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  1. #1
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    5 days to prep for a Century, ex- FAT guy needs your help, please!

    Hello good fellows of the Bike Forum!

    I realize some of the information I'm looking for is already within the forum, and I've spent a lot of time reading and learning from this valuable resource.

    But I have a particular set of circumstances that I'm in need of help with, so I thought I'd take the liberty of opening up a new thread.

    Some particulars -
    I'm a 6' 4" male, 190lbs, age 51years 340 days

    Important - for over a decade I've been borderline couch-potato, my weight towards the end of last year peaked at 280 lbs. So the biking has been the catalyst for a healthier me, and has served me well so far. I've also quit alcohol and I eat much healthier than I have in the past. Though I've in no way been on any kind of calorie-restrictive diet - I eat a LOT. (but good stuff, mostly).

    The point is - I'm not, and never really have been, particularly fit. Though I feel better than I have in years, due to the regular exercise and weight loss, I'm still not in the same league as any of the spandex-clad beanpoles I encounter on my rides

    I'm in my first Summer of 'serious' riding. I realize it's all relative and my idea of serious is probably most people's recreational, but I've been riding around 100 - 150 miles per week since May, and I've been pushing myself fairly hard within my own personal limits.

    I've been struggling a little with some demons from the past. I've been on several weight gain/loss cycles throughout my adult life, but never anything this extreme or successful and never anything that's passed through the 3 month mark, as this has.

    So I'm convinced that where I'm at now is a 'real' lifestyle change and not the crest of one of my historic loss cycles.

    The point? I'm trying to keep myself motivated by setting myself goals and targets and tough challenges. It's working so far. My first accomplishment was riding a 40 mile trail. My next milestone was a 79 mile ride which included 20 miles of gravel trails. That was a particularly rewarding experience - I got stuck in a torrential rain/thunderstorm for 20 minutes, had 3 flats, had to walk 2 miles to a gas station to inflate my tire as I'd burned through two Co2 refills.....I arrived home after nine hours soaking wet and exhausted. I felt great! That was on 8/30 and I felt surprisingly good the day after, in fact I rode 30 miles the following day. But since then whenever I've ridden my legs have been uncharacteristically sore. I rode a 40 mile ride yesterday, on Sunday, and it felt like an 80 miler, rough on my legs, really rough. I may not have rested adequately from the 80 miler

    Last week I signed up for a Century ride which takes place this coming Saturday. I must not fail (Please don't tell me that this is unrealistic, that's not going to help).

    I'm looking for help with what I should do for the next 5 days insofar as exercise and riding is concerned. When I first contemplated riding a Century my thought was to push hard for a couple weeks leading up, and try to get a couple of 85 milers under my belt. Now I'm thinking it's too late for that and maybe I should give my legs a rest Monday/Tues/Wed then perhaps do a short/easy 10m on Thursday and Friday, just to stretch and keep nimble. But I'm not sure. The 40 I did yesterday (Sunday) was fine in the sense that I was breathing well and still has plenty of breath and energy, but my legs were toast.

    So I'd really appreciate any thoughts on how to approach the next few days. Should I rest up, or should I be pushing hard in prep?

    Here's my riding stats for the past couple weeks -

    All of these stats are on a 29er MTB with knoblies, except the last 2 dates where I'd fitted road tires.

    8/16 50.1m 13.6 average mph
    8/18 18.3m 14.7 mph
    8/20 17.8m 14.3 mph
    8/21 11.7m 12.5 mph off-road
    8/22 18.94m 15.1 mph
    8/26 17.5m 11.6 mph off-road
    8/27 26.7m 13.1 mph
    8/28 17.3m 15.8 mph
    8/30 79m 12.1 mph
    8/31 30.2m 16.1 mph
    9/2 21.48m 14.1 mph
    9/5 20.37m 16.2 mph
    9/6 41.4m 13.1 mph gravel trail / road
    9/7 39.4m 14.1 mph

    (looking at the above highlights the point that there haven't been many rest days. I need to go back to 8/10 where I took a 4 day break).

    Many thanks in advance for any help getting through my next motivational challenge!

    Cheers

    Bruised

  2. #2
    rck
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    If t'was me, I'd take today off, ride short tomorrow and then stay off of the bike till your century. It sounds as if you have overdone it a bit. Good luck!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  3. #3
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    First of all, a major congratulations on all you've accomplished so far! You should be extremely proud of yourself for making the committment and sticking to it.
    I think you are definitely a bit overtrained right now. You've maybe pushed a little too hard, too soon. That's why your legs are "toast". The fact that you did 80 miles a week ago is encouraging as far as completing a century in a few days. I would definitely take it REAL easy this week. Bike an EASY 10-15 mi a day with probably no more than 10 mi/day and just 4-5 miles the day before the event. You want to be as rested as possible. But, active rest is better than doing nothing. Helps the muscles clean out and stay supple. I believe you'll be able to do the 100 if you take it real easy and take short rest breaks BEFORE you need to. Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Take OFF Three complete days before the 100.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  5. #5
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    +1 re MAJOR congratulations for what you have achieved

    My case is less extreme than yours - both in weight loss (only some 25/30lbs) and intensity of activity (especially bearing in mind the differences in our bikes).

    However comments based on my experience (albeit only worth what you have paid for them) are:
    (i) I do not read anything about stretching your leg muscles - perhaps that is a given - I have learnt that stretching is important for me;
    (ii) you could try some massage - that also helped me on one occasion (however, I did have access to a lady who I knew was very knowledgeable about muscles, she had been a ballerina and apparently part of her practice is helping such performers carry on performing by using different muscles when injured);
    (iii) make sure you are getting enough protein and water in your diet.

    Good luck
    Last edited by FamilyMan007; 09-08-14 at 09:12 AM. Reason: minor addition

  6. #6
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    First of all, the century is entirely realistic. The 79 mile ride sounds pretty tough, and if you can ride 79 miles you can ride 100.

    Secondly, you certainly should not push hard between now and Saturday. You need to get to the start line fresh. In general, the key to tapering before a race or other competitive event is to maintain the intensity, but cut the duration. So in ordinary circumstances my advice would be for you to keep riding through this week at your usial speed/effort level, but to cut the duration to maybe half of what you've been doing.

    However, you say your legs are toast. That being so, I'd suggest you either take a couple of days off or just take a couple of recovery rides in the next couple of days, going VERY easily for maybe a half hour or so. Then a couple of short, sharp rides on Wednesday and Thursday (no more than an hour) and a day off on Friday.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I'd ride 40-50 miles today and/or tomorrow. Hard, but short ride on Wednesday. Easy 20 miler on Thursday. Off Friday. I find I'm at my best for a century ride if I have a day or two off before the ride.

    As for the day of the century, don't even think about reducing calories. If you've been riding on just plain water, it's time to train on some sports drinks in the upcoming days. Diluted about half works well for a lot of people. You should be drinking about one water bottle every 15-20 miles - more if it's hot. Also get use to eating while riding. Something like energy bars.

    You do NOT want to get dehydrated or low on fuel during a century ride. If you do, the last 20 miles can be worse than the first 80.

    Don't hang around rest stops. Refill your bottles. Grab a snack or two. Go to the bathroom. Get back on the bike. If you lag around the rest stop, your legs will feel like lead for the first 5-10 miles. I like to keep it under 10 minutes on century rides. I also skip rest stops if I have plenty of fluids until the next one. There's no requirement to stop at rest stops short of something like a poker run game.

  8. #8
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I'd just rest up. You did 79 already, so you know you can do the century.

    This advice comes to you from someone who's done all of one century but that one was easy. Don't sweat it.

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    Thanks folks for the many useful recommendations so far.

    All of the points and suggestions raised have stimulated some thought. For example, I haven't used any form of energy drink so far. (I use lemon juice and water). The rest stations all have Gatorade available, but perhaps I'll need to investigate something more specific. (Thanks JTG for the Skratch Labs recommendation via PM, I will check this out).

    I know I'm not taking enough time to stretch and cool down after rides, and perhaps that's the reason for my tight legs. I'll need to work on this.

    I'm leaning towards a couple of lighter recovery rides today and tomorrow, then Wednesday/Thursday no biking, just a brisk walk, then Friday perhaps a 10 mile recovery ride. My legs seem to be telling me to go steady this week so I should listen to them!

    I think my biggest hurdle is going to be pace. Had I more time available I'd work on finding a pace that will take me to the end. My ride on Sunday (the 40 miler that I barely made) was intended to find a comfortable riding pace, but I blew it by going too fast for the first 20. Some of my splits during the first 20 were up as high as 21, with an average of 17, and it was just too fast for me to feel comfortable and keep going. I think holding around a 12 mph average would work best for me, though that means I'll probably miss out on the dinner/meal (7am Start, food ends at 5pm), which is a bummer as I was looking forward to meeting a few people and sharing stories!

    So I am learning, and your feedback is extremely helpful.

    Thanks again.

    (I'm still listening if anyone has any further ideas/thoughts)..

    And it's all good!

    Cheers
    Last edited by bruised; 09-08-14 at 12:01 PM.

  10. #10
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Carry a canned cola with you and drink it at mile 80.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Carry a canned cola with you and drink it at mile 80.
    OK thanks!

    @ JTGraphics - thanks for sending the Private Message, unfortunately I don't have enough posts to send you a private reply, so here goes:

    Hi JTG,

    There's a lot of great information there and I appreciate your taking the time out to write.

    Yes, pace is going to be the main issue as I don't have any real experience with this. The 79 mile ride I made a week or so ago was on a hard-packed gravel trail and road, but it was all pretty flat. On Sunday I rode part of the course and it was quite hilly. I went too fast and ran out of steam at 30 and limped home, just barely completing 40 miles. So I need to slow down and hope the hills don't kill me!

    Thanks for the nutrition/drink tips too. I will check out the Skratch Labs drinks and see if I can find them at my LBS.

    Appreciate your help!

    Cheers

    Carl
    Last edited by bruised; 09-08-14 at 11:49 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Are you totally comfortable with the slick tires you just put on? Tool around on them a bit to make sure you're good with the feel/traction on various terrains that you might experience, but don't push it if you're feeling burnt out.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  13. #13
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruised View Post
    I think my biggest hurdle is going to be pace. Had I more time available I'd work on finding a pace that will take me to the end. My ride on Sunday (the 40 miler that I barely made) was intended to find a comfortable riding pace, but I blew it by going to fast for the first 20. Some of my splits during the first 20 were up as high as 21, with an average of 17, and it was just too fast for me to feel comfortable and keep going. I think holding around a 12 mph average would work best for me, though that means I'll probably miss out on the dinner/meal (7am Start, food ends at 5pm), which is a bummer as I was looking forward to meeting a few people and sharing stories!
    Only you know how fast you can ride, though on the basis of what you have said so far I guess you might do better than 12mph. However, you are absolutely correct to think about not going too fast too soon. Starting slow, finishing fast is definitely the way to go.

    Visit the long distance/randonneuring forum and read the stuck thread on riding a century. Lots of useful stuff in there.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  14. #14
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Riding too much this week is much, much worse than riding too little or even none at all. You've already done all the training you need for Saturday's century so trying to squeeze in more intensive rides this week can only do significant harm. What I'd suggest is doing 15-20 miles both Tuesday and Thursday, but do them with a cadence of 85-95 and in an easier gear than you'd normally use. The idea is just to spin the legs to keep some blood flowing to the muscles. Prevent your heart rate from getting very high.......you should be able to talk without having to catch your breath during these two rides.

    Eat like you'd normally eat. Do NOT experiment with foods or your nutrition this week you have not tried before because you read about it somewhere. Leave that for training rides.

    Drink another bottle or two of water every day just to make sure you are well hydrated before the ride.

    Congrats on the weight loss and new lifestyle. You're already being rewarded and will reap large benefits over the long haul.
    Ride your Ride!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    Are you totally comfortable with the slick tires you just put on? Tool around on them a bit to make sure you're good with the feel/traction on various terrains that you might experience, but don't push it if you're feeling burnt out.
    Yes Sir, the tires are working out great. I was a little nervous about cornering at speed, but they hold traction well on asphalt (as they should) and are even quite comfortable on packed gravel. The Century is all asphalt so I should be good with the tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Visit the long distance/randonneuring forum and read the stuck thread on riding a century. Lots of useful stuff in there.
    Thanks, I hadn't seen this thread so I'll check it out now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jppe View Post
    Riding too much this week is much, much worse than riding too little or even none at all. You've already done all the training you need for Saturday's century so trying to squeeze in more intensive rides this week can only do significant harm. What I'd suggest is doing 15-20 miles both Tuesday and Thursday, but do them with a cadence of 85-95 and in an easier gear than you'd normally use. The idea is just to spin the legs to keep some blood flowing to the muscles. Prevent your heart rate from getting very high.......you should be able to talk without having to catch your breath during these two rides.

    Eat like you'd normally eat. Do NOT experiment with foods or your nutrition this week you have not tried before because you read about it somewhere. Leave that for training rides.

    Drink another bottle or two of water every day just to make sure you are well hydrated before the ride.

    Congrats on the weight loss and new lifestyle. You're already being rewarded and will reap large benefits over the long haul.
    Thanks you. This makes sense. I'm not going to move anything forward by training hard this week but I could easily move backwards if I train too hard.

  18. #18
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    I think you're way over-worried and you'll do fine.

    I also think you would do well with riding every day before the century - not too much and not too hard, but a few short hard efforts thrown in on an otherwise easy 10-15 miles each.

    Centuries for many folks are an exersize in pain management - around mile 80 and your butt hurts and your neck is sore is when you feel like giving up. Bring some ibuprofen or something.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  19. #19
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Take OFF Three complete days before the 100.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    Oh, warm epsom salt baths.

    Massages...
    Proper nutrition
    Sleep, lots of sleep.
    gentle stretches

  20. #20
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Hey OP..You will do great..i was able to ride 19 centuries in one month.

    Was 68 y/o at the time and carried some gear.

    Last edited by 10 Wheels; 09-08-14 at 12:59 PM.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
    I think you're way over-worried and you'll do fine.

    I also think you would do well with riding every day before the century - not too much and not too hard, but a few short hard efforts thrown in on an otherwise easy 10-15 miles each.

    Centuries for many folks are an exersize in pain management - around mile 80 and your butt hurts and your neck is sore is when you feel like giving up. Bring some ibuprofen or something.
    Thanks for the pain management/Ibuprofen suggestion, DiabloScott, I've added them to my list!

    I'm not really worried at all, just trying to give myself the best possible chance by drawing from others' experience. I'm really looking forward to it - it's a stage I need to pass through before I can move on to Fat Biking in minus 20 temps!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Hey OP..You will do great..i was able to ride 19 centuries in one month.

    Was 68 y/o at the time and carried some gear.

    Awesome! Congrats too!

  23. #23
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruised View Post
    Thanks for the pain management/Ibuprofen suggestion, DiabloScott, I've added them to my list!

    I'm not really worried at all, just trying to give myself the best possible chance by drawing from others' experience. I'm really looking forward to it - it's a stage I need to pass through before I can move on to Fat Biking in minus 20 temps!
    Oh... IcyHot or TigerBalm or one of those pain patches too... especially for sore necks.
    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

  24. #24
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    Wear compression socks...

    Jobst...you can get a pair from Walgreens for 20 bucks...that will help you with your tired legs after a ride...

    Someone else said Ibuprofen...if you are not allergic, try aspirin...carry three doses (2 pills each)...take doses at 33/66/after ride. Helps with swelling/pain/discomfort.

    Fig newtons...2 per 20 miles.

    Is it an organized run (sorry, I re-read your post)?

    So, you signed up...How many SAGS?
    Last edited by jeichelberg87; 09-08-14 at 03:41 PM. Reason: additional info

  25. #25
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    Don't start too fast and burn out early. Take something to eat and keep your water bottles full.

    And if your health is good just don't let the sags talk you into an early ride in
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

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