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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 08-10-06, 06:25 PM   #1
Pugdawg1
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Century on a Mtn Bike?

Dumb idea? The summer is ticking by.. I only have my mtn bike (rockhopper hardtail), and have done many rides of 30 and 40+ miles with absolutely no issues. I do that 3 days a week normally. I'd love to be able to do a century before winter creeps up. I'm considering a road bike, but still haven't gotten the cajonies up to cough up the dough, though it's a possibility in the near future.

I guess I'm just curious.. how many folks have done a century on a mtn bike? Moral support or a smack upside the head, this girl can handle either.
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Old 08-10-06, 06:53 PM   #2
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Last Saturday I rode 111 miles on my Nishiki Cascade (see pics in sig.) It's not a lightweight by any means (~40 lbs with the bottles & bag), so any long distance ride isn't as quick as one on either of the road bikes. Last Saturday's ride took about 9¾ hours of moving time, with a total of about 11 hours including stops for food/water/photos.

My MTB is set up for road riding, with slick tyres, and although I have trekking bars to give me more riding positions, I would say that overall, the road bikes are more comfortable for long rides. The trick with long rides is to pace yourself; eat often, drink lots and if you get passed by other riders, resist the temptation to keep up with them. Most of my rides are solo, one of the advantages being that I can set my own pace and not have to drag others or be dragged along myself.

It sounds like you'll have no problems if you allow enough time - if you're used to doing 30 and 40 miles, then you're a third the way there! Good luck - let us know how you get on!

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Old 08-10-06, 06:54 PM   #3
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I bet you could do it. I'm sure you have some slicks on it though right? If not, this will help even more. If you're doing a supported century, then you can not take things on the bike and save on some weight. You'll probably want to slow your pace down a little bit more than what you did on the lower miles. Take it slow and you'll be fine.
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Old 08-10-06, 07:26 PM   #4
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I don't think I've done a full century on my hardtail, but I've done over 80 miles in a day on it. With slick tires, there's no reason not to do it if that's what you have. Since you have plenty of experience riding 40 miles at a time, you shold be able to handle it. You'll be slower than if you had a road bike, but so what? Remember to eat and drink plenty during the ride and save your legs for the second half.
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Old 08-10-06, 07:37 PM   #5
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I've done a century along with my then 19 and 20 year old daughters and my husband. We rode one way on a two day ride called TOSRV in Ohio (2 days of 100 miles each). We all had department store mountain bikes, two with shocks and some big butt tires (think 1980's square tire). My husband wore jean shorts and duck taped a 2 liter bottle of water to his top tube. He carried full size wrenches and other tools in a backpack. My kids had only cycled about 10 miles for the year. It was my mother's day present. They are still proud of their achievement. They highlighted the route on a map from Columbus (center of Ohio) to the Kentucky border. It is a lot easier to do an organized century. That ride had rest stops with food and drinks every 25 miles. If you drink and eat and take something like Motrin for butt pain, a century is mostly mental.
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Old 08-10-06, 07:51 PM   #6
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A century is mostly mental.

That being said, I wouldn't want to ride one on my MTB...but on the last century I did, I saw a few riders doing this. It can certainly be done.

While certain bikes and gear are ideal for doing things like that...it's not impossible with "incorrect" gear. How determined are you?
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Old 08-10-06, 08:06 PM   #7
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I weigh more than 300 pounds, and next week I'll be riding my 3rd metric on a Giant Sedona comfort bike... a mountain leaning comfort bike.

I run road slicks at 80 PSI, and this time will be my first with a rigid fork and clipless pedals, and my second with bar ends for additional hand positions. I expect it to be even easier.

I will attempting to ride a century on September 10th... probably on the same bike because I don't have time to finish my road bike and get used to the different positions and components... so, go for it!
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Old 08-11-06, 07:11 AM   #8
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One of my female friends did the Chicago to Twin Cities AIDSride on a mountain bike when she was eighteen. Included two back-to-back century days. All she did was swap out her knobbies for slicks and she was good to go.
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Old 08-11-06, 08:05 AM   #9
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Sure -- put some slick tires on, and go for it!!

One of my MS150 teammates did the ride this year on her old mountain bike (that thing must weigh a ton!) and she did the full ride -- 100 miles on Saturday, 50 on Sunday -- in howling headwinds, no less.

Beware, though . . . if you do the century and enjoy it, you'll no doubt start lusting even more for a road bike.
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Old 08-11-06, 08:13 AM   #10
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Thank you so much for your replies, it's really appreciated. Nope, still on knobbies, but I'll get slicks. I know I'll be acquiring a road bike within 2 weeks or so, but I wouldn't have the time to get used to it before tackling such a long ride. I would imagine that would be a recipe for one hurting body? I want to do this ride in middle to late September.

Someone asked how determined I was... I am very determined. Since January, some little mental switch flipped in my head, and I decided to make some lifestyle changes. I bought my bike late last summer, did very little riding, but started riding frequently early this spring once the weather started cooperating a bit. The more I've rode, the more I WANT to ride. I've checked off various goals from Jan until now.. weightloss (goal was to drop 45 lbs, I'm now down and holding at a 53 lb weightloss), different climbs achieved that I would never have thought I could have done.. that sort of thing. I've had a marvelous season, I really have. And so my one last goal for this year, is to do 100 miles. I am not worried about how fast it is done ~ I know on my mtn bike it will be slower than a road bike, but I just need to accomplish this. Gotta do it.

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Old 08-13-06, 12:00 AM   #11
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Absolutely you can. I've done it several times. I agree with the conclusion that a roadie will be easier and faster, but just take your time. My '88 Trek 830 weighs about 44lbs with stuff and water. Sometimes I start out with a gallon or more aboard. I use 1.5" armadillo tires, a Brooks B67 saddle, North Road bars and platform pedals. A 10-3/4 hour ride is a decent pace. Add some stops to re-fuel and it works out to about 11-12 hours.

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Old 08-13-06, 12:26 AM   #12
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I rode my century last year on a Walmart Schwinn department store mountain bike. 110 miles. It can be done, just take your time and realize you are going to average a few MPH slower than a road bike.
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Old 08-13-06, 02:24 PM   #13
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I've never gone a full century, but I have gone more than 90 miles on my mountain bike, knobby tires and all. It is fun passing people on hills when you have a dramatically heavier bike. But being passed going down the hills because you don't have big gears is annoying.

I've now got a road bike.
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Old 08-14-06, 01:27 PM   #14
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Last year I saw a guy on a double century riding a mountain bike, knobbie tires and all. Holy smokes. Using a mountain bike is definitely possible, as long as you are comfortable and like to ride the bike. That is a huge part of it right there.
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Old 08-15-06, 07:13 AM   #15
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Go ahead, you'll be fine. I rode a couple of events in England with a bloke renowned for completing the Elenith (305 km, 4700 m climb) on a BMX (to keep the ride 'interesting').
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Old 08-15-06, 03:45 PM   #16
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Sure you can do a century on a mountain bike. To really impress people do it off-road! I've done a couple of centuries, several metrics (crossing over Rollins Pass(11,666 ft) twice from the east portal of the Moffat Tunnel to the west portal and back) and a whole bucket load of half centuries (Georgia Pass (11,900) to Breckenridge and back). Since these were all in the mountains over rough roads, no slicks need apply. Full knobbies only.

Road bikes don't beat you up as much...well, paved roads don't beat you up as much either...but it can be done.
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Old 08-15-06, 04:20 PM   #17
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I'm doing the Deerfield Retro Randonnee in a couple of weeks. 107 miles on dirt roads with 11,000 feet of climbing.

I'm doing it on my touring bike because it's the only bike that I have, but lately I've been pining for my old Trek 730 hybrid. That would've been a great bike to bring on this ride.
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Old 08-15-06, 05:22 PM   #18
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My first century was on a rigid MTB with commuter tires (26X1.95's) and flatbars
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Old 08-15-06, 06:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spokenword
I'm doing the Deerfield Retro Randonnee in a couple of weeks. 107 miles on dirt roads with 11,000 feet of climbing.

I'm doing it on my touring bike because it's the only bike that I have, but lately I've been pining for my old Trek 730 hybrid. That would've been a great bike to bring on this ride.
Okay, fess up! For the climbing they count all of the pebbles in the road right? I mean all the pictures look like the route is rather flat. Route notes: 100 miles flat, last 7 miles climb to 11,000 feet. But wait, Mass. doesn't have anything that goes to 11,000 feet.

Just kidding! Have fun.

Me, I'm going to do the Bike with Pike Century in September. Possibly the flattest century you can do in Colorado. Starts at around 4000 ft and goes to around 5000 ft in 100 miles (not a loop). Bad water, flat territory that even people traveling the Santa Fe Trail complained about, starts in the Arkansas Penal Colony and ends in Pueblo...what more could you want?
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Old 08-15-06, 08:20 PM   #20
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I did 3 Chicago-Twin Cities AIDS Rides (500 miles in 6 days), all 3 years on a '96 Specialized Rockhopper. I even had knobbies the first year. It never felt like a problem at all, and I'm sure I was far from the only mtb. One year there was even a guy on an old cruiser type 3 speed. I rode up to him one day and asked him why he was riding a 3 speed and he just shrugged and said it was the only bike he had. Gotta like that attitude! Ride what ya got.
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Old 08-15-06, 09:07 PM   #21
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I did 3 Chicago-Twin Cities AIDS Rides (500 miles in 6 days), all 3 years on a '96 Specialized Rockhopper. I even had knobbies the first year. It never felt like a problem at all, and I'm sure I was far from the only mtb. One year there was even a guy on an old cruiser type 3 speed. I rode up to him one day and asked him why he was riding a 3 speed and he just shrugged and said it was the only bike he had. Gotta like that attitude! Ride what ya got.
my first long ride was a 50 mile route option on an MS150. Rode with a guy who was doing the century route on a Schwinn single speed cruiser. He deflected all of our wonder by telling us how he rode that bike cross country. Was about as close I've ever seen to a cyclist version of a surf bum.
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Old 08-15-06, 09:13 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Okay, fess up! For the climbing they count all of the pebbles in the road right? I mean all the pictures look like the route is rather flat. Route notes: 100 miles flat, last 7 miles climb to 11,000 feet. But wait, Mass. doesn't have anything that goes to 11,000 feet.
you saw the part where they were talking about 20% grades, right?

If the writeup in the Charles River Wheelmen newsletter was anything to go by, the ride's going to be a monster -- including a 200 yd. 25% climb. Many of the randonneurs that I've talked to is that it's a century that feels like a double just because of all the dirt road climbing involved. Yet, it still sounds utterly gorgeous, so I'm still excited. It might be painful, but I'll just view it as penance for working on the weekend of Boston-Montreal-Boston.
Quote:
Me, I'm going to do the Bike with Pike Century in September. Possibly the flattest century you can do in Colorado. Starts at around 4000 ft and goes to around 5000 ft in 100 miles (not a loop). Bad water, flat territory that even people traveling the Santa Fe Trail complained about, starts in the Arkansas Penal Colony and ends in Pueblo...what more could you want?
Shade would be nice
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Old 08-15-06, 10:39 PM   #23
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I rode lots of centuries on my all rigid MTB. Slicks help...
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Old 08-16-06, 07:56 AM   #24
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Your replies are inspiring, they really are, and I appreciate it. Next month I will attempt (no, I will conquer LOL), a century, either on my rockhopper or a road bike. I'm wanting to purchase a road bike, but have been waiting.... see the boyfriend is opening a shop, and working on what bikes he'll have in. He's gotten in Marin bikes, Breezer, probably Jamis, and he's trying to get Giant, and it looks like he probably will, and if he does, I'd really like to try a few of those and see. But it's a hurry up and wait thing. Wait for the rep to visit (which he finally did last week), go through the paperwork, jump through a few hoops to make them happy, hurry up and wait again. Hopefully we'll know this week or early next week, and then it'll be another bit of a wait once some bikes are ordered. And so I'm hoping to acquire one soon, but I'm not waiting either. I really need to finish this final goal of mine for this year.
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Old 08-16-06, 12:53 PM   #25
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I once rode 110miles on my MTB and hardly any of it on pavement (a lot of gravel and some rail-to-trail and horse trails). My biggest problem with lack of different hand positions. I did a little nerve damage and my hands were numb for a couple of weeks.

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