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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-03-08, 06:03 AM   #1
AirBeagle1
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Supported Century -- Take Camelbak?

I've got my Tour de Cure imperial century coming up this weekend, with rest stops available roughly every 10-15 miles. It's my first century, but I've been training for this ride for several months. So far, all the longer rides I've gone on I've carried a 100-oz. Camelbak full of water, a couple snacks, a rain poncho, etc., and I go through 100 oz. of water in about 60 miles (as well as a sports drink bottle or two). I know most folks say not to carry the Camelbak on the actual century since it has support, but I've been thinking that my training has involved me sipping regularly from the Camelbak, and carrying the food/snacks that I'm most comfortable with. I'm worried that if I leave the Camelbak at home, I could either accidentally drink more or less from my water bottles than I do from the Camelbak, or get stuck with food at the rest stops I'm not familiar with / don't like.

Should have thought of this a while ago, but I guess my question is -- should I ride the century like I've trained (with the Camelbak), or take a bit of a risk as far as food/hydration go with the benefit of not having to carry the backpack 100 miles? Is it possible the Camelbak has become my cycling version of a security blanket?

Thanks!
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Old 06-03-08, 06:14 AM   #2
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This weekend I participated in the Adore Your City ride and rode 42 some odd miles with my Camelback. As one of the riding mechanics on this ride, I needed to ensure I had the tools I needed to help my fellow cyclists. Most times I do ride fully loaded anytime I go out.

My Camelback is always iced down, and I still have two bottles on the bike. One with straight water, the other with an electrolyte replacement. This is even on a supported ride. I perspire a lot in the Humidity packed days that we get in Rochester, and so far this year it's not been too bad.

You are right to drink as you can and keep hydrated. The Camelback will allow you to do this more often with less distraction than reaching for a bottle in a cage.

As for Food/snacks, my body like certain things and needs certain things when I ride. I like to have those items with me and the Camelback allows me to do this. If there is something that I need at a rest stop, or something that looks tempting at a stop, I may grab it and put it in my jersey pocket and try it later.

Good Luck with the Ride this weekend!

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Old 06-03-08, 06:48 AM   #3
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what the hell, take the camelback
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Old 06-03-08, 07:00 AM   #4
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I wouldn't take it, but that's me. I mean, c'mon -- what's the big bad thing that happens if you "accidentally drink more or less from [your] water bottle than [you] do fromt he Camelbak"? It's water. More won't kill you and as for less, if you can't read your body's signals to tell you when you need to take a drink, that's a skill you need to learn toot sweet. As for food you aren't familiar with or don't like at rest stops, welcome to the world of consuming food as fuel rather than as recreation. Most folks I know will carry a couple packets of Gu or the like in their favorite flavor, but beyond that, they eat the fuel that's available. It's your ride and you do whatever's gonna make you happy, but to me the point of a supported ride is to not have to lug all that crap. There's no way I'd wear a backpack on a supported ride.
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Old 06-03-08, 07:06 AM   #5
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Some Times Rest Stops involve long Lines for Portacans and Drinks.
Take your drinks with you.
I took 5 bottles on my last century and well as bike food.
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Old 06-03-08, 07:43 AM   #6
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I did our 150 mile Tour de Cure this past weekend. I rode with a camelbak (water) and 2 bottles (one water other HEED) I used the water bottle to squirt on me to cool off. I also ALWAYS carry power gels. You never know when you might need that little bit of nutrition. I made sure I took full advantage of the rest stops and ate and filled all my bottles and camelbaks up. Heck, one rest stop, they held my bike, brought me food and filled all my stuff up. I was back out of the road in like 5 minutes.

I always go with the "better be safe than sorry" attitude, especially when it gets hot out.

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Old 06-03-08, 08:06 AM   #7
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Some Times Rest Stops involve long Lines for Portacans and Drinks.
Take your drinks with you.
I took 5 bottles on my last century and well as bike food.

But it's not a timed event or a race! Even so, on timed events, I've never had it that bad at the rest stops. Maybe the first as everyone is still bunched together. But usually by the second stop, the riders are spread out.

I myself wouldn't take it. I use water and maybe some gatorade. No fancy sport drinks so I can find my supply at a park if I need. I'm sure the rest stop will have water, if you use a sport drink, take some powder in a baggie. That's what I do with the gatorade.
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Old 06-03-08, 08:06 AM   #8
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I personally would skip it, with rest stops every 10 to 15 miles. 100 ounces of water is a fair amount of weight. I suspect that you'll like the rest stop food, the food and beverages becoming more agreeable after each dozen miles ridden. I would relax and enjoy the food, beverages, and company at the rest stops.
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Old 06-03-08, 08:12 AM   #9
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100 ounces of water is a fair amount of weight.
That's another big issue. You've done 60 with the CB but on a century, I don't feel the affects of riding till 70. That's usually when one's body needs solid food and you feel that you need your every resource. Once beyond this point, then you're ok. With a CB, this may be when the weight will take it's toll. Could be the difference between finishing and not finishing, Suffering and enjoying the ride!
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Old 06-03-08, 08:19 AM   #10
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If you are used to having the camelback there is no reason not to take it.
I understand some folks saying it is a supported ride and there is no reason to carry all that extra weight when it is right there a few miles down the road on a table for yah. On my most recent supported ride 2 out of the 7 rest stops were out of water and any other sort of liquid when my wife and I got there. They didn't even have sliced oranges all they had was chilled bananas and my wife thinks any banana is gross. They were expecting to get more but after 15 minutes of sitting at each stop they were still expecting to get more and we left. If you are going to go short on water/supplies I'd suggest hitting every stop if you are even half a bottle down in water just in case the next stop doesn't have any. Not sure if they underestimated riders on certain routes due to late registration or they were just cheap bad support.

It was a good thing she had her camelback and two water bottle to refil her camelback with and I had two 70oz bladders under my seat since I was riding my recumbent. There was only one gas station/store on the whole route so there weren't many opportunities to self support once we were out there.
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Old 06-03-08, 08:51 AM   #11
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I think on your first century, you don't change your training procedures on the day of the ride. That's what the second century is for.
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Old 06-03-08, 09:28 AM   #12
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Personally I would just stick with whatever makes you happy. If you like your camel back because it reminds you to drink more often then take it. Take a small supply of whatever bike food you like and respond to best. I would try not to depend on the food you bring, eat what's available and use your's as an emergency snack.

Don't worry about drinking too much, worst thing you'll have to do is unhydrate in the bushes.
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Old 06-03-08, 10:37 AM   #13
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I say bring it, since that's how you've been training. Don't change your routine on your first century ride.

I'm not a big fan of the CB, and it's been mentioned why already. All that weight sitting on your back for 6 or 7 hours gets heavy. 100oz is 3/4 of a gallon. That's 6.5 pounds when it's full, plus the weight of the pack itself, and any food you tuck in there for the ride. You're probably looking at close to 9 pounds for that pack. After 85 miles I barely even want my Clif Bars in my jersey pockets, much less 9 pounds of sweaty backpack.
I use 2 large water bottles and a large handlebar bag to carry my stuff on century rides. I don't count on the rest stops having anything I want to eat, so I bring Clif Bars, Accel Gels and pre-measured baggies of Accelerade powder. I pour a baggie into my bottle, refill with water and I'm set to go.
Our TdC on the 17th had temperatures in the low 90s, and with the 6 rest stops along the route I was never down to having both bottles empty. The last century I rode wasn't as hot, but there were fewer stop stations and I still never had an issue. (The last one was over 7000' of climbing, and I certainly wouldn't have wanted an extra 9 pounds of weight with me. I'm heavy enough as is!)
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Old 06-03-08, 12:13 PM   #14
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I'm not a big fan of the CB, and it's been mentioned why already. All that weight sitting on your back for 6 or 7 hours gets heavy. 100oz is 3/4 of a gallon. That's 6.5 pounds when it's full, plus the weight of the pack itself, and any food you tuck in there for the ride. You're probably looking at close to 9 pounds for that pack. After 85 miles I barely even want my Clif Bars in my jersey pockets, much less 9 pounds of sweaty backpack.
Not sure of the weather where the OP is riding but the CB makes me sweat where it sits. We do a training ride, 40 miles with 5k of climbing. Sometimes I take the CB cause there is no water up on the mtn course and it gets HOT! I'm not much of a dripper so without out it, I sweat a bit. With it, my back is soaked.

At the end of the 40 miles, my arms are fatigued from carrying the 75 oz CB. I had tiny triceps before I started using the CB. But I'd wouldn't use it on a century, simply for the final 30 miles.
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Old 06-03-08, 12:15 PM   #15
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Hey Beagle! If you do take it, please report any comments pertaining to the issue in your ride report...and we want pictures!
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Old 06-03-08, 12:48 PM   #16
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Supported rides vary in level of support. However, I have rarely heard anything negative about a national level fundraising ride like the Tour de Cure. The one TdC I rode had excellent support at the rest stops, and had a good variety of foods. Even though I am overweight, I am a finnicky eater, and I found a good variety of foods at my ride in Harrisburg.

As far as last minute registrations, there aren't that many on fund raising rides where people have to raise $150 or more to ride, so don't worry about things running short.

I would personally go with 2 watter bottles and a couple of gels or bars that you like just in case you need them between stops, but in general, just top off at every stop.

Riding 4 or 5 pounds lighter will make the ride a lot easier.

However, if you do derive peace of mind from carrying the Camelback, then the weight is irrelevant.

Remember, you aren't going to be out there alone. You have other riders to encourage you, SAG vehicles if the worst happens, and of course the rest stops and volunteers to help along the way.
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Old 06-03-08, 12:57 PM   #17
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Hey Beagle! If you do take it, please report any comments pertaining to the issue in your ride report...and we want pictures!
Yes, please...ride report!

This is timely for me as I'm doing a metric century in August and an Imperial century in September. I was going to go out and get a camelback to start using as I increase my long Saturday rides in preparation, but now I'm not so sure...
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Old 06-03-08, 03:12 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the great advice gang -- I've flip-flopped on my decision at least 3 times today as I read the different posts. More and more I'm thinking I'll probably take it, just because I've been training this way for a couple months, and the weather guesser is predicting scattered thunderstorms throughout the day (so I also have room for a couple items of fresh clothing and a rain slicker -- hate riding long distances in soaked socks, which could be especially uncomfortable if forced to shelter under some trees along the road when thunderstorms hit). Will probably keep the bladder in the Camelbak less than half full, refilling at rest stops, to keep the weight down, but will learn enough on this century to hopefully ditch it for #2. Will let you know how it goes!

Muchas Gracias!!!
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Old 06-03-08, 03:57 PM   #19
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+1 I would not carry much due to the level of support for this ride. I would not carry the camelbak, nor would I carry much food.
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Old 06-03-08, 04:42 PM   #20
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I think on your first century, you don't change your training procedures on the day of the ride. That's what the second century is for.
+1 Ride how you have trained. Personally on a supported century, I would not take the CB or snacks due to extra weight, etc. Tour de Cure is an extremely well supported ride in my neck of the woods. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 06-03-08, 05:19 PM   #21
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If there's rest stops like that, I take my 20-oz gatorade bottle and that's it. Do what seems right for you.
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Old 06-03-08, 06:15 PM   #22
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Isn't it "Muchas"?
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Old 06-03-08, 08:14 PM   #23
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Stick with what you are used to. It is to close to your century ride to be changing things up.
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Old 06-03-08, 08:46 PM   #24
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I've got my Tour de Cure imperial century coming up this weekend, with rest stops available roughly every 10-15 miles. It's my first century, but I've been training for this ride for several months. So far, all the longer rides I've gone on I've carried a 100-oz. Camelbak full of water, a couple snacks, a rain poncho, etc., and I go through 100 oz. of water in about 60 miles (as well as a sports drink bottle or two). I know most folks say not to carry the Camelbak on the actual century since it has support, but I've been thinking that my training has involved me sipping regularly from the Camelbak, and carrying the food/snacks that I'm most comfortable with. I'm worried that if I leave the Camelbak at home, I could either accidentally drink more or less from my water bottles than I do from the Camelbak, or get stuck with food at the rest stops I'm not familiar with / don't like.

Should have thought of this a while ago, but I guess my question is -- should I ride the century like I've trained (with the Camelbak), or take a bit of a risk as far as food/hydration go with the benefit of not having to carry the backpack 100 miles? Is it possible the Camelbak has become my cycling version of a security blanket?

Thanks!
I would say take it, if you find plenty of food and water along the way, then good, you can keep it topped up, or even dump and refill at some point. You can also run the camelbak only partly full. Lots of people figure that if there is a rest stop every 10 miles, they only need enough supplies to get 10 miles, except crap happens, you get a rest stop that runs out, or doesn't get staffed, and your there are there, with no supplies.
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Old 06-09-08, 02:58 PM   #25
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Took the Camelbak on the century, and boy was I glad I did. Each of the rest stops had water (except for one which had run out right when I got there), but the energy bars were limited to Payday candy bars, Gatorade was sporadic at best, but fruit was plentiful. I took along the Camelbak with water, and two bottles with Gatorade. Also brought a couple bags of GORP, some GU energy gels, a bag of Clif Shot Blocks, and one bag of Sport Beans. It got a bit heavy by mile 80, but sure worth it for the ease of hydration.... full ride report forthcoming. Thanks for the advice!
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