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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    First Century Prep

    So my goal for the year is to do a century by the end of October. Originally it was to do a half-century, but I've done 6 of those now so I've got that down pat. Two were metrics.

    As the daylight hours have started to noticeably dwindle, I am thinking it's about time to start making century attempts, hoping to have one finished in early-to-mid-September, while the days still have 12+ hours of daylight.

    My original concept was to go from Buffalo to Rochester and back. To be honest I picked the route for maximum bragging potential ("Hey, I biked to the next city and back!"), but after a few disasters during the season (shifter breaking, wheel falling apart), I am beginning to think that bragging potential should take a back seat to safety potential. As such, I've decided to make a loop around my starting point so that at any given point, I'll have a decent "escape route" back to home if I have to bail. Here's the map: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/fullscreen/47130598/

    I have not ridden on any of the roads between miles 10 and 50 yet; they're all new to me. But everything else I am very familiar with at this point in time. I figured I'd load up the new stuff near the front in case anything unexpected happens on those roads.

    From a morale point of view I think this route actually decreases my chances of success, because it will be easy to just give up; I traditionally have done all my long distance routes out-and-back so that I have no choice but to do the entire route once I hit the halfway point. But for some reason 100 miles seems so much more daunting than 40, 50 or 62 ever were, so I'm going to be playing it as safe as possible.

    The bailouts I have chosen are:

    Mile 34 - can bail for 44 total.
    Mile 41 - can bail for 56 total.
    Mile 50 - can bail for 62 total.
    Mile 60 - can bail for 68 total.
    Mile 65 - can bail for 77 total.
    Mile 70 - can bail for 86 total.
    Mile 83 - can bail for 91 total.

    Then of course from 84 to 88 I can bail at multiple points, but honestly, if I make it past 83 I will force myself to finish no matter what.


    So there's the route. Now I have a checklist of things that need to be done before my first attempt:

    1) Get my new rear wheel from the bike shop (tomorrow?)
    2) Get a 9 speed cassette with lower gears (thinking of 12-27, 11-28, or 11-34... not sure which yet. Right now I'm running 22/32/44 and 12-21 which is woefully painful on steep inclines)
    3) Get 9 speed shifters to support new cassette (upgrading from 7)
    4) Get a new seatpost (ever since I put on a brooks, I get some bad chafing in one spot where a bolt on my ancient clunky seatpost sticks out from under the narrower saddle)
    5) Get a bike fitting done (right now I'm having numbness issues in my left hand after 50 miles, and up until my 6th half-century, my right knee would always kill me after 35 miles. Was going to get this done the day my wheel problems began, hence the postponement).


    I think once those steps are complete I will make my first attempt. Possibly as soon as next week, but 2 weeks may be more realistic.

    Anyone have any advice for an uberclydes' first century?

  2. #2
    Senior Member callmeclemens's Avatar
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    It's not a race, no rush its awesome. Enjoy it. Take your time.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callmeclemens View Post
    It's not a race, no rush its awesome. Enjoy it. Take your time.
    Indeed. One of the reasons I want to make sure there's enough daylight. I have not yet cycled in the dark and don't intend to start on this attempt, lest something go wrong that I need to fix. Guess I could bring an extra flashlight along just in case.

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    perhaps go with a friend to make it a nice social event!

    My hands get numb a little too. You shake them off when you ride? Helps al ittle. I do plan to double tape the bars soon.

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    drive the route a couple times early in the morning and take notes as needed.

  6. #6
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Start as early in the day as possible, certainly by the time there's enough light to see and be seen.

    And while no one wants to waste gas, the good chef's suggestion of driving the route beforehand is a good one, for a couple of reasons. First, if the route includes roads you haven't seen before, it removes the possibility that you could get there on the bike and find a road that isn't suitable - gravel, closures for construction, etc. And second, unless you're the brave-hearted type who thrives on adventure, there's a lot of comfort to be had late in a long ride from knowing where you're going and what you're going to find when you get there.
    Craig in Indy

  7. #7
    Neil_B
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    My only suggestion is that you keep stops to a minimum - minutes off the bike add up, and if you stay too long you'll have to fight muscles stiffening and possibly your morale plummeting. When I got to mile 70 on my century a few years ago I was asking myself why I was doing it. That's not a good state of mind.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil_B View Post
    My only suggestion is that you keep stops to a minimum - minutes off the bike add up, and if you stay too long you'll have to fight muscles stiffening and possibly your morale plummeting. When I got to mile 70 on my century a few years ago I was asking myself why I was doing it. That's not a good state of mind.
    Good advice here ... stop, fill bottles, eat something, and a light stretch ... resist the urge to sit at rest stops

    Miles 70-90 are hard ... I was ready to stop at mile 80 earlier this year (and this was an organized century), but continued on with some encouragement.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    Start as early in the day as possible, certainly by the time there's enough light to see and be seen.

    And while no one wants to waste gas, the good chef's suggestion of driving the route beforehand is a good one, for a couple of reasons. First, if the route includes roads you haven't seen before, it removes the possibility that you could get there on the bike and find a road that isn't suitable - gravel, closures for construction, etc. And second, unless you're the brave-hearted type who thrives on adventure, there's a lot of comfort to be had late in a long ride from knowing where you're going and what you're going to find when you get there.
    Good suggestion. I typically use google street view to check out long rides before I even drive them, but that can be misleading as you don't know how long ago the pictures were taken.

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    make sure you eat! Very important. Pack snacks, fruit, etc and make sure to eat eat eat and drink!

  11. #11
    Senior Member 1855Cru's Avatar
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    If you make a lot of changes to your bike fit, I would do some shorter 30-50 mile rides first to be sure that you are comfortable with the changes, other than that, take your time and enjoy!!
    http://www.ablokeandabike.blogspot.com

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  12. #12
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Bring a flashlight and some rubber bands that you can use to strap it onto your handlebars. You don't want to end up at mile 98, and call it on account of dark.

    Instead of plotting a route with plenty of bailout options, plot a route with plenty of places to stop to refill your water bottles and get a snack. Dehydration, electrolyte depletion, and bonking due to not enough carb input are the biggest barriers to success on a ride that long.

    You've done a metric century; an imperial isn't any different.

    Stop when you have to. Fill up your bottles, empty your bladder, grab a snack, and go. If you can eat while riding, so much the better. Time spent at stops is daylight wasted. If you get overheated, feel free to fill your jersey pockets with ice.
    DFL > DNF > DNS
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  13. #13
    already soaked perspiration's Avatar
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    This is a good thread...I've got my first century coming up on Sunday and am a little nervous and plenty excited!
    If it's peace you find in dying, and if dying time is near,
    Just bundle up my coffin 'cause it's cold way down there!

  14. #14
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perspiration View Post
    This is a good thread...I've got my first century coming up on Sunday and am a little nervous and plenty excited!
    which one are you doing?

  15. #15
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    i don't think it's very smart to make your first century unsupported. find an event and pick the 100 mile route, then you don't have to worry about carrying food and where you are getting water and can pretty much just focus on the riding. there will also be SAG vehicles in case you have a mechanical failure. 100 miles is tough enough, don't make it harder than it has to be.

  16. #16
    Bridge Burner RollCNY's Avatar
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    OP, if I remember correctly from some of your earlier posts, you primarily ride solo and plot your own courses. You may want to consider an organized event. The Highlander is Sept. 10, and it starts at Bristol Mt, between Honeyoe and Canandaigua. They have flatter centuries and metrics to choose from (as well as the ones that earn the Highlander name), rest stops every 20 miles, and mechanical support. I am looking at the Corkscrew Century, and I am fairly certain there is an abridged version of it.

    Assuming that you are on a hybrid (since you have 7 speeds now), you might want to look at SRAM shifters when you upgrade. I use an X9 rear and X7 front, and they shift much nicer than the 8 speed shimano stuff they replaced. You will like 9 speed, much smaller jumps between gear ratios. Unless you get the 11-34, which will still have fairly big jumps. I think SRAM has an 11-32 9 speed if you want to throw that in the mix. And you can mix shifter and cassette manufacturers, so don't worry SRAM cassette and shimano shifters or vice versa.
    Quote Originally Posted by Man in Black
    Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

  17. #17
    already soaked perspiration's Avatar
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    which one are you doing?
    I'm doing the Bike Psycho's century. I was going to get in the Ace Paint one but I registered too late.
    If it's peace you find in dying, and if dying time is near,
    Just bundle up my coffin 'cause it's cold way down there!

  18. #18
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have it planned out pretty well.

    I'm assuming you know the area well enough to know if there's stores where you can pick up food and drink as you go.

    Personally, I would vote for the organized century. But around here, most of the charity rides are actually metric centuries, and there aren't too many 100-mile centuries to choose from.

    Riding with a friend would add a lot to it, at least for me, but I've not had that option in a lot of cases.

    Regarding the "bail points", all you really need is a cell phone and someone willing to come pick you up if need be, then you don't need any bail points.

    One thing that has really helped me the last few years was a good set of lights, because that made the difference between riding all winter or not. If that's something that you'd need later on in the year anyway, consider getting them for the ride.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  19. #19
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
    i don't think it's very smart to make your first century unsupported. find an event and pick the 100 mile route, then you don't have to worry about carrying food and where you are getting water and can pretty much just focus on the riding. there will also be SAG vehicles in case you have a mechanical failure. 100 miles is tough enough, don't make it harder than it has to be.
    I wish I could find one. There doesn't seem to be any 100 mile events in this blasted area except the Ride For Roswell back in July... which has a strict 8 hour cutoff time (which I know I cannot make!), and requires proof of doing another century somewhere else anyway. :\

  20. #20
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    OP, if I remember correctly from some of your earlier posts, you primarily ride solo and plot your own courses. You may want to consider an organized event. The Highlander is Sept. 10, and it starts at Bristol Mt, between Honeyoe and Canandaigua. They have flatter centuries and metrics to choose from (as well as the ones that earn the Highlander name), rest stops every 20 miles, and mechanical support. I am looking at the Corkscrew Century, and I am fairly certain there is an abridged version of it.
    Will be out of town on the 10th, but I think driving out that far to do a century might be out of the question at the moment anyway, I'd lose too much time in the day. I suppose I could get a hotel, but meh... money

    Assuming that you are on a hybrid (since you have 7 speeds now), you might want to look at SRAM shifters when you upgrade. I use an X9 rear and X7 front, and they shift much nicer than the 8 speed shimano stuff they replaced. You will like 9 speed, much smaller jumps between gear ratios. Unless you get the 11-34, which will still have fairly big jumps. I think SRAM has an 11-32 9 speed if you want to throw that in the mix. And you can mix shifter and cassette manufacturers, so don't worry SRAM cassette and shimano shifters or vice versa.
    Thanks, ended up getting the parts a few hours ago and doing the conversion. Haven't ridden it yet but on the bike stand everything seems to be working great!

    I got:

    1) Shimano Deore ST-M590 shifters
    2) Shimano Ultegra 12/13/14/15/17/19/21/24/27 cassette. Basically the same as my old one, but adds 24/27. I think these will be invaluable on hills as it adds a whole 100% to my gear range at the bottom end: http://www.gear-calculator.com/#KB=2...UF=2099&SL=2.2
    3) SRAM PC-951 chain
    4) The new wheel of course

    Going to test it out tomorrow on my commute... heh that might be a dumb idea but oh well.

    If for some reason the 27 gear isn't low enough, I'll go for an 11-32 and a 12-23, and swap those out depending on what I'm riding. The 32 will be too low for my everyday riding, but the 23 will be too high for my long distance riding. Times like these make me wonder why I don't just buy another bike

  21. #21
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I'm assuming you know the area well enough to know if there's stores where you can pick up food and drink as you go.
    Yes there's at least 5 places I know of staggered along the route at good intervals. I'll have 4 water bottles with me anyway in case, and keep them all topped off every time I pass a stop.

    Riding with a friend would add a lot to it, at least for me, but I've not had that option in a lot of cases.
    Wish I had friends that were into cycling. I'm literally the only person I know who is into it. I have a coworker who keeps saying I'm inspiring him to get his MTB from his parents and ride some dirt trails, but he has yet to do that. Regardless, he told me the other day that he thinks road cycling is the most boring thing on the planet, so I probably would not even bother asking after that.

    Regarding the "bail points", all you really need is a cell phone and someone willing to come pick you up if need be, then you don't need any bail points.
    Could be an issue. Most people I know are not very supportive of my cycling, and would be rather annoyed that I bothered them for help if I got myself into a situation that "I told you would end badly!". So yeah, I've got this mental block against calling them. I suppose if it comes down to life or death I could always call a cab, but still I'd rather not do that.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Yes there's at least 5 places I know of staggered along the route at good intervals. I'll have 4 water bottles with me anyway in case, and keep them all topped off every time I pass a stop.



    Wish I had friends that were into cycling. I'm literally the only person I know who is into it. I have a coworker who keeps saying I'm inspiring him to get his MTB from his parents and ride some dirt trails, but he has yet to do that. Regardless, he told me the other day that he thinks road cycling is the most boring thing on the planet, so I probably would not even bother asking after that.



    Could be an issue. Most people I know are not very supportive of my cycling, and would be rather annoyed that I bothered them for help if I got myself into a situation that "I told you would end badly!". So yeah, I've got this mental block against calling them. I suppose if it comes down to life or death I could always call a cab, but still I'd rather not do that.
    sounds like you need surround yourself with a whole new circle of friends my man!

  23. #23
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    Start as early in the day as possible, certainly by the time there's enough light to see and be seen.

    And while no one wants to waste gas, the good chef's suggestion of driving the route beforehand is a good one, for a couple of reasons. First, if the route includes roads you haven't seen before, it removes the possibility that you could get there on the bike and find a road that isn't suitable - gravel, closures for construction, etc. And second, unless you're the brave-hearted type who thrives on adventure, there's a lot of comfort to be had late in a long ride from knowing where you're going and what you're going to find when you get there.
    +1. If you start early the first couple of hours happen automatically, like money in the bank. +1. I drove a 200K Rando route before we committed, OMG - it was a suicide ride. That scouting mission thought me a lesson..never commit to a difficult ride unless you are familiar with the route or it's purely a matter of the adventure.

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