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  1. #1
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    A little honest advice please. (long and rambling)

    You folks can be counted on for serious and thoughtful input when asked for it. And I think I could use some of exactly that. I am considering signing up for a group ride (my first organized ride ever) on June 30. It is billed as the First Annual Queen City Century. This is a link to ride info. http://www.springbike.org/pdfs/Queen...Flyer_5-25.pdf
    There are 30, 62 and 100 mile options.
    This is a link to the 100 mile route. http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...gfield-Century

    I am trying to decide if I think I am up for the 100 mile option or not. I'm 55, started riding again last May on a Trek Navigator. An entry drug if there ever was one. I rode it religiously for nearly a year, working my way up to a 55 mile trek around Stockton Lake in early April. That did not kill me, or even come close. Son Chris and I did that ride with one lunch break and one get off the bikes and stretch for about five minutes break. It took us about four hours to do that ride.

    Now I'm riding a lot better bike, a Coda Elite, which is not a conventional road bike, but is far away from the Navigator in lots of ways. I ride three to six nights a week, and routinely ride 30 to 35 miles, without any breaks. And I feel fine when I get in. But I'm not fast either. I'm amazed when I read about folks averaging 16 and 18 MPH and faster on long rides, the highest average speed I've done on a 30 miler is just over 13 MPH. Maybe that's partly due to riding in hilly country and I'm a crappy climber, but maybe it's because I'm not all that fit yet and maybe it's because I should be on a better bike and maybe it's all three together.

    But back to the primary question, what to do on June 30? I'm very tempted to sign up for the 100 mile option. The route does not appear to be terribly hilly and there are six rest stops including a lunch stop approximately mid way through. Full sag support too. I'm pretty hard headed about getting things done, and barring the unforeseen, I THINK I would likely eventually get it done. But I don't want to embarass myself or others by getting in over my head on a first organized ride, and I don't want to hold up things by being so slow and so late that they send out a search party for me either. I really like the idea of challenging myself and pushing limits a bit. The 62 miler is nothing to sneeze at, but at this point, the larger challenge is calling to me. At least in part because a good bit of the 62 mile option is over MUP's that I've ridden so many times it's ridiculous and I would like to do something new and exciting. But I have second thoughts too or I wouldn't be posting this would I?

    So, advice requested is along the lines of do the century or not, and if do it, any advice about preparations between now and then, eating before and during the ride (I don't normally eat while riding - should I change that?), pacing oneself and so on. Thanks in advance for any replies.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Hey Terrierman, about the only thing I could say and what I would do is jump on the bike next weekend and have at it. If you make it next weekend, you'll have plenty of time to recover before the June 30 run. I know taking my bike 50 miles isn't to bad, but my legs start getting heavy near the end, but I'm almost 67 and I'm sure at your age you should be able to hold up a little better. On top of that, with that lunch break, that will help as well. Anyhow that's how I would do it. When I go 50 miles I take a short break, anything under that I usually stop and have a sip of water and I'm off again. The biggest problem I have now, is time, but as my wife gets better, I'll be trying one too, I think.
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  3. #3
    bobkat
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    I'm sure no expert but I've been told a rule of thumb is to train about 1/3 of what you plan to do, so if you are doing 30 - 35 miles per night I can only say "Wow" and go ahead and do it. Barring some unforseen complication you'll be just fine!
    With a century option I'd aim for the 62 miler and go for the century if things were going well. That's how an old half crippled-on-a-bent like me rides most centuries anyway. At the time if I feel like it and am still gung ho and there's no horrible wind or hills, etc. then I do the century option. If I don't feel like it, then I quit.
    Also, never be too proud to jump on the Sag Wagon! Much better to do that than to possible overextend and hurt yourself.
    I usually eat whatever the rest stops have during the ride, rarely if I feel a bit drained I might have some kind of power bar or something in my pack but usually not. If it's hot I might have some poweraid, gatoraid, etc. If really hot I might even add a bit of salt from one of those throwaway things the fast food places have. But barring water intoxication I always feel that my kidneys are sure smarter than I am, so no need to get over complicated!
    I don't get caught up with a lot of semiscientific nonsense on preparation and training, other than being healthy and ride a bunch. I keep it super simple. I'll never be in the Tour de France and am only in it for fun and health reasons. Some of my fellow riders take a lot of preparation, eating, speeds, cross training, cadence and a lot of other stuff IMHO too seriously. I seem to do as well as they do. I just jump on and ride, smile and have fun!
    Good luck in the century Tman - From reading your posts, I'd bet you do it easily! If not, who cares!?! - there's a next time! Have fun!

  4. #4
    bobkat
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    Tman, I just remembered that I broke off the wire on my computer a couple weeks ago. I'm going to head out and fix it after I hit the "Post" button here. While riding I might glance at speeds, average speeds and all that stuff, but after riding without all that stuff for several weeks, while it is interesting, I could be very happy with NO information and just let my old body tell me how I'm doing. i honestly wouldn't miss all those numbers and would do as many centuries with or without.

  5. #5
    King of the molehills bcoppola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrierman
    ...I ride three to six nights a week, and routinely ride 30 to 35 miles, without any breaks. And I feel fine when I get in....the larger challenge is calling to me.
    Sounds a lot like me, and I'm trying my first century next month. Go for it. You can always turn back or change routes without shame IMO but I doubt you'll need to.

    As for training & prep. riding those 30-35 miles several times a week should do it. Eat a good breakfast the morning of the ride, take advantage of food at the rest stops (you should eat on a long ride -- you wouldn't go all day without lunch, would you?), keep hydrated, and most importantly PACE YOURSELF! Even at a pretty leisurely 14mph you should be able to do it in 8 hours including quick (5 min or so) rest stops. On my first metric last year I made the mistake of hooking up with some hammerheads I casually knew from group rides & tried to keep up with them, feeling cocky. I dropped out of the pack after about 10 miles and limped the rest of the way! Finished, but barely.

    And make sure your saddle and shoes are comfy! Saddle soreness or foot discomfort are probably the two things that can ruin your day. (I've been having some hotfoot problems with my roadie lately & am trying to find the problem.)
    Last edited by bcoppola; 06-10-07 at 01:03 PM.
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  6. #6
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    If you can find a partner to stay with or who will stay with you that might help. Who knows, you may be dropping others.

    Eat right for a couple of days befor the ride.

  7. #7
    Senior Member guybierhaus's Avatar
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    Well I suspect T-Man your get some better advice. I've only manage to ride 62 miles, with a lunch in the middle. Until I get my average speed to something greater then 11 mph, I will not attempt a 100 mile century. A little math and I'm looking at a 12 hour day minimum.

    "I don't want to embarass myself or others by getting in over my head on a first organized ride, and I don't want to hold up things by being so slow and so late that they send out a search party for me either."

    If this event is like the ones I've rode in, you will not embarrass yourself. There is nobody at the end looking to see if you finished. Contestants will not be waiting for you to start their party. Sorry, that's just the way it is. If your lucky there will be a SAG car making a last run over the course. They may ask you how your doing and offer a ride to end if it's late. Then again they may just see your still moving and drive on by. I would want somebody you could contact by cell phone to come and get me. As to training for the ride, I don't think you have to ride 100 miles before this event, but would try at least a 75 mile ride. And definitely make full use of the break spots and long lunch. I wouldn't want to rush thru any of the breaks. A banana in back pocket would be good for last half, if break spots do not have.

    Good Luck.
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  8. #8
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    I'm excited for you! You've reminded me of the mix of eager anticipation & trepidation leading up to my first century. Ooooh, but what fun!

    You've gotten good advice & I agree with it. I'd start eating right NOW, as opposed to the week before. Take bananas, nuts, bars (I favor Cl*f myself), and practice eating & riding. Also, ride 62 miles to see how you feel. The longest distance I rode before my first century was 77 mi. I wanted to do more but was worried about bonking, out in the orchards NE of my house, by myself, yada, yada, yada. I felt really good then & knew I'd be fine on a longer ride.

    During the rest stops try not to be off the bike more than 10 min. so you don't get lactic build up in your legs. That makes continuing very uncomfortable (ask me how I know ). Roll in, get food, hit the Portapotty, get more food, get back on the road.

    With a positive mental attitude I predict you'll finish in fine fashion & discover just how terrier-like you are in your determination. Don't let the naysayers suck the fun out of your goal! Go for it!
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  9. #9
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    I'd go for it, with the caveat that I believe the rule of thumb is you want to have done a ride of 65-75% of the event distance over comparable terrain within 2-3 weeks of the event. A jump to 100 miles all at once may be a bit much. You could probably do it, but you may feel beat up by the end.

    Your weekly ride time and volume is great (I wish my job and family were that accommodating) so it's more a question of having enough overall endurance. I'd try for a long ride next weekend (happy Father's Day?) and see how it goes. The metric century (62 miles) is nothing to sneeze at for a 1st attempt - you can then set a later in the season century as your next goal. (That is what I did when I started riding.) Even if you and a few friends just ride it yourselves.

    There is a wealth of info on the 'net and these forums on riding centuries. Bicycling Magazine runs articles on this regularly, especially as we approach century riding season. Check the long distance cycling forum as well for ideas. Lots of experienced smart riders over their.

    You will need to eat and drink during the ride, and you will want to take advantage (but not too long!) of rest stops. The rough rule of thumb is one bike bottle of liquids/hr, and drink before you get thirsty. You want to drink something you like that won't mess up your stomach during the ride! Ditto food - I am partial to bananas, power bars, fig newtons, and various gels. I can do a 2hr ride with just liquids. When I know I'm going 3+, I bring or buy something and take short rest breaks to eat. I also bring something with me on supported rides - the rest stop may be low on what I like, or I need something and it's midway to the next stop. You want some easily-digested carbs to help keep you going, and not start trying brand-new foods on ride day. At a 13mph average, you will be riding for almost 8 hrs for 100 miles, almost 5 hrs for 62 miles. That's too long to go without any food.

    At 13 mph, you will be riding more towards the back of the pack. On some rides, this means the rest stops are running out of the better refreshments by the time you arrive. Another reason to bring money for convenience stores and carry a few energy bars or emergency rations with you.

    The other key is pacing yourself. Some people treat 1-day distance rides as a race (at least against themselves). Don't try to start off too fast. If 13 mph is your comfortable pace, then ride that or a little slower for the 1st part of the ride; then plan on riding the 2nd half a little faster (not that I've managed to follow that advice yet!). Have some friends or family ride with you. If they are stronger riders, they can help pace you (at YOUR speed, not theirs!), provide a windbreak if headwinds, and encouragement and help along the way.

    A few other suggestions:
    - Use sunscreen. Remember scalp, back of ears, back of legs burn too! I use a cool-max headsweat to keep UV off my scalp (unless you want "tiger stripes" on our head showing your helmet's vent pattern!).
    - Wear clean, well-fitting cycling shorts. Use body glide or a chamois cream if you have any chafing problems, or think you may.
    - If you need a cheap way to hang a cue sheet on the bike, use small paper clamps like clothespins and fold the top of the cue over your shift cables. A zip-loc bag comes in handy if it rains to keep the cue sheet dry and readable.
    - Make sure your bike is ready to go mechanically before the event. Any nagging little problems should be fixed now, not the day before the big ride. Lay out everything the night before, and load the car before going to bed if you are driving to the event. Have bottles filled and in the fridge, make sure they make it to the car in the morning! If you are leaving before dawn, put sunglasses and gloves with the bike/gear in the car. [Don't ask how I know this! ]

    Remember to have fun and tell us about how it goes. There's a local century I've ridden several years now; the 1st time I rode the metric route and I've done the full century each following year. I feel I was the second-slowest rider the 1st time (based on my passing ONE other rider!) but I had fun and I look forward each year to going a little faster, or climbing the monster hill better, or having more fun each time.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
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    Why not? If it were me I would start out slow at the rear and stop at every rest stop. It would be my goal to finish, not to go a certain speed or keep up with any group of people.

    I too have a Coda, (the Sport), and think as long as it is comfortable for a 55 mile ride, it should be fine.

    *Edit.....ks1g pretty much nailed it, IMHO.

  11. #11
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    T-man, I'd say don't do it. Because if you do it, then I'll have to do it, and I'm not sure I'm ready to do it. So, rather than deal with those demons, it's best if you just leave this alone, and I won't have to think about it. That's my advice!
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  12. #12
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    T-man,
    From what you have said, I believe you are capable of riding a century. If possible, I would try to do a 50 to 60 mile ride between now and then, but if that is not practical, don't worry.
    Riding 100 miles is always a big deal for me. It isn't always hard, but it is never easy. You will need to be more careful than usual to eat and drink properly before and during the ride. Carry an energy bar and a gel or two in your jersey pocket, just in case. Stop at the rest stops for long enough to refill your bottles, eat some fruit and snacks and drink some Gatorade or whatever they have. Don't forget the sunscreen.
    Pace yourself. You don't want to go slower than normal, but don't get so excited in the early miles that you wear yourself out. At about 75 to 80 miles, you are going to start feeling awful and wonder why you decided to do something as stupid as riding 100 miles on a bicycle. Try to think about something else. Endure it. You'll feel better eventually, possibly only after the final mile. The last 20 miles is why anyone who completes a century has a reason to be proud of themselves.

    My one concern would be whether the SAGs and rest stops are prepared to support riders on 9 hour century rides. It might be worth calling the ride contacts and asking about that. Some rides are set up to encourage riders who take longer than 5 to 7 hours. Others get impatient with stragglers. For your first century, you want the former kind, not the latter.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  13. #13
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    GO FOR IT. YOU WILL DO GREAT!! YOU ARE DEFINITELY READY.Start early, set your OWN pace, ride with folks for awhile. Have fun. This is no race, and if it takes you 10 hours, so what?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I'll try and answer this time- Got it typed out and pushed the wrong button last time.

    Keeping it brief- YOU CAN DO IT. the milage you are doing will be fine. Only thing to do is to change your training a bit- Keep the long weekend ride but cut back in the week a bit. Example is to only do two midweek rides- Say on tuesday go out for a 20 miler but take it with a bit more speed than you are doing. Then on Thursday- do a few hills. If you do not think the hills are big enough- take them at speed and then settle back again.

    Then the week before the ride-Carbo load- plenty of pasta and rice. On the ride- keep snacking and drinking- then drink some more and another snack. If you don't you will dehydrate so if you are thirsty- it is too late- but you will already know that as you will have slowed right down. Drink a couple of bottles per hour on a hot day.

    Take a break at around 60 miles. Only 10 minutes or so to stretch the legsand take a bit more food- because you have the Bugbear of new century riders coming up if you don't at around 75 to 80- you could bonk.

    Now I hate to say it but 13mph for a 100 miler is not a bad pace. OK- you will not be in the prizes but You will find that if you keep to your pace- you will astound yourself. After that break at 60- you will be passing people- lots of people that have gone too fast and hit the wall. You won't and I would not be surprised if you better that speed- but be carefull. Go at your pace and no-one elses.

    Good luck and get the entry in.

    Edit- Just read BluesDawg's reply and we both say the same so we must be right- Get that entry in.
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  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ks1g



    A few other suggestions:
    - If you need a cheap way to hang a cue sheet on the bike, use small paper clamps like clothespins and fold the top of the cue over your shift cables. A zip-loc bag comes in handy if it rains to keep the cue sheet dry and readable.

    Good luck!
    Best way I came across on cue sheets was to get them on easy to read A4 paper and put it in a plastic bag and seal it with tape. (A lockseal bag works better if there is more than one sheet, or wrap each sheet separately and have the current one on top) Then wrap it round your forearm and hold in place with elastic bands. So simple and you bring your arm to your face and look- instead of your eyes looking down at the sheets.

    And as to doing higher milage in training WHY? On my 100 mile offroad- I do a 30 mile loop. When I can do that at 12mph- I am ready. This is offroad and that 30miles is done at speed in 2 1/2 hours nonstop. On the event I slow down to do an average of 9mph and that is pretty good going for anyone- Except the fit uns and they do it at 13mph average.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    Go for it. You have nothing to lose. If you fail to hit the century, you can fall back to the 62 event and that is still something of an accomplishment. There will be another day and event for that century. My goal today when I set out this morning was to break 50 miles and I did 60. If I continue with the half century between now and any events calling for a century before the end of summer, I might jump in. Good luck buddy.

  17. #17
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Man, all the advise you got, I'm about ready to go, sorry DG.
    George

  18. #18
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Man, all the advise you got, I'm about ready to go, sorry DG.
    Damn.
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  19. #19
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    DG knows that he could both drop me and grind me into the dust on distance.

    That helps him to sleep well at night.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    You've received some good advice. I think you're ready for it.

    I did my first century last year and loved it. Not sure I'll do another one this year but it's nice to be able to claim this milestone. I didn't do much training for the event. I only had about 300 miles for the year, did a metric century the day before and rode the century the next day. I did take advantage of the rest stops, kept well hydrated and didn't have any problems other than a numb bottom the last few miles
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    The general rule of thumb is to try it if it's about twice your normal long distance ride. If you feel ready to go further after a 35 miler, then you should be able to make the 100 miler. Don't push things at all, RIDE AT YOUR OWN PACE. Jumping in with a group can cause you to go faster than normal and burn out. Don't stop for more than 10 minutes at each rest stop, your muscles will get "cold". Lunch can be a bit longer, but listen to your body when you start up again, and let yourself warm back up again before pushing things.
    I like to drink at least one bottle of water every 10-15 miles on every ride, more if it's hot. Don't forget that SAG vehicles should be carrying water, so you can flag them down and fill up if you drink more.
    Take in protein and carbs at each rest stop. Peanut butter and bananas are good. Apple slices and oranges are excellent. GU can taste like doo-doo, but it works.
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  22. #22
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    I think you're ready fot it T-man.

    Be sure you don't try out any new equipment that day. Shorts, shoes, gloves, even jerseys, should be ride proven as well.

    Lots of good advice already given by previous posters. As Blues Dawg mentioned, around mile 80~ you are going to wish you were anywhere but on that bike. Do not despair, that feeling is normal and will go away sooner or later. Remember the advice handed down through the ages: "drink before you're thirsty, eat before you're hungry."
    Have fun.

  23. #23
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    I'm bookmarking this thread for future reference. Lot's of good advise.

    I say go for it. If you suceed, we'll share in your accomplishments. If you fail, we'll learn from your mistakes.

  24. #24
    Senior Member MichiganMike's Avatar
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    I say go for it too T-Man. If you are at the stage of seriously considering it, then you can do it. Heck, if you were a little closer, I'd come down and ride with you. Just pace yourself. The miles just roll by. ENJOY and send us some "celebration" pics when you finish.

  25. #25
    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    Hey Terrierman, here's something I wanted to show you. June 1st I went 50 miles and it took 4:22:48 hours and I averaged 11.44, but the wind was 15. I know I didn't drink enough water as it was in the 80s, but it seemed like a good day to me on the same bike. Anyhow I would count on 8 to 10 hours, so plan well and good luck. I think I'll be happy to just get my birhtday, just saying.
    George

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