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Old 07-15-07, 09:13 AM   #1
bcoppola
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First century: hints beyond the basics?

I'm attempting my first century next Saturday on the Holland (MI) Hundred. I think I have the basics down: pace myself, keep hydrated, snack frequently, wear sunblock, pray for a tailwind...

In terms of pace, I'm shooting for a leisurely 14-16mph. Up to 18 on the flats (I routinely do 18-20mph on club rides) if no headwind once I'm well warmed up. Low and slow on uphills. Course is supposed to be flat to rolling.

It's an organized ride with rest stops and SAG support.

Of course I'll have my seat bag with patch kit, spare tube & multi tool. Frame mounted pump too. I'll have a small fanny pack with some energy snacks (I like halvah - lots of Indian groceries around here) and a few Ibuprofen (for the general stiffness that occurs on longish rides) and maybe a vest or rain jacket if precip is possible. Two water bottles. Wallet with cash and ID of course (never without it).

I'll clean & lube my chain/drivetrain and check my wheels for true this week. Just installed new brakepads.

Beyond that, any of you century/tour veterans have any useful little tips/tricks?
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Old 07-15-07, 10:18 AM   #2
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You sound ready. Rest up the latter part of the week, drink plenty of fluids and eat a little extra in the 2-3 days before the ride.

One thing I look for on an organized century is opportunities to sit in on a paceline if the right one comes along. If I slowly catch a small group who seem to be riding sensibly, I'll hang on the back for a while to rest. Or if a group catches me but don't seem too fast or erratic, I'll latch on for a while. If it is a good fit, I'll ride with them for a while, taking my turn up front in the rotation. If not, I'll leave them or let them go as the case may be.

This helps save a little energy for the long ride. But only do it if you are comfortable with group riding in general and the specific group in particular.

Enjoy the ride and tell us all about it.
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Old 07-15-07, 10:26 AM   #3
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You sound well trained- just not practiced.

Main problem for most is around the 70 to 80 mile mark. That is where things start hurting and there is a strong chance of bonking. So around the 65 mile mark stop- Eat a liberal amount of Carbo-hydrates, drink a full bottle of water and stretch the legs- the arms and the back. On the carb side- I would eat a bit of pasta- rice- bread- sticky buns in the week before the ride. This is called carbo loading and you may put on a few lbs in the week. Don't worry- You will lose it quick enough in and after the ride. And forget the ibruprufen unless it really hurts. Take aspirin instead as this thins the blood and helps it carry oxygen round the body quicker.
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Old 07-15-07, 10:32 AM   #4
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Ibuprophen is my drug of choice.
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Old 07-15-07, 10:34 AM   #5
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You probably know this already, but I had spaghetti Friday and I when for a 30 miler yesterday and I couldn't believe the power I had. The reason I stopped is because of rain. I had my bags on the bike, which made the bike weigh 43# and I made the 30 in just over 2 hours. Anyhow I wish you luck and have a fun ride.
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Old 07-15-07, 11:44 AM   #6
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I love pasta -- so the nutrition advice sounds both reasonable and enjoyable! Hadn't thought of that. I seem to recall that extra water for a day or two before is a good idea.

On my metric last year the biggest problem I had (besides getting cocky and falling in with a paceline of hammerheads for about 10 miles) was chafing near the end. Would having a little Bag Balm or the like along be a good idea? I hope to fall in with some folks near the beginning - supposedly they have an area at the start for that purpose. I do 2-4 club rides a week so I'm no stranger to a paceline.

BTW, Holland is a pretty town in a pretty part of the state, so Mrs. and I are making a long weekend of it, arriving the day before & returning Monday. While I'm riding there is enough to keep her entertained.

Oh, and if I remember to bring a camera...
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Old 07-15-07, 11:49 AM   #7
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From Wikpedia
Quote:
A new carbo-loading regimen developed by scientists at the University of Western Australia calls for a normal diet with light training until the day before the race. On the day before the race, the athlete performs a very short, extremely high-intensity workout (such as a few minutes of sprinting), then consumes 12 g of carbohydrate per kilogram of lean mass over the next 24 hours. The regimen reportedly resulted in a 90% increase in glycogen storage.[1]

Carbohydrate loading is generally recommended for endurance events lasting longer than 90 minutes. For many endurance athletes the food of choice for carbo-loading is spaghetti. Because of this, hundreds of marathons and triathlons have huge spaghetti dinners the night before the race
take a full bottle of 10% strength carbohydrate sports drink like PSP 20

Eat often, nibbling before getting hungry. Try not to have too much to eat at the stops, digestion will divert a lot of energy from your body.

Don't go out too fast, pace yourself, let the speed merchants go, wheel suck when you can, every time a group come past take a breather by sticking on their back wheel.

Take more sugar, glucose in the last hour for an instant hit. Coca Cola, chocolate raisins, etc


Enjoy

Tailwinds
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Old 07-15-07, 11:53 AM   #8
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I'm not a "veteran" of centuries, because I'm planning to do my first one next weekend, too. I did my longest ride to date 2 weekends ago, when I went 85 miles, and yesterday I did a training ride of 62 miles.

I really have to second the advice to get off the bike and walk around a bit at the 60 to 65 mile mark. When I did the 85 miler, I did just that, and it made a world of difference. Yesterday, I pushed straight through, other than a couple of bathroom breaks, and my quads were very sore at the end.

I also use a couple of supplements - one is called Carbo Load, and you mix it with your water. It replaces about 250 calories an hour with pure carbs. Other than making the water taste slightly sweeter, it worked great. The other is called ThermoLyte, and a couple of capsules an hour kept me from cramping. It's a sodium and electrolyte replacement.
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Old 07-15-07, 12:23 PM   #9
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I just want to wish you a great ride.

Please come back and give us a report on the ride and what works best for you. I learn a lot from the ride reports and discussions like this one about preparation.
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Old 07-15-07, 12:25 PM   #10
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Go clipless.
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Old 07-15-07, 12:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jibi
take a full bottle of 10% strength carbohydrate sports drink like PSP 20

Eat often, nibbling before getting hungry. Try not to have too much to eat at the stops, digestion will divert a lot of energy from your body.

Don't go out too fast, pace yourself, let the speed merchants go, wheel suck when you can, every time a group come past take a breather by sticking on their back wheel.

Take more sugar, glucose in the last hour for an instant hit. Coca Cola, chocolate raisins, etc


Enjoy

Tailwinds
It is only when someone takes the time to think about the answer- You realise-"I Do That". So why didn't I say it. Jibi's tip about the Sugar/ Glucose towards the end of the ride- I have never realised I do- But my snacks change after about 6 hours and it is chocolate bars- Turkish delight- Creamed rice- Any thing sugary that does not take much chewing.
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Old 07-15-07, 12:34 PM   #12
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Sounds good to me.

Since March '06 I've completed 11 centuries, 6 on my half-bike and 5 on the tandem. We stop at every SAG to refill water bottles and use the facilities. In hot, humid weather you'll want to be well-hydrated. I know I'm not drinking enough if I don't have to p*e every 20-25 miles.

I carry a tiny tube of Butt-Butt'r (sp) that's not as bulky as my little tin of bag balm. Only needed it once but boy, was I glad I had it.

One last thing -- take a camera! You'll want pictures of your 1st century. It's quite an accomplishment!

Have a great time!
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Old 07-15-07, 02:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Ibuprophen is my drug of choice.
ah, yes good old Vitamin I

I could have written the OP, I'm attempting my first century this Saturday w/the same goals, I'd be deleriously happy w/myself if I could average 14-16.

Mine is a club ride, not supported, but at least I will be with my people and they won't drop me. The leader of this ride is extremely experienced (he did a cross country tour and a solo tour from Ohio to FL) and he will keep the pace reasonable and have frequent stops.

I sure wish I had my new bike, but noooooooo, I'll be riding ol' reliable Hi-Ho Silver, my trusty Trek hybrid.
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Old 07-15-07, 02:35 PM   #14
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On long rides like a century, especially in hot weather, I use something to lubricate the chamois to skin contact. Bag balm or Chamois Butt'r or Queen Helene's Cocoa Butter Creme are my usual choices. A sample tube of Chamois Butt'r or a small amount of Vaseline is a good idea for a supplement during the ride if needed.

The 85 mile doldrums are almost unavoidable. A store stop for a Coke and a Snickers bar have saved me from near death (seemingly) a couple of times.
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Old 07-15-07, 03:10 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee
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I was thinkin' flip-flops.
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Old 07-15-07, 03:24 PM   #16
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If you don't already have one, find a partner of similar abilities and who is similarly determined to finish. This was a big help for me. Having a partner helps with navigation and a little banter during the ride takes your mind away from the, "we've got 25 more miles to go " feelings.

Otherwise, it sounds like you're dialed in. Eat, drink, and utilize the rest stops.

Have a great ride!
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Old 07-15-07, 03:43 PM   #17
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Lots of good advice already posted. The only thing I would want to add is that you will need to "ride through" some pain. I do not know what it will be, but something (or multiples) will hurt. Endure and keep pedaling.
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Old 07-15-07, 03:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcoppola
I'm attempting my first century next Saturday on the Holland (MI) Hundred. I think I have the basics down: pace myself, keep hydrated, snack frequently, wear sunblock, pray for a tailwind...

In terms of pace, I'm shooting for a leisurely 14-16mph. Up to 18 on the flats (I routinely do 18-20mph on club rides) if no headwind once I'm well warmed up. Low and slow on uphills. Course is supposed to be flat to rolling.

It's an organized ride with rest stops and SAG support.

Of course I'll have my seat bag with patch kit, spare tube & multi tool. Frame mounted pump too. I'll have a small fanny pack with some energy snacks (I like halvah - lots of Indian groceries around here) and a few Ibuprofen (for the general stiffness that occurs on longish rides) and maybe a vest or rain jacket if precip is possible. Two water bottles. Wallet with cash and ID of course (never without it).

I'll clean & lube my chain/drivetrain and check my wheels for true this week. Just installed new brakepads.

Beyond that, any of you century/tour veterans have any useful little tips/tricks?
You sound prepared and ready. Two suggestions: 1-Make no (zero, nada, zilch) changes to your bike just before the ride...go with what got you there (sad experience with wheels) and 2-don't get caught up spending too much time at the rest stops.....in and out and on your way, 'cause it is easy to add an hour or more to your ride that way, something you could regret at mile 90.
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Old 07-15-07, 04:23 PM   #19
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If you can't find a paceline to your liking look for a tandem that's going your speed a draft them.
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Old 07-15-07, 04:37 PM   #20
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Rest up this week! No big rides. Just easy spins, and no riding at all the day before, or is it two whole days of rest? I think I did two. Leave early; the predawn air is so sweet.

Enjoy it to the max.
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Old 07-15-07, 07:50 PM   #21
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By now, you should have pretty much figured out what you need. Don't change anything on the day of the ride. For example, I was drinking half-strength gatorade in training, but switched to full strength during the century. Mistake! Remember the misc stuff -- like sunscreen.

And enjoy the ride. It'll be fun!
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Old 07-15-07, 07:54 PM   #22
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Two of our group going for centuries! Impressive!

Best of luck to both of you.

As to that advice about 12g of carbs for each kilo of LEAN mass, well, I guess I wouldn't have to eat that much.
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Old 07-15-07, 08:17 PM   #23
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Watch for informal groups that form. It's much easier to ride and go faster in a pack. Just carefully join in, look for riders with good pack skills, introduce yourself after a while (easier to keep the group together after rest stops), and enjoy yourself.
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Old 07-16-07, 06:05 AM   #24
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Here is what worked for me on my first one ever this past June 30.

1. Take a solemn oath to stop at every rest stop and drink a full bottle of gatorade at each one. Plus more in between. A half a banana or a cookie tasted good too. I think hydration is the number one concern to deal with.

2. Ride with friends. Huge advantage.

3. Eat light at the lunch break if they have one.

4. Stay well inside your own comfort zone as far as pace goes.

5. Have some sort of nearly instant high energy snack with you. I tried those goo thingies you can buy at the bike shop and they are incredible.

Have fun, you'll do great.
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Old 07-16-07, 06:15 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Ibuprophen is my drug of choice.
EPO and some blood transfusions might help. But seriously, sounds good to me. Question: I have 74 miles as my longest ride this year. Regularly riding 100-150 miles a week. Am I ready for a century?
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