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  1. #1
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    First Century, a journal I guess.

    I've wanted to take on a Century since I was 15yo, I'm now going to be 34 and still haven't done one. So I've always felt like this is something that I've never perused hard enough.

    When I was younger I used to love cycling, I raced BMX growing up and rode a BMX bike everywhere. I even built my own BMX bikes from bare frames. I used to see club roady riders zipping through my neighborhood and would try to chase them down and pace them. In my mind, back then, I perceived their pace to be somewhat superhuman, and it intrigued me to want to be able to run with them.

    I eventually learned that one of my neighbors was a club member, and I was eventually convinced to go on a few club rides. I bought a used steel rigid Panasonic mtn bike from another neighbor, "my first shifter bike" completely rebuilt it, borrowed a helmet, added a computer, and preceded to hit a wall at 15 miles at only a 12mph pace. My first wall, I literally remember my legs completely not working, and laying there in the grass obliterated! Some advice later, I replaced the knobbies with some Continental road tires, added some pedal cages, and managed to eventually eek up to a 30 mile ride before I received my drivers license, started smoking and for some reason let my fitness go to hell and my bikes rust.

    But that elusive century has always been in the back of my mind for some reason.

    Four years ago, me and my wife bought a couple bikes to go on some short rides together. The roads are pretty gravely around the house "we live in the country" so sadly a road bike didn't seem appropriate, so I bought a mint condition, brand new, never ridden, CAAD3 Cannondale M900 rigid from a local bike shop. "Century still in the back of my mind." I figured maybe this bike could do it all. I added a bottle cage, computer, and a pump, and sadly only put about 200 miles on it with our busy schedule.

    Last year, I replaced the tires with some heavy but durable kevlar 1.5 road tires. And logged maybe 50 miles total... Procrastination on top of a busy schedule.

    Well, I forgot to mention, I quit smoking now going on 7 years. I started jogging "occasionally" with my wife, started weight training, and am feeling somewhat fit again finally. More so this year than I have in a long time at least. I've gone from a pudgy195lbs last fall, down to a comfortable and solid 180 now. I still have a long way to go though, not in weight loss. I'm comfortable with my weight. But in conditioning.

    Last week we went on an 11 mile ride on a rail to trail 45 minutes from us. I was a little tired at the end, but we pushed a headwind pretty hard on the return trip. Overall felt pretty good, better than I did on the same trail when we rode it last year. Got passed by a couple roadies in full garb along the way.

    The next day while cruising Facebook, I see a Strava post from an old friend showing him completing a 35 mile ride with a 15mph average pace. Funny, he posted a 25mile ride the week before? Then turn on the TV to see a bicycle race is on. Seems like there's hints pushing me to go ride everywhere ..m.o.t.i.v.a.t.i.o.n?

    With said imbued motivation, I went out two nights ago and clicked off another 11 miles by myself. Climbed a few small hills, faced some decent headwind, and came home surprisingly feeling pretty good and not at all tired.
    Ended up finding a deal yesterday on Shimano stuff at up to 50% off, and ordered some SPD pedals and shoes. My first clipless pedals!! Hey my birthday's coming up.

    Anyway, hope this didn't come off too dorky or boring. I wanted to share my journey to 100, and I'm hoping by keeping a blog that it helps keep me accountable to train. I really want to hit this milestone and start back into cycling again. I just have to overcome my greatest obstacle...me. If I'm able to accomplish this goal, I may even buy myself that road bike finally.

    Tomorrow we're going over to the rail to trails route again, hoping to push at least 15 miles this time around. The local Century is at the beginning of Sept. I don't think I can get up to it in such a short time this year, but I would really like to by next year.
    Last edited by TheZip; 06-04-14 at 01:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Just clicked off a 13 mile ride with my wife. I really wish she would overcome her fears. She jambs the brakes on every downhill to a crawl, approaches every house at 6mph for fear of a dog, and drives off the shoulder to nearly a complete stop for every car.

    I love the company, but I wish she would be more comfortable while riding. I wanted to ride further today, could have gone further but she cut the ride short because she was too nervous.

  3. #3
    Randomhead
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    good luck with your quest. I can't really tell how regularly you are riding, but if you want to be able to increase your mileage, you're probably going to have to ride at least 4 times a week for quite some time. If you want to ride a century this year, it's going to have to start now. 15 mile rides will certainly provide a training effect, but you are going to want to try the occasional longer ride once that becomes an easy ride.

  4. #4
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Moved from Long Distance to General. I think you'll get more responses in here.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    So Tom only hires people that are nutty? Is part of the requirement to be a moderator on this site is that you have to be nuts??
    Forum Guidelines *click here*

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheZip View Post
    Just clicked off a 13 mile ride with my wife. I really wish she would overcome her fears. She jambs the brakes on every downhill to a crawl, approaches every house at 6mph for fear of a dog, and drives off the shoulder to nearly a complete stop for every car.

    I love the company, but I wish she would be more comfortable while riding. I wanted to ride further today, could have gone further but she cut the ride short because she was too nervous.
    Is there another route you could ride that would be quieter? Quiet country roads, paved trails, etc?

  6. #6
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Ride with the wife, and then ride by yourself. No reason you have to stop when she does. If both of you ride a bunch more and she's still nervous, consider a tandem, which may or may not help with that.

    Crank out lots of miles. You can ride a century on just about anything, but it helps if you're riding more then 200 miles a year.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Since you're in central IL, you're not that far away from a really good, relatively flat long distance trail, FYI. The Katy Trail. If I were you, when you get to where you think you're ready, make a mini-vacation out of it. Head over to St. Louis and ride the trail 50 miles out and come back, or do 100 and take Amtrak back (caveat-I'd have to look where Amtrak stops if any, are along the route). But anyway, it's a great trail from what I understand, lots of regular bike activity on it, so the people on the route are presumably used to cyclists. Terrain is not demanding, and it's maintained.

    I plan on doing it in the not so distant future when I can get the time off.


    Katy Trail Missouri Trail Maps, Businesses, Events, Mileage, and more


    Machens to Marthasville and back would be around 100 miles, I think.

    This of course assumes that you didn't have to be in an organized event. But I think those exist on the Katy, too.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Unterhausen - I just recently knocked the dust off of it, but have logged 50 miles in the last week and a half. I plan to ride at least 4 times per week, increase my mileage each week, and get in at least one long ride on the weekends.

    Machka- That's pretty much where we were riding. There's a lot of activity out in the fields this time of year though with a lot of farm traffic. The rails to trails are 45 mins from us, located the next city over. It takes a good chunk of the day to go over there and ride, but at least she's more comfortable.

    StephenH- I just need to relax my expectations when we go out together I guess. After reflecting on it a bit, my expectations are a little selfish. She's never really rode any distance on the road, where as I've clicked off a few thousand in the past. She has no problem keeping pace though otherwise.

    Syncro87- I appreciate the info, we've both been considering a cabin for a weekend down by Alton. I wasn't aware of this trail. That would make for a fun weekend. None of the trails by us are very well developed yet and the longest is maybe 20 miles with plans for future expansion. With Illinois present economy, that may happen in my lifetime. Lol!
    Last edited by TheZip; 06-06-14 at 09:32 AM.

  9. #9
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    I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes! Keep riding!

    I used to ride quiet a bit when I was in grad school. 5 days a week.... Several organized rides a year... MS-150 (150 miles in 2 days) on a heavy mountain bike.... But then I got a job and stopped biking. 15 years later I started up again.

    I was crushed when I thought I was going to die after 1 mile. 1 mile. Totally spent. Next ride... 2 miles and I was almost dead. Then 4. Then 6. It was literally only a month or two before I was doing 20 miles after work, and 40 miles on the weekends. Another month and I was doing metric century's every weekend. (62mile = 100K). The next summer I biked 3 days through Ohio on the tow path system. Longest day was 90 mi, with a half loaded touring bike (I was staying at hotels). Next summer, fully loaded touring bike for camping, I biked from Pittsburgh to DC on the GAP and C&O trails. Longest day was 80 mi.

    You'll be amazed how quickly you can increase your biking endurance. It's unbelievable. I still don't believe it.

    And this summer, I promised my wife no long tours.... (although the KATY trail is probably next on my list) so my goal is to do some century rides - which I've never done. I'm pretty sure I can do it, but I haven't yet. So this is my summer of century rides!

    GOOD LUCK!
    1996 Specialized Hardrock Sport FS
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  10. #10
    Senior Member danadear's Avatar
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    I used to be just like your wife. I was absolutely terrified when I first began riding on the road with cars and came just short of actual anxiety attacks. It just took time and miles on the road for me to get used to it. I still tend to hit the brakes too often on the downhills until I've been riding regularly for a few weeks. Happens every year.

    Get her an air horn for her bike that she can use if she gets near a house with a dog. That'll keep them on the porch for sure. It might help with her confidence as far as dogs go. This is the one I had:Amazon.com : Delta Airzound Bike Horn, colors may vary : Air Horn : Sports & Outdoors. I need to get another one actually. It fits in the bottle cage. If she only has one bottle cage you can mount another one.

    Also..if she doesn't have a mirror get her a mirror. Anything that will make her feel safer. Being able to see what is behind me really makes me feel a lot more secure because I suck at turning around while on the bike. Every time I try to do that I either ride into the road or off the road, even after riding for 8 years.

  11. #11
    Junior Member
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    Well, it suckered to say but between the constant rain, cramped schedule and being exhausted this week, I haven't rode in a few days.

    The good news though, I received my SPD pedals and shoes yesterday. Spent last night getting them put on and getting them adjusted. Which led to more maintenance. I noticed it was starting to get tough to shift into the big ring. So I adjusted the deraileurs, took some slack out of the shift cables and lubed the chain. While doing so, I noticed my Serfas tires where reflective (hate the look of them) So I removed the wheel reflectors and stem caps. Now I'm a cool kid.

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheZip View Post
    Well, it suckered to say but between the constant rain, cramped schedule and being exhausted this week, I haven't rode in a few days.
    You might think about getting a trainer. That way, on an evening when it is pouring rain, you can hop on and do 30 min of commercial intervals on the trainer.

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