting and ripping along at 18.5mph; it's amazing how the speed increases when it's not just me, the bike and the road. I made the halfway point rest stop, and got rolling off to the hilly part of the course, and noticed that my legs were feeling a bit heavy. The first hill seemed pretty tough, and I knew that there was another 800' of climbing to go before I was finished with the hill section of the loop. This couldn't be a good sign. The rest of the hill section was a struggle on each uphill stint. My quads started feeling weak, and my left calf was getting a bit twitchy. I knew at this point that I didn't have a 4th lap in me, and I was going to call it a day after number 3. I made it back to the car, grabbed my post-ride food and a fresh bottle, and went to the picnic tables to stretch out and figure out where things went wrong.
    I didn't burn myself out with the speed, so that wasn't it. 16mph was a good pace which I should have been able to keep up for 100 miles. I felt good on the flats that last lap, but the hills were killing me, so I was a bit undertrained for the amount of climbing I was attempting to put in. 24 miles per loop, and 1500' elevation gain, so it would have been 6000' over 100mi. The last metric I did was 2200' of climbing, and my last hill training session was 3600' in 3 extraordinarily steep laps on Squawk Mountain, but the distance was short. So for starters, I was undertrained for the hill endurance.
    I was eating a banana, 2 Accel gels, and a 1/2 strength bottle of Accellerade orange w/ caffeine per lap. Works out to about 300 -350 calories per lap. Wait a minute... per lap? That's where I went wrong! I miscalculated my per hour requirements as my per lap requirement, except that a lap was taking me about 1h 40m! I was shortchanging myself 150 calories per lap, at least! Combine that with the cold (extra calories to keep warm) and the hills (more climbing than I'm used to) and that's why I didn't make it to the full 100 miles.
    So, I'm not totally disappointed with the ride. I did manage 10 miles more than my last long ride, and a heck of a lot more climbing! Plus, it's all about the fine tuning at this point: If I can do 72.5 miles, I know I can do 100, which will lead to a double metric, and to my goal of a double century. It's the fine tuning aspect that I'm working on right now, and as this ride proves, it's a learning process.

    Ride stats:
    72.59 miles
    4h 34m
    16.1mph avg
    37.5mph max


    The bike:
    1991 Paramount PDG Series-5
    105sc all around. 39-53f / 13-26r
    Wolber rims, UltraGatorskins 23f/25r
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  2. #2
    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    Good job!!!!!

    Do you really think that more food or gels would have helped you through, or do you think it was a lack of long distance riding that stopped you?
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  3. #3
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flip18436572 View Post
    Good job!!!!!

    Do you really think that more food or gels would have helped you through, or do you think it was a lack of long distance riding that stopped you?
    I think it was a combo of three things:

    Not enough hill training
    Not enough food
    Not enough distance base miles

    I've got almost 2500 miles for the year, but the longest ride I've done before this was 62.5 miles, and my average long rides are 40-50 miles. Food alone certainly wouldn't have gotten me around that loop one more time, but I think I would have felt up to doing the last of the miles on the nice flat Sammamish River Trail had I not bonked at the top of the hill at the 68 mile mark.
    It's a live and learn process, and I learned a good lesson from this ride. I know I've got more training to put in before I'm ready for the Chelan Century Challenge, but I'm closer than I thought to making that goal.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  4. #4
    jcm
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    I know that route. Food alone won't do it for me. For centuries like that, it's training that counts. I go slower, too. If there's a century coming my way, I do several metrics in the weeks before, and a couple 80+ milers in the two weeks prior. Being 51 and 240lbs requires more prep. If I do all that, it's cake walk, and the mental thing that people experience doesn't come into play near last quarter.

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    Congratulations on a fine effort

    Let me state at the beginning that you have reason to be proud of a fast bicycle trip that took you to your limits.

    With some hesitation, let me also raise an additional possibility (just a possibility) as to why the century was not completed. At the outset here, I want to emphasize that you and you alone know your (physical) situation best, and that I also acknowledge no significant knowledge about the route you took. Consequently, you may determine that the possibility that I raise is without merit.

    Nonetheless, I shall go forward, attempting to provide you with something that you can consider. Is it possible that you were taking the hills in too high a gear? I raise this possibility because you wrote that while on hills one of your legs became twitchy, and also because if you're going rather fast to begin with, you may be going fast onto the hill, and perhaps experience some reluctance to sharply downshift completely to the optimal uphill speed. I know that when I completed my first and only century, not knowing how many hills I would encounter, I would downshift even before getting to the hill.

    Well, just a possibility. Again, congratulations.

  6. #6
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herman47 View Post
    Nonetheless, I shall go forward, attempting to provide you with something that you can consider. Is it possible that you were taking the hills in too high a gear?
    Let me put it this way...
    I'm not exactly going to complain when I get a new bike with a compact double.

    The 39/26 is a little taller than I'd like for the hills on long distance rides, but it's the best I'm willing to do for this bike. I got the 13-26 cassette to replace the stock 11-21 corncob that was on there, but I'd rather save the money for a full carbon bike with a compact crankset than spend more money on a bike which, to be honest, isn't a perfect fit to begin with.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  7. #7
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Still a great ride, Jason. I was rooting for ya...even if it was from the dog park and not beside ya.
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    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  8. #8
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    My advice is go someplace flatter. 6000' is a lot of gain, you can go climb 14'ers in CO with less gain than that.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    Still a good ride, especially this late in the season. When you're building up mileage those encremental miles can be painful. I did my first century this year in over 20 years - did lot's of 65 milers, then some 75 and 85 milers before the 100.

    Somewhere I read the rule of thumb for increasing distance is to add 10% with each long distance ride. If you do that, you'll eventually get there. Also, if you're riding more than 2 or 3 hours, consider throwing some protein in with the bananas and gels. I try for about 250-300 calories per hour with a 7:1 carb to protein ratio (a ham or PBJ sandwich works.)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    Great ride especially considerig you only have a 39/26 climbing gear. A compact and you would have wooped that centry out not problem.
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  11. #11
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    StephenH - I know that I could pick a flatter route, but I'm training up to doing the Chelan Century Challenge (9000+ feet), RAMROD (11,000+ feet), and eventually the California Triple Crown. Even the Portland, OR Livestrong century is 7000+ feet of gain. While hitting the hundred mark will be nice, having the elevation in there is all part of the long-term plan.

    Daveyboy - The Accellerade and Accel gels are 4:1 carb to protein, so that's why I picked them. I've actually been talking to a few friends that compete in ultradistance cycling and multisport, and Accel products seemed to be the second place fave after Hammer Nutrition. I'm one of those unlucky few that can't stomach Perpetuem, (or any Hammer product, for that matter.) Not sure what's in 'em that does it, but about 20 minutes after I drink one, I get the heaves.
    I do remember back in my youth, I'd bring a salami and cheese sandwich on wheat bread for my lunch stop, and I think that might come back into the rotation again. 1/4 sandwich every 25 miles, to fuel the fires.

    Caincando1 - Yeah, the 39/26 is more forgiving than the stock gearing I replaced, but it's still a bit tall for my tastes. The bikes I've been looking at all have a 25 to 27 cog, but couple it to a 36 or a 34 compact on the front. Just dropping the 5 teeth up front would lower my gearing by 5.1 inches!

    Of course, me dropping another 20 pounds to hit my target weight isn't going to hurt, either. I've already gone from 262 to 235, and my target is 215 to 220. When I get there, I'm also going to lose about 5 pounds off the bike by going with a full carbon setup versus the early 90's steel that I'm on now. (The steelie will be given renewed life as a ss/fg that I can take to the Redmond Velodrome and work on my spin)
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  12. #12
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    When you go to a lightweight setup, you will be STUNNED at the difference! I kid you not! I went from a similar, even a bit heavier weight bike to my Allez and it flat floored me!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  13. #13
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    wow -- that's uncanny. I did my longest yesterday -- 72.56. Felt like i could have gone longer, though not much.

    Keep at it -- it's a real accomplishment, and you're close. I sometimes worry that mile goals are a little arbitrary.

  14. #14
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Tom - I can imagine that the difference will be phenominal. Going from my 38 pound fat-tire commuter to the 23 pound (25 pounds with full light setup) roadie is a huge difference. Plus, the stiffness is apparent between the commuter which has a gazillion miles on it, and the roadie which has significantly fewer. Moving to a full CF bike will be a 20% drop in weight, and should feel a lot less flexy than either of my current bikes.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member JohnKScott's Avatar
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    Wow! Nice ride. Lot's of climbing!

    Sounds like you will make your goals no problem.


  16. #16
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Moving to a full CF bike will be a 20% drop in weight, and should feel a lot less flexy than either of my current bikes.
    CF feeling less flexy? Er....don't you have that backwards?
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  17. #17
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite View Post
    CF feeling less flexy? Er....don't you have that backwards?
    Nope. Not at all. While CF is a great vibration-damping frame material, the design of CF frames allows for increased stiffness relative to normal stresses based on the directionality of the fibers. So frame engineers can intentionally stiffen up areas like head tube and bottom bracket junctures while still getting the damping effects at the stays and forks.
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  18. #18
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    Congrats on the attempt! It's a good benchmark and that average is faster than any average I've done any ride at (lights though slow me down a great deal).

    I think food is the key and you may have actually started off a bit too fast. If you have a heart monitor you may want to keep an eye on your HR and keep it low especially at the beginning, starting off at 13 mph for the first hour or two will give you a good boost of energy to use for that last hour or two.

  19. #19
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Nope. Not at all. While CF is a great vibration-damping frame material, the design of CF frames allows for increased stiffness relative to normal stresses based on the directionality of the fibers. So frame engineers can intentionally stiffen up areas like head tube and bottom bracket junctures while still getting the damping effects at the stays and forks.
    Well you learn something new every day....I assumed because it dampened shock so well, that it had a lot more flex.
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    !

    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    It's a live and learn process, and I learned a good lesson from this ride. I know I've got more training to put in before I'm ready for the Chelan Century Challenge, but I'm closer than I thought to making that goal.
    congrats man! excellent work, non-the-less!

    I'm a big 20-25 mile (at a time) rider and I tackled my longest ride EVER this year (58ish miles) so you're accomplishment puts me to shame...

    ...I hear you on the hills; since that ride I have been seeking out more hills to be more ready for it next year... and maybe my first century!
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  21. #21
    Perma-Clyde (51)'s Avatar
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    Still a great feat! You have learned much on this ride, and it will benefit you when you attempt your next century.
    http://www.trailerparkboys.org/forum...fault/beer.gif In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria. -Ben Franklin

  22. #22
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite View Post
    Well you learn something new every day....I assumed because it dampened shock so well, that it had a lot more flex.
    It can, but it all depends on the directionality of the fibers. Take a look at carbon deep section rims. Those things look like they should be rock solid (IMO) but if you're like me and you throw the bike really far from side-to-side when you're sprinting* then those wheels are horrible. They're stiff as a manhole cover from the end-on view, but laterally you can flex 'em like nobody's business.


    *OK, I'll be honest. I haven't done any serious sprinting since my race days of youth, unless you count occaisionally chasing down idiot drivers.
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    The Hilly Hundred is 50 miles x 2 days x 2,300 ft of climbing per day. That is hard to do and you put forth more effort than that in one day. You are elite, or at least pretty fit, and don't even know it. I don't think I could do what you did on my 1989 Schwinn Paramount with a double.

    We have a JAWS ride that is 100 miles in a day and over 7,500 feet of climbing. I am going to attempt that next year. It was early in the season and I did 50 miles and walked a couple of hills this year. Hopefully I will do better next summer. But I only started cycling again in July 2006 so I don't feel too bad.
    What is better than getting your heart rate up and saddle time?

  24. #24
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    you deff. short changed yourself on food. The gels are great and all, but its also a good idea to have something that you can slowly eat over a period of time(10+ min) I personally am a huge fan of cliff bars. Take a bit, drink some water, chew, take a bit, drink water, ect. This way you make sure your intaking enough water, you introduce food over time, and stay energized for longer. I also don't think 300-350 cal/hr is enough. Considering that if you eat 300 cal for 12 hours, you're at 3600cal. Thats what an average person should be taking in per day not doing anything particularly straining on the body. According to another thread, at 20mph, the body burns 38 cal/mile. Over 100 miles thats 3800 cal. So over 5 hours (100mi/20mph) you need 760 cal/hr. I'm not sure where the 300-350 cal/hr number everyone keeps stating if coming from, but it never hurts to overeat when going for long distances.

  25. #25
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    enjoi, the problem is that under physical exercise, blood is drawn away from the stomach walls and 250-350 food calories/hr is all you are able to absorb. Any more slows down fluid absorption and can even reverse it due to osmosis, which badly affects your hydration. What happens if you exceed that intake is the food and water start to pool and slosh and you can get quite nauseated, as well as underhydrated.

    It does hurt to overeat going long distances. It's almost as bad as not enough nutrition and hydration, and under the right conditions, heat and high speed, high stress riding can actually be worse.
    Quote Originally Posted by enjoi View Post
    you deff. short changed yourself on food. The gels are great and all, but its also a good idea to have something that you can slowly eat over a period of time(10+ min) I personally am a huge fan of cliff bars. Take a bit, drink some water, chew, take a bit, drink water, ect. This way you make sure your intaking enough water, you introduce food over time, and stay energized for longer. I also don't think 300-350 cal/hr is enough. Considering that if you eat 300 cal for 12 hours, you're at 3600cal. Thats what an average person should be taking in per day not doing anything particularly straining on the body. According to another thread, at 20mph, the body burns 38 cal/mile. Over 100 miles thats 3800 cal. So over 5 hours (100mi/20mph) you need 760 cal/hr. I'm not sure where the 300-350 cal/hr number everyone keeps stating if coming from, but it never hurts to overeat when going for long distances.
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