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Old 01-18-04, 08:40 PM   #1
kneighbour
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A Century in 5 hours???

I have noted around the forums that many people try to get a century (160km) done in 5 hours or less.

I have only done 2 centuries, both so far over the 5 hours I am too embarressed to say how long.

But one of my goals this year is to do a Century every single month of the year - the first one being in 2 weeks time.

One of my long term goals is to also do the Century in 5 hours or less. When I first saw this achievment on the net, I barely believed it, and even now I cannot work out it can be done. From my maths, you would have to average 32kph or slightly more. To do this, you would need to have a ride speed of around 40kph.

My first question - do these speeds seem about right?

Secondly - is the 5 hours the actual ride time (as reported by the bike computer), or the overall time for the ride, including stops, etc?

For those hardy souls who have actually done this super human feat - can you give me some pointers? What speed do you aim to sit on? Do you stop much? What do you eat, when?

I have done countless 100km rides, and 2 Centuries, so I am not a complete novice at this. But I have never done a ride of this sort when time is an issue. The only goal was to finish.

I am not a racer or anything - I am just a weekend warrior who does this for fitness. And I am 52 and way overweight - which is why I am riding the bike in the first place. I can currently average around 30kph for rides up to around 50km. I have not done any longer rides at these sorts of speeds as the club I ride with does not do this sort of ride.

I know the century at this sort of average is way past me at the moment - but perhaps at the end of this year?? I am hoping...
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Old 01-18-04, 09:21 PM   #2
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I've done it - year before last, solo. About 4hrs 45min. Eat on the bike and don't stop. The course I did it on was fairly flat - the only stop I had was for about 1 min. to pee. I rode quite a bit that year including a double in 11.5 - I hope to do better this year. Also, both those rides were on a SS. Last year I did a century and it took me 12.25 hours - it was off road and included ~18 - 19K feet of climbing.
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Old 01-18-04, 09:25 PM   #3
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Also - I always tell myself "the faster I go, the sooner the pain will stop.

Don't over train. That's very important - nothing worse than working your ass off and geting slower (I'm speaking from experience).
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Old 01-18-04, 09:28 PM   #4
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the key to your goal is not stopping, or stopping as little as possible. try using a camelbak and waterbottles for hydration and loading up on energy bars and gels for food along the way. you have also got to maintain a decent average speed, or it will never happen. it will all come in time, if you train properly for it. good luck.
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Old 01-18-04, 09:33 PM   #5
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Stopping would'nt be a problem as i never stop when i ride but 20mph avg. would be for me.5 hours would be rough.
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Old 01-18-04, 09:48 PM   #6
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The majority of people who do "centuries" in under 5 hours are doing them in groups. It isn't impossible to do one solo. However riding in a group will not only keep the speed higher it will keep you fresher with someone to slipstream. Also the time just flies, before you know it, you're finished. On flat terrain with no crazy headwinds, under 5 should be easy. If the terrain is hilly then forget it. Somewhere closer to 5hr 30min is more realistic. The Pro's in the Tour Down Under, will do a rolling hill century in 3hrs 30min. Yep 45kph! That's something to aim for.

CHEERS.

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Old 01-18-04, 09:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velodemon
the key to your goal is not stopping, or stopping as little as possible. try using a camelbak and waterbottles for hydration and loading up on energy bars and gels for food along the way.

Just what I do now. I use a cameblback and also energy gels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by velodemon
you have also got to maintain a decent average speed, or it will never happen. it will all come in time, if you train properly for it. good luck.
So what sort of average speed are we looking at here? From your experience.

I do not actually do any training. I just do the normal club rides that come up (ie 50-100km group rides at social paces), plus I plan to just do these century rides once a month. I do not race - so I do not do any training of that sort.
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Old 01-18-04, 09:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dutchy
The majority of people who do "centuries" in under 5 hours are doing them in groups. It isn't impossible to do one solo. However riding in a
Good point, and now that you mention it, fairly obvious.

I hope to do these rides in a small group also. The problem is to get riders who want to travel at the same speed - and I think if I asked for volunteers to ride at 35kph, I would be riding by myself. The best I could hope for are riders who want to sit on 28kph or so. This is the speed we usually travel at on club rides, and this is simply not fast enough. Still, I live in hope and I may be able to find some-one.

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group will not only keep the speed higher it will keep you fresher with someone to slipstream. Also the time just flies, before you know it, you're finished. On flat terrain with no crazy headwinds, under 5 should be easy.
The ride is fairly flat - not an ironing board - but the worst is rolling hills.
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Old 01-18-04, 11:20 PM   #9
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This is the speed we usually travel at on club rides, and this is simply not fast enough.
It might be time to find another group to ride with, at least for some rides. Around Brisbane there should heaps of groups you could hook up with.

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Old 01-18-04, 11:34 PM   #10
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It might be time to find another group to ride with, at least for some rides. Around Brisbane there should heaps of groups you could hook up with.
Mark
Actually, I have thought about this a lot. The problem is I do not think I am good enough yet to move to one of the 'cafe racer' groups. And in fact, I have no interest at all in racing - which is my impression of these faster clubs.

I could certainly be wrong as I have not actually met any of these faster groups except on the road. There are certainly no clubs with websites that I could find. Most seem to be tied to bike shops, and are some sort of "training" ride for triathalons or the like.

It is a worry - if anyone DOES know of a road bike group in Brisbane that does NOT simply do flat out training rides, then please let me know!
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Old 01-19-04, 04:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kneighbour
It is a worry - if anyone DOES know of a road bike group in Brisbane that does NOT simply do flat out training rides, then please let me know!
From my observations on the Coast, your biggest problem will be finding a group that actually does rides anywhere near century length. 10 of my 13 centuries last year were totally solo.
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Old 01-19-04, 06:46 AM   #12
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From my observations on the Coast, your biggest problem will be finding a group that actually does rides anywhere near century length
Well, with the BBTA, you can put on your own rides. A very good system. We have a VERY varied calendar (some 4-6 different rides every weekend). I am putting on a few centuries, and some other people are too - so we will definately be putting on a century ride every month this year. The first 5 have already been planned and set in concrete (ie the ride calendar has already gone to the printer). We even have a 300km coming up in May I intend trying.

My problem is finding riders that are willing to travel at the faster speeds I want to go at. Most BBTA rides average around 20 kph or so, with a lot of social stops, etc. This is fine for 30km rides, but not these longer ones.

I vaguely hope that I can use these rides to get my speed up to such a point that I can do the century in 5 hours by the end of this year. Perhaps it is a vain hope, but it is a noble goal nevertheless.
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Old 01-19-04, 07:16 AM   #13
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Would it not depend upon what kind of terrain? Here we have plenty of mountains.. As one interested in touring, of which bike friends are about to cross the US, I would hope for many 100 mile day..By that I mean the easy days in flat states-through the plains. Hope 100 mile days in such terrain is not a knock out..Because in long distance touring, I count on doing many and often. Flat terrain, 100 miles- I hope that is considered easy.?
Not sure about Brisbane..
Last year I did a 104 miles in 6 1/2 hours, but with about 4.000 feet of climbing.
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Old 01-19-04, 08:53 AM   #14
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It's going to depend on how fit (and stubborn) you and your mates are. Remember when you're touring that you're carrying plenty more gear and by the road repairs are more likely to be needed (three broken spokes in one day on separate occasions set us back about two and a half hours once). But on the other hand time isn't too much of an issue unless you want to do lots else during the day. Don't forget that you'll be doing it day-in, day-out as well which will take it's toll.

My advice would be to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the trip rather than having to watch the odometer the whole journey.
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Old 01-19-04, 08:59 AM   #15
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When I finished my first century, I didn't care about the time. I was just happy to have done it. But, doing a century at my age (57) is like climbing Mt. Fuji. If you do it once, you are an idiot. If you do it twice, you're a bigger idiot.

I must be a bigger idiot because I am going to do it again, and try it to get down near about 6 hrs, 30 minutes. My chances of getting it down to 5 hours are pretty slim, but not impossible. I will just have to sustain idiocy longer.
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Old 01-19-04, 09:36 AM   #16
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My goal for this year is to do an under 5 hour century.
Maybe I'm fudging the results here but I am talking
about in the saddle time, not elapsed clock time.
I figure that total elapsed for me will be around
5hrs 30min.
I hope to do it on Organized ride ( HHH in August).
Marty
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Old 01-19-04, 09:58 AM   #17
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I thought the goal was four hours or less in a peleton.
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Old 01-19-04, 11:58 AM   #18
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The two key ride-day points have been mentioned... Stopping and hooking up with a good group. Personally, I prefer traveling light and comfortable with brief stops, typically for fluids, both in and out . Hooking up with the right group takes some good self-knowledge. What feels like a good, invigorating pace early on may leave you toasted at mile 75. If you begin to suspect it's too fast for you, it is. Let 'em go and hook up with a slower group. That beats the 25 mile death march to the finish after you're toasted been dropped. Also, you want a group with the same mindset (willing to stop, etc.).

The other piece is preparation, which includes training and pre-ride tapering, rest and nutrition.

I think there's been some good discussion in the past... you might do a search in Training and Nutrition and Road Cycling.

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Old 01-19-04, 02:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrekRider
When I finished my first century, I didn't care about the time. I was just happy to have done it. But, doing a century at my age (57) is like climbing Mt. Fuji. If you do it once, you are an idiot. If you do it twice, you're a bigger idiot.

I must be a bigger idiot because I am going to do it again, and try it to get down near about 6 hrs, 30 minutes. My chances of getting it down to 5 hours are pretty slim, but not impossible. I will just have to sustain idiocy longer.
What a brilliant set of observations! My thoughts exactly.

Actually, the "idiot" bit I can quite agree with. My first century took almost 12 hours - it was terrible - but it was very hilly and it nearly killed me (at least I thought so at the time). Most of the trip I was cursing myself for the stupidity of being there. I would have pulled out if I had the chance - but we were way out in the country with absolutely no way to get back except on the bikes, so there was no choice at all.

My second century was a breeze - fairly flat and a good day, if a bit warm. I was actually annoyed that we went so slowly, and I did it in 8 hours. I could easily have done it in 7, I think.

I find that ANY ride over about 80km is a pain in the butt - literally. The fun goes out of it at around this point, and it becomes a challenge. But why do it?? I do it to lose weight - really no other reason. I have already lost 25kg - I want to lose another 15 kg at least. I am currently at 103kg, and I am 51 years old. I find short rides fairly useless for losing weight - anything less than 100km I can even gain weight during a ride.

And at the back of my mind somewhere is the goal of doing it in 5 hours - that would be something...
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Old 01-19-04, 03:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niall
My advice would be to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the trip rather than having to watch the odometer the whole journey.
I did two centuries last year - so I know I can do the distance ok. My main reason for doing them is to simply get in a LOT of base miles so I can lose weight. If I can achieve other goals at the same time, then that is a bonus. One goal is to do a century every month this year (which I hope to do), and the other goal is to finally do it in 5 hours (or less). Noble goals, and I hope ones thta will help to motivate me while my butt is aching out there on the bike.
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Old 01-19-04, 03:03 PM   #21
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While there have been some VERY good comments in this thread, especially about not stopping, etc, no one has actually mentioned what speeds you need to travel at to actually make the magic 5 hour barrier.

For those who have beaten the 5 hour limit - what speeds did you actually sit on. And what was your final average speed?
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Old 01-19-04, 03:20 PM   #22
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100 miles in 5 hours is an average speed of 20 miles per hour. Yikes!!! 20 mph = 33 kph. And that is assuming you never stop to rest/eat/urinate/whatever. If you do stop, make it quick and get back on the bike.
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Old 01-19-04, 04:29 PM   #23
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100 miles in 5 hours is an average speed of 20 miles per hour. Yikes!!! 20 mph = 33 kph. And that is assuming you never stop to rest/eat/urinate/whatever. If you do stop, make it quick and get back on the bike.
That is exactly why I want to know what the REAL average must be - taking into account such things as stops, etc.

More to the point - what speed to you have to try to sit on to maintain this sort of average - I am thinking of around 35-40kph as much as possible. Correct?
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Old 01-19-04, 04:51 PM   #24
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kneighbor........Under rolling terrain, I've done it in under 5 hours riding in a small group taking turns pulling, but doing it solo is a whole different story....

George

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Old 01-19-04, 04:56 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kneighbour
That is exactly why I want to know what the REAL average must be - taking into account such things as stops, etc.

More to the point - what speed to you have to try to sit on to maintain this sort of average - I am thinking of around 35-40kph as much as possible. Correct?

It depends how much you want to stop. A five hour century with 1/2 hour worth of stopping and your average needs to be 35.7kph. With an hour off the bike, you need to average 40.2kph while riding.
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