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  1. #1
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    Completing a century

    I've been riding for seven months now, and I'm working my way up to doing a century (in miles). I can now ride forty miles without stopping and averaging 17.3mph. What I'd like to know is do you ride a century with or without breaks.

    I was reading a site that was suggesting that completing a century in a day was a great achievement for cyclists. I agree, but almost anyone could ride a 100 miles in 24hrs if they took breaks in between. In my opinion it would be a great achievement to complete a century without breaks, and I hope to complete this someday.

    So, what do you think?

  2. #2
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    I always take a short break on long rides, but usually not more then 5 - 10 minutes, stretch the legs, top off the water bottles, and grab a bite to eat. Most organized centuries have two or three break areas.

    I have done a few 100+ mile days, but wouldn’t consider them a real century. 60 miles in the morning and 40 miles in the afternoon, a shower, nap and lunch between the two rides.

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    i have finished 110 kms within 5 hours in the afternoon, and 200 kms from morning till night, and 1150 kms in a week (about 170 kms/day).

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    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    Here is a tip if you want to do a century nonstop. Try standing in the pedals and stretching the legs out on an easy downhill.Just relax It is not a race enjoy.
    Last edited by Gojohnnygo.; 05-30-03 at 12:35 PM.
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    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    I guess for me, completing a century means very little if all I'm doing is attempting to pedal through. Most of my centuries involve stopping because there's something interesting to see/check-out. I also stop and make calls to let my wife know I'm okay or to tell her about something interesting that just happened. And while I'll drink while riding, I actually prefer to stop to eat... even if it's an energy bar. I like to find some place serene so I can contemplate my surroundings while snacking.
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    The only time I stop during a century is to refill my water bottles. I don't like to stop when taking in a gel pack. Just pace yourself, you certainly don't want to burn yourself out early. I usually don't feel like I'm getting worn some until around the 75-80 mile mark, that's when some lactic acid begins to set in for me. Be sure to take in an even balance of sodium and potassium, because you're going to be sweating a lot, and you need to put that back into your body. And drink drink drink!

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    Senior Member fujibike's Avatar
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    A century I rode had to earn recognition patches had a time limit of 12 hours which was pretty comfortable to allow for some stops. It was nice as all routes 25 & 50 miles, were loops and food/beverages were provided by the sponsoring club.

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    By all means take a break during century rides, if it is just a recrational ride you do not have to flog yourself into the ground just to complete the distance.

    With one proviso, limit the time spent on stops to only a few minutes, say ten, from my own personal experience longer stops than this relax muscles for to long and then it becomes an agonising experience.

    I recall on my first century, covering 70 miles and feeling pretty good, so as a reward to myself I halted for a snack and pot of tea at a roadside cafe.
    A combination of waiting for my order then slowly divulging in my repast, and 25 minutes had elapsed before setting off again.

    From feeling o/k on stopping, picking up the ride I felt totally drained and the final 30 miles was grim.

    Since that first century I set myself the motivation reward of a short break at each 25 miles distance and carry a small amount amount of food with me, and limit my stops to between 5 and 10 minutes, even less if it is not that warm a day, to prevent myself cooling off to much.

    Good luck and enjoy, when you eventually make that century......

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    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Originally posted by willic

    With one proviso, limit the time spent on stops to only a few minutes, say ten, from my own personal experience longer stops than this relax muscles for to long and then it becomes an agonising experience.
    That happened to me. I took a half-hour break at around mile 70 and when I got going again, I started getting leg cramps 5 miles later. I was able to massage them out and continue on to complete the century but my leg kept bothering me throughout the rest of the day and gave me a few problems on the hills during the next day's century too.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  10. #10
    Pat
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    I was wondering just what you meant by "breaks".

    When I read your post, I thought you might mean something like ride 50 miles in the morning, rest a few hours and ride 50 miles in the afternoon. People generally don't do this.

    Most people think of "breaks" in a century as stopping and getting snacks, taking a pit stop, getting water and letting their contact points have a break. For people who have a hard time doing a century, you can take a stop every 11/2 to 2 hours. I would recommend fewer stops early on and more in the second half. You can do that routine of "I get to stop at 85 miles" to get from 75 to 85 and then "only 15 miles to finish". It helps to mentally break up a ride. You don't want to stop very long though. That just makes it harder to warm up again.

  11. #11
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    You are riding quite fast for a first century. At 17mph you may burn out.
    After 7 months, you should have plenty of saddle time to try some longer rides. Try some 50s and 70s.
    If you ride at a really easy cruising speed of 12mph, a century takes about 8-9hrs. It is hard to ride any slower, even the grannies in my touring club ride at that pace.

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