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Thread: First Century

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    First Century

    The wife and I are doing our first century this Saturday. We're doing the Bike Fest ride in Hillsborough, NC. Suppose to be a great ride and the support is highly regarded. We got into biking a year ago this month and have been training for this particular ride for two months. We're up to 78 miles a ride on the weekend. How many centuries has everyone done in their first year? We're impressed with ourselves, but I'm thinking doing multiple centuries in the first year is pretty common.

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    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Doing multiple centuries per year isn't that common among cyclists in general. Doing even one century is uncommon among first year cyclists. You and your wife definitely have something to be impressed about.

    Good luck on your upcoming ride. Be sure to let us know how it goes.

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    Ditto what supcom said.

    Doing a century PERIOD is not "common" for cyclists. It may seem like there's a big crowd there (and there will be if it's a well regarded ride) but remember what percentage of the "cyclist population" that is. I would wager that only a fraction of the members of this message board have ever done one.

    I'm a regular commuter, and in my first year I did zero centuries. This year I'm doing two, and consider it to be a fairly monumental undertaking. (At this point some of the REAL distance riders are going to chime in to smack me down for the adjective "monumental")

    Be proud of yourselves...and remember that half of completing a century is in your head.
    Good night...and good luck

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    my first year as an adult cyclist was mostly spent as an urban commuter, riding a hybrid about 8 miles a day, back and forth between my job or around town. A friend recruited me to do a Multiple Sclerosis charity ride, and while I did some "training" before the event itself, on the day of the ride I had to tap out after 50.

    I didn't do my first century until two years later, when a bunch of friends and I did the Boston-New York AIDSride together. Now, six years into cycling, I'm doing brevets.

    So congrats, on getting a century under your belt within a year. Definitely a worthy accomplishment and hopefully the beginning of many fine adventures from here on out.

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    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    It's my first year (started in february) and I worked up to doing a century, with my first one ever coming on the first day of June. Since then, I've done 6 more. And many of them were actually 110+ miles. They're fun and a great challenge. (All of them solo and unsupported)

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    I started riding seriously last June doing a daily commute (20 miles/day) and 40-60 mile weekend rides. I did my first century in December. I agree that it's at least 50% mental.

    Starting in January, I've done a century (or greater) a month, every month. I'm not going to lie and say it's been a cakewalk....some of them have been tough, but I'm addicted to say the least! I'm going to start my first full brevet series next January.

    Just have fun with it and don't try to keep the pace w/ the fast folks...you'll burn out too soon and then you won't enjoy the rest of yuor ride. Remember, you're doing this for fun (at least I hope you are).

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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy
    It's my first year (started in february) and I worked up to doing a century, with my first one ever coming on the first day of June. Since then, I've done 6 more. And many of them were actually 110+ miles. They're fun and a great challenge. (All of them solo and unsupported)
    Wholy crap dude. 7 centuries in your first year?? That's a lot of riding! I'm thoroughly impressed. You must have been in very good shape when you started cycling. I had a hard time doing 20 miles my first ride. I was in bad shape. Lost 20lbs since then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danimal123
    I started riding seriously last June doing a daily commute (20 miles/day) and 40-60 mile weekend rides. I did my first century in December. I agree that it's at least 50% mental.

    Starting in January, I've done a century (or greater) a month, every month. I'm not going to lie and say it's been a cakewalk....some of them have been tough, but I'm addicted to say the least! I'm going to start my first full brevet series next January.

    Just have fun with it and don't try to keep the pace w/ the fast folks...you'll burn out too soon and then you won't enjoy the rest of yuor ride. Remember, you're doing this for fun (at least I hope you are).
    Wow, this is very impressive as well. We've been doing some pretty good distances routinely so the distance shouldn't hurt us, but like you said, stay away from the fast folks. I know me, I will try and jump on a paceline and keep up. I'm going to keep myself from doing that this time. My goal is to finish with a average pace of about 16 MPH. Get in around 8 hours. Doing another century a month from now and will be using this experience to set some higher goals. I'd love to do one in 5 hours one day like some of the people I've seen on the board. That's cooking...

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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster
    Wholy crap dude. 7 centuries in your first year?? That's a lot of riding! I'm thoroughly impressed. You must have been in very good shape when you started cycling. I had a hard time doing 20 miles my first ride. I was in bad shape. Lost 20lbs since then.
    I don't know, I think a big part of the century is the mental thing. Once I did it, doing another one seemed much easier. Of course I built up to it. I did rides of 55, 65, 70, 80, 90 miles before attempting my century. And I'm glad I did because the two biggest issues were learning fueling and getting my butt and back used to the long time on the bike.

    Good shape? Well, I guess so if what you mean is very little fat, but before starting I was quite muscular but not the best cardiovascularly. What's funny is my last century was easier on my lungs/heart than my first 50 mile ride. LOL.

    Seriously though, the two most important things (for me anyways) were learning the proper fueling needs/times for myself and lessening the stress on my butt/back. That was done with a proper bike fit (got it done by a fitter), daily stretching, bag balm and better bike shorts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster
    The wife and I are doing our first century this Saturday. We're doing the Bike Fest ride in Hillsborough, NC. Suppose to be a great ride and the support is highly regarded. We got into biking a year ago this month and have been training for this particular ride for two months. We're up to 78 miles a ride on the weekend. How many centuries has everyone done in their first year? We're impressed with ourselves, but I'm thinking doing multiple centuries in the first year is pretty common.
    I'll be there Knobster.

    Gotta get up at like 4 am tomorrow to get there from Clayton. Hope it doesn't rain much, other than that it shoul be pretty cool temps. I had been prepping to do the century (it would be my first, too) then I forgot we had a vacation and lost about 2 weeks of riding, came back fat and out of shape with a week before the ride so I am just doing the 100km.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ggusta
    I'll be there Knobster.

    Gotta get up at like 4 am tomorrow to get there from Clayton. Hope it doesn't rain much, other than that it shoul be pretty cool temps. I had been prepping to do the century (it would be my first, too) then I forgot we had a vacation and lost about 2 weeks of riding, came back fat and out of shape with a week before the ride so I am just doing the 100km.
    How was your ride? Mine was pretty good even though Mother Nature didn't seem to want to cooporate. We're doing another one in September. Tour to Tanglewood. You going to do that one? Here's my recap..

    Started off at 6:30ish and in the rain. Rained for about the first 40 miles it seemed. VERY cold. After the rain stopped, the wind then decided to play havok with our pace. I think the temp was in the 60's for most of the morning, the afternoon didn't get over 85. Great temps. The ride itself was great though. No problems with the bike and the roads were very good. Elevation was suppose to be 5500 feet, but only turned out to 3200. Hills were not bad. SAG support was great and the rest stops were spaced out every 20 miles. Good food also. The wife and I averaged 15.8 MPG and did the 102 miles in 6 hours 30 minutes. Wife hit a wall at about mile 50, but recovered at around mile 70. My knee started hurting a lot around mile 80 or so, but not sure why. Never had that problem before. After it was all said and done, we really felt great after the ride was over. With the rain and the wind, it was still a great day to do a century. It felt really good to see that computer kick over to 100. Took a picture of it when we stopped.

    Guess we'll have to work on getting our time down now since we've actually done a century. Need a new goal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy
    I don't know, I think a big part of the century is the mental thing. Once I did it, doing another one seemed much easier. Of course I built up to it. I did rides of 55, 65, 70, 80, 90 miles before attempting my century. And I'm glad I did because the two biggest issues were learning fueling and getting my butt and back used to the long time on the bike.

    Good shape? Well, I guess so if what you mean is very little fat, but before starting I was quite muscular but not the best cardiovascularly. What's funny is my last century was easier on my lungs/heart than my first 50 mile ride. LOL.

    Seriously though, the two most important things (for me anyways) were learning the proper fueling needs/times for myself and lessening the stress on my butt/back. That was done with a proper bike fit (got it done by a fitter), daily stretching, bag balm and better bike shorts.
    This was pretty much the way I was as well. I was big into the weights at one time. When I started biking I was around 200 and very top heavy, but now I'm down to 178 and riding is much easier.
    I know what you mean. When the season started for us this year, a 50 mile ride would almost kill me. I'm really just warming up at the 50 mile mark now.

    Couldn't agree more with your statement about fueling and stress. I've been working my (literally) butt off trying to find a good saddle. I think I've found one (E3 Form), but just purchased a Brooks Pro. This E3 still reminds me from time to time that it's there. Hoping that this Brooks one will make me forget that I'm on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster
    The wife and I averaged 15.8 MPG and did the 102 miles in 6 hours 30 minutes. It felt really good to see that computer kick over to 100. Took a picture of it when we stopped.
    Congrats!

    Did you guys draft for each other? Did you draft with an entire group?

    I've actually never done a century with anyone else so I'm kind of curious as to how diff. it would be and how much it would speed up my century. Anyone have experience doing both that can give me a sense of the difference?

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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy
    Congrats!

    Did you guys draft for each other? Did you draft with an entire group?

    I've actually never done a century with anyone else so I'm kind of curious as to how diff. it would be and how much it would speed up my century. Anyone have experience doing both that can give me a sense of the difference?
    Yes we did. After riding with each other for the past year we know each other strengths and weaknesses so we worked to better those. I'm weaker on hills that my wife so I draft her going up the hills and she's weaker on the flats so she drafts me. Seemed to work pretty well.

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    Anything less than 100 miles is not worth getting on the bike for. Just kidding.

    I did my first century in the Spring of 2003. Since then I have done 41 rides of 100 miles or more, including the 200k shake down ride I did this past Saturday on a new bike.

    Being able to do a century is impressive. Even if you only do that one it is something to look at as an accomplishment. After my first century I thought "that was great, but I never need to do another." Hahaha. Funny how it worked out. Some people I know do a century now and again, and some people really get turned onto long distance riding.

    I am not a natural athlete. When I bought my bike in August of 2002, a 35 mile ride would absolutely waste me. It took a lot of time for me to get in shape. There has also been a substantial learning curve with regards to hydration, calories and bike fit.

    Whatever distance you ride, make sure you have fun. As somebody has pointed out, a lot of long distance riding is mental.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy
    Congrats!

    Did you guys draft for each other? Did you draft with an entire group?

    I've actually never done a century with anyone else so I'm kind of curious as to how diff. it would be and how much it would speed up my century. Anyone have experience doing both that can give me a sense of the difference?
    If your average speed is close to 13mph, then it will make no difference. If your average speed is closer to 20mph, then it will make much more of a difference.
    My personal estimates of benefits of drafting based on my highly unscientific observations:
    Solo speed: Drafting benefit
    13mph: 0mph
    16mph: 1mph
    19mph: 2mph
    22mph: 3mph

    Interpolate to taste.

    Quote Originally Posted by knobster
    I'm thinking doing multiple centuries in the first year is pretty common.
    I would guess that less than the majority of cyclists do this, but I think you're correct that it isn't rare. I know I did my first century about half a year in.
    Bring the pain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster
    The wife and I are doing our first century this Saturday. We're doing the Bike Fest ride in Hillsborough, NC. Suppose to be a great ride and the support is highly regarded. We got into biking a year ago this month and have been training for this particular ride for two months. We're up to 78 miles a ride on the weekend. How many centuries has everyone done in their first year? We're impressed with ourselves, but I'm thinking doing multiple centuries in the first year is pretty common.
    i did 5 centuries in my first 12 months of riding.... 2 of them included "epic hill climbs" (9,000 feet of climbing for one and 12000+ for the other) and one was a double metric....

    but regardless of what i've done.... or what others have done.... you should be proud of what you've done!
    OCP and PROUD!
    "OCP is not just about attitude, it's a way of life!"
    life's too short to ride a crummy bike..........

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    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recursive
    If your average speed is close to 13mph, then it will make no difference. If your average speed is closer to 20mph, then it will make much more of a difference.
    My personal estimates of benefits of drafting based on my highly unscientific observations:
    Solo speed: Drafting benefit
    13mph: 0mph
    16mph: 1mph
    19mph: 2mph
    22mph: 3mph

    Interpolate to taste.


    I would guess that less than the majority of cyclists do this, but I think you're correct that it isn't rare. I know I did my first century about half a year in.
    Hmmm, that's interesting. Everything I've read said that you gain about 20-30% from drafting (I've evejn seen 40%), but you're saying that is not the case.

    But am i misunderstanding your numbers? Are you saying that if you ride at 13mph WHILE drafting, you'll get zero benefit? Or are you saying that if you normally average 13mph over a century that you'll get zero benefit when drafting and you'll still average 13 mph? If the second's the case, i think you need to be a bit more specific. Someone could average 13mph over a century, but at varying times during the ride they're cycling anywhere from 7mph-30mph depending on if they're going up/down hill or on flats. So they'd get benefit of drafting some of the time but not others.

    Still, your estimates seem a tad low to me. The number of people doing sub 6hr centuries (solo) are VERY low, but the number who can do it with drafting are quite high.

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    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy
    Hmmm, that's interesting. Everything I've read said that you gain about 20-30% from drafting (I've evejn seen 40%), but you're saying that is not the case.

    But am i misunderstanding your numbers? Are you saying that if you ride at 13mph WHILE drafting, you'll get zero benefit? Or are you saying that if you normally average 13mph over a century that you'll get zero benefit when drafting and you'll still average 13 mph? If the second's the case, i think you need to be a bit more specific. Someone could average 13mph over a century, but at varying times during the ride they're cycling anywhere from 7mph-30mph depending on if they're going up/down hill or on flats. So they'd get benefit of drafting some of the time but not others.

    Still, your estimates seem a tad low to me. The number of people doing sub 6hr centuries (solo) are VERY low, but the number who can do it with drafting are quite high.
    Yeah, sorry, those were supposed to be instantaneous speeds, not averages. Technically there is probably some infinitessimal benefit to drafting at 13mph, but I would guess it to be less than 0.1mph. I don't know how accurate my numbers are, being that they're only from my experience.

    Keep in mind that going 22mph takes more than 10% more than 20mph because air resistance is proportional to the square of your speed. Therefore drafting at 21mph, (using my numbers of 19mph effort, 2mph drafting bonus) you are using 22% less energy than riding solo at 21mph, which is consistent with the 20%-30% range.

    Note that the faster you are going, the higher the energy savings from drafting will be. I estimate that at 13mph it is negligible savings, but there is certainly a speed at which you will derive a 40% energy savings for drafting vs solo.
    Bring the pain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by caligurl
    i did 5 centuries in my first 12 months of riding.... 2 of them included "epic hill climbs" (9,000 feet of climbing for one and 12000+ for the other) and one was a double metric....

    but regardless of what i've done.... or what others have done.... you should be proud of what you've done!
    I think this will be our next challenge. We've got some pretty good mountain centuries here in NC that are similar size climbs. Not looking forward to this as I pretty much suck on the hills. Guess that's a good reason to start training on hills... Double metrics are also on the list.. How fun is this stuff!!!???

    We are very happy with our progress. We really like doing the distances..

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronsmithjunior
    Anything less than 100 miles is not worth getting on the bike for. Just kidding.

    I did my first century in the Spring of 2003. Since then I have done 41 rides of 100 miles or more, including the 200k shake down ride I did this past Saturday on a new bike.

    Being able to do a century is impressive. Even if you only do that one it is something to look at as an accomplishment. After my first century I thought "that was great, but I never need to do another." Hahaha. Funny how it worked out. Some people I know do a century now and again, and some people really get turned onto long distance riding.

    I am not a natural athlete. When I bought my bike in August of 2002, a 35 mile ride would absolutely waste me. It took a lot of time for me to get in shape. There has also been a substantial learning curve with regards to hydration, calories and bike fit.

    Whatever distance you ride, make sure you have fun. As somebody has pointed out, a lot of long distance riding is mental.
    We'd like to get to where a century ride is easy to do and then work on how fast we can do them. We're looking at other types of long rides as well to challenge us. People call it training, but damn this is too much fun to call it that. We're now looking at getting some touring specific bikes next. Do some nice camping trips via bike. That sounds like a blast.

    I know what you mean. I am a good athlete, but no on things that require cardiovascular strength. My first 20 mile ride almost killed me. I dropped 20 pounds since then and have loved every minute of it.

    I took some advice from a podcast called thefredcast and one of the things he said was to break it up into manageable distances. In our situation, I broke it up into 20 mile rides. Every 20 miles we had a rest stop, so I only had to ride 20 miles. It really helped me keep my head in the game...

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