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Old 09-09-06, 12:39 PM   #1
sour01
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Need some encouragement

Was planning on riding a century next month and have been working toward that goal. Today I rode with my Saturday morning group and we rode 40 miles at around 18 mph average. I wanted to get in some more miles---so I went on solo. I ended up riding 75 miles total---35 of that solo. My average speed for the morning was 17.4 mph.

But here is the thing. I felt like king of the world until 70 miles. I had taken 3 short rest breaks and was taking in some nutrition (couple of Cliff bars, 3 packs of GU, and some cookies I got at a convenience store) and plenty of gatoraide (although I think I need to take in more liquid on a contuinuing basis). But when I hit 70 miles---that last 5 miles seemed like it took forever---and I was pretty well worn out and was beginning to hurt and have doubts about 100 miles. Not sure if I bonked or not---but I was plenty ready to call it a day. It was a relatively cool morning with a slight breeze. I had also ridden a total of 90 miles this week before this ride.

I know I pushed it harder with the group than I would have solo and that may have been a factor at burning out at 70 miles.

Anyway---all you century veterans---did you reach a point in your first century where you thought you had made a big mistake---but somehow found the energy and fortitude to press on? Do you think my 100 miles a week (165 this week) and my 75 mile long ride is sufficent to carry me through 100 miles without being in total misery the last 25? Would love to hear about your (hopefully) similar experiences.
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Old 09-09-06, 12:47 PM   #2
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I've done about 20 centuries. Maybe twice I didn't come to a point at about 70 to 80 miles where I wondered what kind of idiot must I be to do something like this. Sometimes it's worse than others, but it almost always happens. Usually it gets better before the end of the ride, depending on the terrain, how well I've eaten and hydrated, heat, moon phase, whatever. Sounds like you may have pushed a little too hard in the early part of the ride. But I wouldn't worry. I think you are preparing well and you'll do fine.
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Old 09-09-06, 12:52 PM   #3
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70 seems to be about the limit on the first century. Riding with a fast group didn't help either.

I do The odd century and my only training for that will be a max of 65 miles. Why do a 100 in training for a 100? Get miles in and train for the hills but those of us that do century rides just do them.

Secondary training-----FOOD--- For a week before your next bonking attempt- start carbo loading. As much pasta- rice- bread- potatoes as you can manage- do not forget protein and fat either. This will build up the carbo-hydrate store in the body and that is what you need to give you energy on the ride. You also want to munch on carb foods on the ride- cereal bars- cakes- sandwiches- dried fruit or anything you may want to eat but start eating an hour before the ride with a good breakfast and then keep eating.

-----DRINK---- at least one bottle in the 30 minutes before the start and at least i bottle every hour- more if you can manage it. If you take gatorade or an energy drink- drink more water with it.


----Pace---- Very important and as it will be your first century- Come off the pace a bit.

Lastly-- Don't worry about the ride- Get out and do it and enjoy it.
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Old 09-09-06, 01:29 PM   #4
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You're OK. Your average speed and the fact you can do 75 miles tells me you can do 100. Assuming it's an organized charity-ride-type century, take your time and have fun. It's a ride not a race. Find fun folks to ride with. Spend time at the rest stops. Eat a good lunch. Help someone fix a flat. Take your time.
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Old 09-09-06, 01:33 PM   #5
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All the nutrition and training are at the mercy of your mental strength. Once you do a few centuries, they become a lot easier, because the fear and mystery are gone!
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Old 09-09-06, 01:41 PM   #6
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Maybe that's the typical "wall". When I used to run marathons I would experience similar feelings around 21 miles. I've been told that is about where the typical human body runs out of readily accessible glycogen for supplying energy to the muscles. When you've used up all your glycogen, weird things can happen. Stored fat is useless because it cannot be broken down fast enough for the immediate demand. Something else has to happen.
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Old 09-09-06, 02:53 PM   #7
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It's always easier with companions to share the ride with. Conversation, company, someone to slip in behind-- make those last miles easier and give you something to think about when you've run out of comfortable positions on the saddle and your body has begun to complain. People with equal motivation and riding style really help ease the miles, encourage, distract on any ride that pushes your limits.
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Old 09-09-06, 03:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by CrossChain
It's always easier with companions to share the ride with. Conversation, company, someone to slip in behind-- make those last miles easier and give you something to think about when you've run out of comfortable positions on the saddle and your body has begun to complain. People with equal motivation and riding style really help ease the miles, encourage, distract on any ride that pushes your limits.
+1

And, I find that hills are a lot easier if you have someone to chat with as you climb them. It really makes a difference.

If you can do 75, you will do 100 in an organized century. Set a gentle pace - this is not a contest, but an event. Enjoy. 40 miles at 18 mph average is not a gentle pace!
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Old 09-09-06, 05:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sour01

I know I pushed it harder with the group than I would have solo and that may have been a factor at burning out at 70 miles.
You've answered your own question.


Just as other responders have pointed out, you went too hard early and payed at the end.

My first century was after getting good advice from an old veteran, so I held it down until late in the ride and finished strong.

Last edited by Louis; 09-09-06 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 09-09-06, 05:13 PM   #10
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I did my first century in 1988. It was pretty flat, not too much wind, not too hot, should've been a cakewalk. I sniveled and whined to my friend for the second half, it just seemed too far. I had done 75 miles, but this 100 was a big step and I didn't think I could finish. Well, I finished, but if the sag had been better, I might have taken a lift. I didn't know what to expect and the next one, a few months later and with a lot more hills was a blast. I think that mental barrier is huge for some of us. Now, I just go ride it and will try anything (almost).
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Old 09-09-06, 09:29 PM   #11
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I have done many centuries this year including today. Average of 18 MPH is hard work. Perhaps you should think of 16 MPH average and a significant rest period at 50 miles?
Please do not get me wrong. There is nothing wrong if someone does 100 miles in 5 hours. But it takes a bit of conditioning to do that.
That is on top of all the other good advise above. Nutrition and hydration.
My century today was on limestone at 17.5 MPH average. It was murder and I was dead tired and had trouble driving home for 45 minutes.
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Old 09-10-06, 04:27 AM   #12
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You will do fine. You certainly have enough base miles in your training. The mileage will go a little faster and easier as it will be an organized ride and there will be others out there.

Eat before you're hungry and drink before you're thirsty-in fact eat and drink by the clock rather than how you're feeling. Go easier the first 50-70 and hang on wheels EVERY chance you get.

However, do plan to be "challenged" by the last 20-30 miles. It's as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Take breaks but don't hang around the stops too long. Ride "point to point"-ie, go from rest stop to rest stop or even set your goals to go 5 or 10 mile intervals and reward yourself after hitting that mark-even if it's just with telling yourself "Great job Alabama Man!! You can do this!"

Get to the end any darn way you can-just keep the bike moving forward-speed is not the issue. Your plan is to finish. The reward of doing number 1 is just an incredible feeling of accomplishment by breaking a barrier you don't know if it's one that you can really do.

Remember the 50+er's are behind you 100%!!
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Old 09-10-06, 10:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppe
However, do plan to be "challenged" by the last 20-30 miles. It's as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Take breaks but don't hang around the stops too long. Ride "point to point"-ie, go from rest stop to rest stop or even set your goals to go 5 or 10 mile intervals and reward yourself after hitting that mark-even if it's just with telling yourself "Great job Alabama Man!! You can do this!"
jppe:
Your advise above is what we followed in a group ride. No argument.

Going Solo and having all day to do 100 miles, I find it more easy to start very early in the morning, 6 AM in the summer. Do 50 miles in about 3 hours. Have a nice long rest and lunch. Sometimes go for a little walk. Do the other 50 miles again in 3 hours in the PM.
That is how I do my multiple centuries on Wisconsin Limestone Trails. We do week-long vacation this way, on a Tandem.

Perhaps the OP wants to know that some bikers do it this way?
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Old 09-10-06, 10:19 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Louis
You've answered your own question.


Just as other responders have pointed out, you went too hard early and payed at the end.

My first century was after getting good advice from an old veteran, so I held it down until late in the ride and finished strong.
Absolutely!
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Old 09-10-06, 10:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will dehne
jppe:
Going Solo and having all day to do 100 miles, I find it more easy to start very early in the morning, 6 AM in the summer. Do 50 miles in about 3 hours. Have a nice long rest and lunch. Sometimes go for a little walk. Do the other 50 miles again in 3 hours in the PM.
That is how I do my multiple centuries on Wisconsin Limestone Trails. We do week-long vacation this way, on a Tandem.

Perhaps the OP wants to know that some bikers do it this way?
I tried my first century in August using this technique. My only problem was that on the second run (40 miles...) it was so hot (over 90 F) that I caved in at 93 miles. I guess my problem is that I couldn't finish the last 50 miles in 3 hours, so it was getting into the real heat of the day. I think Will Dehne's advice is the way to go though, particularly for the last leg and I will try it again when the weather is cooler.
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Old 09-10-06, 03:47 PM   #16
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Guys-the mental demons are much, much stronger than the physical ones. I've done 13 centuries already this year but have a tough one coming up next weekend. Even still, I'm still plagued by the darn demons and am just wondering if I'm really mentally strong enough to climb the last 2 miles of the next one. It's a beast....just gotta do one pedal stroke at a time and keep the bike moving forward.
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Old 09-10-06, 04:30 PM   #17
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You can do this! The secret is to eat enough as you are riding. Start eating early and eat little bits as you go along. What you were probably feeling at 70 miles was the beginning of the "bonk" with low blood sugar levels. Unfortunately I cannot tell you what you should eat as eveyrone is different. What works for rider "A" will make rider "B" ill.

I find that I can generally do 50 to 60 mile rides at a decent effort without eating, but anything longer than that requires that I eat while riding. You should experiment and find out what works for you. Clif Bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are my long ride staples, but others will probably chime in and tell you that these will make you as sick as a dog. You really need to find out what works best for you. Don't wait until the 100 mile day to figure this out!
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Old 09-10-06, 04:41 PM   #18
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mollusk speaks the truth.
In addition there is discipline. I mean Self-discipline. Yesterday I did 100 at my best speed. The consequence? I had trouble walking this morning. This is lack of discipline. Lots of willpower to do it and not enough brains to control it.
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