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?