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  1. #1
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    is a century a goal?

    A recent post on "does it get better?" devolved into a discussion of century riding and I thought it was an interesting topic in its own right so here are some questions and comments of my own to continue that thread.
    First let me say that of course I recognize that doing a century is not a goal for everyone. I'm a clyde that clearly remembers my recent ride of 3mi when it was all I could do. But I have to tell you that although I wasn't thinking much about a century ride, it was probably an unstated goal on some level.
    There are those among us who want to be able to do a 5 mile commute and really nothing more. Others just want to get started losing weight. But if you're at Bike Forum, you're likely to be interested in cycling in and of itself.
    From that perspective, when "cycling" per se becomes a sport and you've become a "cyclist" in the sense that you are riding regularly and probably continually working toward improving your fitness and cycling ability...you will get fit enough for a century ride at some point. Commuters, bike messengers, people on tour, don't have to set a goal and most probably have no thought to riding a century as a goal, but a lot of us with the time to ride enough miles to build that stamina have to be intrigued about the possibility of that magic number.
    Is it a goal of yours? Have YOU done a century? Care if you do? Tried and failed?
    I may not pull one off this year. Time may not allow me to get in shape after I heal. Our winters come quickly. But if I do get to return to biking, doing another century will be a goal again. I like goals.

  2. #2
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by digibud View Post
    Is it a goal of yours? Have YOU done a century?
    Not a goal anymore.

    I did 23 centuries in 2005, about 33 total.

    They got so easy that I had to set a new goal of doing centuries with 10,000-12,000 ft of gain. So now a century is like "been there ,done that" so I'm happy just tooling around on the bike trail.

  3. #3
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    My club offers a free jersey to riders that complete one century each month of the year.

    It is a nice jersey so I ride to get one.



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  4. #4
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    It was and I've done two. They're not my priority as I'd rather push the pace on a 50 mile ride. I'll probably hit one this year just so I know I can.

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    Is a century a goal? Not for me. This year and 2010 are the years that I've been avid about getting out on the road bike and riding, and both times I've had the mindset that a metric century is a good goal distance for me. Not just to cover a metric, but to do it as well as can (but not quite like a race). I've done metrics with minimal stop time, and I still feel lively at the end. I don't have the feeling that I'd enjoy a full century as much as a strong effort on a metric.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dad 2 3's Avatar
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    It definitely was a goal of mine and 4 months after I started riding I completed my first. It was very flat with only 1200 feet of elevation gain of which most was freeway overpasses. One of my goals this year was to complete a century per month, but that went by the wayside when my cycling goals changed. I did complete Jan, Feb, and Marches centuries this year with an average gain of 5500+ feet.
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    For me it is. I'm going to do a 45 mile ride next week, (my longest ever), and a metric century some time this summer. Then maybe fall, or spring I hope to do a century. Depending on how things progress, I think I want to try to earn the super randonneur award (200,300,400,600km, all in the same calender year. That idea isn't set in stone, we will just have to see how things progress.

  8. #8
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Yes, it was a goal for me. I rode my first century since high school in April of this year. Got to do it with some great peeps from here, to boot. (Now one of those is IN a boot! )
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  9. #9
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    It was, a couple of metric centuries each month and an imperial every 4-6 weeks just to keep the distance up. It started feeling like a job, and 5 to 7 hours in the saddle just wasn't fun and I wasn't getting any more fit. I'm really enjoying the fast paced 30 miler now, doubling when the mood strikes. For me it's the excessive time on the bike, after a couple of hours I start thinking about other things I could be doing & wish I was done. By mixing it up with aggressive gym workouts I'm feeling more fit. I think I'm naturally more of a Point A to Point B rider than a looper, I prefer to ride to an objective, (farmers market, gym, movie, lunch, REI), do my thing, then ride back.

    I failed on a 200K hilly rando a few years ago, after just 30 miles. That was a eye opener: changing my diet, traveling, different climate, and thinking about 9 tough hours in the saddle..my body just said forget it, not interested. I've listened.

  10. #10
    Senior Member antimonysarah's Avatar
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    It was a goal for me, and I did my first one two weeks ago. Now my goal is a 200K brevet -- which I will hopefully be completing next weekend.

    Distance goals are something I really like, because I'm never going to be especially fast, but I build endurance pretty easily and I like having something to work for.

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    Don't get me wrong about people setting a century or many centuries as targets in their riding.

    However. in the thread referred to by the OP, it seemed like everyone was jumping in and telling tjax that he should be setting a century as his target. Right now, in my book and after his illness, what he needed was perspective on his current situation, which meant encouraging him to ride distances he can handle and enjoy with a steady progression.

    I often think many posters in sub-forums such as this one need to read other sub-forums to get an idea of what other riders do and how they have got to that point. It can be quite eye-opening to find there are many people who have no desire to ride long distances, but still thoroughly enjoy their cycling.

    Having said that, I can see how a century can be an important part of the "process" for someone wishing to use bicycling as a way to lose weight. It represents a pinnacle in that process, although in reality, hitting a target weight should carry more... well... weight.

    If doing a century appeals to you, go ahead and plan and do it. But the most important thing is... if you don't make it, it doesn't make you any less of a person in the eyes of many thousands of other cyclists around the world.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Zoxe's Avatar
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    There's something enticing about the 3 digit, nice round number ... one hundred.

    I plan to punch my Century ticket this season, but honestly that ride is not going to be about the distance as much as the route and planning. My brothers and I are going to be doing a ~120mi ride across most of the state from my house to my parents. So that ride is first and foremost about family. And for me, as the organizer, it's about figuring out the route being able to navigate on "game day" and trying as many of the roads on the south leg as I can so I don't lead my brothers into a hilly potholed minefield.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member eja_ bottecchia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJoe View Post
    Yes, it was a goal for me. I rode my first century since high school in April of this year. Got to do it with some great peeps from here, to boot. (Now one of those is IN a boot! )
    Are you trying to get TH booted?

    Riding a century is a nice goal but, FrenchFit mentioned, after a while it gets old.

    I have a friend who rides double centuries (he is also a Clyde). OUCH!

    Have any of the uber-century riders here (20+ centuries) ever tried doing doubles or triples? I would like to hear about how you train for them.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Eventually, I want to do one, but feel like I need to work up to it. Rides so far this season have been from 20 to 34 miles. Pretty sure that at this point, I can do 40 miles, so the metric century is the next milestone. (maybe sometime this summer) See how I feel after that and go from there.

  15. #15
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    I'm signed up for a metric century next Saturday. I've been working towards it this spring, longest ride has been 55 miles. I'm looking forward to it and depending on how I do, I might try for an organized century ride this year. I'm 2 years into fairly steady riding after a 25 or so year layoff.

  16. #16
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    I commuted regularly for about 5 years, and I think it turned me into the kind of guy that has to have a destination in mind. My version of a century will be NYC to Philly, to visit with a friend's family there. I've been on a couple of 40-50 mile rides in the past couple of months, but when the distance is the only goal, it's not as much fun for me! I will say that since I started staying home with my kid, the idea of really putting in some distance on off days has become more appealing, and my focus has shifted from speed to endurance.

  17. #17
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    A century is one of the distances that I intend to ride this year, but it is not a do-all, end-all goal. Like Beanz, I have ridden quite a few centuries so I know that I can ride one so it is no longer see it as a goal.

    I typically ride a week long tour each summer and ride about 400-500 miles in that week. My goal is to have fun on that tour. In order to have fun I don't want to be in pain or struggling. So to achieve my goal I need to get into a reasonable fitness level.

    But today I have a goal of riding 30-40 miles as prep for my tour.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Riding an imperial century is a worthy goal. It is an exceptional accomplishment, one of which a cyclist can be proud. Not many people in this society can do something like this, nor can any casual cyclist. But, as others have said, the time in the saddle can get a bit boring. I've ridden a bunch, and they no longer hold the excitement that they once did. Instead, I'm finding metric centuries appealing. The time commitment is not as great and there are some minor goals with which to strive. Such as, finishing within four hours and finishing with only one stop. I'm not quite there yet. Maybe later this year.

    I've also learned last year that there is a huge difference between an organized charity ride and a self-supported century. I had thought that the only way I could complete a century/double-metric century was as part of a charity ride ... with a "rest stop" every twenty miles. Boy, did I spend a lot of time at those mini-parties. No wonder my times were so long.

    Then last year, just to see if I could do it, I mapped out a flattish century that I rode by myself. I planned on three stops, one at each 25-mile marker. It was a revelation to learn that I could complete a century without all the "junk" at rest stops that organized rides have and with a huge lunch half-way through. Rode four imperial centuries last year, and now I feel like some others here..."been there, done that". I think the only time I'll ride a century this year will be a double-metric century for my birthday ride. For as long as the Lord blesses me with good health, I want to ride double my age, in miles, each birthday. Otherwise, riding back-to-back metric centuries, (two consecutive days), will probably be the next goal.
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  19. #19
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Riding a century was never a goal for me, but it was a stage on a goal I had back in 2010: to ride a 200K brevet. I rode my first century as a solo training ride for the brevet. I didn't actually do the brevet, because two days before it, I injured my knee getting out of bed...that never happened when I was younger! But the following weekend, I did 200K solo, mostly on the brevet course.

    To put that in context: I cycled somewhat as a teen in the 1980s, then stopped. I got back into cycling in the 1996 when living in Berlin, strictly for transportation. Then in 1997 I moved to rural western Massachusetts and got a hybrid; my wife and I started going for 10-15 mile rides. In 2000 we moved to Vermont (Addison County), where we continued to cycle. We worked up to 30-mile rides, but 10-20 was still typical. I didn't cycle at all when we lived overseas in 2004-05, but got back into it on our return to the US. By 2008 we had worked up to 50 mile rides (which I think is still my wife's longest). It was only in 2009 that I learned about randonneuring and thought it might be fun to try really long rides.

    In short, it took over a decade for me to set a goal of a long ride (i.e., one that would count for the people in the Long Distance forum). When I moved to Middlebury, Vermont, I asked the owner of the local shop for a recommendation for a good ride. He recommended a route through the Middlebury Gap, down the valley a little ways, and then back via the Brandon Gap. At the time, I thought he was crazy. Now I think it would be a fun ride! (55 miles, 4500 feet of climbing.)
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  20. #20
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Not a goal anymore.

    I did 23 centuries in 2005, about 33 total.

    They got so easy that I had to set a new goal of doing centuries with 10,000-12,000 ft of gain. So now a century is like "been there ,done that" so I'm happy just tooling around on the bike trail.
    This^

    For me a Century has to have a lot of gain or it's not really worth it. I did one 2 weeks back and I knew it was just 'moundy' so I rode to it and then rode some more after just to get the ride into the ~8,000 foot of gain. Ended up being cut short for rain but I did make it a double metric.

    Last weekend was the Mountains of Misery Century with > 10,000' gain which I did in a decent time.
    I do have a double metric scheduled in June and I'm sure it will be tough with over 16,000' gain.

    So no, a centruy is no longer a goal. Getting my out and back training ride done as fast as I can and working on getting my FTP higher are goals I have.

    If a century is YOUR goal then that's great and ask as many questions as you need to achieve that goal.

  21. #21
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Is a century a goal? Of course it can be. It is actually my goal for tomorrow if the forecast holds and the weather clears up for the first time in two weeks (forecast for sunny, 60s and <10mph wind). I rode my first century early last summer and I remember it was a big deal to me. I've ridden several since and have two organized centuries coming up over the next several weeks. My goal this year is to decrease my times and generally to ride better and smarter. I also have a goal of riding a gravel century (shooting for the Almanzo 100 next year).

    So set your goals based on what is important to you. Good luck and safe riding.
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  22. #22
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    What is a century? 100k? 100 miles?

    I'm looking to do my first 10 mile ride tomorrow, is that a decade?

  23. #23
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    Is it a goal? Yes. Is it the ultimate goal? That depends on who you ask. I think its a common goal because how many are out there, and for the recreational, casual, and new riders it will have them pushing their limits. I have not ridden one yet, in one ride, but have hit 100 miles in multiple rides in a single day. I do have it a goal for me currently but long term no. My bucket list or ultimate goal would be to ride a stage route of the TDF through the Pyrenees in a time less then the average elimination time for all the times that stage has been run. So I will have a long ways to go after mastering the century and a lot of money to make. I can also see a century ride as a great goal for a dabbler, who might road ride a century then to keep it fresh switch to MTN biking and take on a 24hr suffer fest, ect. Well I better stop here, but if anyone can tell me how to get the carriage return to work on the site again since cpu auto-upgraded to IE 10, so I can do more then 2 sentences without making a wall o text would be appreciated!Edit: Chrome it is, so sick of M$ these days, and being able to post a carriage return is not too much to ask.
    Last edited by Shakeyone; 06-01-13 at 05:26 PM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shakeyone View Post
    Is it a goal? Yes. Is it the ultimate goal? That depends on who you ask. I think its a common goal because how many are out there, and for the recreational, casual, and new riders it will have them pushing their limits. I have not ridden one yet, in one ride, but have hit 100 miles in multiple rides in a single day. I do have it a goal for me currently but long term no. My bucket list or ultimate goal would be to ride a stage route of the TDF through the Pyrenees in a time less then the average elimination time for all the times that stage has been run. So I will have a long ways to go after mastering the century and a lot of money to make. I can also see a century ride as a great goal for a dabbler, who might road ride a century then to keep it fresh switch to MTN biking and take on a 24hr suffer fest, ect. Well I better stop here, but if anyone can tell me how to get the carriage return to work on the site again since cpu auto-upgraded to IE 10, so I can do more then 2 sentences without making a wall o text would be appreciated!
    Firefox or Chrome


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianogilvie View Post
    He recommended a route through the Middlebury Gap, down the valley a little ways, and then back via the Brandon Gap. At the time, I thought he was crazy. Now I think it would be a fun ride! (55 miles, 4500 feet of climbing.)
    >puts up hand and waves it wildly< I've ridden Middlebury Gap, and it is challenging but satisfying. It's a couple of feet lower than it used to be because Machka threw up all over it a LOT during the same ride. It starts with a low gradient that then just keeps getting steeper and steeper.
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