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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 06-08-10, 11:14 PM   #1
kjmillig
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Working up to a metric century

Besides lots of riding on a regular basis, what did you do to build up to your first metric century? What's the farthest you did at one time before doing 100 km? Any words of wisdom, tips, tricks I should consider?
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Old 06-09-10, 03:09 AM   #2
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I started off by just doing trail riding to start, as I only had a Kona MTB. I got to the point where I was doing 2 hours at a time, and then I got a Norco CM2, and began riding on the roads. My first ride was 40K, then I did another 40K a week later, then about 2 weeks after that I did 80K, which was a huge jump. Doable, but I'd recommend doing a 60K week first. The only reason I did that was because I live in the sticks, and there's only one road that's any good around here, and it happens to be 40K between towns.

I did the 80K twice, before deciding to push for my first metric Century. I left town heading for the next town up the highway, but started off with a 10K hill climb out and back, then did the 80K. I got caught in the rain for 3 hours and wound up getting hypothermia, and cramping up, luckily only 2k from from the completion of my ride back to my van. I changed clothes, and turned the van on, and just sat for 20 minutes, warming up. That's the worst I've ever felt, ever. I couldn't move right, or think right. I remember trying to talk to someone, and felt like I was not making any sense.

So yeah, my hint, tip, or lesson of the day is - Make sure you bring a coat, or rain shell, stick it in your back pocket, because you never know when the weather may turn on you. Trust me, it's not nice.

end hijack, sorry.
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Old 06-09-10, 06:08 AM   #3
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I did about 70k before doing a metric. Get used to riding 3 hours, hydrating and eating.
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Old 06-09-10, 06:12 AM   #4
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I did a 50 mile ride on a canal towpath before my first metric. Unfortunately, it wasn't 'hard' enough riding to serve as preparation. I completed the metric, but I had a tough time on it because I hadn't taken it seriously enough.
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Old 06-09-10, 07:13 AM   #5
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I did a 50 mile ride on a canal towpath before my first metric. Unfortunately, it wasn't 'hard' enough riding to serve as preparation. I completed the metric, but I had a tough time on it because I hadn't taken it seriously enough.
I did almost exactly the same thing. I worked at slowly increasing my mileage on a rail-trail. I got to the point where I rode 60 miles several times in the weeks before an organized century and figured that I would be fine. Unfortunately I wasn't nearly prepared for the hills on the metric.

So, add about ten percent to your longest ride every week, but make sure that you are riding on the same types of roads that you'll be riding your century.

There are some training tips on the UMCA website.
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Old 06-09-10, 07:19 AM   #6
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I participated in numerous spin classes and pushed myself really hard. My "on the road' training consisted of 25-35 mile efforts due to time and family constraints. I did push myself pretty hard on those efforts. My longest was 42 miles.
The day of my metric I dialed it down and didn't go as hard as I normally would, keeping something in the tank. I was really pretty fresh by mile 42 and decided to push the pace a bit. I ended pretty strongly and I think the key was dialing it down at the beginning.
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Old 06-09-10, 07:33 AM   #7
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I participated in numerous spin classes and pushed myself really hard. My "on the road' training consisted of 25-35 mile efforts due to time and family constraints. I did push myself pretty hard on those efforts. My longest was 42 miles.
The day of my metric I dialed it down and didn't go as hard as I normally would, keeping something in the tank. I was really pretty fresh by mile 42 and decided to push the pace a bit. I ended pretty strongly and I think the key was dialing it down at the beginning.
Don't be fooled, folks. This guy is a sandbagger. :-)
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Old 06-09-10, 07:40 AM   #8
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Don't be fooled, folks. This guy is a sandbagger. :-)
Shhhh don't tell everyone


That really was my training though. 2-4 spin classes a week from December until the end of March when I purchased the road bike.
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Old 06-10-10, 07:05 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the advice and experiences so far. The farthest I've done so far is 25, so I need to start pushing a little harder each week. I'll try the 10% increase method, and check out the UMCA site.
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Old 06-10-10, 07:10 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the advice and experiences so far. The farthest I've done so far is 25, so I need to start pushing a little harder each week. I'll try the 10% increase method, and check out the UMCA site.
What helped me the most was riding with group that I could TRY to keep up with.
I went from a 50 mile ride to a 72 mile ride with the group.

Took me 6 months to be as strong as they were on the bike.
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Old 06-10-10, 07:30 PM   #11
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if you've done 25, try 30 then 40 and then 50 a couple times. and then pick a flat metric century so you're not shocked by the hills :-)
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Old 06-10-10, 07:36 PM   #12
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I started at the beginning of the summer in 08 with commuting to work. At the end of august a friend called and asked if I wanted to go on a bike ride. I said yes, with no questions asked. She picked me up the next morning with another rider. She than drove to Albany Or and parked the car. At the end of the day we had done the 62, actually 63 miles, and I could not walk for several days.
After that I feel in love with riding and have kept at it. I also started to read, and ask questions. Learning how to ride further, faster, and with less pain.
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Old 06-10-10, 08:04 PM   #13
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I think my longest ride before I did a metric century was about 50 miles. I hadn't intended to do a century, though - it just worked out to (a little more than) 100 kms.

I went with a pair of friends, one of whom is clearly a stronger athlete than I am, running marathons and such. The other is at about the same level as I am. This gave me some extra motivation ... I didn't want to reveal myself as the weak link in the chain.

One mistake I made was to do about 10 miles on dirt and gravel. Those were hard miles! On the other hand, one of my friends smokes, so we took five regularly while he undid the health benefits of the ride. This gave the other two of us some quick rests. I would get off the bike and stretch (my arms - my bike isn't perfectly fitted, and the shoulders bother me after a while). We stopped at a restaurant about 75 % of the way through for a longer rest and hot food, which helped a lot.
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Old 06-11-10, 10:24 AM   #14
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I haven't done a whole metric century, but earlier this spring I did a 28 mile organized ride which I rode my bike to and added some extra miles along the way there and back home. All in all I rode about 50 miles that day over the course of about 4.5 hours, including breaks and registration. I felt pretty much normal the next day with the exception of a few sore (in that lots of exercise good sore way) muscles.

I didn't do any training specifically for that day or riding. I was just doing my 15ish mile round trip commute year round pretty much 5x a week, and I do a very occasional (i.e., doesn't happen often enough) 20 mile weekend morning ride.

I'm not trying to minimize the difficulty of a metric century, but I didn't think my 50 mile day was really that much of a challenge. Granted, the course was fairly flat - only a couple "climbs", but I would have kept riding that day if I hadn't had afternoon plans.

I drank a quart of Gatorade and a couple bottles of water along the way. Had an apple, a banana, and a couple granola bars, too.
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Old 06-11-10, 10:53 AM   #15
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I completed the metric, but I had a tough time on it because I hadn't taken it seriously enough.
Have fun, but take it seriously. This is some of the best advice that I forgot this season; which led to two DNFs.

Regardless of where a particular distance ranks in your personal inventory of "long" or "short" distance, don't treat it too lightly.
I've done so many centuries and 200km rides that I started to treat them as a "wake up and decide to do a century" sort of affair. Basically I was thinking of them with no more planning and regard than my 15 mile ride to work, and that cavalier attitude was my downfall on 2 rides.

100km may not be the RAAM, but it's not a 5 minute trip around the block either. (Sometimes, I've got to go back and refresh myself on basics like that.)
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