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  1. #1
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    Can It Be Done???

    I am 21 yrs old and contemplating doing the Connecticut Challenge, 100 mile bike ride on Aug 26th. I have been very athletic my whole life (hockey, lacrosse, etc) except for a 2 year period from 18-20. I started biking about 2 weeks ago. My first ride was about 18 miles, in 2 hours--using a 15 year old Fuji with the gears on the frame. When i got off the bike, I was a bit tired, but definately did not have the "jello leg" feeling i thought i would. Since then, I have done a few 20-22 mile rides. Over the past weekend, i did 22 miles in about 1 hour 50 minutes. When i was done, i was not really tired. The rides i did had a mix of steep short hills, a few longer more gradual hills, and some flats.

    Anyways, what i am getting at, does anyone think it is possible to actually complete the 100 mile ride or am i kidding myself by even contemplating it w/o extensive training. I think i could do it, but would like to hear some more advanced riders opinions. I would be riding my uncles bike (which i have been using lately)--a 2 yr old Lemond Maillot jaune which is light and fast and id throw some clipless pedals on there from the Fuji.

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    It's probably possible but you might not feel very good afterward and you would have to go really slow. If the course is hilly then I would say probably not. If it is flat then I would stick with a definite maybe. I noticed that none of the sports you listed were categorized as typical Aerobic sports. Aerobic fitness can be a very different sort of Athleticism (not saying they aren't sports but they require a different type of fitness).

    If it was me I would choose a ride 2 months out or further to make sure you were up to at least a 62 mile distance in a reasonable time period. 1 - 2 hour rides aren't going to show you much, try a few 3 -4 hour rides and see how you do.
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  3. #3
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    You might be able to do it, but you risk injury from overusing joints and muscles that are unused to doing work for many hours at a time. You may become dehydrated if you do not drink enough during the ride and if you do not eat enough you may bonk and find yourself in very bad spirits for the remainder of a very slow ride.

    One question: After 21 years of life why is all of a sudden so important to ride a century that you cannot take the time to train properly for it?

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    Senior Member john bono's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by outofbounds
    I am 21 yrs old and contemplating doing the Connecticut Challenge, 100 mile bike ride on Aug 26th. I have been very athletic my whole life (hockey, lacrosse, etc) except for a 2 year period from 18-20. I started biking about 2 weeks ago. My first ride was about 18 miles, in 2 hours--using a 15 year old Fuji with the gears on the frame. When i got off the bike, I was a bit tired, but definately did not have the "jello leg" feeling i thought i would. Since then, I have done a few 20-22 mile rides. Over the past weekend, i did 22 miles in about 1 hour 50 minutes. When i was done, i was not really tired. The rides i did had a mix of steep short hills, a few longer more gradual hills, and some flats.

    Anyways, what i am getting at, does anyone think it is possible to actually complete the 100 mile ride or am i kidding myself by even contemplating it w/o extensive training. I think i could do it, but would like to hear some more advanced riders opinions. I would be riding my uncles bike (which i have been using lately)--a 2 yr old Lemond Maillot jaune which is light and fast and id throw some clipless pedals on there from the Fuji.

    Thanks!!
    First things first--see how you feel after doing a 50 to 60 mile ride through the hills before trying a century. Depending on the route, and speaking from personal experience, a century in CT can be tough. Seeing as how you are only two weeks away from that ride, you might want to try doing it rather soon, doing a long ride right before a century isn't a good idea.
    Ride a bike. It makes your legs stringy, and less tasty to our Kanamit friends.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I think you could do it.

    1) You're young ... youth makes a big difference in how you feel during and after a long/hard ride. When I was 17, I hopped on a bicycle and rode 50 miles through the mountains with my father during one vacation. That was my very first ride that year. My butt was pretty sore by the end of the ride, but otherwise I was fine. When you get older, you probably won't have the same resilliance.

    2) You've been involved in athletic pursuits. If you had just lifted yourself off the sofa and decided to ride a century, the situation might be quite different, but I believe that if a person is reasonably physically fit, a century is quite possible.


    My advice would be to read this article: http://www.machka.net/century.htm

    To summarize some key points of it:

    1) Make sure your bicycle fits you. Have it checked by a professional, and/or do some reading to find out what a good fit is. This is a good start: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

    2) Make sure to eat and drink regularly. I talk about that in the article. Don't choose new foods, pick ones you are used to eating on the bicycle. Therefore, in your training rides leading up to the century, experiment with various food options. Oh, don't get stuck into the Powerbar rut ... try other stuff like granola bars, pastries, fruit bars, cookies, etc.

    3) Take it slow. Don't get caught up in the excitement of the rush at the beginning of the ride. Just ride at a pace where you feel comfortable, and where you feel you've got a bit in reserve.

    I'll also add that it would be a good idea to start gradually increasing the distance you are riding. Try 25 miles and do that a few times ... then 27 or 30 miles ... and so on. You've got three weeks to work on it, so you can still build up a bit.


    All the best!!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by outofbounds
    I am 21 yrs old and contemplating doing the Connecticut Challenge, 100 mile bike ride on Aug 26th. I have been very athletic my whole life (hockey, lacrosse, etc) except for a 2 year period from 18-20. I started biking about 2 weeks ago. My first ride was about 18 miles, in 2 hours--using a 15 year old Fuji with the gears on the frame. When i got off the bike, I was a bit tired, but definately did not have the "jello leg" feeling i thought i would. Since then, I have done a few 20-22 mile rides. Over the past weekend, i did 22 miles in about 1 hour 50 minutes. When i was done, i was not really tired. The rides i did had a mix of steep short hills, a few longer more gradual hills, and some flats.

    Anyways, what i am getting at, does anyone think it is possible to actually complete the 100 mile ride or am i kidding myself by even contemplating it w/o extensive training. I think i could do it, but would like to hear some more advanced riders opinions. I would be riding my uncles bike (which i have been using lately)--a 2 yr old Lemond Maillot jaune which is light and fast and id throw some clipless pedals on there from the Fuji.

    Thanks!!
    Spending 8 hours on a bike is very different than spending 2 hours on a bike. You don't know what pace you can ride for that long. You don't know how much to drink. You don't know how much to eat. You don't have the mental toughness to spend 7-8 hours on the bike. You don't have the butt toughness to spend 7-8 hours on the bike.

    If you do this, I predict that you will be miserable. I looked at the profile of the ride and it's pretty hilly.

    Do the 50 miler.
    Eric

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  7. #7
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    Carefully read this thread from last week:

    Centuries are easy -- here's how

    Then make your own decision. You are young, resilient and claim to be fit. You admirably measure up to the type of rider Cadillac discusses.

    Good luck. Life is full of challenges and you are taking on a worthwhile one. The best thing is that you have a very positive attitude.

  8. #8
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    yeah, chalk me up in the cautiously optimistic column as well; mostly for your youth and athletic background. Your speed isn't great, but you aren't racing and if you can finish before they close the course, then you can count on the experiment as a success.

    Try this: Do a 30 mile ride on Wednesday or Thursday. Do a 50 mile ride this weekend. Do a 70 mile the week after that. If you feel good on them, then do the century.

    Some folks will tell you that you shouldn't do a strenuous ride on the week before your 'event'. Personally, I think that advice is more geared towards racers who need their muscles to be fully recovered before they're put through the strain of full competition. If you're doing a receational, non-competitive century ride, tapering your training is less important. I did a 300 km and a 400 km brevet a week apart, and felt better on my 400 than on the 300. It's important that you train yourself to deal the many hours in the saddle, and if you have to do that with a long ride on the week before your century, then so be it.

    Keep in mind that you should have a lot of time on the course, so don't get too discouraged if you're slowing down on the hills. Just pace yourself, eat properly and keep your body hydrated.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    One question: After 21 years of life why is all of a sudden so important to ride a century that you cannot take the time to train properly for it?
    The answer to this question is pretty simple i guess. It is a spur of the moment idea (obviously?) and think it would be a fun thing to do/say ive done. Not to mention, it is to help benefit cancer survivors. However, I never said this was so important to me to ride a century...

  10. #10
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    Follow up on my progress...

    First, thank you everyone for your input. I greatly appreciate your opinions.

    I thought I would give a little update on where i am at. Last week I did not get to ride at all during the week except for 28 minutes (10miles) on a stationary bike before work one day (iIve been working 14 hours a day so riding got pushed back). I did however take a 50.3 mile bike ride over the past weekend. The result was 3 hours and 34 minutes on what i would say seemed like a pretty hilly course through CT, Bedford and Pound Ridge NY. I did not yet attached my clipless pedals, so i was using normal pedals with the straps that hold your foot on. I was going really well for the first 41 miles and then seemed to slow down a bit for like last 9. I would not say i "bonked out" though, but definately slowed down. I was not overly sore the following day, just tired. Only thing that bothered me was my achilles tendon, which twitched a bit when i walked after the ride.

    I am still deciding on the century. I am also thinking about doing it by myself so I have a bit more time. I think for the CT challenge, they sweep the course after 7.5 hours. Im not gonna do it, get to 90 miles, and have someone say i have to get picked up!

  11. #11
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    I don't think you should do it. There are a ton of centuries you can do, what would it hurt to do your first after 2 more months of training instead of right now? In fact, you could hurt yourself doing it in a week. There was a guy who posted on this board about how he thought you could do your first century with almost no training, in fact he had done so! Of course, then he mentioned that he'd injured his neck so badly (from holding it up in one position for so long after not training it for that) that he had to have surgery on it. Hmmm...

    While there's a chance you could get through it with zero injuries, it's unlikely. Why risk causing problems that could linger and hinder you for years to come? A friend of mine did his first century with too little training and around mile 70-75 (further than he'd ever gone before) his knee started to really hurt. It took two years to heal and he hasn't biked since.

  12. #12
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    think comfort Get a decent pair of padded lycra shorts asyour a$$ isn't 'hardened'. Also a good pair of gloves and go for it. I had a friend that road to Conn. from Balto on a whim when we were in our 20's. He put a lot of hours in the saddle with little previous experience. You will be spent but that's what it's all about. Charlie

  13. #13
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by outofbounds
    I think for the CT challenge, they sweep the course after 7.5 hours. Im not gonna do it, get to 90 miles, and have someone say i have to get picked up!
    You don't have to be picked up if you don't want to.

  14. #14
    Senior Member PSPSARGE's Avatar
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    After 7.5 hrs?

    After 7.5 hours and that limited riding experience, he'll want to be swept up!

  15. #15
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Another vote for "don't rush into a century." Aerobically I'm sure you can handle it, but that's only a part of the skills you need to enjoy long rides. It helps to know:

    • how to ride safely with a large group
    • how to warm up, stay loose and cool down afterwards
    • what recovery methods work best for you
    • what hill-climbing technique(s) work best for you
    • whether your ride position and saddle works out well
    • how to pace yourself so the last 25 miles is fun rather than exhausting
    • how to stay sharp and crisp after many hours in the saddle
    • what foods work well for you on longer rides
    • how to handle typical long-distance issues, either physical (cramps, neck strain etc) and mechanical (flat tires etc).
    • how to set up a training schedule that works for you (including tapering a few days before the ride)

    And to reiterate some points by others, it's not a great plan to make dramatic leaps in your weekly totals. The rule of thumb is to increase by 10% a week.

    The idea is not just to "do it," the goal is to enjoy it. There are plenty of centuries in September and October, start training now and you'll be in good shape.
    Last edited by Bacciagalupe; 08-15-06 at 02:00 PM.

  16. #16
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    Success will be part luck. If you have a good bike that fits you well - you might just do okay. But, if you have a bike that doesn't, you will almost certainly pay the consequences.

    An example is this - I have a pair of rubber boots that are new - I wear them around the place at times (we live in a rainforest - you need them). Anyway, just around the house was fine, I decided to go for a walk of an hour with them. Now, I am very capable of walking for 8 hours if I want.

    Anyway, I got a really bad rub from it on the back of my calf - got bloody before I knew it. The point is - if you have something just a little off - in 8 hours, it can wear a hole in you - visible or invisible. Just like you don't want to buy a pair of shoes and go for a 4 hour hike - the same is true for you and your bike.

    You might be tough, but you might be dumb too.

    just my dos colones

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by outofbounds
    I think for the CT challenge, they sweep the course after 7.5 hours. Im not gonna do it, get to 90 miles, and have someone say i have to get picked up!
    Why? There is no shame in trying. Challenging oneself and coming up short just means you were overly optimistic. Big deal.

    I regularly go out for extended rides with no clear length and destination in mind. Sometimes I'm greedy and go a little to far, so I call the personal sag wagon. And the next week I might tackle the same route with a different bike or and different approach.

    That being said, only being experienced at 20-30 milers and 2-3 hour rides, you'd be in for a rude shock spending upwards of 8-10 in the saddle. Set your sights on next year or another century later in the season.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  18. #18
    Dagger Boy Extort's Avatar
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    Since you have completed a 50 mile ride without much pain, I'd say go for it. The Achilles Tendon is probably sore because of the shoes and pedals you have been using. Get those replaced right away so that you can practice in a grassy area, because included in the purchase of every set of clipless pedals is three free falls .

    Remember to eat a solid meal the night before (lots of carbs), a good breakfast (oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar works for me), and keep a good sports drink (not Gatorade!) and a couple gels with you for sustained energy. Make sure that you stop at all the rest stops to refill on food and liquids, but only stay there for about 10 - 15 minutes so that you do not get cold muscles.

    Have fun and report back when you are finished!
    Women think they're so clever because they can fake an orgasm for the sake of a relationship, but men can fake a whole relationship for the sake of an orgasm.

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    I wore running shoes when i did the 50 mile ride. I have riden quite a few times with clipless though, they are just on an older bike that i have, so i dont figure there will be any spills.

    I think I'm going to do another 50 mile ride this weekend, with the clipless, and compare to last week's ride. From there, I'll decide if I am going to do the 100 mile ride or not.

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    I think as a young and athletic person you will be able to do the ride no problem. But like others have said, you will certainly be very sore the next day!

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    Not a good idea.

    You have many years of opportunities for century rides ahead of you. If you are stubborn enough you probably will pull the stunt off but that may well be the end of your bicycling for quite a while. If your achilles hurt after 50 miles it is very likely it will hurt seriously more after 100. IMO the body has its own wisdom and it will turn us off activities it senses is threatening our wellbeing. It is much more fun doing a long ride you are prepared for and I think around 500 miles training distance probably is sufficient preparation.

  22. #22
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Get in a lot more miles riding before you attempt a century.
    It may be a good idea to be a volunteer on this ride and help out instead of beating yourself to a pulp . . .there will be many other centuries.

  23. #23
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    Centuries can be done by any reasonably fit individual. Start slow and go for it.

  24. #24
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    I say go for it... Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something. I would say just try to get a 70 or 75 mile day in before, and see how that feels. You seem to be doing great so far.

  25. #25
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by outofbounds
    I am still deciding on the century. I am also thinking about doing it by myself so I have a bit more time. I think for the CT challenge, they sweep the course after 7.5 hours. Im not gonna do it, get to 90 miles, and have someone say i have to get picked up!
    Aerobically, I'm sure you're fine, but it is not enough to be in general shape -- there are particular muscles that need to be developed because they will be used a lot. To illustrate the problem, I average about 200 miles a week year 'round, so I'm in good shape. However, if I tried to do my wife's aerobics exercises, I'd be seriously hurting and have a heck of a time keeping up. My cardiovascular system and legs might be strong, but the muscles and technique I need for her exercises are lacking. You face the same challenge.

    In addition, there are hydration, nutrition, and pacing issues that may cause you problems since you have not done a distance event before. In addition, small errors in your technique or adjustment may cause you pain well into the ride.

    I think you can make 100 miles so long as you take it easy. Unfortunately, I think you'll bump up against the 7.5 hr time limit if you ride at a pace that allows you to finish. If you like adventure and have a tolerance for pain, go for it. Otherwise, you may want to train a bit more. One thing you may want to consider is postponing your decision until you see the weather. The difference between riding 100 miles under easy conditions and against headwinds/crosswinds is massive. I think that if the weather stinks, you'll be in serious pain, particularly if you don't have much experience riding in bad conditions.

    Do not be fooled into thinking that changing equipment will make the ride that much easier. At the speeds you're talking about, the differences will be relatively minor.

    If I were in your shoes, I would go for it. It's much more fun to try things when you aren't quite sure what the outcome will be. Be prepared to feel anywhere between really bad and really good if you do attempt the century.

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