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Thread: First Century

  1. #1
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    First Century

    I'm planning to do my first one next Saturday, going from Encinitas to somewhere beyond San Clemente. I did 85 miles a couple of weeks ago, so I'm not worried about my ability to make it.

    My 23 year old daughter may want to join me. I would love to have her along, but I'm wondering if there's anything I need to worry about in terms of her making it. She's in very good shape, but the only "training" she has for something like this is spinning classes, in which she usually outdoes the leader. But even an hour spinning is not the same as 7 hours on a bike.

    Is there anything I should be worried about? I'm 59, so I'm not going to be setting any speed records. I generally average around 15 mph on a long ride like this. I'd appreciate any advice you can give me.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Make sure she eats regularly -- approx. 250 calories per hour ; and drinks regularly -- approx. one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours.

    What she eats and drinks should be foods she is familiar with ... no new and different energy bars or energy drinks or anything. Even oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip cookies will work.

    If it is hot, make sure she eats something with salt occasionally along the way ... even potato chips will work.

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    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    She'll be fine. Aside from Machka's comments, my biggest concern would be that since she's never been on a bike for longer periods of time and is accustomed to workouts designed to maximize output, she might pedal too hard and tire herself out prematurely. What kind of bike is she riding?

    If she's on a hybrid or MTB and you're on a road bike, you might want to take an especially easy pace. Many 23 year olds will not want to admit that they're having trouble keeping up with a 59 year old, so if your pace looks anything other than easy for her, you might want to slow down a bit.

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    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    LOL, I'm on a Stratus XP (recumbent). I'll have an easy pace without even trying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco
    I'm planning to do my first one next Saturday, going from Encinitas to somewhere beyond San Clemente. I did 85 miles a couple of weeks ago, so I'm not worried about my ability to make it.

    My 23 year old daughter may want to join me. I would love to have her along, but I'm wondering if there's anything I need to worry about in terms of her making it. She's in very good shape, but the only "training" she has for something like this is spinning classes, in which she usually outdoes the leader. But even an hour spinning is not the same as 7 hours on a bike.

    Is there anything I should be worried about? I'm 59, so I'm not going to be setting any speed records. I generally average around 15 mph on a long ride like this. I'd appreciate any advice you can give me.
    She may be okay, but in general I think it's a bad idea for somebody who hasn't ridden, say, 50 miles to attempt a century. Spinning is a high-intensity hour workout, and a century is going to be at least 7 hours at a lower intensity, probably with some hills.

    On a personal side, I think you should be selfish. This is your first century, you've trained hard for it, and it belongs to you. If she is along with you and runs into trouble, you are in a no-win situation.

    I suggest telling her that you would prefer to do this one alone because you don't have a lot of experience with this kind of ride, and offer to find another century later in the summer for you to do together. That will give you some time for her to get in some training, and for you to figure out if she *can* do it.
    Eric

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    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    She just told me she may bring her boyfriend, who's a personal trainer. That may be an ideal solution. If she starts getting tired, the two of them can turn around, and I can go on.

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    No offense Chaco, but in Vegas the odds are running in your fit young daughter's favor.

    Tell her to have a cold one waiting for you in San Clemente, and have fun.
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

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    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krink
    No offense Chaco, but in Vegas the odds are running in your fit young daughter's favor.

    Tell her to have a cold one waiting for you in San Clemente, and have fun.
    I disagree with the above. I think that she may smoke you for the first 30 miles or so, but then you will crawl past her while she bonks in hour 3 or 4. The trainer boyfreind, may be another matter. Guys that age will hurt themselves to prove...well...nothing.

    I would let them know that you are in this for different reasons, will be doing your own thing, and that they are "together" for the ride. You all can have pizza and beer after. Sharing the distance and the food-beer tents after the event together will be nice. You don't have to ride together all day, and I would not suggest it either. Don't change anything big in how you ride...this is for YOU.

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    There was a time that the only exercise I got was spin class, occasionally back-to-back spin classes. Even with decades of riding experience behind me, I would not have wanted to attempt a century during that time.

    So what I would worry about, in your shoes, is that she will ride for a few hours, get tired, cranky, and slow, and then you will feel guilty for "dragging" her along in the first place. I would consider telling her that you'd love the company for the first 25 miles or so...

    <edit> I think maybe the old hands like Machka and Banerjek have forgotten how hard their first centuries were!

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    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    Us youngin's can do some surprising stuff sometimes.

    I bet she'll make it.
    Race-o-meter:
    Broken until next season

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    I think maybe the old hands like Machka and Banerjek have forgotten how hard their first centuries were!
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but we know that this is a first century for Chaco, and we assume the same for his daughter. It is a first century, then, for both of them, not just the daughter. Following six jours logic, we can assume that a first century will be a hard challenge for both of them.

    We know Chaco's daughter is thirty-five years younger than Chaco and even Chaco describes her as being in "very good shape." We know that she's the kind of woman who attracts personal trainers. She outdoes the leader in spin class. She doesn't sound overly confident, and is happy to ride with her aging, condescending father and her fit boyfriend. She sounds like a gem to me.

    We know Chaco is a 59 year old man, who only returned to biking last month after a 15 year gap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco 06-12-07, 08:36 AM
    Because of a ruptured disc in my neck years ago, I can't ride a regular bike, so I'm getting a recumbent. I'm looking forward to being car-free and care-free in a couple of weeks! Fortunately, I've been working out like crazy the last six months, so I think my quads can handle the hills in a recumbent. And Encinitas is a very bike-friendly place, too.
    In one month, Chaco goes from the conquering the hills in his neighborhood, to turning out a century. Hey, to me Chaco is a hero, no doubt. But, he's also a 59 year old man with a strenous new hobby, new to biking, with ongoing health issues, who is quickly pushing his distance to a high level, and who is very confident about his ability to perform.

    No wonder his daughter is worried and wants to go with him. I think her offer is supportive, loving, and a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco
    She just told me she may bring her boyfriend, who's a personal trainer. That may be an ideal solution. If she starts getting tired, the two of them can turn around, and I can go on.
    Well, that's certainly one possible scenario. Perhaps Chaco's daughter and her boyfriend would suggest others.
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours

    <edit> I think maybe the old hands like Machka and Banerjek have forgotten how hard their first centuries were!
    I have very vivid memories of my first century ... I nearly died out there. My problem ... I didn't eat or drink enough. If I had known what I know now about nutritional intake, I would have had a much better century. For the benefit of Chaco and his daughter, I posted what I know now about nutritional intake in my first post on this thread.

    I believe that if someone is fit and healthy, and if that person eats and drinks regularly throughout the century, even if that person has not built up to the century distance, that person can finish a century. I've seen it done. It may not be a fast century ... I'm thinking 8-10 hours would be reasonable ... but it is do-able.

    Oh ... and I think it is wonderful that father and daughter want to do the ride together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Krink
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but we know that this is a first century for Chaco, and we assume the same for his daughter. It is a first century, then, for both of them, not just the daughter. Following six jours logic, we can assume that a first century will be a hard challenge for both of them.

    We know Chaco's daughter is thirty-five years younger than Chaco and even Chaco describes her as being in "very good shape." We know that she's the kind of woman who attracts personal trainers. She outdoes the leader in spin class. She doesn't sound overly confident, and is happy to ride with her aging, condescending father and her fit boyfriend. She sounds like a gem to me.

    We know Chaco is a 59 year old man, who only returned to biking last month after a 15 year gap.

    In one month, Chaco goes from the conquering the hills in his neighborhood, to turning out a century. Hey, to me Chaco is a hero, no doubt. But, he's also a 59 year old man with a strenous new hobby, new to biking, with ongoing health issues, who is quickly pushing his distance to a high level, and who is very confident about his ability to perform.

    No wonder his daughter is worried and wants to go with him. I think her offer is supportive, loving, and a good idea.
    The big difference is that Chaco rode 85 miles in a day a couple of weeks ago. I would not worry about somebody pushing from 85 miles to 100 miles - to get to 85 you have to do nearly everything that you have to do to get to 100.

    Spin class is *very* different from doing a century. You can do spin class without eating and drinking anything, and you can't do that for a century.
    Eric

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    Eric beat me to it, Krink. Chaco has been preparing to ride a century. His daughter, OTOH, doesn't ride for more than an hour at a shot -- and that's far more important than the age difference, IMO. What I don't know is a lot, but I'd still bet that this would turn into a death march for the daughter and her boyfriend.

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    ...her aging, condescending father...

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    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Again, thank you everyone for your very helpful advice.

    My daughter asked her boyfriend about it, and he, probably wisely, advised her against going, telling her that a 90 minute spinning class, even if she's great at it, is not the same as going 100 miles. She agree, so she's sitting this one out.

    Actually what worried me most is that she doesn't have her own bike. She'd have to rent a bike, helmet, shoes, etc. There's a LOT that can go wrong with equipment you're not familiar with. My first long ride, the cleats in my shoes weren't screwed on tight enough, and they almost fell off during the ride. Yes, I'm a total novice -- I didn't know enough to tighten them when my foot started sliding around, LOL, and I had just installed the clipless pedals the day before.

    I actually don't have "ongoing health issues." It's just that I can't keep my neck in the position a DF would require, but otherwise, I'm doing pretty good - average BP is 112/68 and resting pulse ranges from 49 to 52. I work out 6 days a week - 3 in weight training, followed by a 15 to 20 mile ride, and 3 in pure cardio, with a long ride on one of the weekend days.

    Still, this is my first one, so I'm somewhat cautious. My wife will be meeting me at about th 65 mile mark with some lunch -- lots of fruit, plus a sandwich -- and that should force me to stop and stretch my legs for a while before I do the last 30 home. I expect the whole thing will take about 8 hours or so.

    I plan on taking my camera, too, so that I can get some pics along the way.

    I'll let you know how everything goes!

    My 59th bday will actually be next week, and I'm planning to do a century at least once a year around my birthday for as long as I can!

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    Good luck, mate! We'll look forward to hearing a succesful ride report.

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    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    I think maybe the old hands like Machka and Banerjek have forgotten how hard their first centuries were!
    Actually, it was remembering my first century that makes me want to encourage others. The furthest I'd ever ridden before my first century was about 15 miles. However, I was in generally good shape. I rode about 7 miles to school each way every day, and I could consistently cover that distance in just a tick over 20 minutes. I also ran distance on the track team and did martial arts.

    The conditions were perfect and this was the tamest century I've ever ridden. Nevertheless, that experience totally opened my eyes to what I was capable of and what others could do as well. To this day, I consider it my biggest cycling achievement.

    I would love to recapture that feeling I got, but I don't think it's possible. The rides I seek now are harder, longer, and put me in much more discomfort. However, I don't think I'll ever be able to surprise myself again. No matter how hard a ride is, I know I can finish, so it becomes more a matter of being pigheaded enough to stick it out while I manage nutrition, hydration, and hope that I don't get shut down by bad luck or my body rebelling.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco
    Actually what worried me most is that she doesn't have her own bike. She'd have to rent a bike, helmet, shoes, etc.
    This is what would decide the issue for me. Riding a bike that you are not used to any significant distance is highly likely to result in pain and may result in injury, particularly for inexperienced riders who may not know how to adjust their bikes properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    Chaco has been preparing to ride a century. His daughter, OTOH, doesn't ride for more than an hour at a shot -- and that's far more important than the age difference, IMO. What I don't know is a lot, but I'd still bet that this would turn into a death march for the daughter and her boyfriend.
    Death march. The question isn't whether his daughter has been consciously preparing for a century, but whether she's prepared. She certainly is prepared for something. Even Chaco says his daughter spins for 90 minutes (not an hour) and is in very good shape. If a magic genie offered me Chaco's 85 miles of experience or his daughter's 24 years of age, I know which one I'd choose.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco
    I work out 6 days a week - 3 in weight training, followed by a 15 to 20 mile ride, and 3 in pure cardio, with a long ride on one of the weekend days.
    I'd suggest, "perhaps wisely," that weight training is not the same as doing a century. Depending on what you're doing, it may even be counter-productive for distance riding. Otherwise, your program sounds good, imho. (Maybe even as good as 90 minute spin classes and 24 years of age.) You'll likely make it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgu
    Spin class is *very* different from doing a century. You can do spin class without eating and drinking anything, and you can't do that for a century.
    Even if it were true that spinners don't drink and eat before/during/after class, I'm not sure how it follows that spinning would cause an adult to forget to eat and drink anything on an eight hour ride. There's been some interesting logic in this thread.

    If Chaco needs to do this thing alone, than he should do it alone, and tell his daughter so plainly.

    And, since it is a free country, Chaco's daughter might think of starting out five minutes later, and then keep her old man just in sight. She can always say she rode to San Clemente in the car with Mom.
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

  20. #20
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    I'd suggest, "perhaps wisely," that weight training is not the same as doing a century. Depending on what you're doing, it may even be counter-productive for distance riding. Otherwise, your program sounds good, imho. (Maybe even as good as 90 minute spin classes and 24 years of age.) You'll likely make it.
    LOL, my "coach" (a friend who has helped my develop an overall fitness program for the past year) is not too happy about my biking. "Too much cardio," he says. He believes in the efficacy of a solid weight training program, and he's very concerned about my not managing fatigue properly while I'm losing weight (A year ago, I was at 270 lbs.; now I'm at 225, and I have 25 lbs. more to lose).

    The people on this forum probably look at all the weight training and say, "Too much weights!".

    But I like the balance. I'll never be a great weight lifter, but I'm happy at my age being able to squat 220 lbs. and bench 175 lbs. And I'll never be a great biker, but I'll be very happy if I can do a Century.

    I do weights because it keeps my lean body mass in tact, especially as I lose weight, and helps my flexibility a lot. I do cardio because it gives my heart and lungs a great workout. That might make me somewhat of a dilettante, but it's a mix that's served me well over the past year.

    Interesting how someone can find a father's concern for his daughter's well being "condescending". Oh well, that's the Internet for you. It's easy to assume you know a lot more about someone than you really do. . .

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    I think you're a great biker, Chaco. I sincerely admire your dedication, and find it inspiring.

    I just think your daughter may be a great biker, too. I think it's too bad she's missing this opportunity to have a supported first ride with company.

    Just so I understand what you are saying through the internet distortion:

    --Spinning class does not prepare one for a century, but weightlifting does.
    --It was OK for you to jump into long distance bicycling on a new bike, but not OK for your daughter.
    --You're almost 59, male gender, have a recent (ongoing?) history of being overweight, and have embarked on a relatively recent (stressful) excercise program.
    --You're concerned about your daughter who is 24, fit, female.

    Fair enough?

    Do you feel your daughter is prepared for any part of this century, maybe just to join you for the last 35 miles from the meal break? Or the first, what, 30 to Camp Pendleton?
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

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    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Krink, I'm certainly not trying to pick a fight with you -- everything you say is justified to a certain extent. But part of my concern came from the fact that my daughter is not a cyclist. She does spinning classes, and is a very strong woman, but she doesn't own a bike, shoes, helmet, or even biking shorts.

    It's a moot point, anyway, because she can't make it on the ride. But I think there's something of value here for anyone attempting their first century, specifically:
    1. Take a few long rides first, just to see how your body reacts, and also how your equipment fares
    2. work out a nutritional plan
    3. have some backup support in case you bonk


    The 2nd and 3rd items I have taken care of, but the first one really worried me. I remember when I tried to ride my bike home from the bike shop 4 weeks ago. It was only a 24 mile ride, but I ended up getting a flat going down a 2.5 mile grade going 40 miles an hour. I wasn't hurt, but I also had no spare tube. Stupid, I know, but now I have two of them. The first time I went 60 miles (7 days after I got my bike) I didn't have a pair of bike shorts. I thought, I have a recumbent, why do I need them? Yes, it looked like I had wet my pants when I got home. My wife broke out in laughter when I walked in the door. When I went on my 84 mile ride 2 weeks ago, I had just gotten clipless pedals the day before. About 60 miles into the ride, my shoes started sliding around a bit. I wasn't quite sure what was happening, so I didn't pay too much attention to it. Then, at a traffic light, the cleat fell off.

    Now, I know for a fact my daughter is a lot smarter than I am, so a lot of this wouldn't happen to her. But still, I had some real trepidation about her attempting a ride this long with a rented bike, a rented helmet, and no real experience biking on streets. As you can see, I'm perfectly willing to assume those kind of risks for myself, but not so willing to do that to her.

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    That's the internet for you. Express concern for an older bicyclist and you're accused of picking a fight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
    I'm perfectly willing to assume those kind of risks for myself, but not so willing to do that to her.
    There it is.

    In my mind, you're not "doing that to her." She's an adult, she makes her choices, she bears the responsibility. But I appreciate that you see it differently--she's your child. The century thing is your idea. If something happened...you'd blame yourself. Am I right? The little bone I'm picking with you is that you're saying something else. You're putting a negative spin on spinning, for example, when cardio is pretty much cardio. It's all good.

    I still think you have more risk factors than she would. For her, a hard bonk might just mean finding an AC bar, putting her feet up, drinking a pitcher of water, a pitcher of beer, waiting for the sag, and then dancing all night with the boyfriend. For you, well, forget the dancing. And the beer. Don't bonk by yourself in some ditch.

    At the risk of condescension, other suggestions for your solo:
    4. Have a maximum pace schedule tied to landmarks.
    5. schedule breaks (timer helps).
    6. Check your heart rate.
    7. Be careful regarding changes in the weather, be prepared for sun.
    8. Hydration plan/schedule.
    9. Cell phone.
    10. Share your proposed route and schedule with your backup.


    Keep on trucking, dude.
    They told me to wear more lycra, and I said "no, no, no."

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    IMO, the key here is that Chaco has been building mileage and can complete an 85 mile ride. Which basically means he's removed the "unknown" factor from the ride: he can complete a 100 miles.

    His daughter, OTOH, has never ridden, as far as we know, more than 90 minutes at a shot; perhaps the equivalent of 30-35 mile ride. All the other stuff about age, gender, weight training, general fitness levels, etc. is utterly irrelevant when we take these numbers into account. We know Chaco is capable of a 100 mile ride. We know only that his daughter is capable of a 30 mile ride. And that is the bottom line, IMO.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Yes, Krink, I pretty much agree with you on everything you said, with one exception. Equipment problems have nothing to do with cardio; they have to do with experience. LOL, don't get me wrong; I'm hardly calling myself "experienced". But at least I'm partially sighted instead of totally blind.

    I like the points in the list, and I think I'm pretty well prepared. I'm going to take my camera, and force myself to get off the bike at least once an hour and take some pics. I have two water bottle holders, and I'll bring two more liters in my bags, along with several baggies of Carbo Load. I wear a heart monitor whenever I exercise, so I'll keep an eye on that. I'm actually bringing 2 cell phones. And I planned my route on RouteSlip.com and printed it up for my wife.

    All I can do is hope it doesn't get too hot. Usually, we have a nice marine layer in the morning, so I should have at least 5 or 6 hours of pretty temperate weather.

    Now, if I don't make it after this hellaciously long thread, I'll have to go hide away in a cave somewhere!

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