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  1. #1
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    Contemplating First Century - Advice Requested

    As the title states, I am contemplating doing my first century ride this Saturday (One Helluva Ride, near Ann Arbor MI). I believe, or at least hope, I am in good enough shape to complete it. I got back into riding just over a year ago.

    My longest single day ride so far is 60 miles, which was part of a week long bicycle tour (Pedal Across Lower Michigan). During that tour, we completed about 270 miles over 6 days. My average speed for the entire tour was just over 10 mph (mostly dictated by my wife). I believe I could've comfortably ridden the tour at about 13-15 mph. Also, I've ridden 30 miles at just over 16mph, with the ride distance limited by something other fatigue (dinner and other evening activities). I ride anywhere from 2-5 days a week, with occasional running thrown into the mix, and usually 1 day of light activity (walking) during the week. The bulk of my riding is done off-road. I have ridden 30 miles of singletrack in one ride before, without undue difficulty. The week long tour was just last week, by the way.

    Based on my riding history, do you feel I am in good enough shape to attempt this, or should I ride either the 63 or 76 mile loops? What would be a good pace to target for my first century ride? Any advice regarding nutrition? I plan on eating a good breakfast, and carrying a few power bars with me. Does anyone have any advice for staying motivated? I won't know anyone on this ride going into it.

  2. #2
    Infamous Member chipcom's Avatar
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    Unless you are racing, you'll be fine. If you did 60, you can do 100. Take your time, stay hydrated, eat at the rest stops (I assume they have them).
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  3. #3
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Eat, Drink, Pedal.
    You'll do it.

  4. #4
    staring at the mountains superdex's Avatar
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    the tour was last week? You'll be gravy, and have a blast doing it

    a) don't go like gangbusters. Just ride. Almost force yourself to ride slow the first 20-25 miles; your goal is to complete it, not shatter records
    b) How did you eat on your 60 miler day? Like chipcom says, take advantage of the rest stops, but don't linger for long periods; keep moving. Stop, pee, fill water bottles, snack, shake the legs out, reapply sunscreen, and get back on the bike
    c) see the 100 miles as multiple legs between aid stations. The site (http://www.aabts.org/ohr/) doesn't give an idea of how far apart the stations are, but I imagine there will be a cue sheet with that information at the ride
    and 4) have fun! Look around, take in the scenery. Count the number of <insert exotic bike here> you see. Strike up conversation with a tandem.

    enjoy!

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    Thanks for the advice and words of encouragement. I think I will go ahead and "just do it" . It will be an extremely early day for me, as the start location is about 1:45 from my house. Check in begins at 7:45am, and I still need to register (day-of-ride registration is available. I do want to get an early start on the ride, as my pace is probably not going to be that high.
    Superdex, on my 60 mile ride, I ate a big breakfast, and had a burger and fries at lunch. Also, I had a powerbar about halfway between lunch and the end.
    According to the web site, there will be a lunch and snack stops, as well as SAG service. For hydration, I plan on having a pack with a 2L bladder, as well as 2 water bottles. One water bottle will most likely be filled with a sports drink.

  6. #6
    Zinophile tibikefor2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superdex
    the tour was last week? You'll be gravy, and have a blast doing it

    a) don't go like gangbusters. Just ride. Almost force yourself to ride slow the first 20-25 miles; your goal is to complete it, not shatter records
    b) How did you eat on your 60 miler day? Like chipcom says, take advantage of the rest stops, but don't linger for long periods; keep moving. Stop, pee, fill water bottles, snack, shake the legs out, reapply sunscreen, and get back on the bike
    c) see the 100 miles as multiple legs between aid stations. The site (http://www.aabts.org/ohr/) doesn't give an idea of how far apart the stations are, but I imagine there will be a cue sheet with that information at the ride
    and 4) have fun! Look around, take in the scenery. Count the number of <insert exotic bike here> you see. Strike up conversation with a tandem.

    enjoy!
    Superdex: I like your approach
    Tibikefor2

  7. #7
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    I also think you can do it.

    Try to eat a little on an ongoing basis - I would generally eat something every 30 minutes or so when I started doing centuries (I get most of my calories in liquid form so it doesn't apply now). You want to have a steady stream of calories without ever feeling full.

    Avoid foods with a lot of fat, as they can cause stomach upset.

    As for pace, try to ride the "I can ride all day at this speed" pace, and don't push yourself on hills.

    Finally, see if you can meet other riders with a similar pace on the road, and ride with them. The miles go by much faster if you can spend some time with other riders.

    Good luck.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
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    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  8. #8
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    First Century - Update

    I'm really #$%en sore.


    but...


    I DID IT

    And, I'd do it again (but not for a couple of days at least) .

    My total riding time was just under 6 1/2 hours, and my average speed was 15.5mph. I probably had about 1 ~1 1:15 hours worth of stops (lunch, snacks, and stretch out the legs).

    Thanks for all the advice and encouragement. I tried to be really good about keeping my stops short: all except lunch were short, and lunch was just over 1/2 hour. I could really notice a difference in how my legs felt when I started riding after a shorter break, and after lunch. As far as nutrition, there were 2 snack stops, and a lunch stop. I took full advantage of those, and had a power bar, and 3 bottles of sports drink. I never felt like I was running out of energy.

    Too bad now I can't talk Mrs. bh357 into riding a century with me .

  9. #9
    Senior Member Neist's Avatar
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    congrats!

    Not a horrible speed average. Was the wind working against or for ya? I have this horrible fear that my first century is going to be a headwind all the way. haha.
    Quote Originally Posted by soze
    I would use something in addition to the U-lock. Like a guy named Tony with a baseball bat.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neist
    congrats!

    Not a horrible speed average. Was the wind working against or for ya? I have this horrible fear that my first century is going to be a headwind all the way. haha.
    It was a loop, so the wind helped for part, and hindered for part. The wind today was in the low to mid teens. Definately enough to feel a big difference riding with or against it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Neist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bh357
    It was a loop, so the wind helped for part, and hindered for part. The wind today was in the low to mid teens. Definately enough to feel a big difference riding with or against it.
    Oh yeah definitely. The wind has been averaging 12-18mph around here, and even on the low end its enough to wear you out quickly if you arent careful.

    Hopefully I can manage to get one in before the end of the year. I think its a workable goal. Its quite a long way aways.
    Quote Originally Posted by soze
    I would use something in addition to the U-lock. Like a guy named Tony with a baseball bat.

  12. #12
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    This reminded me that I need to finish rehabbing my old road bike (1982? Raleigh Super Course). I just need to find replacement brake pads (smooth post, but the posts are a bit narrower diameter than modern cantilever brake pads). I rode this century on my geared mtb (GF Marlin), set up for touring (1.5" semislicks, rack & trunk). Heavier than a tank with the added gear.

  13. #13
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    I was at One Helluva Ride, too! I did the 39 mile ride because that's where I'm at with my training (I had achilles tendinitis from December until April and sort of had to start over). I am planning my first century for the Blue Water Ramble on October 1st! I love doing the One Helluva Ride. Last year I did the 54 and had fun with that. Good for you for doing it!

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