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  1. #1
    Senior Member teachme's Avatar
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    How does one build up to a century?

    I've been riding a couple of weeks now and have built up to 10 miles before my kroch needs a break. Does it get better or do you just learn to tolerate the discomfort?

  2. #2
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    Maybe you need to adjust your bike a bit?

    I'm sure you can search around here for saddle height and position adjustment questions.

    Personally I feel nothing but a bit of knee uncomfort from an old injury for the first 2 hrs.

    have fun out there!

  3. #3
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    Crotch.
    Could be that you're new. Could be that your seat is set up wrong. Could be that its a cheap saddle and never will be comfortable. If you google something like "bike setup" or "adjusting bike seat," you'll find more answers than you can use.
    If you bought a cheap bike (nothing wrong with that; a lot of us started that way), chances are it has a cheap saddle. and if it was assembled by a discount store, it may not be properly adjusted.

  4. #4
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Had the same bike for 20+ years and wondered why my back always hurt and my butt always hurt. Well, it was the bike and the seat. Got a new bike and am so comfortable it is just nuts.
    Might be your fit to the bike. Might be the bike.
    But, if you are just starting out, a sore butt and maybe crotch is pretty much the norm.
    If you have a cheap bike and cheap seat, it may not get better...


    Now, as far as building miles up, that just comes with time. Last Fall getting back into riding, I could barely make 5 miles. Now 30 seems easy. Will be doing a metric century next month.
    Last edited by bigbadwullf; 05-16-11 at 01:35 PM.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member teachme's Avatar
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    The bike is a department store bike. Schwinn 700c Mountain/Road hybrid. I wasn't sure if I would really get into the sport of cycling so before I dropped $1000.00 on a good bike I spent $280.00 at Target. I like the bike, and I think I found an activity in cycling that I can really get into. I am feeling no soreness like I would after running a few miles.
    I'll look into seat adjustment and bike fit.
    Happy cycling!!

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    10 miles so far and you have a bit of butt ache---Get used to it as it will take a few more miles before the butt gets hardened up.

    Mind you-Saddle fit is critical but not untill you have that hardened butt. Lots come into this but type of saddle- width of saddle- position of saddle- position of you on the saddle- and finally That tough butt.

    Welcome by the way but if you still have a sore butt after 100 miles- first stop will be the shop where you bought the bike. Hopefully they will help a lot but Butt ache and saddles are a common problem when you start out.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  7. #7
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    I was in the same spot you were 2 years ago. I borrowed my sons Freespirit to see if I would enjoy ridding. Yes at first my butt hurt but it did get better. The thing that really helped was the pair of padded riding shorts my son gave me.

    I moved up to a Specialized Roubaix this year and have no problem with 50+ mile rides. It just takes time and the discomfort gets less as you get a better fitting bike and become accustomed longer rides.

  8. #8
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teachme View Post
    The bike is a department store bike. Schwinn 700c Mountain/Road hybrid. I wasn't sure if I would really get into the sport of cycling so before I dropped $1000.00 on a good bike I spent $280.00 at Target. I like the bike, and I think I found an activity in cycling that I can really get into. I am feeling no soreness like I would after running a few miles.
    I'll look into seat adjustment and bike fit.
    Happy cycling!!
    You've gotten some excellent advice already on the saddle, adjustments etc. Are you wearing cycling shorts? If not they can help as well.

    A lot of us started the same way you are. It was probably a good idea to see how much you'd like this cycling stuff before investing too much. However, once you decide to upgrade go ahead and spend more that you think you might need to. I'd be way ahead of the game if I'd taken that approach instead of constantly inching up in frame quality and features. However by starting the way your are, you will enjoy the quality of other bikes that much more on down the road. Enjoy your time out on the road!

    And once you get the comfort thing worked out doing a century is really not that difficult. You just have to get your body used to it. More on that later as you need it.
    Ride your Ride!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Put some miles on that dept store bike and when you are ready to pull they trigger, go for a 'real' bike . Like the difference between having meat at McDonalds and having a nicely grilled steak at home . Hey, they're both meat right? But don't rush out right now and buy. Put some miles on that thing. Have fun!

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  10. #10
    Senior Member teachme's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. I did buy a pair of biking shorts and they do help a lot.

    What kind of weekly mileage is recommended for getting into shape for a century?
    Official member of the Brotherhood of Clyde...

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  11. #11
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teachme View Post
    What kind of weekly mileage is recommended for getting into shape for a century?
    That's such a personal thing, the only real answer is "As much as you have time for." But some folks do use a rule of thumb of getting to where you are doing 85% of the event distance. It depends in part on whether you want a century to be just another ride, or something you can eek your way through.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  12. #12
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    teachme, you dont say when the century is. Increasing your base miles is the key. If you can ride 75-85 miles comfortably, you can ride a century. If I recall correctly, Bicycling magazine has programs from 10-12 weeks to ride a century. As AZTallRider mentioned, it is a matter of how much time you have each week to ride.

    To make the most of your available riding time, if it is short (30-40 minutes), try to ride at a higher speed. For longer rides, extend the distance.

  13. #13
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    One step at a time.

    1. Get out there often - at least 4 days a week, but 5 is better. Don't ride 7 days a week - rest is as important as exercise.

    2. Don't do too much too soon. You might increase your mileage rapidly at first, but pretty soon you should be at a point with no more than 10%/week increases in total miles.

    3. Don't worry about speed or distance on any given day. Just ride. If you feel like crap on a given day, don't beat yourself up about it. Just make sure to get out there the next day.

    4. Make sure the ride is enjoyable. Don't do the same route every day. Vary your distances and intensities.

    5. If 1-4, the century will come.
    Last edited by MinnMan; 05-16-11 at 03:25 PM.

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Before the 100 miler- there is the riding your age- Then the metric (100 kms)- then the 40 miler at 20mph average and the 50 mile ride with 10,000ft of climbing.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  15. #15
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Ten miles brings you pain? I'd say you're not ready for a century yet. Keep doing the ten-milers, then gradually increase your distance. Follow the advice above on saddles.

    The last two centuries I did were in 2004 and 2005. They were too painful for me, so I haven't wanted to do any more. I was not ready. But this past Friday, I rode about 62 miles (a metric century), and I was fine, so I think I'm ready to do another century.

    You learn to work out all the problems that come up with practice. And you learn your limits. It takes time.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Before the 100 miler- there is the riding your age- Then the metric (100 kms)- then the 40 miler at 20mph average and the 50 mile ride with 10,000ft of climbing.
    I'm pretty sure stapfam is joking about the last two of those. Lots of us have done centuries without them. But the first two are excellent intermediate goals.

  17. #17
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Ride 1 mile further each day your ride.
    In 100 days you'll be answering your own question: How long before I can ride a century.

  18. #18
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    It took me about four month, riding every day and pushing
    myself to the limit on every ride. Came home beat every day.

    Now seventy to a hundred is no big deal. Did seventy four today
    in just over five hours. Lot of wind today.

    I have been riding a year. Average just under forty a day now.

  19. #19
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    It will get better. The ultimate perfect saddle will hurt your butt when you first start riding bikes. No sense spending money or time trying to buy your way out of it. Ya gots to pay yer dues.

    It's great that you are already thinking about riding centuries at such an early point in your development. Keep that thought out there as a long term goal. You will soon start making big progress toward riding longer and more comfortably. Just keep pushing the limits a little bit at a time. You'll know it if you are doing too much too soon. Eventually you will get to the point that making real plans and strategies about riding centuries will make sense. For now, work on getting to 12 miles.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  20. #20
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    The first bike I bought was a $100 bike that had a seat that was about like sitting on a 2x4. I assumed it was because it was a small seat, turns out, it was because it was a cheap seat. Anyway, it can be a challenge finding a comfortable seat. Padded biking shorts may help, but I wouldn't expect them to make a completely uncomfortably seat completely comfortable.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  21. #21
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    Are you only asking about how to toughen up your Krotch?

    I've only done one century, plus some 80-mile rides. Here's how I built up to 100 miles:

    1. I did my century on a very comfortable hybrid. I've been told all my life that you can't do long distances on a hybrid. I firmly disagree. The day after my century I got up pain free and went for a 25-mile pleasure ride---thanks to the hybrid.

    2. Gears: my bike is set up with full mountain gears. Why suffer on the hills?

    3. Nitto North Road handle bar will relieve neck pain on long rides.

    4. Seat: Highly personal, but the right width, anatomical relief, angle, fore and aft adjustment, and height are essential. I set my seat higher than recommended., with my leg just about straight. That's what works for me. Most people seem to set their seat with a large bend in the knee. Small increments in the setup---as small as a quarter of an inch---will make a difference. You can also add an anatomical gel cover to your seat for the first few weeks and take it off when your hide is tougher.

    5. Training regimen: From your current 10 miles, build up to 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, and 50. I read years ago that if you can ride 50 miles you can ride 100. I believe that's true but can't prove it. I trained up to 80 miles for my century and I think that was overtraining. I biked 1200 miles to train for my century. I don't think that's necessary. It's just that in my mind 100 miles was a really, really long, hard ride. I overestimated the difficulty.

    6. Train in hills and then select a nice flat ride and a cool day for your century.

    7. Go easy. I started biking in March of that year with a ride of just 3 miles, hated it, and threw down the bike in disgust. I did my century in October, so it took about 6 months to train.

    8. Respect your body. If a century is going to do you damage (joints, back, neck, etc.), don't do it. Learn your limits. Bike for fitness and pleasure. Plenty of people in their 50s are now learning the joint penalty for excessive exercise over the last 30 years.

  22. #22
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Too many variables on the seat issue - as was stated, could e fit, the saddle or just lack of ride time.
    As far as training for a century - there is a lot of ground to cover. You need to work up to it, you also need to find out how to hydrate and refuel properly - that is an individual thing. All this takes some trial and error. I find if I can comfortably do a metric and am putting in 100+ miles/week I can do a century very nicely. Took me a bit to learn what food works for me and what drink works for me as well.

    Good luck.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Cadillac's Avatar
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    Since you are new at cycling and the crotch hurts, be sure to lubricate the area of pain (on either side of the genitals). Your crotch is like a newborn's bottom, so use a cream designed to prevent diaper rash. Before each ride apply the cream. Then after the ride, use a cream with zinc in it to make your bottom feel better. Don't use the zinc cream before the ride, just after. Usually at the beginning of the season, I need the creams until I get used to riding. On long rides of 100 km or more, I still use the cream.
    "Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
    The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
    But then begins a journey in my head,
    To work my mind, when body's work's expired"
    -- Shakespeare Sonnet XXVII
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  24. #24
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    premature anticipation
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  25. #25
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHOFM View Post
    It took me about four month, riding every day and pushing
    myself to the limit on every ride. Came home beat every day.

    Now seventy to a hundred is no big deal. Did seventy four today
    in just over five hours. Lot of wind today.

    I have been riding a year. Average just under forty a day now.
    That's extremely impressive! You did all that in one year?!
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

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