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Old 02-10-11, 09:50 AM   #1
pmcq
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Saturday is my first century ride - help

Some of you may know that I've been riding for just over a year. On Saturday, I am embarking on my first century ride in Palm Springs with 7,000 of my closest friends and fellow cyclists - no relatives showing up that I know of. Two days before this event, I am excited, apprehensive, semi-confident, and anxious all at the same time.

I've spent the past few weeks increasing my miles and hours on the saddle, doing 70+ mile rides three weekends in a row. The bike is lubed and tuned. My Plus Fifty jersey is clean and ready. I have a hotel room within 1/2 mile of the start/finish with a comfy and supportive bed for the night before and the night after the ride.

But I still don't feel quite ready. I have learned so much from reading the posts in this forum over the past few months. So now I am turning to this experienced and wise group for your words of advice or caution. What else should I expect, plan for, think about, not think about, or do that will help me accomplish this milestone goal and hopefully, enjoy the process?
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Old 02-10-11, 10:02 AM   #2
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Hi pmcq,

I'll be out there too, so maybe I should wear my 50+ jersey instead of my OCRR club jersey? My wife and I are both riding the century and we're staying at the Motel 6 that's very close to the start.

Yes, you are ready. Palm Springs is a very easy century, very well supported, mostly good road surfaces and overall, no worries . . . just fun.

So, to enjoy the process (never thought about it as a process!), just enjoy the ride, talk with other riders, eat and drink! You're over-thinking it, actually, so just don't worry, relax and enjoy.

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Old 02-10-11, 10:03 AM   #3
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It's all been said here before, but in a nutshell:

In your excitement, don't start out too fast.
Drink a lot. If you aren't doing a pee stop at 50 miles, think of upping fluid intake.
Get calories throughout the ride. I like to drink GuBrew, but pick your poison. Eat a little at the stations.
Have fun!

Riding 100 miles is just riding a mile (many times). If you can ride 50, you can ride 100.
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Old 02-10-11, 10:04 AM   #4
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Two things to remember- Start riding at the start and at the finish- stop riding.

With the training you have done that is all you have to think about. Drink and eat along the ride and take advantage of any of the stops for Extra food and drink. Take something a bit more substantial along for a break at around 65 miles where you can get off the bike- Eat drink and take a bit of a stretch. That is about all you have to worry about but don't forget the camera for pics of the Pie you will have in celebration afterwards.

Enjoy the ride.
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Old 02-10-11, 10:06 AM   #5
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If you can ride 70, you can ride 100. You'll be fine.
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Old 02-10-11, 10:38 AM   #6
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Since you have ridden 70+ 3 weekends in a row, you should be fine pmcq. Remember to eat and stay hydrated. Use the sag stops.

Are you riding alone?
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Old 02-10-11, 10:49 AM   #7
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You are well prepared. Relax as much as you can. Eat well but don't go crazy trying to carb load. Hydrate. Eat and/or take supplements during the ride. Don't try to set a speed record. Just ride steady and within yourself.

Make it fun. Take pictures and post a good ride report afterward.
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Old 02-10-11, 10:53 AM   #8
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After a couple of centuries, if you want to improve your speed, then we can discuss the next steps.

and, as has been suggested,

HAVE FUN !
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Old 02-10-11, 10:54 AM   #9
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Pam! You are ready. Remember, you did the half-century last year with much less training and preparation. Sure, 100 is twice as far, but you are way more than twice prepared this time.

Start out slow (from what I've read, that can't be emphasized enough) and maintain your own comfortable pace. Stay fueled and hydrated. Do some gentle stretching at the rest stops.

At this point, you are already ready. You're questioning your readiness, but you are ready. Don't over-think anything between now and the ride -- Just see it as another ride, but a little longer.

Hydrate and eat well today and tomorrow so you will arrive with a body ready for the challenge.

I know how hard you have prepared and trained, and I am very excited for you.

So, go out there and Have Fun!

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Old 02-10-11, 10:58 AM   #10
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One mistake some riders make on their first century is they change the bike or equipment in some fashion. They may put new tires on the night before only to get a flat because the tube was pinched between the tire and rim. They may make a derailer adjustment, while the bike is on the car rack, only to find it didn't work on the ride. Don't change any cables unless they are broke or you can get a couple rides in before the event. Don't wear those new cycling shorts or jerseys that have been waiting for their first ride. Only eat the foods and drinks that you are accustomed to while riding. I once ate corned beef hash, at a diner, while riding with my brother-in-law and had some of the worst miles of my life over the next 40.

In short, don't change up anything that you did on your 70 mile rides.

Good luck, ride reports and pics are a must.
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Old 02-10-11, 11:13 AM   #11
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The start slow advice is tres important. also I wouldn't ride the day before, rest, relax and then enjoy....................you will be fine. Don't be afraid to take frequent breaks to stretch and hydrate.
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Old 02-10-11, 11:14 AM   #12
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Pam,

It sounds to me as if you are well prepared to ride a century. You have done the requisite 70 mile ride three times. So as far as training, you should be good.

There some "rules" or guidelines to think about on a long ride.

1) Don't use new anything. It is not good to have a new pair of shorts only to realize they chaff once you are 30 miles down the road.
2) Eat before you are hungry, rest before you are tired, and drink before you are thirsty.
3) I find brief stops for pit stops, water and snacks are good to do. Also it is good to get off the bike and rest the contact points (the places where your body contacts the bike: hands, feet and hinder part. I don't like stopping too long because otherwise my body thinks it is done for the day.
4) Ride at a moderate pace. Stay well within your capabilities. Nothing is worse than riding 80 miles and have everything sort of give out. You can still make it, but it isn't any fun. If you are still fresh after 80 miles, then you can pick up the pace.

So have fun. I would say don't worry but that advice never works for me so I won't try giving it to you.

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Old 02-10-11, 11:34 AM   #13
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I still remember my first century and you will too. One thing that happens to most first timers is that the night before the event they are so excited that they can't sleep. I don't think I got 5 minutes sleep before my first century. If that happens to you, don't let it bother you. I made it fine and you will too. Also as has been said before, don't make any changes from what you did in your training rides. Have fun and enjoy. Take your camera so you will be able to look back at events that happen. Be careful when ridding close to others, as you never know what someone may do that you will need to react to. Crashes can happen very fast and ruin your day to say the least. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 02-10-11, 11:38 AM   #14
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My first century was in 1984 or 1985, the Wabash River Century, starting from West Lafayette, IN, and running southwest from there. I rode it very slowly, compared to what I can do today.

Pam, here's hoping it will be the first of many.
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Old 02-10-11, 12:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
One mistake some riders make on their first century is they change the bike or equipment in some fashion. They may put new tires on the night before only to get a flat because the tube was pinched between the tire and rim. They may make a derailer adjustment, while the bike is on the car rack, only to find it didn't work on the ride. Don't change any cables unless they are broke or you can get a couple rides in before the event. Don't wear those new cycling shorts or jerseys that have been waiting for their first ride. Only eat the foods and drinks that you are accustomed to while riding. I once ate corned beef hash, at a diner, while riding with my brother-in-law and had some of the worst miles of my life over the next 40.

In short, don't change up anything that you did on your 70 mile rides.

Good luck, ride reports and pics are a must.
lol, I've done every one of the don'ts listed above. I've had enough experience though to correct anything that became an issue while on the ride. But generally, it's very good advice not to make any changes right before an event ride.

For me, the rough stretch on a century usually happens right around mile 70. I think the reason for that is I ride so many more metrics that my body is well adapted to that distance. When I stretch it to 100 miles I enter into a bit of the unknown, at least for how my body will react on any given day. Since you are accustomed to the 70 mile distance the extra 30 won't be too hard but if you can relax and keep any doubts at bay you'll get through just fine.
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Old 02-10-11, 12:36 PM   #16
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Okay, I'm going to go against the grain a bit here. If you are feeling strong and excited, it is okay to go out a bit faster than you would normally. There should be lots of wheels to sit on as you come back to reality, so you should be able to avoid any big collapse. Your excitement is going to burn energy anyway, so you might as well get some miles out of it. I have found that the time in the saddle is harder on me than the miles. That is, I usually have less difficult time when I keep my pace as fast as I can.
Don't worry if you have some times when you are moving really slowly. Your strength will come back. Almost everyone has these episodes.

Have fun and enjoy it all.
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Old 02-10-11, 01:24 PM   #17
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Okay, I'm going to go against the grain a bit here. If you are feeling strong and excited, it is okay to go out a bit faster than you would normally. There should be lots of wheels to sit on as you come back to reality, so you should be able to avoid any big collapse. Your excitement is going to burn energy anyway, so you might as well get some miles out of it. I have found that the time in the saddle is harder on me than the miles. That is, I usually have less difficult time when I keep my pace as fast as I can.
Don't worry if you have some times when you are moving really slowly. Your strength will come back. Almost everyone has these episodes.

Have fun and enjoy it all.
That might be ok for a flat century with lots of paceline opportunities, but I wouldn't recommend it for a mountain century where the last 20 miles climb 6500'. I know from personal experience that finishing on a long climb in a bonk makes for an epic day.
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Old 02-10-11, 01:31 PM   #18
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You need to set your own pace and stay with it, no matter what anyone else is doing.
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Old 02-10-11, 01:55 PM   #19
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About the only thing I can add to the (excellent) advice already offered is, "Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride." Oh, and don't forget to give us a post-ride report, with pic's of course.

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Old 02-10-11, 02:06 PM   #20
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Enjoy the daylight out of this ride! With 7000 of your closest friends around, you shouldn't have to worry about anything except having fun. And remember, we expect a full report.
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Old 02-10-11, 02:30 PM   #21
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I tried to hint at it earlier but that 65 miles mark. One of the problems that CAN occur around the 70 to 80 mile mark is bonking. This may be by lack of training (Not so in your case)- not enough food or drink or going too fast. When I do a 100 miler I eat and drink all the way from snacks that I carry. My first and only stop is around the 65 mile mark so I can get something a bit more substantial inside me and an extra bottle of my energy drink. The something more substantial can be a tin of creamed rice or my old perenial of a Marmite Sandwich. You either like or hate Marmite and I hate it but it does give a boost to the essential salts that have been lost on the ride. I also stretch a bit but this takes no more than 5 minutes and I am on my way.

One of the problems that can occur is that you get involved with a group that is just a bit fast for you. You may be able to take that extra speed but as this is your first ride- stay within your limits and stay comfortable. Drop back to another group that is nearer your pace. . Riding with others will add a bit of speed to your ride but only if you are comfortable with that pace. The other fatal thing is to get with a group that is too slow. Don't feel obliged to stay with a group that you always seem to be leading. They will benefit but not you.
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Old 02-10-11, 02:32 PM   #22
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I agree with everyone, with one exception. Good luck and have fun! It is only a bike ride.
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Old 02-10-11, 03:21 PM   #23
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If you can do 70, you can do 100. Enjoy it.
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Old 02-10-11, 03:55 PM   #24
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It is only a bike ride.
+1
Have fun
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Old 02-10-11, 06:16 PM   #25
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Another vote here for relax and have fun. Ride your pace from start to finish, stop at rest stops and drink and eat, talk to other riders as you go along, look at bikes and clothing and take in the sights. Take it 25 miles at a time and you'll be crossing the finish a happy guy. Make it a fun day!
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