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  1. #1
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    Starting to Freak out

    I have decided to do a century in June...my first one...just bought a rode bike. Ok, I'm thinking this isn't a big deal. I've done three day long fighter training camps(kickboxing) that leave you immobile and sore for a week...so I'm thinking a day long ride can't be a big deal. But, people are beginning to freak me out. They start mentioning things like, “you'll make it if you draft”...Ok I know what this is, but does it really matter? So, now...I feel like I need to find an experienced group to ride with so I can practice this concept.

    What are some things I should consider. I don't know what questions I should be asking? I really don’t want to make this complicated. I just like riding & figure what the hell...I can raise some money for charity. I've easily ridden 51 miles(not fast, but easy)...and I'm doing 75 tomorrow. I looked at the stats for this ride & a few women did it in 5.5 hours. What would I need to do to try and kick some butt on this ride.

  2. #2
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Chill.

    Any reasonably fit person with a modicum of cycling experience can do a century. There's a kind of 50% rule -- if you can do 50 mi., then you can do 100 mi. The effort isn't that much greater, it's really just a question of saddle time. I remember that i did my first century with no training and no preparation. It was supposed to be a 120 km ride that turned into 162 km. Just stay fit and get used to being in the saddle for long lengths of time... and rest the day before the big ride or take a short, easy spin.

    As for: “you'll make it if you draft”... well, duh... Everyone drafts. That's the reason to go with a group. You could probably do a century alone, but it'd take you 8 hours; in a group, it'll take 5-6 hours. On my first century [see above], we had three guys, and our average speed was 27.5 km/h.

    I can understand why 100 miles might be seen as a personal milestone, but I can't understand why people make such a big deal out of training for a century. Almost anyone on this board could go out and do one tomorrow -- you included.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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    Thanks!
    That's what I needed to hear. I was just getting to many "Wow, can you really do that?..that's long...and in these mountains?...do you know you have ride over Snake Mountain?" It was discouraging. I am the unassuming cyclist...so I should expect that kind of response.

    BUT I WILL DO IT!

    I'm going off line to go enjoy the great outdoors!

  4. #4
    have bike will tour catfish's Avatar
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    yea its like velocipedio said just about anyone can finish 100 miles in a day. 5 or 6 years ago was the First time i did a century i had no clue, just knew it sounded like fun.. i was on a slow hybred to boot and .couldnt keep up with anyone I did most of the ride alone people pased me all the time some gave encouragement. I made the mistake of taking too long a break for lunch my legs thought the ride was over. at one point i was off the bike and just stareing at it and wondering what the hell i was doing out here . then i got inspired and finished the ride i took just over 8 hrs really a pahitic time! Thankfully since that day i upgraded to a better road bike and became a much faster rider its a
    differerent story now. Go for it!, it feels good at the finish line
    catfish

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    Like the guys said, any regular non-athletic cyclist can ride a century.
    Athletic non-cyclists need to get out and put some saddle time in, just to get used to being in the saddle. Your 50 and 75 miles seem good preparation.
    Dont forget to eat and drink on the ride. The last 20 miles can be a pain if you run out of glycogen, so keep your body topped up with fuel.
    Dont try to kick butt on your very first century, dont try to sprint or climb hard at the start. Endurance riding is about using your resources efficiently.

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    Originally posted by velocipedio
    Chill.

    Any reasonably fit person with a modicum of cycling experience can do a century. There's a kind of 50% rule -- if you can do 50 mi., then you can do 100 mi. The effort isn't that much greater, it's really just a question of saddle time. I remember that i did my first century with no training and no preparation. It was supposed to be a 120 km ride that turned into 162 km. Just stay fit and get used to being in the saddle for long lengths of time... and rest the day before the big ride or take a short, easy spin.

    As for: “you'll make it if you draft”... well, duh... Everyone drafts. That's the reason to go with a group. You could probably do a century alone, but it'd take you 8 hours; in a group, it'll take 5-6 hours. On my first century [see above], we had three guys, and our average speed was 27.5 km/h.

    I can understand why 100 miles might be seen as a personal milestone, but I can't understand why people make such a big deal out of training for a century. Almost anyone on this board could go out and do one tomorrow -- you included.
    Agree. As long as you have been training and ridding, a Century isn't a big deal. I did mine last Saturday under the most unfavorable weather condition (wet, raining, cold, and windy). Just remember to bring energy drink and packet food. If I were you, here is what I would do. Fill up two water bottles with energy drink. Bring alone some extra (a bag) energy drink mix with you on the ride. Drink as much as possible during the first 50 miles. By the time you are at the 50 miles mark, you should have emptied the first bottle. Now, take a slightly long break and drink up the entire second bottle. Remember to eat. You should have two empty water bottles now. Then, refill just one of the water bottles with the energy drink mix. You should be able to finish the century strong while keeping your bike lighter.

  7. #7
    Clipless Crash Clutz Bbmoozer's Avatar
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    Hi Betta:
    I'm doing my first century in June too. It's for charity too. I'm in ok shape in that I work out 3-4 times a week as it is. As others said, with the century, it's saddle time that counts. I've ridden 50 and was fine. The worst part about long rides is butt aches from the saddle. And staying hydrated and fed are important too. It's a mind thing I think too. I live in Wisconsin where it's flat, the ride is in Tahoe where its mountainy. Initially, I'm thinking AAAAhhh! How will I be prepared for the hills??? But then I remind myself that I've ridden in some pretty fierce head winds, I'm lifting weights for strength, etc... and that I can CAN CAN do it!!! Just 'relax' have fun and take my time! Plus.... I will reward myself with a huge dessert that night!! wooo Wooooooo!
    Sarah

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    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    You can do it if you pace yourself and eat and drink during the ride. I "hit the wall" and have trouble completing more than 30 miles/50 km without eating something.

    In 1972, I completed the Los Angeles Wheelmen double century in 12:18, and I my father can tell you that I am NOT a natural athlete. (I tested at the bottom of my 6th grade class during President Kennedy's national physical fitness program.)
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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    Nature Worshipper hillyman's Avatar
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    8 hours is a bad time to do a century!?I know with breaks it took me longer than that and there were still people coming in after me.Man I am a horrible athlete,but I have fun.I like to see the sites ...Hilly
    In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. John Muir

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    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    I just found out today that im doing my first century of the year in 3 weeks. That was just 5 minutes after i watched the weather; rain rain and more rain for the next two weeks... Hope i can get a few miles in before then

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    Don't let your energy stores run out, don't let the SAG wagon out of sight, and don't over do it.
    Booyah!!

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    Clipless Crash Clutz Bbmoozer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by John E
    (I tested at the bottom of my 6th grade class during President Kennedy's national physical fitness program.)
    I remember those tests! The first time I got up the rope I was thrilled!!!!! I hated the jump from a standing position...I sucked!

    Sarah

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    Chicago Cyclist ViciousCycle's Avatar
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    Since I use my bike for transportation, travelling a lot of miles in one day is simply a matter of deciding where I would like to travel to and then getting there. Cycling 100 miles in one day doesn't represent a particular milestone for me -- it would just mean that I had some place 50 miles away that I wanted to travel to and from.

    I think of my odometer as a tool -- it helps me estimate how far I am towards reaching a particular destination, but I long ago grew tired of trying to get the highest possible daily odometer reading. I keep monthly totals and annual totals, but I have no particular interest in keeping track of daily totals.
    The Easter Island people were clever, but their civilization collapsed after they chopped down the last tree on their island. You can't be 'resourceful' if you've used up all of your resources.

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    Thanks...for all the info & support.

    I rode 63miles the other day....was suppose to be 75, but winds & hunger killed it. Plus, I made the mistake of working out hard the day before. Now, I know. But I LOVED the ride!!! There is nothing like flying down the mountains…it’s the best reward for a long climb.

    Yes, the food/water idea makes sense. I live by energy packets.

    The one thing that is beginning to bother me is climbing. I can't seem to push it any faster...my muscles get fatigued. I can average 6-7 m/h but drop at times to 5 or even 4. I'd like to maintain a speed. Is there anything I can do about this. I'm beginning to think maybe it's because I'm a woman and I just can't keep up with men.


    Or should I venture into the world of muscle building powders & other supplements; things I have always avoided.

  15. #15
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    What would I need to do to try and kick some butt on this ride.
    Well for starters I wouldn't try to kick butt on
    my first century, not without building up to it.
    The one thing that is beginning to bother me is climbing. I can't seem to push it any faster...my muscles get fatigued. I can average 6-7 m/h but drop at times to 5 or even 4. I'd like to maintain a speed. Is there anything I can do about this.
    In a word, Spin. Keep in a lower gear and spin, Don't try to push too big a gear.
    Just look at what Lance did on the mountain stages last TdF.
    I'm not saying try to maintain his pace (god knows I couldn't do it), but watch his style of riding.
    I wouldn't worry about keeping up with anyone, just finishing a century is reward enough.
    Marty
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    betta,
    climbing is definitely my weakest point as well. i would like to attribute it to being female, but then i watch a good friend of mine cruise up hills and realize that we cant take the gender excuse on this one ... granted, she really had to work at it. something that helps me on a long climb when i start thinking that my legs should really be spinning faster is to click down into a harder gear and stand for a few seconds to bring my cadence up and change the muscles that are working, then sit and go back to an easier gear again. viola! i am spinning again - at least for a little while...
    every great oak was once a tiny nut that stood its ground.

  17. #17
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Betta
    The one thing that is beginning to bother me is climbing. I can't seem to push it any faster...my muscles get fatigued. I can average 6-7 m/h but drop at times to 5 or even 4. I'd like to maintain a speed. Is there anything I can do about this. I'm beginning to think maybe it's because I'm a woman and I just can't keep up with men.

    Genevieve Jeanson is a woman and she could drop half of the men's pro peloton -- not to mention everyone on this board -- in a climb.

    One of the toughest things about finding your way in cycling is the realization that you are always going to have [relative] weak areas. I'm strong and steady over long distances and I can sprint very well, but I can't climb. I get over climbs well enough, but I'm neaver at the head of the group and I have to fight until my eyes are popping against my sunglasses to keep up. If someone wants to attack me, a hill is the place to do it. My build and physiology -- ideal for powering into a sprint -- are a disadvantage in the hill, and the only way I'll ever become a mountain goat is if I lose more weight [I'm down to 10% fat already -- not much more to lose] and suddenly become one of those reedy climbing guys.

    What I do is, as my coach Greg leMond says [in case you're wondering, I've never met the man, but I use his training book], is train my weaknesses. Every week, and preferably twice a week, I do hill work. I go to some of the most challenging hills in the city and I repeat them for a couple of hours. It's painful, unpleasant work but, as I get better at it, it becomes strangely satisfying [it's probably the endorphins]. Training hill won't make me a great climber, but it'll make me an adequate climber, and it's ideal long-duration interval training.

    The trick to long climbs is rhythm. Don't worry about speed, just shift into your lowest gear and, like lotek says, spin. Keep a steady cadence. If that means getting out of the saddle when the grade kicks up [I've never seen a hill that was a continuous grade], then do it; you can ease off a bit and semi-recover when the grade drops a bit.

    There are two things to remember on a climb: (1) You feel like hell, but you'll rtecover in less than a minute on the other side, (2) As bad as you feel, the other guys feel just as bad and most of them probably feel worse.

    Or should I venture into the world of muscle building powders & other supplements; things I have always avoided.
    Avoid this crap. Like all shortcuts, these products are generally too good to be true and can seriously screw with your body chemistry. The only solution is hard work and patience. If you can get over the hills with some effort now -- whether the other guys are faster in the climb or not -- then that's good enough for now. If you want to get better, train for it.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

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  18. #18
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Betta
    The one thing that is beginning to bother me is climbing. I can't seem to push it any faster...my muscles get fatigued. I can average 6-7 m/h but drop at times to 5 or even 4. I'd like to maintain a speed. Is there anything I can do about this. I'm beginning to think maybe it's because I'm a woman and I just can't keep up with men.

    Or should I venture into the world of muscle building powders & other supplements; things I have always avoided.
    With appropriate gearing, climbing should challenge your endurance and your cardiovascular system, not your raw muscle strength. Since I grew up in the canyons and hills of west Los Angeles and have small bone structure and little excess weight, hill-climbing comes naturally to me. I have friends who can leave me in the dust against a headwind or on the flats, but who struggle mightily against gravity. Do not worry about maintaining a "decent" speed on a long or a steep climb, particularly if it is part of an all-day ride! Practice hill climbing, learn to pace yourself, and re-evaluate your gearing. Although I can handle most typical hills in a 49.3-inch gear (42/23), I do resort to something lower on steep grades or while "hitting the wall." I also find it helpful to get out of the saddle occasionally, to use my muscles differently.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  19. #19
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    Betta,

    5 mph on a climb is pretty good. It sure beats walking :-)

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    Hi Betta,

    All good advice you are getting. I rode my first 100 at the age of 53 . I went on a 50 mile or so ride and got home and I felt so wired I hopped back on after about 10 minutes and did another 50 miles. I really do think people make too much out of a century.
    I will admit that I did lots of 50-70 mile rides before I did the 100 going to do a double century for my 56 birthday. By the way I am fat out of shape and get out of breath riding in an elevator ! *LOL*

    Ride Safe........Dudley

  21. #21
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    The longest ride i have ever done is 125! for me that is a big thing. It was just me and my dad and we would take turns for who was in the front and all. He would spend most of the time there because he is a much better rider than me but i have alot of time to learn being that i'm only 15 now.

    When i did mine i said to my dad that i was going crazy by the age of 14!!!! but once i finished ot i felt good (tired but good)

    Jared
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    Don't get me wrong. When I mean 'kick butt' I mean my own butt. I wont try and kill myself on my first century. I just want to do the best I can do, and right now I feel I can do better.

    In terms of climbing, I have been trying to increase the difficulty as I improve. I try and stay in one gear, and only go light if absolutely necessary. I have been trying to improve my climbing for the past month. I guess I'm looking for some solid training suggestions on increasing climbing speed. I'm not necessarily doing it just for the century. I am doing this for my own personal challenge.
    Hey, I'm competitive and I have this body so I'll push it. I want to look out across the mountains without getting in my car.

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    Putting in extra effort on a climb may bag you 2mph increase, but the same effort expended on the flat would increase your speed by maybe 5mph.
    On a long ride you shouldnt blow your energy on a big climb, but spin steadily and efficiently to conserve energy.

    Are you riding with a triple chainset or a racing double chainset? What is your lowest gear?


    I ride some very steep short hills and some evenings, ride intervals up the steepest one. I managed to do the climb 5 times in a row once. Im a wreck by the time I reach the top, but recover on the roll down. That is about the limit of any training I do, and its really for fun rather than to "perform" better.

  24. #24
    The Flying Scot chewa's Avatar
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    All of the above is good advice. Any of us can do a century if we eat and drink properly on the ride. Eat and drink BEFORE you feel you need to!

    Good luck. The long self satisfied soak in the bath afterwards is well worth the effort. And you'll sleep like a baby too.
    plus je vois les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens

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    Yes, I have a triple.

    I was reading the other responses...like the space case I am, I didn't read the second page of responses.

    I have to say I don't think I could get out of the saddle on some of the climbs. It would mess me up. I just try and stay calm watch my breathing and maintain. I actually, love climbing. I just get frustrated when my thighs get tired before I do. I don't know what is going on. I don't even feel like I'm pushing that hard. I'm thinking I may just need a break.

    But, I'll try and do some interval training....that sounds like a plan. Plus, making up speed in other areas sounds like an even better plan.

    Again, thanks!

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