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  1. #1
    I'll be home in an hour. Aerow's Avatar
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    My 1st Century Ride... what should I know?

    I'm going on my first century ride this Saturday morning (weather permitting!) A friend of mine who is preparing for an Ironman triathlon is going with me (or should I say... I'm going with him )

    Is there anything I should know that is special about a century ride, other than it's really long? Physically? Mentally? What should I take along?

    I will be taking some extra water, some Gatorade mix to mix up on our stops, some bananas and power bars, spare tubes, tools, patch kit and CO2 air, cell phone and money.

    Thoughts for a rookie century rider?

    Thanks!

    Aerow

  2. #2
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    I did one once a long time ago. Best advice I gave myself, was to not be ashamed to bail out if I had to. I remember the last 20-30 miles were absolute misery, but I was close enough to finish, but aware that every mile I suffered had the potential to aggravate the muscle injury I was riding against. Finishing was a great feeling - emotionally, but the week that followed was pay-back time - physically.

    Dress according to what the weather should do. You neither want to be under-dressed or over-dressed. Taking dead weight along that you never use is no fun either. Other folk will have ideas about carbo-loading the night before. Being diabetic, I have to consider things a little differently to the norm but the old adage: drink before you are thirsty, eat before you are hungry may be useful to take into account.

    I also believe electrolyte drinks are very useful, but not everyone will agree with that. Hopefully, if it's an organised ride, you'll have access to milestone information where you'll find support, feeding stations maybe, and mechanics.

    If you feel good about it, then go ahead and do it, and enjoy it. If you have doubts, you'll start in the wrong frame of mind and will feel like a slog. Adopt a pace that is right for you. Other things you'll work out as you go along. Enjoy...
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  3. #3
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    I just finished my first organized ride. It was not a century but it was a large 2 day event.

    My advice is to be careful to pace yourself. Don't get caught up in the other people's pace and go too fast (like I did).
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    I've done 12 or so centurys over the past 15 years (usually one per season).

    I have found the following, mostly learned the hard way:
    1) your feelin' fine at the start, but don't take off in a panic. Take your time, conserve energy.

    2) padding for your butt is a must. make sure you like you saddle, double layer your riding shorts.

    3) pay close attention to the weather. if it is at all miserable don't go. I did a century in a downpour...ALL DAY. I finished, felt good when I did, but DAMN it was cold and wet all day.

    4) only carry what you need, extra weight and fussing with gear is a pain

    5) don't look at your bike computer. wait several hours before you do. when you see 60k, and realize that you got another 100 it gets demoralizing.

    6) if you can have someone with a car set up to pick you up should you decide to bail. I have balied in a few, once at 150k. I wasn't feelin good, I HAD to stop. Another time i rode an extra 40k to get a double metric century in. It all depends on how you feel that day. Don't be ashamed if you have to bail.

    7) have your favourite food waiting for you at the end of the ride. Mine is nachos while watching a movie sitting back in my armchair, surround sound turned way up.

    8) carry food and water, and carry money for extra food and water.

    9) rest often, and don't be concerned about your time. Enjoy!!

    Now, I just need to follow my OWN advice.

    Dgr

  5. #5
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Drink, drink, drink. At least one bottle per hour. 1.5 if it is hot. Drink early, drink often. If you get behind you cannot catch up.

    Eat, eat, eat. Start nibbling right away. I prefer to take something easily digestible in a form that I can take a bite/shot of every 15 minutes, like energy gel in a flask rather than packs. I set my countdown/repeat timer for 15 minutes and take a little shot of gel and a good drink every time it beeps so I am getting a couple of hundred calories an hour and plenty to drink. Bananas are great at rest stops, but gel in a flask is easier to deal with in the frequent small doses I prefer while riding.

    Keep drinking when you finish and eat something as soon as possible, particularly in the first 1/2 hour.

    Be wary of making any changes to your seating arrangement. With all due respect to the double shorts advice. Extra padding can do more damage than insufficient padding, causing rubbing due to bunching. I have a pair of very high quality shorts with oh-so-cushy extra thick padding. They are like sitting on a cloud, but I don't wear them on rides over 40-50 miles because the padding is just too thick and bunches, actually causing chafing. Wear what your seat is used to. You are probably going to experience some chafing/discomfort as a result of pedalling for 5-7 hours straight.

    I haven't done a century, but I did complete my first MS 150, 75 miles each day, weekend before last and finished comfortably following these guidelines.
    FWIW,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  6. #6
    Senior Member digger's Avatar
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    Be wary of making any changes to your seating arrangement. With all due respect to the double shorts advice. Extra padding can do more damage than insufficient padding, causing rubbing due to bunching.

    Hmm, ok, never had the bunching problem, but everyone is differant. Take the advise, be wary of differant seating arrangements.

    Digger

  7. #7
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    The other guys have given something valuable to chew on. My parting shot is this: a century is not the type of ride to try experiments; stay with what you know works for you.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  8. #8
    Just Follow Your Feet! AlphaGeek's Avatar
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    Animal crackers and fig newtons make good snacks too. Drink, drink, drink, eat, eat, eat, drink, drink, drink, ...etc.

    If you have a fold-up tire, or at least a tire patch, it's a good idea. (You didn't say if it is a supported ride, but if so leave all un-necessary gear in the SAG wagon.)

    I found it helpful to concentrate on my cadence, if you have cadence on your cyclometer. Keeping a steady spin is better than hammering, and conserves your energy.

    If the sun is out, wear sunscreen, it makes a big difference.

    Have fun, go at your own pace.
    Recumbents rock!

  9. #9
    Pat
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    If you are averaging around 17 mph, this will take 6 hours on the bike, with stops it could easily take 7+ hours.

    1) Don't sprint or hammer hills - each time you do you are going to hasten fatigue.

    2) Ride at the low end of your aerobic zone. You should be feeling as if you are riding a little "too easy". As a rule of thumb, you should be able to do a century at a pace that is a bit too hard for you to hold a conversation at (because you are starting to breathe rythmically). If you want to ride fast, you can do that in the last 20 miles of the ride, not the first 20.

    3) Eating - everyone has different things here. I like bananas and oranges starting out and cookies towards the end. YUM

    4) Drinking - be sure to stay hydrated. If you stop urinating, that is a sign of dehydration.

    5) Stopping. I like to stop from time to time and how often depends on my fitness. I have done a century with just one stop. But it is often nicer to stop every 90 minutes or so just briefly to take a pit stop and let blood flow to your feet, hands and hinder parts. I would not advise stopping long because it can be hard to get going again.

    6) Changing - centuries are like dances - you dance with the boy who brung yeah. Don't do anything new for a century. Don't try a new food, don't wear a new pair of shorts, don't use a new pair of shoes, don't don't don't. If you make a bad choice - you are in for hours of misery.

    7) Training - have you really trained enough for this? The rule of thumb is that you should have ridden a 70 mile ride before attempting a century.

    8) You are doing an unsupported century and they can work well. Be sure you know the route and that there are an adequate number of places to stop and get water and snacks.

    9) Take simple tools - tube, pump, tire irons, patch kit, boot, and allen wrenches - that should be enough.

    10) Since this is your first one, you might want to think of a route that allows you to "bail out". You don't want to do an out and back and decide that 50 miles into the ride and 50 miles from home that maybe this was not a good ideer.

  10. #10
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    All good advice, riding a century is not really a big deal, it's mostly a psychological accomplishment. Any fit cyclist can complete one with ease, I do at least 1 century per week most of the year, A century is just 10, 10 mile rides done in one day. As a cyclist, you should eat well all of the time anyway and regularly drink plenty of water. If you're new at this, start out at an easy pace and ration your energy, spin but don't push on the down hills and spin an easy gear on the up hills. Commit to completing one and then do it. Once you do one, the rest will be easy. While riding, look around and enjoy the scenery and the ride, don't focus on the finish, you're not doing this to get to the finish line, you are doing this to ride the bike and enjoy the experience. When the ride is over so is the fun, the longer the ride, the longer the fun will last. If you like to ride, what difference does the lentgh of the ride make. Most riders over focus on distance, it's the quality of the riding experience that counts. So, with that said, eat well, drink plenty, ride the bike and enjoy the experience. Good luck and stick with it.
    Achieve your goals: Attitude is everything:

  11. #11
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    I answer your question, with a question.
    Is it a wise decsision to do your first century with a guy who is training for a triathilon?

    Be very carefull of your early pace! if your riding partner sets a speed that is un-sustainable for your own i would be inclined to leave him to it.
    Let him drop you, there is no shame in it. Better that than hitting the wall with 30/40 miles still to go.

    Also if you need to take a break, don`t stop to long 15/20 mins at most more than this and your leg muscles relax to much, then it is absolute hell finding the energy to finish.

    good luck and enjoy.

  12. #12
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    Willic is correct, let your friend go, ride at your pace, only you will fell your pain. This stuff is fun, not a torture test. I find cycling in general often becomes a solo sport. We have fun at the start, at the sag stops and at the finish but, often during the ride we go it alone. Have fun
    Achieve your goals: Attitude is everything:

  13. #13
    Senior Member PrimalQ's Avatar
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    I've done a couple this year and here are 3 other tips.

    1. Make Sure you stretch your muscles from time to time, Calf Stretches, Back (cat Stretch), and Neck Stretches. Perform these every 20 to 30 minutes.

    2. Some people Swear by Advil or Tylenol on rides. ( I haven't taken any while riding) But some people say that they couldn't survive without it. I do take some tylenol after the ride to help with muscle aches the next day

    3. If the drive to the ride location is longer than an hour I would recommend driving with someone. Make your buddy drive, or take turns and drive 30 mins each. A long drive after a century can really suck if your by yourself.

    One of the hardest things doing a century is being in that riding position for so many hours. If you are not use to it your body will definetely let you know. So just make sure you take care.

    Have fun and Good Luck....
    People usually ask me "Why do you ride?" and I always answer "Because I Can"
    :cool: PrimalQ

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Pat
    6) Changing - centuries are like dances - you dance with the boy who brung yeah. Don't do anything new for a century. Don't try a new food, don't wear a new pair of shorts, don't use a new pair of shoes, don't don't don't. If you make a bad choice - you are in for hours of misery.
    [/B]
    Not that I have ridden one - but elsewhere on the Forums, I have seen this over and over. Especially don't change seat position, height, seat forward, back, etc.

  15. #15
    ARRRR! hillyman's Avatar
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    I predict you will do WELL !! But you will be very tired afterwards.

  16. #16
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    Unless I missed some info, I don't see any reference to your training base or what your longest recent ride has been. Everything is relative. If your accustomed to riding 50-75 miles at a whack on a regular basis my recommendations would be significantly different than if your longest recent ride is only 20 or 30 miles.
    100 miles may seem like a long, long haul if you have only been riding 5 hours per week. The less weekly volume you have the tougher it will be. If you have been riding 20 plus hours a week you could perhaps knock it out with 4 large water bottles of water in 5 hours on flat terrain with a HR of only 120 BPM.
    The Fife

  17. #17
    I'll be home in an hour. Aerow's Avatar
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    I usually ride about 50-70 miles a week, but in the past few weeks it's been down some.

    I'm not worried about my triathlon buddy dropping me. I'm a stronger cyclist than he is. He has built up more endurance than me, but I've got the hills and speed thing covered. So if I back off on the hills, which is where I expend most of my energy, and we draft, I'm feeling pretty confident in completing the ride.

    I think this is mostly a mental thing anyway. I'm already planning on hitting a wall at some point in the ride where it really seems tough. If it doesn't come, then cool, no big deal. If it does, then I'll say, "OK. Here is the wall I was expecting. Now just relax, enjoy the scenery and work through it." I'm saving one particulary tasty food treat for that part of the ride to celebrate making it that far, unless I hit it a 20 miles- then I'll just eat the food, let the air out of my tires and walk home!

    Thanks for all the good wisdom!

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