First i'm sorry for the lengthy read. I'm just trying to be thorough and as detailed as possible in an attempt to help you guys help me...
2010 - I started riding my bike, an old GT Aggressor Mountain Bike. Little jaunts here-and-there at first (couple miles), then farther and farther. I used regular sneakers, on rat-trap pedals. By late August I had made 3 trips which were 54 miles each, and two trips which were 76 miles each. All of this riding was on the shoulder of the rode.
I know a Mountain Bike is not the kind of bike one should use for such trips, but it was the only bike I had and I really wanted to lose weight/get in shape. So I did the best I could with what I had. During this time, I never had any foot pain, not once.
2011 - I started riding in late May, but this time it was on a 2011 Specialized Sirrus X3 Mens Medium. THis bike had the proper tires for the riding I was doing. Like in 2010, I rode the same routes. However unlike in 2010, I started getting what I think is hot foot in late July. Rides that I did the year before on a Mountain Bike with zero pain were now causing me excruciating pain.
I talked to the guy at the Bike store (he's the one that told me about hot foot), and he suggested I get a show with a stiffer sole. He suggested I try getting pedals that you clip in to, but my feet are so damned "duck footed" that the natural resting position happens to also be the position one turns their feet when disengaging the clips. If I try and hold my feet straight (or straight-er), it's like I lose all power in my legs, and it hurts my knees.
So I rode with the shoes with the stiff soles for a while, that didn't help. I bought these things that extend the pedal out from crank one inch, thinking if the pedal is out farther, my feet will rest more on the pedal and less "off the edge". However that didn't help either.
I tried moving my seat up a little bit (very little bit) but that didn't help. About the only thing I learned in 2011 that was "helpful" was that my pain starts to kick in at around 25-27 miles.
2012 - I saw a podiatrist and ended up buying a pair of $300 inserts because, as it turns out, I have no arch on my right foot, and what arch I do have on my left disappears as soon as I stand on it. I tried to do my first century ride this past memorial day (it was actually the first really long ride of the year for me), and this time I made it to 35 miles before the same pain kicked in. Only this time I couldn't even "John Wayne it". At mile 63 the pain was so bad I had to call my stepdad to come get me (talk about embarassing).
So I told the foot dr. what had happened and he then suggested that I get a shoe that is 1/2 to 1 size bigger than I need. He said that would accomodate the swelling if/when it happens.
Funny how he can't tell me to buy a $60 pair of sneakers until AFTER I buy the $300 inserts...
Anyway, they didn't help either. I went on a route that I know is 27.5 miles long, and I was getting the pain at about 21 or 22 miles.
All the above brings me to this point: Am I just f***ed as far as a century ride? I can't afford to keep throwing money at this problem. The crap they're telling me to do just isn't working, and i'm so frustrated with the results (or lack of results) that it seems hopeless. I don't mean to sound so dramatic, I really don't. It's just that when I do what the doctors told me, and whatever other tidbits of info I can find here and there, and NOTHING works, I kind of throw my hands up and say wtf? It's going on 3 years now and i'm still stuck. There's got to be SOMETHING that will work???
Anyway that's why i'm here now writing this lengthy novel lol. Kind of a last attempt to find a cure. I really want to do this century ride, it's become a "quest for the hole grail" kinda thing lol. If I exhaust everything I can think of to fix this problem, THEN i'll accept that I just can't do it. My question here today is my final attempt. I'm sick of doctors telling me to "try this and that" and watching my bank account dwindle, but I never get any positive results.
Maybe somebody reading this will know of some.. thing... I haven't heard of that I can try. Just.. something...
Thanks in advance for your time and extreme patience in reading all of this. I really do appreciate it.