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Old 09-02-12, 08:43 AM   #1
bobby c
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Yikes - Century in 6 days and I'm in trouble...

My favorite ride of the year is coming up in 6 days - the Civil War Century. Been doing it for years but between an office move, a tree hitting my house and bad weather, I haven't riden in almost 2 months. Take that back, I went out for a hard ride yesterday but only got 35 miles in.

So I'm about to go out again and this time I'm going to try to ride a bunch of hill loops. That's probably my biggest weakness at this point (besides a sore butt) - hills kill me and this Century has 7,000 feet of climbing. It looks like every day this week I can fit in at least an hour ride (maybe more on a couple of days) - can anyone suggest a workout routine in this condensed timeframe? I don't want to overdo it, but if I can prepare even a bit, that might help. I realize there's only so much I can do - there is a bailout at about 75 miles and I'll probably be doing that.

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Old 09-02-12, 09:04 AM   #2
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You can't do much to repair your fitness in six days, and if you try you'll just exhaust yourself. If you can't start fit, at least you can start fresh. I'd stick to relatively short rides - an hour a day is fine - at medium intensity. Then I'd rest on Thursday and just do a relatively easy spin for an hour on Friday. You need to focus on getting back to feeling comfortable on the bike.

Then on the ride, just concentrate on finishing. Ride at your own pace, don't go out too fast, don't worry if you seem slow in the hills. You'll probably suffer the following day - that's when you'll pay for the time off - but while a two-month lay-off will undoubtedly have compromised your fitness, there's no reason why it should stop you from completing the ride.
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Old 09-02-12, 09:15 AM   #3
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I did a century earlier in the year and I was not fit. I also made a big mistake and did not eat on the ride.

I can assure you that even with these two problems- A Century is do-able.

As Chasm said-Start Fresh by not overtraining- Do the ride at a pace to finish- and from my experience- Eat on the ride and fit a slightly lower gear than you would normally use.

Oh-- and stop worrying about whether you are fit enough- The answer to that will come the next day.
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Old 09-02-12, 10:26 AM   #4
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Best of luck...

These guys speak from experience. You can do it -- but do it right knowing and accepting the less than favorable circumstances...

This spring I worked the medical tent at the Pittsburgh Marathon and saw the results of people who thought they could simply push themselves to do things they were not ready for... (Part of the problem was the high heat of the day changed the equation.) I transported one young lady and her 6 month old baby to the hospital to which her husband had been transported via ambulance -- on the way she didn't know if she would ever see him alive again. (Fortunately, when we got there, he was in stable condition despite his temp of 105 degrees...)

I don't say that to be a wet blanket -- but to say: "Take care of yourself!"
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Old 09-02-12, 10:34 AM   #5
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Too late for training.

Ride Slow to the 75 mile sag stop and try to have fun.
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Old 09-02-12, 11:45 AM   #6
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Yeah, slow down and look at the flowers or tombstones, whichever grabs your attention. You know the route that is a big advantage. You have muscle memory, that helps too. But in the end, how you finish will depend on how you measure out your effort.
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Old 09-02-12, 01:45 PM   #7
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Something to help you through the ride. The rest point at 75 miles can be a bailout point so stop at around 65- Have something a bit more substantial to eat like a sandwich- drink a bottle of water- take a gel and stretch a bit. Then ride past the 75 miles and don't stop.

That century I did earlier in the year was a 60 mile night ride and I did 14 miles before the start. Finished the ride and had something to eat and I had done 74 miles. I then rode 30 miles home- albeit slowly and I did not stop for anything. If I had I would have phoned the wife to come and collect me. Mind over matter works- but don't get to that stage. Doesn't matter what the mind thinks- A Century ride done is all that matters. If you can do 100 without training- Think what you can do later in the year when you are fit.
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Old 09-02-12, 01:52 PM   #8
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As I recall from doing this one a couple years ago there was a decent climb at the start. It was a perfect grade for me but I could see someone going out too hard and burning too many matches too early. Just go out a little easier than you normally would and take a few more breaks along the way. You know the route from doing it before so if you still feel pretty decent at the decision point you might just be able to get in the 100. I do recall that there was a little more climbing that I was expecting the last 10 miles. Nothing steep but there were headwinds and more ups than I had planned.
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Old 09-02-12, 05:47 PM   #9
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Dude, you are so hosed.
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Old 09-02-12, 07:02 PM   #10
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Why not do the metric century with 4,700 of climbing or the half century ride with 2,385 of climbing instead? The point is pleasure, and either one of these will give you the shirt and a workout. There's no shame in that. "Discretion is the better part of valour." says Shakespeare.

The website says that you can bail out of the century at the 65 mile mark, miss only one mountain and get a scenic 9 mile descent back to the start/finish line. That sounds like an attractive option as well. You'll know best how it is going at that point.
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Old 09-02-12, 08:03 PM   #11
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You are not alone. After challenging two much younger newbies to the Seagull Century I have neglected training. I've had a cold / sinus infection / creeping crud for the last three weeks that has kept me sidelined. If I can get some rides in over the next 6 weeks I might be able to complete the metric century instead.

I rode the Civil War half century a few years ago and even that had some climbing. The largest hill in the Seagull is one highway overpass - it makes up for it with brutal headwinds.
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Old 09-02-12, 09:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
I did a century earlier in the year and I was not fit. I also made a big mistake and did not eat on the ride.

I can assure you that even with these two problems- A Century is do-able.

As Chasm said-Start Fresh by not overtraining- Do the ride at a pace to finish- and from my experience- Eat on the ride and fit a slightly lower gear than you would normally use.

Oh-- and stop worrying about whether you are fit enough- The answer to that will come the next day.
This. And ride slowly.
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Old 09-02-12, 10:24 PM   #13
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I had knee surgery and didn't ride for 5 months, got on the bike and rode 235 miles. I wasn't real fast but I didn't have a problem with the distance. Just keep the pace well under your LT and you should be fine.
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Old 09-02-12, 10:40 PM   #14
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I believe chasm64 hit it on the head. If you go out to train for a century in 6 days you will be hurt/have saddle sores or other such issues prior to the ride.


If it were me I'd take it easy and work on quality nutrition and hydration prior to the ride. Good luck on the ride. As a boatguy I had plenty of 6 to 9 month periods where I couldn't do certain activities and then back to doing them. Muscle memory and mental toughness will be your friend
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Old 09-03-12, 08:51 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys! Yes, I realize I'm hosed and I'll be riding at my own pace. I'll try to ride easy this week, though the remnants of Isaac will slow me down. I'm really hoping to do the century with the cut-off (total of around 79 miles) - I think my biggest issue might be with my butt, not sure it can handle those miles. Yes, the ride starts out with a long climb - I'm going to make sure my friends start first so I don't get lulled into trying to keep up with them.
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Old 09-03-12, 09:04 AM   #16
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Too late for training.

Ride Slow to the 75 mile sag stop and try to have fun.
^^^^^^^This

It is way too late to gain any appreciable fitness before the ride. I would do moderate rides for the next couple of days just to get the ol' legs moving, but wouldn't ride after Wednesday.

Your latest posted strategy of doing the century with cutoff sounds like a wise one.

Listen to your body and have fun!
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Old 09-03-12, 11:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby c View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions guys! Yes, I realize I'm hosed and I'll be riding at my own pace. I'll try to ride easy this week, though the remnants of Isaac will slow me down. I'm really hoping to do the century with the cut-off (total of around 79 miles)
That sounds good. Rather than training, look at it as feedback on how you are, and as a guide for your ride. Last year, I did a 50 miler that started 10 miles away, so I did 70 miles total. I didn't train and it worked out okay. I even changed bikes afterwards and rode off and went to the library and did grocery shopping. So you should do fine.
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Old 09-03-12, 11:49 AM   #18
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I think I could do a century in 6 days. Less than 17 miles per day.
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Old 09-03-12, 01:07 PM   #19
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LOL>Bob Nichols
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Old 09-03-12, 01:34 PM   #20
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As suggested, you can still have some good fun.

  • take it easy beforehand
  • take it easy on the ride
  • start slowly
  • continue taking it easy
  • drink before thirsty
  • eat a little at a time before hungry
  • if you have trouble on a grade walk for a while
Unless it's a most unusual event there will be other participants in no better riding shape than you are.
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Old 09-08-12, 06:39 PM   #21
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Bobby C,

So, did you end of doing at least part of your century? I did the full century and got nailed by a BIG thunderstorm at about 80 miles, but if you bailed out at 65 miles and took the shortcut to the finish, maybe you missed it?
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Old 09-08-12, 11:32 PM   #22
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My mottos: "If I can ride 33 miles, I can ride a century." And "If I can climb 2500 feet, I can climb 5000 ft." It's worked everytime.
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Old 09-09-12, 08:33 AM   #23
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Gevad - wow, congrats on that - that was truly one mammoth storm, it produced some tornadoes in the area. Hats off to anyone who did the full century after that storm.

So I followed the advice and took it easy, including leaving a bit later than I usually do. I rode with a buddy who was in similar shape while we let the other friends we ride with go ahead. For those unfamiliar with the ride, it starts with a long climb - 2,500 feet or so before the first rest stop. Nice and easy - some fatigue but nothing too bad. I made sure (as I usually do) to eat and drink a lot on the ride. Got passed a lot and didn't pass many but we were having a good time.

When Gevad was on mile 80, we had just pulled into the 2nd rest stop, mile 53. And then the heavens opened up. Not just a little rain but a torrential downpour and high winds. We we very fortunate, we stayed in the fire station until the worst passed and then went out. There were 3 large trees down completely blocking the road - 2 had the be crawled over (passing bikes) and one crawling under. Luckily the rescue crews came out and started cutting, it was a mess. We had just crawled under this tree (about 15 of us) when the rescue crews came up to cut it up.



Our friends who went ahead got caught & beat up on Ritchie Road - I almost feel bad we were eating and drinking in a big firehouse when everyone was out in that mess. But not too bad. Our friends who got caught out in it said they were dodging limbs and trees - the worse came of the debris lasted less than a minute.

So regardless, the next 10-15 would tell the tale - Ritchie Road is a long/steep uphill, it is usually the point of the century where I start reexamining my life's priorities. The climb is about 1,000 feet over 3 miles. This was the point I thought I'd blow up but lo and behold, it was seemed relatively tame. I didn't climb it in record time but had no real problems, just had to be careful on the downhill after that because of the rain.

All in all a great day, I'm a believer now in restraint in the early part of the ride if I'm not in shape. My average time was about 3 mph lower than usual, but I'll take that, along with the ice cream, music and sandwiches at the end.

Thanks for the encouragement folks!
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Old 09-09-12, 09:07 AM   #24
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Bobby C -- Thanks, but the only reason I got to mile 80 (78, actually, I just checked the map) before the storm hit is that I started out early (7:20). The "nice" thing about that is that by mile 78 the course is out into open farm country so we weren't in the forest with trees coming down. There was some tree debris along the side of the road, but nothing like what's in your picture.

Glad it worked out for you.
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Old 09-09-12, 10:19 AM   #25
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I know you were worried about this ride and you had a bail out plan But I think you had a genuine reason to ssty in the fire station and you didn't.

You are either foolhardy or not as unfit as you think.
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