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Old 09-01-13, 08:43 AM   #1
Gerryattrick
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First century in 45 years - or not?

Last week. to celebrate my 66th birthday and, inspired by other 50+ members doing their first century, and before the summer is completely over, I decided I was going to do a solo 100 mile round trip from Cardiff to Brecon including a lot of the Taff Trail. Since returning to cycling a few years back my longest ride has been 30 miles but I do that regularly and have put a lot of miles in this summer so felt I was up to it.

I set out at 6.00 am on the first stage to Merthyr Tydfil, where I grew up and first cycled. Cardiff to Merthyr is a regular ride for me and the Merthyr to Brecon route I had done many times before as a teenager, but this was the first time I have tried it in 45 years.

Although I do like to push myself I know my limitations and this was not a ride against the clock, beside which there is a lot of climbing involved, and I was planning on a few nostalgic detours. It was a sunny day and luckily no wind at all to talk of. Because I was running later than I thought on the outward trip I took a faster return route involving more roads and less climbing rather than retrace my tracks.

I did it on my mtb with semi-slick tyres, as the ride was planned as a mix of MUP, country road and a bit of XC. I got home after 7.30 pm, very tired and a little bit sunburned.

Here are some pics of the ride: Taf Fechan reservoir just outside Merthyr, the Gap at Pen-y-Fan – the highest peak in the Beacons, and the tea shop in an old farmhouse at the foot of the steepest climb where I had to have cake (scones and jam) to build up my strength for the climb to come!

Luckily, I had no real problems, other than some pain in my knees during the trip and afterwards, and a bit of saddle soreness. Slept well that night and a gentle ride two days later was fine.

The point of this post is whether this was a 100 miler or not as I had around 7 or 8 stops – for food, beer at a pub at the halfway stage, a bit of walking to places I couldn't ride, chatting to a few hikers and bikers, and just enjoying the views. Or was it a series of 12 mile rides?




Plus another pic of a steam train at the Brecon Mountain Railway at a place called Pontsticill -another pit stop.
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Last edited by Gerryattrick; 09-11-13 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 09-01-13, 09:05 AM   #2
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Completing that course on a mountain bike with platform pedals counts as 200 in my book. Nice work! Now where did I leave my manliness..
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Old 09-01-13, 09:09 AM   #3
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Completing that course on a mountain bike with platform pedals counts as 200 in my book. Nice work! Now where did I leave my manliness..

Yeah, it's all good. Any ride that includes beer is definitely a fine endurance ride!
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Old 09-01-13, 09:12 AM   #4
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More power to you. Those are great pictures, and my hat is off to you. IMHO, that is the best way to do a century!!
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Old 09-01-13, 09:17 AM   #5
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100 miles in 24 hours is a Century.

Nice pics...Thanks
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Old 09-01-13, 09:22 AM   #6
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The point of this post is whether this was a 100 miler or not (about 105 miles more accurately) as I had around 7 or 8 stops for food, beer at a pub at the halfway stage, a bit of walking to places I couldn't ride, chatting to a few hikers and bikers, and just enjoying the views. Or was it a series of 12 mile rides?
Yep, it's a century. You rode 100+ miles in a day. Congratulations are in order! (Next time remember the sunscreen.)
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Old 09-01-13, 09:49 AM   #7
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Nicely done! Great pics! (Now I have to wonder how you pronounce all those place names.)
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Old 09-01-13, 09:51 AM   #8
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Completing that course on a mountain bike with platform pedals counts as 200 in my book. Nice work! Now where did I leave my manliness..
Platform pedals with toe-clips if you don't mind - I haven't yet succumbed to the modern clipless things all those young whippersnappers are using nowadays


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Nicely done! Great pics! (Now I have to wonder how you pronounce all those place names.)

I'm quite pleased with the pics as they came from my new mobile phone - it took me a week to find out how to transfer the pics to my computer

I'm sure the place names are no more difficult than places like Poughkeepsie or Albuquerque.

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Old 09-01-13, 11:05 AM   #9
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I had around 7 or 8 stops – for food, beer at a pub at the halfway stage, a bit of walking to places I couldn't ride, chatting to a few hikers and bikers, and just enjoying the views. Or was it a series of 12 mile rides?
I often have a debate with myself as to whether a ride is easier if I break up the trip, take it easy, have a leisurely lunch, etc. or if I push through with more effort and shorter stops. I lean towards the latter.

Do you think your ride was easier or harder because you spent over 12 hours doing it?
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Old 09-01-13, 11:28 AM   #10
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I often have a debate with myself as to whether a ride is easier if I break up the trip, take it easy, have a leisurely lunch, etc. or if I push through with more effort and shorter stops. I lean towards the latter.

Do you think your ride was easier or harder because you spent over 12 hours doing it?
Much easier. There were some very steep climbs and I have dodgy knees so a few rests made a big difference. That plus the sore backside.

I doubt whether I would have made it with just a few pit stops for food/ water.

Psychologically it made it easier that I put myself under no pressure.
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Old 09-01-13, 11:40 AM   #11
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Beautiful countryside. Is that clotted cream and preserves I see?

Nice job on the ride. Stops are allowed!
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Old 09-01-13, 05:43 PM   #12
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That trail magnifies your mileage by two. Where on the globe exactly is this?

Addendum: not to appear like a total rube, I pulled this up on google maps. That terrain is insane. I got winded just following the trails on the map.

Anyway, chapeau. If you have a Strava account, I'll give you a kudos.
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Old 09-01-13, 05:52 PM   #13
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Platform pedals with toe-clips if you don't mind - I haven't yet succumbed to the modern clipless things all those young whippersnappers are using nowadays
Thanks I needed that. "Young whippersnapper" - I like that.
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Old 09-02-13, 07:24 AM   #14
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Very well done sir, very well done. The pictures a great and your report was first rate, especially the descriptions of the stops for cake and then beer. Good on you Gerry.

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Old 09-02-13, 08:13 AM   #15
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Yep, it's a century. You rode 100+ miles in a day. Congratulations are in order! (Next time remember the sunscreen.)
+1. Great way to do a non-competitive century IMHO.
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Old 09-02-13, 11:54 AM   #16
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A model for those who would aspire to an imperial century. Well done.
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Old 09-02-13, 02:13 PM   #17
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The point of this post is whether this was a 100 miler or not (about 105 miles more accurately) as I had around 7 or 8 stops – for food, beer at a pub at the halfway stage, a bit of walking to places I couldn't ride, chatting to a few hikers and bikers, and just enjoying the views. Or was it a series of 12 mile rides?



Plus another pic of a steam train at the Brecon Mountain Railway at a place called Pontsticill -another pit stop.

This isn't the 41. No one's gonna argue the point here--it's an official century.
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Old 09-02-13, 02:57 PM   #18
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Most organized centuries have a rest stop about every 20 miles or so, so yours was not that much different. Stopping frequently to replenish and sometimes walking around to get the lactic acid out of the leg muscles is called "not being masochistic". Great job on the riding and nice pictures.
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Old 09-02-13, 05:31 PM   #19
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Most organized centuries have a rest stop about every 20 miles or so, so yours was not that much different. Stopping frequently to replenish and sometimes walking around to get the lactic acid out of the leg muscles is called "not being masochistic". Great job on the riding and nice pictures.
In here, it's called "the wisdom of middle (or advanced) age".
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Old 10-07-13, 10:58 AM   #20
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66 years old on a mountain bike with platform pedals and doing a 100 miler......with beer! Sir, you are my new hero and I sincerely bow to your awesomeness! Happy birthday!!
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Old 10-07-13, 12:39 PM   #21
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Way to go old Phart. total admiration towards you

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Old 10-07-13, 12:41 PM   #22
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The point of this post is whether this was a 100 miler or not as I had around 7 or 8 stops – for food, beer at a pub at the halfway stage, a bit of walking to places I couldn't ride, chatting to a few hikers and bikers, and just enjoying the views. Or was it a series of 12 mile rides?
Nobody (sane) rides for 100 miles without stopping. You rode a century.
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Old 10-07-13, 07:31 PM   #23
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You've discovered the very best way to do a Century!
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Old 10-08-13, 07:10 AM   #24
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Old 10-08-13, 07:31 AM   #25
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The point of this post is whether this was a 100 miler or not as I had around 7 or 8 stops for food, beer at a pub at the halfway stage, a bit of walking to places I couldn't ride, chatting to a few hikers and bikers, and just enjoying the views. Or was it a series of 12 mile rides?
Nice ride! I love stopping to take pictures, eat, chat people up, and just generally be sociable. If that doesn't count as a century, then virtually none of mine do either.

I think one of the interesting things about cyclists is that a lot of us arrive at the same place different directions and different reasons. I know people who took to cycling because their knees could no longer handle the running. People who love the peloton and to compete. People just looking to lose some weight and keep in shape. All kinds of things.

My direction and reason has always been touring ... I just like being outside with the asphalt rolling by. So for me (and I suspect you too), it's all about the journey and taking in as much as you can along the way. You not only did a century ... you did a full one.
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