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  1. #1
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    training for a century

    Just wondering how most people train for a century ride???

    My co-worker has talked me into doing a century ride the first of June so I just want to be ready.

    First thing is to buy a road bike.

    Since I live where we do get snow I don't know when I'll be able to get on a bike.

    Right now I go to the gym at least 3-4 times a week & sometimes more. I do the elliptical machine for an hour & then try & get in some weight lifting but I need to work on that part harder.

    At work I probably walk at least 5-7 miles a day so I don't just set at a desk.

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    Senior Member geraldatwork's Avatar
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    You need to build up your mileage gradually. You should try to get up to 60 mile rides at the latest the month before, then if you can ride about 75 miles or so two weeks before you should be OK. So start with 15-20 mile rides and work your way up. But you should get started pretty soon. I don't know where you live but here on Long Island New York we get snow in the winter. I rode at every weekend last year and hope to do the same this year. If it is cold you dress in the proper clothing. Check the winter forum.
    "people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both" Benjamin Franklin

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    Lost in Nostalgia
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    You can look at these sites, they have some great info.


    Machka


    Ultracycling

    knotty

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Rule of thumb is to do a long ride on Sat that's about 10% longer than last week.
    So you want to be at 60 a couple weeks before (don't forget to take a few days off before the century). So it's 54/50/45/40 etc.. You will get some big jumps in mileage along the way, but you will prob also need a week or two where you just repeat the mileage.

    Expect to deal with several problems that you will need to find solutions for. You will need good shorts and chamois creme as well as a bike and a helmet.

    There is no substitute for time on the bike. Get rolling, and as soon as you can.
    See if there isn't a spinning class you can take.
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    I guess I should have said what I ride, right now it is a hybrid type bike (pretty much a mountain bike looking bike) & last year I road 50 miles once on it & then a lot of 25 mile & less rides so that is why a road bike will be the first thing I need to purchase.

    I'm looking for a used bike because I don't really want to spend $1,000.00 right now.

    I do have a helmet, some bike shorts, but not that chamois stuff you are talking about.
    I will also need to get some clipon's as well.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    What do you want to get out of riding? Do you enjoy riding? Its nice your co-worker is asking you to do this, but it really has to come from you. A century ride is a long ride divided up into intervals of maybe 20 miles with rest stops inbetween. Century rides are classified into the level of difficulty of the route. Some have hilly and challenging courses. Some century rides are very accomodating to the beginner.

    If you enjoy riding, then its just a matter of riding more and riding distances gradually longer and longer. This doesn't mean you cannot stop and rest. How I train for a century may be different than the next person. But generally its getting your body conditioned to long distance riding. Along with conditionning its hydration and nutrition. If the century ride is well organized, at each stop you will get plenty of nutrition and hydration along the way.

    The most important thing is that you enjoy riding. Try not to let goal setting become the all important thing here.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    The first thing to realize is that when you've never done a century, it seems like an incredible distance. Once you finish your first one, you discover that it's not that much different from a metric century. So the first thing to do is graduate from those 30 and 40 mile rides to the point where a metric C is no big deal. Then take the next step from metric C's, so that 100 mi. is no big deal.

    A big component of this is nutrition and electrolyte replacement. Whether you use Hammer products or not, there's some good advice on this page: http://www.hammernutrition.com/za/HN...0071&AMI=10126
    On a century, where you'll be going for probably around 6 hours or so, nutrition and electrolyte replacement is really critical. It's partly a matter of conditioning your muscles to take a beating for that many hours. But even if they are properly conditioned, you'll fail if your nutritional needs aren't met.

    Well before the century, start experimenting with various types of nutritional supplements. Doing a metric century will give you enough time to see which ones work for YOU. Doing this the day of the real century is definitely NOT the way to go. Some supplements may make you feel nauseous, so you need to experiment.

    Also, I take some Alleve with me on rides lasting longer than 4 hours. At about the 4th hour, I pop a couple of these, and it helps a lot with the aching quads.

    If you get in good shape at the gym, you can do a century with only one month's training -- I did. I bought my bike on June 23rd of last year, and a month later, I did my first one - 112 miles in 6 1/2 hours. The key, though, is getting in good shape. Even though you don't have a bike yet, you can do a lot in the gym.

    If you're doing the ellipticals, start doing some serious interval training. I got some hour long soundtracks from www.cardiocoach.com that did the trick for me. These would take you through 10 to 15 "sprints" within an hour -- a good approximation to the flats and hills you might find on a century. Get your heart in good shape, so that you can sustain 90% of your max heart rate for 5 minutes or more. That is also a sign that your lactic acid tolerance is increasing, something, too.

    Your first century can be a lot of fun -- as long as you don't bonk. With good conditioning and proper nutrition, you won't have a problem.

  8. #8
    Lincoln, CA Mojo Slim's Avatar
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    Nothing new to add. All great advice. Get the best equipment (bike and shorts, especially) and have fun. It's just a few 15 mile rides strung together with lunch.
    Truth is stranger than reality.
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    Senior Member WHOOOSSHHH...'s Avatar
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    Besides the pedaling part, I've found that lack of fluids and food along the way always seems to be my biggest problem. I'll go 60 miles without drinking or eating and then "BONK". Means all of a sudden you are 100% out of energy. Up to that moment, I am always fine. So learn to eat and drink along the way. The gym is fine but I have always been a gym rat, but have found out that there is no substitute for time on the bike. Like some others have said, continually increase your mileage and ride at leat a 50, 63 and 75 miler before attempting the 100. Alot of folks here laugh at 100 miles, but it's a LONG ride......Good luck and start riding today!!!

  10. #10
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo Slim View Post
    Nothing new to add. All great advice. Get the best equipment (bike and shorts, especially) and have fun. It's just a few 15 mile rides strung together with lunch.
    Yes, all good advice, and good shorts can help a lot, but don't try out any new clothes or equipment during the ride. You don't want to be using even slightly ill-fitting gear for 100 miles.
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

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    Your comment "get a road bike" leads me to offer as an addition to all the other good advice: Get that road bike as soon as you can! The more hours you spend on it before June the more you'll be able to adjust fit and make sure you're riding something that's comfortable. And... when you get that road bike, get it from a shop that will spend some time with you making sure you get the right fit. A casual look through almost any of the sub-forums on Bike Forums will quickly let you know that bicycle fit is a very important factor and that folks go to great lengths to get it right.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  12. #12
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by w2brdbkr View Post
    I guess I should have said what I ride, right now it is a hybrid type bike (pretty much a mountain bike looking bike) & last year I road 50 miles once on it & then a lot of 25 mile & less rides so that is why a road bike will be the first thing I need to purchase.

    I'm looking for a used bike because I don't really want to spend $1,000.00 right now.

    I do have a helmet, some bike shorts, but not that chamois stuff you are talking about.
    I will also need to get some clipon's as well.
    I am a big believer in the advantages of road bikes, but it is not absolutely necessary to have a road bike to ride a century. People ride centuries on hybrids all the time.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  13. #13
    bobkat
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    Nothing magic to do. Just ride increasing distances! If you enjoy riding and have a decent bike of whatever flavor you prefer (hybrid, road or better yet, recumbent), that's easy to do.
    Sometimes reading the advice given, and it's all good advice by the way, I think we try to make things overly scientific and complicated.
    Just get out and ride as much as possible, be healthy as you can and you'll find it reasonably easy! Your first century is more of a psychological than a physical hurdle! If you enjoy riding I'd bet that after the first century or two you'll be passing the 100 miles mark and asking yourself "do I have to quit now?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobkat View Post
    Nothing magic to do. Just ride increasing distances! If you enjoy riding and have a decent bike of whatever flavor you prefer (hybrid, road or better yet, recumbent), that's easy to do.
    Sometimes reading the advice given, and it's all good advice by the way, I think we try to make things overly scientific and complicated.
    Just get out and ride as much as possible, be healthy as you can and you'll find it reasonably easy! Your first century is more of a psychological than a physical hurdle! If you enjoy riding I'd bet that after the first century or two you'll be passing the 100 miles mark and asking yourself "do I have to quit now?"
    This made me laugh, because last year I walked a 5K (Bolder Boulder) & I was so worried but before I knew it I was already at mile 4 & not even tired.

    We also do a lot of 4-wheeling & there is a trail called Red Cone that "EVERYONE" talks about & a friend talked me into it & he was telling me how scary it was. It is a easy trail except for the downhill at the end that is so sleep when you put on your brakes you still slide. Anyways after we finished we looked up & said; that wasn't near as hard as what people talk about so I figure the century ride will be the same but it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

    By the way the will have food, drinks, etc on the coarse for us so that will be nice.

    Yes I do enjoy riding bike and last year was my first year of really getting into it even though I started a little late. I do want to get a road bike because I plan on riding a lot more this year. Last year I put on 1300 miles on my hybrid & I would like to double that this year with a road bike.

  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    A century ride is not a problem -Doesn't matter what bike you have and up till recently- All my rides were on Mountain bikes.

    The one thing that will get you is butt pain and hills- if you haven'y done many of them. So find a steep hill and ride it. If thats ok- do 2 hours riding before the steep hill. And on the Butt pain- Just do a 4 hour non stop ride and see if it hurts.

    There's plenty more tips to pass onto you- but get fit and come back.
    Last edited by stapfam; 01-09-08 at 11:43 AM.
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  16. #16
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by w2brdbkr View Post
    Just wondering how most people train for a century ride???
    Others will probably give you good advice on getting stronger.

    One thing I discovered while training for my first century last fall was that you need to learn to eat. You need to know how to keep your power curve up, learning what to eat, how frequently etc. I started off with quarter of a PB&J just before the race, and continued with Bananas, Oatmeal&Raisin cookies, other quarters of the PB&J and Accelerade on a regular basis. Plenty of water too. I had a 2 liter Camelbak and another liter of water in backup.

    Good luck.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    If I was riding an upright bike, I'd have to increase my mileage in steps, until my butt could handle it. With my recumbent, I just go out a few times. A couple of 30 mile rides, maybe a metric century, then I'm ready for the full. I did Horsey Hundred one year with about 100 miles' training leading up to it. Don't expect to be able to push the pace unless you've got a lot of miles under your belt, though; with less than 500 miles in, you'll be pretty much in survival mode the whole way.

    The first century I ever did was on a 4-day tour that averaged 82 miles per day. Training involved a 35-miler and a few shorter rides. That was BB (Before Bents) and I was SOOOOORE for days afterwards!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BSLeVan View Post
    Your comment "get a road bike" leads me to offer as an addition to all the other good advice: Get that road bike as soon as you can! The more hours you spend on it before June the more you'll be able to adjust fit and make sure you're riding something that's comfortable. And... when you get that road bike, get it from a shop that will spend some time with you making sure you get the right fit. A casual look through almost any of the sub-forums on Bike Forums will quickly let you know that bicycle fit is a very important factor and that folks go to great lengths to get it right.
    Believe it or not this is the part I'm not looking forward to. We have a few LBS in town & surrounding towns, but I just don't know which one is good. I really like one shop but they only carry Giant bikes. I test road one before Christmas but I need to test ride other brands as well.

    I don't really have all the money right now so I feel uncomfortable just having them fit me & test ride when I know I can't buy anything right now.

    Plus I want to get a bike that I will be happy with & there are so many brands, types of metal, etc to choose that it is just overwhelming for me.

    I know now is a good time to buy a bike, but it is hard to test ride them because of the weather. -RRR

  19. #19
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    After you've ridden a few centuries, you'll find that they're excellent training rides for your first double century!

    Then after you've ridden several doubles, you'll start looking for tough doubles with lots of climbing . . .

    I know, cause I'm addicted!

    Rick / OCRR

  20. #20
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi,

    A lot of great advice above. Depending on your personal preferences, you may want a formal ride schedule, especially for the weekends. I haven't looked in a long time but there are some web sites that show a progressive buildup of mileage (along with tapering before the century) to get you ready.
    Thanks.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    A road bike isn't a necessity, but if you want one this is a good excuse. I have been using my touring bike in recent centuries.

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    Being in shape to ride a century, and being in shape to ride a specific bike for 7 to 10 hours are different things!

    If the bike fit is of even just a little off, it could fatigue your muscles in a way that's unfamiliar to you, and become a big problem late in a long ride.

    Time spent on a new bike -- and the resulting fit adjustments -- is just as important as your physical conditioning.

    It seems like your time frame is going to be pretty tight, with the cold weather and desire for a new bike and need for riding time.
    Last edited by Big Paulie; 01-10-08 at 09:54 AM.

  23. #23
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    There is a lot of good advice in this thread. I'll add my .02.
    The type of bike you ride is secondary as long as it fits, is mechanically sound and has fairly skinny tires at max air presures to roll free.

    The two most important things for any century are: Preperation...build your base mileage gradually and rest when unusually tired to avoid training injurues. 2. On the bike.. Drink and Eat the energy replacement fuels of your choice waaaaay befor you get thirsty or hungry particularly during the first half of the ride.

    As long as you pace yourself to your level of training, (enjoy the adenalin rush at the start of the ride but control it and do not get sucked into a super high early pace that your body is not use to) and stay hydrated/fueled, you will have a great time on your century. Good luck and have fun.
    Bill J.

  24. #24
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    A good mileage base and a proper bike fit are the most important items. For your first century you really just want to finish relatively strong (as opposed to limping in). Once you have ridden a century, you can train for a better time for your next one.

    Hydration and eating are very important. You can experiment with them somewhat on the long training rides leading up to your century.

  25. #25
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by w2brdbkr View Post
    Believe it or not this is the part I'm not looking forward to. We have a few LBS in town & surrounding towns, but I just don't know which one is good. I really like one shop but they only carry Giant bikes. I test road one before Christmas but I need to test ride other brands as well.

    I don't really have all the money right now so I feel uncomfortable just having them fit me & test ride when I know I can't buy anything right now.

    Plus I want to get a bike that I will be happy with & there are so many brands, types of metal, etc to choose that it is just overwhelming for me.

    I know now is a good time to buy a bike, but it is hard to test ride them because of the weather. -RRR
    Several of us have mentioned it but a Road bike is not necessary for distance rides. In fact- if you are changing from a straight bar hybrid- then it may take a bit of time to get acclimatised to a road bike.-Took me about 6 months to feel fully comfortable on one.

    Nothing wrong with Giant bikes- but do try other makes if you can. Specialised- Trek- Le Mond Cannondale---- so many makes and so many models- but the main bit is to find that LBS.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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