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  1. #1
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    Trek FX 7.3 - Maiden Century Ride

    After riding various local trails along with some lite road work over the past 2 years, plan to join some organized rides and include in the mix 1 or more century rides. It's my understanding century rides very doable on a Hybrid.

    Seeking recommendations, helpful hints, do/dont's, and tips to ensure I have what's needed to complete the ride on a Hybrid.

  2. #2
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    Do a training schedule to build up endurance for the century. Do successively longer rides every weekend and get your endurance up.

    Practice your riding posture to build up your core muscles. If your core muscles are nicely built up over a series of training rides, you will have no trouble maintaining a more horizontal and aerodynamic position without putting too much strain on your arms and wrists.

    And "dial-in" the fit of your bike if you haven't done so already. During your training rides, make "fine tune" adjustments to the seat height, seat angle, horizontal seat position, angle of your bar ends to get as comfortable as possible, maybe swap out a stem for a longer or shorter one as needed. The key here is to develop a comfortable fit / riding position that won't give you discomfort for 100 miles.

    And of course always make sure your bike is in tip-top mechanical shape (make sure the derailleurs and shifters are also dialed-in, tires always properly inflated, brakes working properly, etc.)

    That's what I did before I rode my first century last year. Finished it in 7 hours, not bad for someone on a Specialized Sirrus!

  3. #3
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Doing a century on a 7.3 should be more than doable... might require a little more effort than you would need with a road bike that offers a more aero position and be more like doing it on a touring bike.

    Have taken my 7500 oout on countless metrics and centuries and it is a very nice long distance bike and will use it as my second light touring bike.

  4. #4
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    I'll second what Sixty Fiver and LongIslandTom say above -- no question that it's 'doable', nor should you feel (or allow anyone to tell you/make you feel) you "have the wrong bike."
    I've done a couple on a slicked-up hardtail mtb -- yep, with front suspension -- no issues. And I'm really, really old (well, 59). As long as the bike in question fits properly/you're comfortable, it (the bike) isn't an issue.

    A bit of training is ... but that's a different story! As LIT said, the idea there is to gradually build up to longer rides in advance of your 'century date' -- ideally, about two weeks before you should if possible have worked up to a ride of about 80% of your projected distance within the kind of time you want to take for the ride itself. If you can do that, you'll have no trouble with the extra 20% 'on the day.' So, e.g., if you plan to ride a true 'century' in, say, 7 hours, and a week to two weeks before you find you can manage 80 miles in 7 hours, you'll be fine.

    One thing I'd add: LIT mentioned bar-ends; if your 7.3 doesn't have em, that's one thing I would invest in/set up/get used to. They will make a real difference on longer rides: the 90degree wrist rotation really helps avoid hand/wrist/shoulder/upper back fatigue [much like the tops/hoods variation on a drop-bar bike], and on the bar-ends you are just that little bit more 'aero', which does help you move along a little more quickly for the same effort.

  5. #5
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
    That's what I did before I rode my first century last year. Finished it in 7 hours, not bad for someone on a Specialized Sirrus!
    A fast century is 5 hours but you need to train like a racer... a 7 hour century is more than respectable and is something most fit riders can accomplish if they put in the base miles and have a bike that is set up properly and will keep them comfortable over that distance.

    I know people who have done this on just about every type of bike and I like to make sure every one of my bikes earns it's big C at some point.

    Averaging 14 miles an hour is a lot easier than averaging 20 and tourers are usually happy if they can average 12 mph as riding with a loaded bike that is as aerodynamic as a brick and just as heavy will slow you down.

    I did a 7 hour century on my P20 touring bike last year with a fairly decent load and did not have to do anything special to prepare as my commute was 100 km a day and I was doing some regular 100km rides to go see family or grab a sandwich.

    A key to riding longer distances is to keep the cadence up and never stop pedaling as coasting will kill you... your muscles can seize up when they stop moving and when you want to rest, gear down and spin a lower gear to keep the blood flowing.

    I also avoid long breaks off the bike although you should take as many as you need.

    Stand up periodically to give the butt a break.

    Drink a lot of water and make sure you are packing food that will allow for 200-250 calories an hour... a bar bag is a great place to put energy bars, fruit, etc.

    My P20... proof that you can ride a century on anything and the bike is actually faster than my hybrid.


  6. #6
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    Smile

    Thanks for the great advice, thus far! I sincerely appreciate the feedback!! Hit 55 this year, so it's a personal challenge to "get it done". Through winter it's been regular workouts on the elliptical and weights. Ready to get on the bike and gradually build distance and ride time. Targeting end of June for initial ride, and another at the end of September. Thought about taking off some of the accessories (rack/lights) to lighten the bike, and was curious as to the best way to carry food, and how much. Bike tuned by LBS, bar ends set at about a 45 degree angle, and wrapped in gel tape. Clipped in with Shimano PD-M324. Seat wedge pack contains spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, crankbrothers multi-tool 17, co2, tire gauge, presta valve adapter. Clothing advice? Have not worn compression shorts, use padded brief. Have gloves with gel padding and dri-fit t-shirts (no pockets).


    My ride...have since added second water bottle cage.


    Bar view.

  7. #7
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    Great looking bike you have there. How did you get the black? I thought the 7.3 only came in white, silver and maroon? Or is that an older year model?

  8. #8
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomChgo View Post
    Thanks for the great advice, thus far! I sincerely appreciate the feedback!! Hit 55 this year, so it's a personal challenge to "get it done". Through winter it's been regular workouts on the elliptical and weights. Ready to get on the bike and gradually build distance and ride time. Targeting end of June for initial ride, and another at the end of September. Thought about taking off some of the accessories (rack/lights) to lighten the bike, and was curious as to the best way to carry food, and how much. Bike tuned by LBS, bar ends set at about a 45 degree angle, and wrapped in gel tape. Clipped in with Shimano PD-M324. Seat wedge pack contains spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, crankbrothers multi-tool 17, co2, tire gauge, presta valve adapter. Clothing advice? Have not worn compression shorts, use padded brief. Have gloves with gel padding and dri-fit t-shirts (no pockets).
    Looks like you have things covered pretty well and have done your research... now you just need to get out there and ride... a lot.

    The only thing you did wrong was take the picture from the wrong side...

  9. #9
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Looks like you have things covered pretty well and have done your research... now you just need to get out there and ride... a lot.

    The only thing you did wrong was take the picture from the wrong side...
    Thank you! No need to re-invent the wheel with the availability of many with in-depth experience. Folks like yourself have contributed immensely with feedback & guidance. The bike forum continues to be a great tool for research, and key to expanding my knowledge base.

    Hope pic oversight is not akin to walking under a ladder

  10. #10
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gharp23 View Post
    Great looking bike you have there. How did you get the black? I thought the 7.3 only came in white, silver and maroon? Or is that an older year model?
    Thanks. It's a 2010 model.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Steve in MA's Avatar
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    My first century was on my 7.3FX. Very doable on that bike. I'd recommend upgrading the grips to something that will give you more hand positions to use over that distance (I have Ergon GR-2's on mine, which I like a lot).

  12. #12
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in MA View Post
    My first century was on my 7.3FX. Very doable on that bike. I'd recommend upgrading the grips to something that will give you more hand positions to use over that distance (I have Ergon GR-2's on mine, which I like a lot).
    Great to hear the equipment is very doable, have to make sure the rider is! Have Ergon GR-1's with wrapped bar ends to provide for varied hand positioning. Bar ends are set at close do a 45 degree angle. I've noticed on many bikes that bar ends are set in almost a flat position. It's my understanding the flat position is good for climbing. Not certain on the best positioning of the bar ends for an extended ride. The 45 degree angle (not aero) allows for a more upright and change to positioning of the back.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=TomChgo;12438306]Great to hear the equipment is very doable, have to make sure the rider is! Have Ergon GR-1's with wrapped bar ends to provide for varied hand positioning. Bar ends are set at close do a 45 degree angle. I've noticed on many bikes that bar ends are set in almost a flat position. It's my understanding the flat position is good for climbing. Not certain on the best positioning of the bar ends for an extended ride. The 45 degree angle (not aero) allows for a more upright and change to positioning of the back.[/QUOTE/]

    Again, and only for what it's worth, my take: there are two main reasons many riders (self included) set their bar-ends 'flat' or at least in-line with the stem.

    First, as you note, for climbing: the angle allows a grip/leverage much like that on the hoods of drop bars, and allows one to move body weight forward relative to the crank/bb when climbing standing on the pedals (again, efficiency).

    Second, again as you note, 'getting (a little bit) aero'.

    The 45 degree position (which many people do like) does allow some positioning change to relax the back, and the hands/wrists/arms etc, but does not allow these two advantages, which to me are important.

    Trade-offs, I suppose! I do set my bar-ends 'flat' for the two reasons I gave; my bike is set up so that the 'grips' position is just a little more forward than would be the tops on a drop-barred road bike (think xc mountain bike position) ... the bar-ends then pull me (in effect) further forward and down when seated. A bit more 'aero', a bit more efficient re. muscle recruitment for pedalling, but still varying torso angle to help reduce back fatigue. Much like the hoods position, again, on a drop-bar bike.

  14. #14
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    In my quest to build upon the info provided within this thread, I located some additional helpful comments. Hopefully, the collective nuggets of info will pave the path for a smooth ride. For fellow hybrid riders contemplating a first-time century ride, listed below is the link:

    http://ask.metafilter.com/123342/Bik...hacks-and-tips

  15. #15
    Senior Member chibibike's Avatar
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    I have the Trek Utopia. I put on the bontrager race cyclocross 46cm handlebar. I'd love to ride in a century sometime. I dont know where they have those.


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  16. #16
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chibibike View Post
    I have the Trek Utopia. I put on the bontrager race cyclocross 46cm handlebar. I'd love to ride in a century sometime. I dont know where they have those.


    I will defer to the more experienced riders out there for an authoritative answer on various options, but I would venture to say that organized bike clubs in the area may be a good source for information. I googled "organized bike rides in Illinois" and received a variety of websites to browse for information. I was able to track down a calendar listing of area rides spring through fall.

    http://www.bikeride.com/calendar/events.asp

    ...sweet 'versatile' bike, hope find an oppty to take it for an extended ride!

  17. #17
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    Started training this week on Trek FX 7.3 for Century Ride scheduled for June 26th. Weather is great, 20 mi ride tomorrow to conclude first week of training. Picked up some energy bars and gels with various flavors to try out on extended rides. Listed below is training schedule:


  18. #18
    Senior Member chibibike's Avatar
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    looks good

  19. #19
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    do the first 15 miles easy
    salt your water
    take an oral potassium supplement
    take a minuscule oral magnesium supplement
    while riding get up out of the saddle often to change your leg position and let your shorts shift a little. (give those little hair follicles a break)
    don't experiment with foods or drinks - stick with foods and drinks you know and trust (be kind to your digestive system)
    start early
    tell someone where you are going
    carry both a patch kit and a spare tube, and maybe even two tubes
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  20. #20
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    that utopia is bad ass

  21. #21
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    On track with training schedule listed here in thread. Chicago weather hasn't been cooperating with cold, rain, and wind. With noted recommendations of carrying 2 tubes, tools, co2, energy bars/gels...was thinking of keeping on the rear rack and attach trunk bag for gear. With increased riding, I'm confident of the FX 7.3 taking me to the end of the century, but wondering if I should be cautious in carrying the extra weight. Gave thought to this after being challenged with rides on windy days. While beneficial to altering hand position, still trying to figure out an optimum position for those bar ends.

  22. #22
    Senior Member ddimick's Avatar
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    Curious to know what you decide on your bar ends. I'm doing my first metric century next weekend on a Specialized Sirrus and am thinking a 45-degree angle to let my back rest a bit would more than offset whatever gains I see from climbing hills with a flatter angle.

  23. #23
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddimick View Post
    Curious to know what you decide on your bar ends. I'm doing my first metric century next weekend on a Specialized Sirrus and am thinking a 45-degree angle to let my back rest a bit would more than offset whatever gains I see from climbing hills with a flatter angle.
    Initially thought a 45-degree angle would work best for the same reason, but adjusted to a 20-degree angle before 30 mi ride today, and felt much better on both arms and hands as an alternate position. Could have kept on going with no problem. I suggest making adjustments to find that comfort zone.

  24. #24
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    About 10 years ago, I rode with the bar ends tilted up at a 45-degree angle..

    Over the years the angle got lower and lower until now on my new Titanium bike I got them at just 10 degrees.

    What changed for me? Well, back then when the bar ends were at 45 degrees, I was using the bar ends to get to a more upright position, not to vary hand position. 10 years later, my core muscles are strong enough that I don't need to be so upright anymore, and with the bar ends set at 10 degrees, I can get a better neutral hand position (the "bus driver" side-grip position) so it's easier on my wrists and hands.

    Over the next few years your bar end positions might very well change just like this. That's why they are adjustable!

  25. #25
    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    So far, Trek FX 7.3 has done well with extended rides, just have to keep workin on the engine. Completed 51 mile ride on Sunday, and home was a welcome site! Rode Illinois Prairie Path, and mostly crushed limestone trails. Trail surrounded by trees offered buffer from 'open field' winds, but meandering path, continuous up/down on hills along trail, occasional ruts, and limestone surface probably made it more difficult than riding on road surface. Washed out upon arriving home, and thinking that was only 1/2 of a century. Yikes! Brought along 2 bottles of water, 2 GU gels, and energy bar. Tank was on empty at finish. Legs will definitely need recovery today.

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