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  1. #1
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    Training for a century

    Hey all,

    There is a century ride on April 15 that I'm doing. It's rolling for about 25-35 miles then mostly long flats after that. Right now I have the legs for maybe 30-40 miles, how should I train so I don't embarrass myself on ride day?

    Any training plans out there?

    Thanks,
    Kurt

  2. #2
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    If you are doing 30-40 now, you should be fine by April.
    To get better, do a few long rides out to 60-80 miles.
    You don't need to ride a bunch of century distances in training to train for them.

    Work intervals and shorter fast rides into the mix - this will increase your cruising speed and allow you to deal with those rollers. Ride hills whenever you schedule a hard day - its one of the fastest ways to get fit.

    If you haven't ridding with a group - do so. Its a fast way to pick up riding etiquette, paceline skills, as well as getting faster.


    Eat and drink often, and have fun.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Here's an article I wrote on riding a century. It is especially aimed toward those doing their first centuries.

    http://www.machka.net/century.htm

    Enjoy!

  4. #4
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    The Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling by Ed Burke is excellent.
    go to campusi.com to find the best deal on the web
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    http://www.diablocyclists.com/RiderT...ingProgram.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSOKurt
    Hey all,

    There is a century ride on April 15 that I'm doing. It's rolling for about 25-35 miles then mostly long flats after that. Right now I have the legs for maybe 30-40 miles, how should I train so I don't embarrass myself on ride day?

    Any training plans out there?

    Thanks,
    Kurt
    If you have legs for 30-40 miles at a stretch and are riding a few times a week, you shouldn't have any problem with the century. The biggest challenge for a century is nutrition, hydration, and pace. You need to get a few 4 hour rides so you can figure out what pace you need to ride to finish the century - it's probably a fair bit slower than you ride 40 miles - and so you can get used to eating and drinking. Look for 200-250 calories per hour, and plenty of water.

    Good luck.
    Eric

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  6. #6
    Senior Member kokomo61's Avatar
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    I haven't ridden a century yet, but I'd like to get to the stage where it's 'real' for me. I'm riding between 75-100 miles a week right now between 2-3 rides. I do a commute at least 1X a week (43 Mi RT), and a weekend ride (min. 30 miles). I've ridden 50 several times (on a Trek 7300 hybrid, no less!), and did 62 this past Saturday (on the road bike). Wasn't sore at all on Sunday, just a bit draggy. Do I need to step up the frequency or distance to be able to do a century ride by May?

    Here's a follow-up - One of my goals is to complete the Assault on Mt. Mitchell - how many centuries should I have ridden before that? How much training in climbing do I need?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokomo61
    One of my goals is to complete the Assault on Mt. Mitchell - how many centuries should I have ridden before that? How much training in climbing do I need?
    I would think it's not so much "how many" or "how much" but a matter pace (as others have said) and mindset for the Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I've not ridden that one but the climbing sounds brutal to me. I've also heard it's hard to get a "ticket" to ride as there is a rider limit.

    Someone else here would probably know better.

    ~jg

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    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Right now I have the legs for maybe 30-40 miles, how should I train so I don't embarrass myself on ride day?
    What do you mean? If you don't know how to ride a Century, then why do you think you "have the legs for maybe 30-40 miles?"

    I think the "plan" is - ride a lot, rest, ride some more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tmax1
    I would think it's not so much "how many" or "how much" but a matter pace (as others have said) and mindset for the Assault on Mt. Mitchell. I've not ridden that one but the climbing sounds brutal to me. I've also heard it's hard to get a "ticket" to ride as there is a rider limit.

    Someone else here would probably know better.

    ~jg
    There is also a qualifier to it. You have to complete the assault on Mt. Marion first. At least that's what I've heard. I'm planning on doing it this year also if time allows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSOKurt
    Hey all,

    There is a century ride on April 15 that I'm doing. It's rolling for about 25-35 miles then mostly long flats after that. Right now I have the legs for maybe 30-40 miles, how should I train so I don't embarrass myself on ride day?

    Any training plans out there?

    Thanks,
    Kurt
    I did my first one last year and all we did was start adding 10 miles per week to our normal 50 mile rides. We planned this about 6 weeks prior to the century. It was a piece of cake. We (wife and I) made sure to stop at each rest stop if we needed it or not to just get off the bike and enjoy being around other riders. Made a big difference. We've done two more since then and it just keeps getting easier.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
    I think the "plan" is - ride a lot, rest, ride some more.
    It seems it's a lot of factors really. Riding a lot and resting is big, but other things like nutrition and hydration is a very important aspect as well. The biggest thing I've seen other riders have problems with is staying on that uncomfortable saddle for 6+ hours. Gotta make sure you are happy with your saddle.

  12. #12
    Senior Member kokomo61's Avatar
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    There is also a qualifier to it. You have to complete the assault on Mt. Marion first. At least that's what I've heard. I'm planning on doing it this year also if time allows.
    I'm on the list to get a passcode (if it comes in the mail, I'll let you know). With only a fairly flat metric under my belt, I don't think I could do the big ride by June, but Mt. Marion (75 or so) should be possible. What I'm hoping is that I could be in good enough shape by June to do Mt. Marion, then do enough climbing training over the next year to do Mt. Mitchell.

    Would I be nuts to try Mt. Mitchell this year?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokomo61
    Would I be nuts to try Mt. Mitchell this year?
    Not if they have SAG vehicles! I've heard horror stories about this ride.. Heard a guy died of a heart attack last year and he was a VERY strong rider with no history of heart disease. Bad thing I've heard is that you can't go ride it to get the feel for the roads. It's suppose to be closed to bikes except during this ride. Monster of a climb though. Crazy weather on the mountain.

  14. #14
    Senior Member kokomo61's Avatar
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    I'm only about 90 minutes or so from Skyline Drive, so it's possible to get some decent climbing rides in - I'm just trying to gauge how much is required to get through the ride in (close to) one piece. They do have SAG vehicles on the ride, so it's possible to bail before you get to the top, and they have (I think) 3 official rest stops on the mountain itself. That being said, my plan this year would be to do 2-3 century rides (with one getting some climbing in), + the 75 mile Mt. Marion ride, and do Mt. Mitchell next year......Does that sound reasonable, or am I pushing too hard toward the goal (or not pushing hard enough)?

    BTW, I'm 45, and in decent shape (recent full physical and EKG). But...my longest ride is still a flat metric.
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    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Everyone does it diff. I would say the most important things that most people forget:

    1. Getting comfortable on the bike for a LONG distance

    Just because you can ride for 60 miles, does not mean that at a slower pace you can do 100. I've known a number of people who went that route and after mile 80 or so started getting major pains that ended up being debilitating in the later months and led to surgery for a few. This comes from a few things: get a proper bike fit (by a professional), get your body used to longer distances/times of riding.

    2. Fueling

    Trust me, this needs to be worked out before hand or you're screwed. On 3 hour rides, who cares, but on your first century, you're likely to be doing it for more than 7 hours and fueling becomes critical. Not only to stave off hunger and keep you as fueled as possible, but also to keep off stomach aches. Remember also that it'll be diff. depending on the weather. A hot day requires diff. fueling than a cool one.

    As for training....

    1. Start slow
    2. Try doing a 3-4 times a week program something like:

    Sunday: long ride
    Monday: short recovery ride (perhaps ride to work this day)
    Tuesday: off
    Wednesday: interval ride (ride to work easily, on ride home do hill intervals where you ride up a hill 3-4 times with 1-2 minute rest in between, then rest and do that whole sequence 1 more time)
    Thursday: off
    Friday: off
    Saturday: 1 hour EASY riding

    The Sunday ride you should do the miles like this: (or you can increase slower)
    Week 1: 50
    Week 2: 60
    Week 3: 70
    Week 4: 80
    Week 5: 90

    Then week 6 you do only VERY short recovery rides (maybe only 30-45 minutes) on monday, wednesday and then your century on saturday.

    On the long days, do NOT push it too hard. Simply aim for one smooth pace the whole way. Intensity will be taken care of on the interval day, the sunday ride is only for miles.

    Also, for getting comfortable on the bike, a few more suggestions:

    1. Stretch daily before and after the ride

    While static stretching won't necessarily help on that day's ride, it will make you more flexible over the long term and doing it regularly is important.

    2. Get bag balm

    You need to make your butt as unfrictioned as possible

    3. Good shorts

    DON'T buy Pearl Izumi shorts!! The seams on them will rip your butt up. I recommend a seat with a cut-out (for the groin) and look for bike shorts with a soft/non-intrusive inner seam.

    Hope this helps!

  16. #16
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSOKurt
    Hey all,

    There is a century ride on April 15 that I'm doing. It's rolling for about 25-35 miles then mostly long flats after that. Right now I have the legs for maybe 30-40 miles, how should I train so I don't embarrass myself on ride day?
    Don't sweat it, you'll be fine.

    The main thing is to eat well the day before and rest up. On the day of your ride, set your own comfortable pace -- do not speed up even slightly to keep up with others.

    Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and eat throughout the ride. For 100 miles, you don't need that much (250 calories per hour should do the trick -- listen to your body), but don't ride hours on end on an empty stomach.

    I'm not convinced you need to work your way up. Anyone who can do 30-40 miles can do 100. Just relax and have fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kokomo61
    I'm on the list to get a passcode (if it comes in the mail, I'll let you know). With only a fairly flat metric under my belt, I don't think I could do the big ride by June, but Mt. Marion (75 or so) should be possible. What I'm hoping is that I could be in good enough shape by June to do Mt. Marion, then do enough climbing training over the next year to do Mt. Mitchell.

    Would I be nuts to try Mt. Mitchell this year?
    In a word YES!! However, that is not to say you cant work up to it for a future year. I have no idea your age, fitness, weight, etc. so it is quite difficult to provide much of an assessment regarding your goals.The assault on Mt Mitchell is not a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination. Good Luck!

  18. #18
    Senior Member kokomo61's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikerJoeP
    In a word YES!! However, that is not to say you cant work up to it for a future year. I have no idea your age, fitness, weight, etc. so it is quite difficult to provide much of an assessment regarding your goals.The assault on Mt Mitchell is not a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination. Good Luck!
    That's what I thought. I'm expecting it to be brutal. I want to get 2-3 centuries in this season (with one hilly one), + Mt. Marion. It'll still be a tough ride, but that'll get me an auto entry for next year, and I can really train for climbing through the fall, and do it next season. That gives me 18 months to train. If I'm doing 75-100 miles a week now, do you think that's possible?
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  19. #19
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    Well, here's my 02....

    Last Saturday I was in the parking lot waiting to go out with the distance builders in my club (30-50 miles at 15-16mph) and on somewhat on a whim decided to join a group heading out on a planned 87 mile ride to a remote bakery in North Texas and back. We had another group leaving from another location planning to go 100 at 15-16 mph. The farthest I had ever been previous was 52 at 15 mph. I ended up hanging on for dear life then getting dropped before making the bakery. Pace started at 17mph and got faster. I had a GPS based map and a GPS unit (first ride with it) so told the group to go ahead. I did get to the bakery without problem and had a great lunch with some extra carbs! I waited on the DB paced group to go back with. Ended up at 97 miles and ave of 15.3 mph. Would have gone an extra three but my GPS unit ran out of juice and I didn't know I was that close. I should have left my Cateye on my bike until I got used to the GPS but didn't and learned a lesson. I really believe that if you go 40-50 miles regularly and go at a comfortable pace it is pretty doable to go 100. I was pretty fatigued at the end but not too beat up to ride on Sunday.

    The temp was in the 30s and I was dressed appropriately. I had two power bars for the trip and ran out of water right at the end of the ride. Of course we did have lunch at the bakery so it allowed for a good amount of recovery. Also was fortunate to catch a group coming back that was rolling at a comfortable pace for me. I was on my 06 Tarmac Pro. I would classify myself as an intermediate rider. I weigh 255 lbs and am trying to lose some weight and get in better general shape.

    I can't say that had I specifically trained for the near century I might have been less fatigued but I didn't feel too bad at the end. Maybe I inadvertantly have been training for a century by riding long on weekends and adding a couple of short rides during the week. Of course nobody in Dallas has ridden much this year as the weather has been terrible.

    Here is my GPS link: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2062697

    Keep in mind that it was my first ride with the GPS unit and I did not have the autostop set so it counted non-rolling time and speed. Also I managed to pause it for about 5-6 miles. Live and learn I guess.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokomo61
    I haven't ridden a century yet, but I'd like to get to the stage where it's 'real' for me. I'm riding between 75-100 miles a week right now between 2-3 rides. I do a commute at least 1X a week (43 Mi RT), and a weekend ride (min. 30 miles). I've ridden 50 several times (on a Trek 7300 hybrid, no less!), and did 62 this past Saturday (on the road bike). Wasn't sore at all on Sunday, just a bit draggy. Do I need to step up the frequency or distance to be able to do a century ride by May?
    What do you mean by 'real'?

    And I think you could probably do a century now if you wanted.

  21. #21
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    You need to put yourself on somesort of schedule and stay with it. Here is a good schedule that will get you to the century at the end of 12 weeks: http://www.carbboom.com/education/century.php

    If your already in good condition on a bike then start with week 5 so that by April 15th your ready to go. By starting with week 5 you have one day where your going to be doing a 40 mile trip where you stated that's about your max ability. But if you stay with the plan you should be able to accomplish each long mile day but it will be pushing you, but your young so your body will adjust faster then you think.

    The only changes I could think of on this schedule was week 11 I would do 70 miles not 65 because the week before the ride is an easy week anyways. The other change I see is the Thursday midweek being off, I would ride a easy or casual and short, meaning about 1/2 of the other preceding day (Wed) ride distance except for the week leading to the century I would take that Thu off.

    Here is another web site that has good info about how to do a century: http://www.ultracycling.com/training/centuries5.html

  22. #22
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    My rule of thumb is that your one-day distance is the same as your weekly ride distance. It's that simple. If you consistantly ride 100 miles/week on similar terrain to your century, no problem. You'll get there. If you want a fast one-day ride, then twice that distance per week is more like it. Distance = strength. My first century, I went the whole way on 1 orange, 1 candy bar, and two 15 oz. bottles of water. But I was young and trashed.

  23. #23
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
    My rule of thumb is that your one-day distance is the same as your weekly ride distance. It's that simple. If you consistantly ride 100 miles/week on similar terrain to your century, no problem. You'll get there. If you want a fast one-day ride, then twice that distance per week is more like it. Distance = strength. My first century, I went the whole way on 1 orange, 1 candy bar, and two 15 oz. bottles of water. But I was young and trashed.
    I've heard this before and I don't believe it. If you ride 7 days a week for 15 miles each time, you're not ready for a century.

  24. #24
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy
    I've heard this before and I don't believe it. If you ride 7 days a week for 15 miles each time, you're not ready for a century.
    I don't know. 15 miles is almost 1/6 of the distance. Might be OK, but never knew anyone who took it to that length to prove or disprove a point.

    There is also another rule of thumb, which is that your longest ride can be three times the length of your longest weekly training ride. So if you're doing a century and your weekend group ride is 35 miles, and you ride 5 days a week, then your other rides should be between 15 and 20 miles each. That works for a double, too. Been there, done that.

    That's the minimum. For a double, I usually ride 85 or so in the group ride, very hard, and then split up the rest, with a relatively short recovery ride, a very targeted ride, a 50, and whatever else. Another rule is that most folks never train easy enough, or hard enough. Stay away from Mr. Inbetween. Save that for the big ride. One should ride some easy and some hard, but not so much fast cruising.

    Which makes for a lot of complicated stuff. Ride your butt off when you're strong, ride easy when you're tired, but get in the mileage every week. Consistency.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
    My first century, I went the whole way on 1 orange, 1 candy bar, and two 15 oz. bottles of water. But I was young and trashed.
    I bet you didn't come close to winning...assuming this was a race. You could have died pulling a century with just 2 15oz bottles of water.

    When you say you were trashed, did you mean you were drunk?

    Please, whatever anyone does, don't do what Carbon Boy did.

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