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Old 09-11-07, 04:07 PM   #1
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Trying my first century, the Big Dam Bridge

Well, I did it. I registered for the Big Dam Bridge 100. Am I a fool or sage?

I plan to ride my Bacchetta Giro 20. I've had good luck on it and so far have done a 50 mile ride on it with similar altitude changes as the BDB 100. I know I need to take more food, more water and probably a well chosen selection of tools.

Any suggestions on training?
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Old 09-11-07, 07:29 PM   #2
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When is the BDB?

Training? Get your long-ride mileage up to about 75, and you should be able to handle the 100. That's my limited experience. Eat and drink plenty. Keep the electrolytes up. Keep a sane pace.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:42 PM   #3
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Avoid taking too much stuff. Just gets in the way and weighs you down. As far as mechanicals I'd just take a spare tube and CO2 cartridges or frame pump. Rest stops should have all the fluids and bananas and other food you need. If you are particular about certain snacks you might include some in your jersey pockets.

You will do fine. Just ride your pace. The adrenaline will have you going faster early so just watch your HR and pace. 6-7-8 hours in the saddle is a long time so there is no rush to get there.
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Old 09-12-07, 07:29 AM   #4
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Make sure you stop at all Razorback crossings. And don't let any Texas Aggies pass you.

Soooeee!!!

His alma mater clearly acknowledged, Motorad drifted his thoughts away from the University of Arkansas.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:43 AM   #5
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When is the BDB?

Training? Get your long-ride mileage up to about 75, and you should be able to handle the 100. That's my limited experience. Eat and drink plenty. Keep the electrolytes up. Keep a sane pace.
The Big Dam Bridge 100 is on Sept 29. My big goal is to make the 50 mile mark before the cutoff time when they divert you to the 75 mile route instead of the 100.

I've done 50 and felt good afterwards and I want to reduce my time on that. I think that getting a hydration pack is the key there. There really is no handy place for a water bottle on the Bacchetta, and I think I lose a lot of time stopping to drink water. Slung over the back of my seat, I don't think it will get too hot.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:49 AM   #6
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Avoid taking too much stuff. Just gets in the way and weighs you down. As far as mechanicals I'd just take a spare tube and CO2 cartridges or frame pump. Rest stops should have all the fluids and bananas and other food you need. If you are particular about certain snacks you might include some in your jersey pockets.

You will do fine. Just ride your pace. The adrenaline will have you going faster early so just watch your HR and pace. 6-7-8 hours in the saddle is a long time so there is no rush to get there.
Yes, I mostly plan on taking tubes(20" and 26"), patches a pump and tire irons. Maybe a few tools. I'm pretty familiar with the sag stops. I worked the 75 mile station last year at the BDB 100 handing out water, and I supervised the 70 mile stop at the Tour De Palm Springs for two years before I moved. So I plan to hit them up.

I've got maps of the route, so I figure that I should ride at least part of the route as training.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:51 AM   #7
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Make sure you stop at all Razorback crossings. And don't let any Texas Aggies pass you.
Go Hogs!
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Old 09-12-07, 09:03 PM   #8
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I rode the middle 60 miles of the BDB route last weekend. Are you familiar with the Fortson Road section of the ride? Some really decent climbs and very rough road. We are riding 75 miles this Sunday with similar climbs. This ride will be west of Little Rock. Send a note if you want to join the ride.
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Old 09-13-07, 08:22 AM   #9
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What kind of drivetrain do the 50+ folks use for Southwest Arkansas ... Pike County, Hempstead County, Clark County? Double (compact?) or triple chainrings ... cog sizes?
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Old 09-13-07, 09:37 AM   #10
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Odd name, Big Dam Bridge, I would prefer the dam big bridge as it rolls off the tongue better
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Old 09-14-07, 01:15 PM   #11
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What kind of drivetrain do the 50+ folks use for Southwest Arkansas ... Pike County, Hempstead County, Clark County? Double (compact?) or triple chainrings ... cog sizes?
Speaking personally, my two main mounts are a Specialized Hard Rock, and a Bacchetta Giro 20. Both have stock ratios, and triple chain rings.

No gear too low is my philosophy. I haven't ridden in Southwest Arkansas, but have driven through it. The hills are similar to the ones to the west of Little Rock as far as I can see.
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Old 09-14-07, 01:20 PM   #12
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Odd name, Big Dam Bridge, I would prefer the dam big bridge as it rolls off the tongue better
Complain to Judge Buddy Villines about that. He gave it that name. We could have done a lot worse. But I think its great for marketing.

It's Big Dam because the bridge was built on top of a dam. I was there at the dedication. Government officials were certainly having fun. Then-Governor Huckabee, a former preacher, seemed to relish saying the word dam. The minister giving the blessing noted that he had never used the word dam during a blessing before.
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Old 09-14-07, 02:05 PM   #13
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Avoid taking too much stuff. Just gets in the way and weighs you down. As far as mechanicals I'd just take a spare tube and CO2 cartridges or frame pump. Rest stops should have all the fluids and bananas and other food you need. If you are particular about certain snacks you might include some in your jersey pockets.

You will do fine. Just ride your pace. The adrenaline will have you going faster early so just watch your HR and pace. 6-7-8 hours in the saddle is a long time so there is no rush to get there.
Have to agree-Tools -spares- extra food and water will just weigh you down and get in the way. Don't know about jppe- but I just take the usual wedge I take on normal rides- Make certain I have two bottles- Or in my case the camelback and 1 bottle and a couple of Cereal bars for if I get stuck. There is one extra I take and that is a Gel. Just in case.

Morning of the ride- I taKe all my cycling clothing with me- Looks Like Rain-I carry the showerproof- Is raining- I wear the goretex-Looks like Sun all day- Pertex in the pocket just in case it gets cooler or If there is a good chance of it cooling down- I take the Polaris top that packs into its own pocket. And if it is Chucking it down and stormforce winds forecast- I would have stayed at home- I can do a ride locally and get Hypothermia as I know where the Local Hospital is.

A 100 mile ride is two long rides put together and unless you have to repair the bike after every ride- you don't need to carry too much extra.
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Old 09-14-07, 02:16 PM   #14
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Yes, I mostly plan on taking tubes(20" and 26"), patches a pump and tire irons. Maybe a few tools. I'm pretty familiar with the sag stops. I worked the 75 mile station last year at the BDB 100 handing out water, and I supervised the 70 mile stop at the Tour De Palm Springs for two years before I moved. So I plan to hit them up.

I've got maps of the route, so I figure that I should ride at least part of the route as training.
Why a 20" tube? Am I missing something?

Best of luck!!! I'll be waiting for the ride report!

EDIT: Duh, I figgered it out. I'm going to go put on a dunce cap now.
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Old 09-14-07, 02:54 PM   #15
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Why a 20" tube? Am I missing something?
Actually its just in case anyone is riding a Schwinn Stingray Krate bike and gets a flat. I guess I'd better carry a couple of wrenchs and a work stand too. Wouldn't want to have to turn a Krate upside down on the ground now.
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Old 09-16-07, 02:16 PM   #16
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Why a 20" tube? Am I missing something?
Yes, you are. And an editorial confession does not get you out of getting ragged for it either.
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Old 09-17-07, 11:25 AM   #17
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Well, I went I've been doing 10 mile wind sprints to help build up my cardio. This Sunday, I went out for a 50 mile training ride. My target speed is 12.5 mph, because that is the minimum speed allowed in the Century. I rode the same 50 mile course that I rode a few weeks ago. I described it in A fox and a dog. Here is the Bikely Route that I made of my route. The good news is that I chopped an hour and 15 minutes off my time. Most of that being that I didn't take a 45 minute break like I did after I reached water after running out the first time. So I'm faster, but my time was still 45 minutes too slow for the 50 mile stretch.

I hope the Big Dam Bridge course is flatter and that that will help. But I have my doubts. Both the BDB course and my route have about the same elevation bounds, a range of about 400 feet. And they are on opposite sides of the Arkansas river, but in the foothills of the Ouachita mountains.

I'm discouraged, and to be truthful, it seems to be a lot more fun when I'm not timing myself. Its like I can't enjoy being on the road when I'm too concerned about my speed and trying to kick myself into maintaining the pace over the long term.

But there were fun parts. Riding down from Wye Mountain I was really boogieing and taking the road because it was unlikely that a car could pass me if they wanted to. It was also nice having the camelbak so that I could drink while climbing, and discovering that one joy of the recumbent was that when climbing you can look at the sky and the trees rather than being bent over staring at the road.

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Old 09-17-07, 01:40 PM   #18
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... This Sunday, I went out for a 50 mile training ride. My target speed is 12.5 mph, because that is the minimum speed allowed in the Century.
... Most of that being that I didn't take a 45 minute break like I did after I reached water after running out the first time. So I'm faster, but my time was still 45 minutes too slow for the 50 mile stretch.
Interesting point, Artkansas, and never realized that century rides may (or always will?) have a time-limit as a pre-requisite. At least for the BDB, it sounds like there is a time limit for the 50 mile-mark. Questions please:
1. What is the time limit for the 50 mile-mark.
2. What is the time limit for the completion of the 100 mile-mark.

I ask, because the first time I rode 52 miles, it took 5.5 hours. Also, a generic question: Do all century rides have both a midpoint- and a completion-time limit?
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Old 09-17-07, 03:17 PM   #19
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Interesting point, Artkansas, and never realized that century rides may (or always will?) have a time-limit as a pre-requisite. At least for the BDB, it sounds like there is a time limit for the 50 mile-mark. Questions please:
1. What is the time limit for the 50 mile-mark.
2. What is the time limit for the completion of the 100 mile-mark.

I ask, because the first time I rode 52 miles, it took 5.5 hours. Also, a generic question: Do all century rides have both a midpoint- and a completion-time limit?
I'm glad you asked. Here is what they said about the 50 mile mark Aid Station. The ride starts at 7:30 am.

"Riders arriving at Satillo after Noon and prior to prior to 1:30 pm will be directed to take the 75 mile route to Mayflower. Those Arriving after 1:30 pm will be provided transport back to start finish area."

Here's what they said about the 75 mile mark.
"Riders arriving at Mayflower after 2:15pm will be provided transport back to start finish area."


The reason that I'm glad you asked is that being Arithmetically challenged, I had calculated the first cut off time as 4 hours. It's actually 4 and 1/2. I'm only 15 minutes off that mark not 45. And that was for 52 miles not 50. There is hope!

Since this is my first century. I can't answer. But I worked the 75 mile rest stop of the BDB 100 last year and was not familiar with any such ruling. And I ran the 70 mile stop of the Tour De Palm Springs for two years and was not aware of any such cut off. The TdPS would send a sag car to watch the tail runners, but didn't stop them to my knowledge.
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Old 09-18-07, 05:07 AM   #20
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Interesting point, Artkansas, and never realized that century rides may (or always will?) have a time-limit as a pre-requisite. At least for the BDB, it sounds like there is a time limit for the 50 mile-mark. Questions please:
1. What is the time limit for the 50 mile-mark.
2. What is the time limit for the completion of the 100 mile-mark.

I ask, because the first time I rode 52 miles, it took 5.5 hours. Also, a generic question: Do all century rides have both a midpoint- and a completion-time limit?
I can't say all do, but the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia's Scenic Schuylkill Century did. Riders who reached the 38 mile rest stop in Evansburg State Park had to leave by noon if they were going to ride the century route. After noon, they had to ride the metric route. And riders who reached the final rest stop, Betzwood, after 2:30 PM had to ride the Schuylkill River Trail down to the finish instead of taking the hiller, more scenic route. Even though riders signed a wavier, the club didn't want riders on the road without SAG and rest stops, and they wanted everyone to join in for pizza at the end of the ride.
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Old 09-18-07, 01:22 PM   #21
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Concerning time in a century, the Hottern' Hell Hundred in Witchita Falls, TX has a point in the ride called "Hell's Gate". At this point and at a time determined by the heat, riders are instructed to take a shorter ride back. This gate is around the 60 mile mark. The closing time can change by an hour if the heat is too high. Making "Hell's Gate" is on the minds of us more moderate riders. This year the gate was no problem since the temp only reached into the low 90s.
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Old 09-18-07, 01:36 PM   #22
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I only do one ride with a Time Cutoff and the ride starts at 6 am- and the cutoff is 20 miles from the end at 6PM. THat only allows you 3 hours of Daylight left- and if you haven't averaged 6.6 mph till then- You ain't going to make it. This is an offroad ride And surprising how many get caught by the gate.
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Old 09-18-07, 01:38 PM   #23
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Even though riders signed a wavier, the club didn't want riders on the road without SAG and rest stops, and they wanted everyone to join in for pizza at the end of the ride.
Many organized centuries set a time limit for the same reason....SAG and rest stops. A few shut down some roads for these events and they must be opened again in a reasonable amount of time. Many have police posted at major intersections to direct traffic and they're probably wanting to keep cost down, too.
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Old 09-18-07, 05:06 PM   #24
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Interesting point, Artkansas, and never realized that century rides may (or always will?) have a time-limit as a pre-requisite. At least for the BDB, it sounds like there is a time limit for the 50 mile-mark. Questions please:
1. What is the time limit for the 50 mile-mark.
2. What is the time limit for the completion of the 100 mile-mark.

I ask, because the first time I rode 52 miles, it took 5.5 hours. Also, a generic question: Do all century rides have both a midpoint- and a completion-time limit?
Many do. The volunteers don't want to stay there all day and night waiting for people averaging 10 mph, not counting the 10 minute stops they take every 10 miles.

Typically, they have a cutoff point that you must reach by a certain time, or you are asked to take a shorter route, typically in the 60-70 mile range.

Frankly, I don't think I'd care to ride a 100 mile course that I couldn't average at least 15 mph for my moving time. That's nearly seven hours of riding time, and six hours is about as long as I care to spend in the saddle in one day.
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Old 09-23-07, 06:57 PM   #25
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Well just one week to go. On Friday I had a an idea that I would do a 30 mile run on
Saturday and a 70 mile run on Sunday. But the weather forcasters were saying that there might be rain on Sunday.

I stayed up too late on Friday night chatting and woke up at 8 on Saturday. I really wasn't feeling like riding. But I took comfort from 50+ Forum posters who mentioned how resistant they were to starting and how they got into it once they got going.

Slowly, I packed my recumbent, and then struggled to carry it downstairs from my apartment. It was World No Car Day. I thought I would treat myself to a couple of doughnuts at Shipleys to perk myself up. I went by the Post Office, and then to Shipleys. It was late, so they gave me an extra doughnut. After that I pedaled over to the bank, got some money and started out on my training run.

I was still worried about the weather. So I wanted to go as far as possible in case it rained on Sunday. As I pedaled out towards Lake Maumelle, I even entertained notions of going all the way around the lake.

But by the time I got to the lake I still wasn't feeling too sharp. I plodded along, pressing up the hills and trying to go fast down them. But I still felt bad. I didn't feel like could make it. I felt worse and worse and finally just turned around before reaching the end of the lake.

It was a struggle to get home. I finally gave up on making any speed. I began to suspect that the extra doughnut had done me in. Pushing my blood sugar up too much and giving me a good case of the bonk. Then I ran out of water. The week before I had gone all the way around the lake and had water left over. But I had been drinking a lot the whole way today.

I rested after returning. A little later, I took the Hard Rock out and pedaled to the library and then to the grocery store just to celebrate World No car Day. Later I got on Bikely.com and mapped out how far I went, and was surprised to find that I had made 34 miles for the training ride.

I was still unsure of what I would do. I wanted to do about 70 miles. Yeah, right! I struggled to do 30 mile on Saturday, and expected to do 70 the next day. For dinner I did a little carbo loading and had a large plate of spaghetti.

The next morning I awoke at 4 am. I had been tossing and turning. I got on Bikely.com and mapped out a possible route, circumnavigating Lake Maumelle, and then going along the River Trail, crossing the Big Dam Bridge and actually doing some of the route. That got me interested, so I started mapping out the Big Dam Bridge run on Bikely.

That actually gave me hope. I have heard people complain tha Bikely underestimates the vertical climbing. But at least, by mapping both my test ride and the Big Dam Bridge run, I could get comparative elevation changes. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my test ride around the lake had more elevation change than the Big Dam Bridge run. That eased my mind, because my times so far were not quite fast enough to avoid getting cut off at the 50 mile mark. With the extra elevation change in my test runs around the lake, maybe the flatter route of the Big Dam Bridge would be good to me.

Time came to leave, and I packed the recumbent again. This time I made sure that I had a little more real food. I included a couple of bananas that I had bought last night, some string cheese and a pear.

This time pedaling went easier. I made it to the lake, and then went rolling along the hills, quickly passing my mark of yesterday. I couldn't believe the difference. Maybe it was the earlier start, the cloud cover or a better breakfast.

I was still worried about the weather. The skies were gray but so far, hadn't rained. I got to the end of the lake and started up towards Wye Mountain.

It was a long slow climb and everytime I got to the top of a hill, there was another! I passed a fellow sitting by the side of the road on his Quadcycle. He was watching his donkey grazing on the other side of the road. His donkey was a beautiful white all over, and it eyed me suspiciously, moving a couple of feet farther away from the road. "My donkey's never seen anything like your bike." The man said as I approached. "A horseless horse." I said as I passed him. Later, I saw a tarantula coming out of the grass and onto the road. It was going very fast for a tarantula. My ex used to have a tarantula, so I passed behind it, knowing that tarantulas don't tend to back up. As I passed it, I could see it was a beautiful rose color.

Once on top of Wye Mountain, it got fun. The road was straight for several miles, but dipped and rose like a roller coaster. Coming down, I felt like I was driving a sports car and cut back and forth through the curves in top gear.

Then it was rolling hills all the rest of the way around the lake.

The clouds were still a concern, but I decided to try to finish my planned route. By the time I got to the cutoff point though, the skies were clearing. I was now at the 50 mile point. I turned onto River Mountain Road and saw two cyclists ahead. I tried to keep up with them and found myself gaining on them. River Mountain is steep and fast. So I pushed harder and passed them just before we crested the hill. Wheeee! Unfortunately, they didn't stay passed, and caught up to me before we got to the Big Dam Bridge.

This was the easiest part of the ride. On an MUP, and flat along the banks of the river. I rode along the river till I got to downtown Little Rock. I passed by someone I knew from the Bicycle Advisory of Central Arkansas. Hey, a friend. My plan was to cross the river and go back on the opposite side. But then I got to the bridge and looked at the long flight of stairs that I would have to lug the bike up. I decided to go back the way I came. The clouds weren't bad anymore, and now I had a tailwind!

But at the end of the trail, I had to face that hill I had raced down earlier. I drank the last of my apple juice and started up. About 1/4 of the way up, I realized that I had not gotten the tube to my Camelbak so it was accessible. I knew I wouldn't make it all the way up without water, so I stopped. I guess my tiredness was getting to me. I didn't adjust the gears right.

After I got set for water, I tried to start again. I put up my foot, and pressed, and pressed, and proceeded to fall over sideways onto the street.

After picking myself up I realized that I had managed to cross-chain the derailleur. I carefully got things in order and got going again. Another cyclist passed me as I was sorting myself out, so I followed him up, using him to motivate my pedaling speed. By the time I had struggled up the hill, he had finished resting and had turned around and was ready to ride back down. Wheeeee!

The rest of the ride was just a gentle down-slope to my apartment. But I did my 70 miles. Woohoo!

It took almost 7 hours to to the 70 miles. So I'm still way off the pace, but my success at keeping up with other cyclists along the river gives me hope.
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