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Old 10-20-02, 11:31 PM   #1
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Century time or speed?

I am thinking about working up to doing a century ride. Do you need to average a certain speed when riding a century? Do they have cut off times?
What speed/time do you ride when covering this distance?
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Old 10-21-02, 05:41 AM   #2
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Originally posted by KINGS HOCKEY
I am thinking about working up to doing a century ride. Do you need to average a certain speed when riding a century? Do they have cut off times?
What speed/time do you ride when covering this distance?
Nope. The only technical requirement (self-imposed) is to finish the Century in 24 hours - that would be an average of about 4 miles per hour. However, most century sponsors stop their support about 4-5 in the afternoon with a "sweep" to pick up or caution late riders.

A Century is an event to prove to yourself that you can ride 100 miles in one day. Some folks like to race through to show how fast they can go. Others relax and take their time. There are usually 4-6 rest stops with snacks, porta-potties and gatorade along the way.

I would guess that the average speed for many folks in centuries is about 12-13 mph, with ranges of from between 10-11 mph up to 16-17 mph, depending upon the terrain.
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Old 10-21-02, 05:56 AM   #3
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Kings Hockey!

I have completed 6 century`s this past season, my speeds averaged 14.2 mph, (slowest) to 15.9 quickest.

All were solo rides, over lumpy terrain.
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Old 10-21-02, 08:42 AM   #4
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Originally posted by KINGS HOCKEY
I am thinking about working up to doing a century ride. Do you need to average a certain speed when riding a century? Do they have cut off times?
What speed/time do you ride when covering this distance?
What do you mean by "they"? If this is an organized century with support, things vary with local usages. I have seen "supported" centuries where food and water stops were not manned or were taken down very quickly (if you did not average 20 mph+ you were out of luck). I have seen other supported centuries where support was out there if you averaged about 10 mph.

If you are doing this on your own, all you need to do is get in 100 miles during the day. You can start just after midnight and finish just before midnight if you desire. In functional terms, most people who ride centuries are capable of averaging around 12-15 mph on the bike. Any century where a person averages over 20 mph is considered a respectable time.
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Old 10-21-02, 10:37 AM   #5
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When you guys talk about century times or average speeds, is that the ride-time average or the total-time average? If a five hour century is a respectable time, how much break time is considered acceptable throughout the ride?
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Old 10-21-02, 10:42 AM   #6
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To elaborate a little on Pat's point, most supported recreational centuries have a window of time when they "man" rest stops, run SAG patrol, etc. You can generally contact the organizers and find out what time windows/expectations they have. Particularly well organized centuries require check-in to track arrivals, and drive the course at the end of the day checking for very late stragglers.

In general, the organizers do not encourage excessive haste (read "informal road races"), and allow plenty of time for even casual cyclists.
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Old 10-21-02, 02:32 PM   #7
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When I set out to do my first century my first goal was to finish it with most of my body parts still working. After that I kind of set a personal goal to ride my century in around 8-9 hours total time, including breaks. Above all it should be always be fun in the long ride and not a major ordeal everytime.

I know of a friend who toured Europe and averaged 100miles a day over a 5 week tour!
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Old 10-21-02, 03:39 PM   #8
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I did my first metric century today! and man am I beat.

My average was 14.9 mph and the only stops I made was to adjust some things. I also don't think I could have made it 100 miles because of no planning Hardies biscut for breakfast, and some rice crispy treets for the road with two bottles of water!

I've got to get a real road bike, this Trek 7500 FX is killing me on long rides.

I started riding in late August of this year and love it!
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Old 10-21-02, 03:49 PM   #9
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Time or speed? They're flip sides of the same coin !!

As with any endurance event, the first time you do it to survive. Subsequently, you do it for better times ("PRs", or personal records, as runners say). With centuries you add elevation to the PRs formula, in addition to time, because elevation gains make time and average speed a relative thing.

But for now, just get out and do one. With adequate training, a century is not really that big a deal. It's should be nothing but a slightly longer ride than the one's you've done for training. And through the training you'll come to understand that you'll be well ahead of the shutdown times of most sponsored events.
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Old 10-21-02, 05:11 PM   #10
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I just don't understand it...??? The faster I ride the shorter the time???? But then when I slow down I can't finish in the same time...???
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Old 10-21-02, 09:15 PM   #11
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It' all relative! To what kind of century you are talking about.
Some centuries are really tough, and just finishing is a big deal. Some are real easy, like say a "flat ride" in the springtime.

A good way to get ready for a given century would be to go ride for 3-4 hours without trying too hard. Figure out how far you went and then multiply your time by the same factor it would take to make a 100 miles.

If you can ride 50 miles in 4 hours, then you should try to average 12.5 mph for your century.. get it?
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Old 10-22-02, 10:59 AM   #12
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I recently did the local MS 150, 75 miles each day, Saturday and Sunday. I approach such things with my own objective in mind. Because of major interruptions to my training in July, Aug and Sep, I knew I couldn't keep up with my team, most of whom did each 75 at 20+ mph avg speed, stopping only once for 20 minutes a the lunch stop. I aimed for, and achieved over 15 mph avg, just right at 5 hrs riding time, 5:30 total elapsed time. I felt like I could have kept that pace up and finished a century. It is a personal thing, but I would not attempt a century unless I thought I could do it in less than 7 hours, preferably closer to 6. Why?
1. I don't want to spend 8-10 hours in the saddle.
2. Anyone can ride 100 miles eventually. The point, to me, is to do it steadily and at a respectable speed.

But this is just the way I approach "epic" things. If it is worth doing at all, it is worth my preparing for it and giving the achievement some respect. I don't have to be the best/fastest. Just do it in a way that I can feel good about.

Does any of that make any sense at all, or am I just rambling again.
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Old 10-22-02, 12:07 PM   #13
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Originally posted by KINGS HOCKEY
Do they have cut off times?
well that depends on the Ride.
On the Hotter N Hell One Hundred there is a turnoff
called Hells Gate that is the cut off for the full Century
(not metric). I think you have to be there by 4 hours after
the start. If later than the cut off time, you get routed to the
metric century. I believe the idea is that you'd be out on the
course far beyond the finish time for most riders.
Of course this ride is dangerous, High temps with heat stroke
hallucinations, cramps, dehydration etc. prevalent (and thats
just the 10 mile ride! )

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Old 10-22-02, 06:26 PM   #14
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I have done 2 centuries in the last month. I did them solo (not organized). Here are my insights:
1. Hydrate yourself really good starting the day before century.
2. Eat right starting the day before the century
3. Start out slow for at least the first 25 miles... pace yourself.
4. You should be able to complete a metric century without being totally wasted at the end of the 64-65 miles before you attempt a 100 mile century.
5. Make sure your bike is in perfect order and bring spare tubes and the appropriate tools.
6. On the ride, eat your snacks and drink before you think you need to.

7. Post your results here and have a great ride!!!

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