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  1. #1
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    How Hard is This Century?

    I've done a bunch of centuries, but most were in the 1970s, and none in the last 10 years. I'm planning on doing this one in May:

    http://www.chicovelo.org/main/centur.../26-wildflower

    Here's a map with an elevation profile:

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/32154209

    I'm 57, and I've been doing a lot of 50-70 mile rides lately.

    I'd rather start with a flat century, but these hills don't look too bad. What do you think?

    Thanks,

    Al
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

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    I haven't done the wildflower in decades, but I remember the hills as fairly trivial. When I last rode it I was living in Davis, so when I say the hills were no biggee, that means something (it's over twenty miles to the nearest approximation of a hill from Davis). Go do the ride. You can do it. It has just enough hills to keep your bum happy, but not enough to drain your tank. The folks at ChicoVelo are super. Their organized rides and outings are always worth doing. I ran into sixty or so of them along the Lost Coast last fall. We all enjoyed a night that included seven inches of rain.

  3. #3
    ES&D t4mv's Avatar
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    It's been a quarter century since I've ridden the Wildflower, too, but I don't think the course changes all that much. Al, you should just plunk down your money and sign up for this ride before reg closes on it. It's a beautiful ride, through Bidwell Park, up Honeyrun to Paradise, probably down towards Oroville and then back around, but in addition to the fab scenery, Chico Velo does a really good job with the organization. And Chico itself has a lot going for it, too. Starting with a Sierra Nevada after the ride.

  4. #4
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    I don't know, thats 4823 elevation gain and that would be a lot for me. I just did 70 miles with half that gain and it was all I wanted. But that's me, and I'm just trying to get back into shape.
    Chief Executive In Charge Of Diddly Squat.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    We did the 100K last year on the tandem. It's a very well organized ride through nice country. Honeyrun won't be a bad climb at all on a single. I do recall the longer climb in the Century can get pretty warm just due to the exposure. You've got plenty of mileage - do it! BTW, we'll probably alternate years between the Wine Country Century and the CV Wildflower - both are highly regarded. The Wine Country has less climbing so the Century is well in reach for two seniors on a tandem.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Lots of folks have to stop and take a break on Honeyrun. It was tougher than Ink Grade.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  7. #7
    Senior Member Spiduhman's Avatar
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    The total el is more like 5k, counting every bit...

    Crawl up the Humboldt, wha's the hurry?

    Take your sweet time up the Honey run, you're getting near 20% of it right there.

    From there, easy does it, for the back side of Table Mnt has a few steep pitches.

    After lunch, haul ass.

    I can' tell you how hard it is, because I've only done three other organized Cents, and one double.

    In each case, including many many self supported longer rides, the factors are how hard I ride it, the total el, wind, rests, and how hard I ride it. Resting up the week before, proper hydration, nutrition, and clothing go without sayin', right?

    I prefer to go easy the first half or so, unless I really know the course, e.g. the SLO Lighthouse is ol' stomping grounds, start fast and build.

    The Chico Wildflower I rode agressively, but not the first time... not the first time!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] "It beats the alternative." "Every day is a good day." - PoppaDaddy

  8. #8
    Senior Member Spiduhman's Avatar
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    Near Trinidad eh?

    My Pop grew in Crannell.

    The weather in Chico might be a bit warm for you, depending.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] "It beats the alternative." "Every day is a good day." - PoppaDaddy

  9. #9
    Senior Member kr32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post

    I'm 57, and I've been doing a lot of 50-70 mile rides lately.


    Al
    This

    Do it, it looks nice. Wish I lived closer and I would join you.

  10. #10
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I can't comment on the route. However, I started completing hilly centuries last year. To keep me from putting too much effort into the climbs, I used a heart rate monitor and kept my heart rate below 160 bpm. I know this helped me finish events and kept me strong the entire route.

  11. #11
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    How hilly are your 50-70 mile rides, TromboneAl?

    I would say go for it... you can always adust your pace. You dont have to finish in a particuar time.

  12. #12
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom View Post
    Lots of folks have to stop and take a break on Honeyrun. It was tougher than Ink Grade.
    Makes me feel a bit better about our effort on Honeyrun. While we got passed by "hundreds" of singles (literally) we didn't stop and on the back side we had three singles drafting us at over 50 mph.
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  13. #13
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    It doesn't look like an easy ride, but certainly a doable ride. Looks like most of the hard work comes in a few big climbs with the rest being a breeze. You certainly should be able to do it if the 50-70 mile rides you've been doing have a bit of climbing.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    It's been so long since I rode this century I don't know if this is still on the route. They used to start with a section of southbound road that looked like it was perfectly flat. However, it was clearly a slight uphill. It was funny to watch everyone look at their rear tires thinking they had a flat. It didn't go on very long, but it made everyone think they were having one of those weak days.

  15. #15
    Pat
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    It depends on a few things. One is just how steep are the hills? A 5% grade for 1 mile is quite a bit different than a 10% grade for .5 mile.

    There is more than enough climbing to make you know that you have done some.

    The advice to keep your heart rate down on climbs is good. You can get trashed pretty quickly by charging hills.

  16. #16
    ES&D t4mv's Avatar
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    Have you ever ridden Tour of the Unknown Coast? If you can ride that you can ride the Wildflower. And like others have said, you don't have to ride it "fast." It's probably an even better ride sub-fast.

  17. #17
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. Yeah, I think I'll go for it, with a lot of training in the next two months. I haven't done the Tour of the Unknown Coast, which I figure is much more difficult than this one.

    How hilly are your 50-70 mile rides, TromboneAl?
    Here are typical elevation maps from my rides:

    Elevations.jpg

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/64460878
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  18. #18
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Actually looks pretty easy IMO. You have a couple of climbs, one about 1100 feet in 10 miles then another about 1400 feet in 10 miles. You have the downhill after each hill to recouperate.

    If I were you, I'd do repeats on the first hill of your first graph to prepare. Seems to be about 1000 feet in 10 miles.

  19. #19
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    I agree with Mr. Beanz, TromboneAl. I think you can do that, based upon the rides you usually do. Add in the fact it is supported and has sag stops, should be good.

  20. #20
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Easy? Not by any definition I would recognize. Easily doable? Yep.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  21. #21
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat View Post
    ...The advice to keep your heart rate down on climbs is good. You can get trashed pretty quickly by charging hills.
    +1. It's a big ride and there will be plenty of faster folks passing you on the climbs. Just keep your HR down. The one climb later in the ride, Ink Hill I think someone mentioned, is a bit exposed so make sure you keep hyrdrated. With the tandem it's especially important for me to use a Camelbak since on sustained steeper climbs (10%) it can be hard to grab a bottle to drink.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    +1. It's a big ride and there will be plenty of faster folks passing you on the climbs. Just keep your HR down. The one climb later in the ride, Ink Hill I think someone mentioned, is a bit exposed so make sure you keep hyrdrated. With the tandem it's especially important for me to use a Camelbak since on sustained steeper climbs (10%) it can be hard to grab a bottle to drink.
    Ink Grade is on the Tour of Napa Valley. I did that on my Trek 1000 with a 12-25 cassette. Couldn't make it up Honey Run Rd the same year. Coming down from Paradise was a wild ride. Many riders were taking up the entire right lane and riding their brakes. A hard core looking rider saw me looking to go around and said "Follow me". We coasted down near the center line at 47mph.
    That was the year of the big cell phone commercial "Can you hear me now?" A woman was trying to make a call after Paradise, and someone yelled that. Bikes were swerving all over from people laughing.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  23. #23
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    We signed up (century for me , 100K for wife). At this point I know that I can do it, but I'm training very hard so that I can actually enjoy it. Here's a comparison of my ride yesterday with the Wildflower. I doubled one of the hills, and the last few miles were in a 45 degree hailstorm:



    So I have my work cut out for me. Here's my training schedule:

    CenturyTraining.jpg
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  24. #24
    Pat
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    Well, it certainly looks like you can do it, given your training.

    It looks like it has three long climbs and not much else. On long climbs, it is a good idea to settle into a comfortable aerobic pace and motor up the hills. It is critical to have low enough gears to handle sustained climbs.

    For me, that sort of climb is "easier" than a ride with short steep hills. I always get tempted to hammer short steep hills. If there are enough short steep hills, that approach can be a bad one.

  25. #25
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    Just save some gas for the last hill at 80 miles out. My last century, The Tour de Safford there was a 7 to 10 % grade at 94 miles out. I almost died of fright when I came around the bend and saw what was ahead. Good luck.
    Chief Executive In Charge Of Diddly Squat.

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    If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished.

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