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Thread: First Century

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    Sumerian Street Rider khutch's Avatar
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    First Century

    Well, I managed to do it yesterday. It was quite an experience, the Mchenry County Bicycle Club's "Udder Century" typically draws around 1500 riders and it seemed like there were that many yesterday. The starting point was an utter madhouse of cars and bikes when I arrived at around 6:30. I got on the road by a little after 7 and went out at a blistering pace, for me. I was averaging over 16 mph for the first 40 miles.

    Unfortunately all my training was in Illinois "spring" weather which meant wind, rain, and temperatures low enough to give you cold toes by the end of a ride and during most of it. Naturally summer hit us about last Monday and the temperature yesterday topped out at about 85F. I had no experience at riding so long in the direct sun at those temperatures. I had done an 80 mile training ride and arrived home feeling like I could do 20 more. Yesterday not long after I left the 40 mile rest stop I knew I was starting to have trouble. I felt ok at the 60 mile stop but in no condition to sass anyone! I was considering calling the SAG team before I finally limped into the 80 mile stop and I thought for sure that would be it for me. But I took a long rest (about an hour), drank plenty of Gatorade, and ate what I could. I decided to go for it and while I took it very easy speed wise and made a couple of rest stops in the rare moments of shade, I finished the 100 feeling a lot better than I did at 80.

    Learning what to eat and drink in such temperatures is an individual matter, I suspect, and it is one that you just have to master to ride strong on a long ride in the summer. I am quite sure that if the temperatures had been in the 60's I would have turned in a strong performance (for me) and probably averaged about 15 or 16 mph. As it is I averaged 13.7 mph while actually pedaling and took 9:36 overall which is 10.5 mph including the stops.

    The first 40 miles was like driving on a rush hour urban freeway with all the riders hitting the road at about the same time. The route was well chosen to avoid auto traffic and what there was was quite considerate of the cyclists. I wish I could say the same for the cyclists. I watched a group ahead of me blow a stop sign at a tee intersection where we needed to turn left in front of a woman driving a pickup truck. She was clearly so rattled by what they did that even though I stopped at the sign she would not go on until after I did. The only close call I had was when one member of one of these "peletons" very nearly sideswiped me. He, of course, was the one wearing the jersey that said -- wait for it -- "Share The D**n Road"! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, eh? On the other hand I was greeted warmly by many of the riders who passed me and when I made one of my roadside rest stops I was always asked if I needed help.

    It is hard to believe you could ride 100 miles in farm country and not be chased by a few dogs. I was chased by only one, an Australian Shepherd, and he was in a fenced yard and clearly just enjoying the chase. Probably good he was in a fence because Aussies work sheep by nipping them and they tend to play by doing the same thing. I know because I own one. Not long after that the faster group ahead of me was chased for a few miles by a horse running in the unfenced fields along the road. I am sure he was just enjoying the chase too and much newly sprouted corn was trampled in the process. I wonder if he ever got home? On the final segment I got scolded, but good, by a red wing black bird.

    Most people were riding road or tri bikes of course. I was not the only hybrid by any means though and I passed several with suspension forks. There were a few recumbents. I think they all took shorter routes, save one. As I left the 80 mile stop I saw an arm powered bent pulling into the stop from the 75/100 mile loop with a woman on a normal bike right behind him shouting encouragement. I presume he was a paraplegic. My wife met me at the finish line with some cold cans of raspberry ice tea. So we took some pictures, sat in the air conditioned car, and mailed out a final update on my progress to my family. About the time I got out to ride the bike over to my car parked out in a field here comes the bent finishing his century ride. Kinda makes your own achievement pale in comparison but good for him!

    I don't think there is any question you can ride your hybrid any distance you want to ride. My Fuji Absolute is a road biased hybrid and while that helps I could have used just about any hybrid. I have replaced the stock flat bar with an aluminum Jeff Jones Loop H Bar and I find that works very well on the road even though it is a MTB bar. I have a rack on the back with a trunk bag that I kept very well stocked with extra water and munchies, sunscreen and chamois lube. I bought a handlebar bag too for this ride for things I wanted handy and since it had a clear "window" on the top surface I was able to keep the cue sheet there. I did change out the tires for this ride, I used Michelin Pro3 Race tires, 25 mm. I do favor wider tires for many reasons but I wanted an efficient tire and the sad fact is that tire makers just do not make their most efficient tires wider than 25 mm. The Pro3 Race does plump out to 28 mm on my Velocity A-23 rims so it is almost as wide a tire as I would want. Maybe I will just run with them now, they handled the limestone portions of my training runs quite well. I did not have a flat, I did pass two or three riders who were fixing flats though so the hazards are out there. On the other hand the Vittoria Randonneur Hypers go up to 38 mm, are fairly efficient, and are much more bullet proof. We'll have to see about that.

    I suppose I would do it again, it was a lot of fun until the heat began to get to me. So my mission now is to learn to deal with the heat and then I should be set for whatever I want to do next.

    Finally let me just say that it is entirely feasible to do a century without shaving you legs. As you can see below, I don't shave much of anything....

    UdderCenturyStart.jpg

    Ken

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    Awesome ride report! Congratulations! Can I ask what made you go with the jones bar over a trekking/butterfly bar? I have been trying to decide if I want to get some ergon grips with the longer bar ends or switch to a trekking bar. The jones bar looks interesting but I have never see one in person. Can you post a picture of your set up?

    I just told my husband the other night that I want to complete a century this year. Right now I want to do it on my hybrid because I am so in love with it but I might change my mind and revisit my road bike as my rides get longer through the summer.
    Last edited by mjwithtwins; 06-06-11 at 05:19 PM.

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    Senior Member javal's Avatar
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    Quite a novel! And interesting to read about someone´s first (?) long ride. It seemed a bit chaotic, and therfor hazardous and it made me wonder about organization. Anyhow, here in Sweden we run a BIG sportive called Vätternrundan where 18.000 riders take off in groups of 40 riders at a time. The event runs for 24 h. and appeals to every known kind of rider. The track runs for 300 km. The fastest groups do it in about 7.30 h. The Vätternrundan week hosts several sportives in varying lengths. Con grats to your achivement!
    the rider makes the bike - steel club member 198

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    Yea Ken! Great ride and ride report. Way to push through the bonk!

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    Wow Ken, I was there too! I completed my first century on my trek 7.3. I wish had had seen you. I arrived at 6am and the parking lot was mobbed. I did set out shortly after 6:30. I only saw a very small handfull of non-road bikes all day. I too had the same experience with twenty miles to go. The sun beating down, the unexpected hills, the slight wind all took a toll but I completed it. Did you get passed by the packs of cyclists? That was an experience for me. They were very polite and I literally got pulled along when they went by.

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    Senior Member TomChgo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report. You've instilled renewed confidence in me for my upcoming first century at the end of June near DeKalb. I rode 50+ mi on my Trek 7.3 this past Saturday for the Wounded Warrior Project, and it was HOT!! After finishing I was thinking that this is only half-century, and wondering if I was biting off more than I can chew with the century. Took me 4 hrs on Saturday to finish, and at that point couldn't imagine going another 45+ mi in the heat. Also, after being passed up in what seemed to be an effortless fashion by roadies, I wondered if my ride and goal of completing a century would be much easier on a road bike...probably so. Obviously, you're proof that it can be done on a hybrid with determination and will power. Next couple of weekends the training rides bump up to the 65+ mi mark. I imagine I'll be battled tested prior to the century. Anyway, going for it!!

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    I rode my hybrid to the finish of my first century ride earlier in the season with the first group on the road. I'd joined the group at mile 35 though. I rode from the finish 40 miles back home to complete my century. If I had started at the start, it's doubtful I would have finished at the front.
    Last edited by qmsdc15; 06-06-11 at 08:30 PM.

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    Sumerian Street Rider khutch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjwithtwins View Post
    Can I ask what made you go with the jones bar over a trekking/butterfly bar? ... The jones bar looks interesting ...
    You answered your own question! Seriously though, I tried a Nashbar Trekking bar and liked it well enough, much better than a flat bar. But I had seen the Jones bar and felt intrigued by it. Trouble was the Titec versions don't accept grips, brakes, and shifters very well -- pick two -- and the true Jones bar with a modified geometry to fix that issue was titanium which made the price astronomical. When I saw he was selling an aluminum version of the Loop H Bar I had to try it. Personally I like it better than the butterfly bar. The hand positions work better for me and I feel closer to the brakes no matter where my hands are though that may be perception more than reality. You would have to try one to know for sure which you prefer, I don't think I can use my experience to guarantee you or anyone else that it is worth $100 more than a $20 trekking bar. It is rather rare and being the only kid on the block to have one does appeal to me too. The only picture I have is not great but it is attached. I will try to take another in the next day or two.

    Quote Originally Posted by javal View Post
    Quite a novel! And interesting to read about someone´s first (?) long ride. It seemed a bit chaotic, and therfor hazardous and it made me wonder about organization. Anyhow, here in Sweden we run a BIG sportive called Vätternrundan where 18.000 riders take off in groups of 40 riders at a time.
    No it was well organized. The check-in lines were short in spite of the crowd, the rest points were well staffed and well stocked, and a local amateur radio group did a good job staffing the SAG vehicles. Perhaps they should consider a staggered start but 1,500 is not 18,000 so they are not forced to that position. The behavior of the riders on the road was just Americans being Americans. Mostly they were charming but the bad ones really impress themselves on your memory. Please don't tell me about your wonderful event in Sweden, next thing you know I will be looking up airfare from here to there ....

    Quote Originally Posted by Greyhoundsrock View Post
    Wow Ken, I was there too!
    Sorry I missed you. I know that one of the 50+ forum members was planning to be there with his wife. I tried to look for his jersey but since I have no idea what they look like I may have looked right at it without seeing it. I was in phone contact with an e-friend from the Dahon forum but we never managed to be at the same rest stop at the same time and he was only doing 50 so he was done long before I. Maybe next year we should try to come up with a way for BF members there to meet up.

    Quote Originally Posted by TomChgo View Post
    Thanks for the report. You've instilled renewed confidence in me for my upcoming first century at the end of June near DeKalb. ... Obviously, you're proof that it can be done on a hybrid with determination and will power. Next couple of weekends the training rides bump up to the 65+ mi mark. I imagine I'll be battled tested prior to the century. Anyway, going for it!!
    Getting prepared for it is the key, the bike is not going to prevent you from finishing it or slow you down all that much. I was passed by tons of roadies but they were clearly all very serious cyclists. It was the hours and miles of intense training, not the bikes that were beating me, not to mention that I had 20 - 30 years on the majority of them. You at least know you will be riding in the heat and still have time to get your heat strategy down. It was the heat that nearly scuttled me and I think I can learn to manage that.

    Quote Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
    I rode my hybrid to the finish of a century ride earlier in the season with the first group on the road. I'd joined the group at mile 35 though. I rode from the finish 40 miles back home to complete my century. If I had started at the start, it's doubtful I would have finished at the front.
    Given what you do for a living it is no surprise that you can keep up with the lead group for the last 65 miles. You may not have been able to do that for the whole ride but I suspect you would not have been all that far behind them and maybe you would have stayed right with them. There were many roadies blowing by me at speeds I could not maintain for more than a mile or two. Especially late in the ride there were groups of roadies blowing by me at speeds I know I could have done for the whole ride in cooler weather. If the engine is well trained and the experience with the conditions is there, the bike will do its part. I think you proved that!

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. For those of you who are working towards your first century keep at it and you will finish too!

    Ken

    UdderCenturyOdometer.jpg

  9. #9
    Sumerian Street Rider khutch's Avatar
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    Here's a couple of better shots of the Jones bar. The one with the handlebar bag is how I rode the century. It was nice to have a place to put the cue sheet, otherwise not sure it was worth the disruption to my normal setup. The other shot is my normal setup. The thing that looks like a level is a Sky Mounti inclinometer, sometimes it is nice to know that it is the hill, not you. Of course it is never nice to have the level confirm that it is you! I seem to have two bike computers, one is a bike computer, the other is a heart rate monitor with a lot of bike computer functions. I use them both because even though they overlap quite a bit I can set the screens to give me everything I normally want at one glance instead of scrolling through or waiting for an autoscroll that always decides to move on just as you focus on the info you want.

    Ken


    JonesBar1.jpgJonesBar2.jpg

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    Thanks for the pictures Ken. It looks like a nice set up. I might investigate more but right now I am leaning towards the ergon GC3 grips to try out before switching bars altogether but I think I like the way your bars look better then trekking bars, it looks less crowded where the breaks and shifters are. If the grips down't workout that might be where i go next.

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