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  1. #1
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    First Century fitness help please

    Am I ready for a flat 100 miler? It's April 9th and the max time allowed is 7.5 hours (13.3 MPH).

    All this is on flat land:

    5 months and 1800 miles of cycling experience.
    80 to 120 miles per week (this week I went 150)
    My week generally consists of 3 or 4 15 - 20 mile rides and one 35 - 60 miler.
    I can ride 50 miles averaging 16 MPH.
    My longest ride to date is 65 miles.

    I'll be riding a 75 mile charity event on March 20th as a tune up. This one has a few rolling hills.

    I've learned what and when to eat and drink. At 50 miles I'm not crashing.

    Saddle comfort: I can and do ride up to 20 miles without padded cycling shorts. I've never attempted to go further but feel I could. Over 20 and I put on the padded bib shorts. At the end of 50 miles I don't have any discomfort issues.

    Back Pain: I seem to experience mild mid to lower back discomfort (feels like my muscles are tightening up) around the 35 mile mark. I stretch and move around but it stays with me. I think the stem might be a bit long but I'm hesitant to start changing stuff as it's minor.

    Am I ready? Do I need to change my training routine? What should my target time/speed be?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Sounds good so far. I would advise getting the back pain looked at though.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  3. #3
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    Am I ready for a flat 100 miler? It's April 9th and the max time allowed is 7.5 hours (13.3 MPH).

    All this is on flat land:

    5 months and 1800 miles of cycling experience.
    80 to 120 miles per week (this week I went 150)
    My week generally consists of 3 or 4 15 - 20 mile rides and one 35 - 60 miler.
    I can ride 50 miles averaging 16 MPH.
    My longest ride to date is 65 miles.

    I'll be riding a 75 mile charity event on March 20th as a tune up. This one has a few rolling hills.

    I've learned what and when to eat and drink. At 50 miles I'm not crashing.

    Saddle comfort: I can and do ride up to 20 miles without padded cycling shorts. I've never attempted to go further but feel I could. Over 20 and I put on the padded bib shorts. At the end of 50 miles I don't have any discomfort issues.

    Back Pain: I seem to experience mild mid to lower back discomfort (feels like my muscles are tightening up) around the 35 mile mark. I stretch and move around but it stays with me. I think the stem might be a bit long but I'm hesitant to start changing stuff as it's minor.

    Am I ready? Do I need to change my training routine? What should my target time/speed be?

    Thanks!
    Experiment with the reach; you have time. What's annoying at 35m can be total breakdown at 70m. Shermer's neck is a fine example of what can go wrong. If you are good at the end of your charity ride you're on track for your century.

  4. #4
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    Looks like you are ready. Just watch the rest stops. Don't stop at all of them, and don't stop for long. The 13.3 average assumes you don't stop at all. If you spend an hour total stopped, you would need to average over 15 mph riding.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    I think people way over estimate the difficulty of doing a century, especially a flat one. You could probably do it right now. Having said that, the more you train the easier and less painful it will be. Your endurance is probably fine what I would work on between now and then would be speed.

    As far as your back goes, it's probably one of two things. Either the drop to your bars is too low or you just need to do some core exercises to strengthen your back muscles.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  6. #6
    Neil_B
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    Work to resolve the back problem. Otherwise you are ready.

  7. #7
    Randonneur in Training B.Alive's Avatar
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    Solving the back problem might be core related.

    Planks and side planks worked wonders for my back....
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    My first bike tour could be this fall! Pittsburgh to DC October 2011???

  8. #8
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    I think people way over estimate the difficulty of doing a century, especially a flat one.
    +1.....If you've done 60, you can do the 100. You've built yourself up to a 60 miler without crashing so add something solid at mile 60-65, you'll finish like a pro!

    I like a turkey sandwich or similar, really makes a big difference IME.

    Add the fact on a charity ride, you can find lots of wheels to carry you through as far as drafting.

    JUST DON'T DON'T DON'T DON'T shoot out of the gates like a rocket trying to hold a pace of other riders. Start ez, work into it, you'll pass several of the "out of the gate" rocket riders! Finish strong.

  9. #9
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    I did 75 miles today ( a personal best ) at 15.5 with zero discomfort. I suspect I bought my bike at least 1 size to big. I'm 5'8" with a 32" cycling inseam. My bike is a 56cm. On the 75 miler, I refrained from using the drops or even the hoods, other than for braking/shifting. Instead I limited my hand positions to the straight bars and curves. No back pain at all. I'm using a 90mm stem and have a 70mm coming.

    Ride the hoods and back pain at 35 miles.
    Ride a couple of inches back from the hoods and go 75 miles with no pain.

    On another subject: It's now been 5 months since my first 1.5 mile ride that ended with me wheezing on the couch for 30 Min afterward. This forum has been my constant source of motivation and I just wanted to say thanks again!

  10. #10
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    You should be good to go. Work on the back pain, play with hand positions, raise and lower your bars. Get all your "tuning" out with a couple weeks to get use to your final adjustments and dont adjust multiple things at once.

    My first century I leaned that stopping is good, however dont stop too much and for too long. Get off, fill your bottle grab a banana or whatever and eat it ON the bike. I stopped enough, but sat too long making the getting going hard and added about 2.5hrs to the ride.

  11. #11
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossThompson View Post
    You should be good to go. Work on the back pain, play with hand positions, raise and lower your bars. Get all your "tuning" out with a couple weeks to get use to your final adjustments and dont adjust multiple things at once.

    My first century I leaned that stopping is good, however dont stop too much and for too long. Get off, fill your bottle grab a banana or whatever and eat it ON the bike. I stopped enough, but sat too long making the getting going hard and added about 2.5hrs to the ride.
    I was very aware of the stopping issue on my 75 mile test run. I stopped 3 times for a total of 27 min. The 3 stops were bathroom breaks or eating 1/2 a turkey sandwich standing up. I never sat down and rested. Despite my efforts that stopping time really adds up.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Street Pedaler's Avatar
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    Beasley, sounds to me like you're well on your way to knocking a Century out. I haven't done one yet but that's what I'm hoping to get into as well. Congrats on your progress, so far. That's awesome. Good luck and GIDDYUP!

  13. #13
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Looks like you shouldn't have a problem, but I'm curious about the 7.5 hour cutoff which even for a flat century is a very early cutoff. Many folks will be doing a flat century as their first without your level of preparation. They will want to spend more time at the rest stops, may experience cramping, etc. What sort of organization puts this on and how many cyclists are they expecting?
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  14. #14
    Senior Member callmeclemens's Avatar
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    Id say you're ready. I did my first Century last year (on my fixie) A month before I did a 66 mile ride and felt great, I was told just to keep up my normal routine and I could do the Century, and I did. So good luck and have fun out there.

  15. #15
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    Looks like you shouldn't have a problem, but I'm curious about the 7.5 hour cutoff which even for a flat century is a very early cutoff. Many folks will be doing a flat century as their first without your level of preparation. They will want to spend more time at the rest stops, may experience cramping, etc. What sort of organization puts this on and how many cyclists are they expecting?
    I was told it's a local bike club. I don't have any idea on expected turnout. Here is the URL to the event:

    http://natchezcenturyride.racesonlin...y&page_id=2884

  16. #16
    Bulky Bullet Sayre Kulp's Avatar
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    That does sound like a rather early cutoff, so expect the pace to be pretty quick. But otherwise, it sounds like you will be just fine. The best piece of advice I can offer is just to listen to your body and give it what it needs. You are the powerplant that's going to get you to the finish, so make sure you take in the right amounts and types of fuel and lubrication.
    "Obstacles don't like me very much. I make them look bad."

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
    I was told it's a local bike club. I don't have any idea on expected turnout. Here is the URL to the event:

    http://natchezcenturyride.racesonlin...y&page_id=2884
    That cutoff time is absurdly early.

    But it's a moot point anyway. They have no legal right to remove a cyclist from a public road or MUP. The "all riders will be SAGGED" part is sabre-rattling; they can't force you into the truck.

  18. #18
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    That cutoff time is absurdly early.

    But it's a moot point anyway. They have no legal right to remove a cyclist from a public road or MUP. The "all riders will be SAGGED" part is sabre-rattling; they can't force you into the truck.
    I think the thread on dealing with dogs might have some other uses.

  19. #19
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    I think the thread on dealing with dogs might have some other uses.
    My friend Phil, who can ride all day at 10 MPH, carries something from the vehicle code with him. He had to argue with people on the MS City to Shore one year because they tried to get him off the road after their 'cutoff.'

  20. #20
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    My friend Phil, who can ride all day at 10 MPH, carries something from the vehicle code with him. He had to argue with people on the MS City to Shore one year because they tried to get him off the road after their 'cutoff.'
    I always carry something with me to deal with people who try to kidnap me or otherwise force me to do something I do not wish to do.
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  21. #21
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    My friend Phil, who can ride all day at 10 MPH, carries something from the vehicle code with him. He had to argue with people on the MS City to Shore one year because they tried to get him off the road after their 'cutoff.'
    I keep having a vision of using a boat horn in this situation.
    Last edited by jethro56; 02-09-11 at 10:32 AM.

  22. #22
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGlover View Post
    I always carry something with me to deal with people who try to kidnap me or otherwise force me to do something I do not wish to do.
    Phil doesn't carry, I think. And I'm not sure the MS City to Shore people would approve.

  23. #23
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    Since I started this thread my confidence level is way up. I've done two 70 mile plus rides in 5 days without any drama. I guess I just needed a few of you to say "GO".
    Thanks!

    Now it's about speed. I know I can knock down 100 flat miles at better than 15 MPH. With the group dynamic and continued training I'm shooting for better than 16 MPH for the century.

  24. #24
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    go for it. you are at the point i need to be

    I am at a point where i can ride 70 miles but at only 10 mph average. Trying to get a mile per hour increase is proving to be difficult for me. I am able to ride at a Heart Rate of 140 bpm and when it hits 160 i back down.

    My experience with riding is to check the wheels when you stop for loose spokes. Loose spokes, and broken spokes, have turned a good ride into torture. I find the loose spoke when I am putting the bike away.

  25. #25
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    Have you tried a shorter stem? If you can get comfy on the hoods and drops, you will add a little speed as you'll cut through the wind. The other question is whether you're drafting at all, and riding with anyone you trust to trade off the lead with you. I've done solo centuries (unsupported) and organized / in groups with buds. Solo is a good 1/3 harder, and takes more out of you without the drafting factor...to say nothing of the motivation.
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

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