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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 07-14-07, 10:28 AM   #1
Talarion
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Mental

OK, It was recently stated in another thread that (generally) if you are fit enough to do a century then you can do 500. It is just mental and nutrition. I can pick up and do a century anytime, typically I'll do one a month. This month, 4. I have a good base. I practice eating and recovering from hard efforts on the bike - keep moving...

My short term goal is to finish a 200K. Eventually (next fall?), I'd like to be an official finisher of the Furnace Creek 508 and possiblly keep my mileage up to qualify (via the local brevet series) for the next PBP.

You're sayin' that from here on out it is mostly MENTAL????

Thanks.
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Old 07-14-07, 12:55 PM   #2
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That and learning how to pace yourself; resolving saddle, neck, knee, and shoulder issues that may not appear until 400k or so; resolving nutrition issues that don't appear until about 300k; and learning how to recover from and prepare for these much more energy-draining rides. Also there are sleep-deprivation issues.

I remember telling a fellow finisher at my early spring 200k that I didn't think I had another 100k in me. His reply was, "Oh yes you do. You just don't realize it yet." I think that's what people mean about the mental part. It's amazing how much you can take and still keep moving.
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Old 07-14-07, 01:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Talarion
You're sayin' that from here on out it is mostly MENTAL????
Sort of.

There comes a point in every long ride where you reach bottom. Cranky, feel like crap, demoralized, aching all over, just want it to be over, etc. Then you eat a meal, take a short nap, and, voila, feel reborn.

You have to go through that a couple of times to anticipate the ups and downs, and have the confidence of seeing past the low spots. That, and a thousand other little tricks.

When people say it's "mental" they're mostly talking about "experience."

By the way, in my opinion the Furnace Creek 508 is a huge leap from riding a full brevet season. I haven't attempted it, but I've ridden with lots of people who have done it. The support crew logistics and nutritional requirements of that climate present a tremendous challenge above and beyond that posed by the distance. I'd think twice about making that a goal before having ridden a double century. Ideally, I'd try to crew for somebody else before attempting to ride it.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Talarion
OK, It was recently stated in another thread that (generally) if you are fit enough to do a century then you can do 500. It is just mental and nutrition.
you might be referring to a post that I made in that topic, and I would stand by that. The one qualifier I would make, however, is that just because you can do a 500, doesn't mean that you're guaranteed to finish a 500. There's a reason why they make you ride the series before you do a 1200km, after all.

Being able to ride a 100 miles mostly proves that you have the strength and aerobic fitness needed to do longer rides. Given an absence of physical injuries, a steady stream of calories and a general willingness to continue riding then you can, conceivably, ride forever. It's like folks who decide to ride across the country or around the world. It's not like any of them needed to train by riding halfway or a quarter way across the country. A lot of cross-country tourers might get a couple of centuries under their belt and then they're on their way. Similarly, most randonneurs train for 300km and 400km rides by just doing centuries. For a 600, one might do a pair of long rides back to back, like, say, two 75 mile rides or 100/70, but there's hardly any reason to do more than that. Before my last 600, my longest training ride was a 90 and 60 mile on a Saturday and Sunday.

Still, don't underestimate the willpower portion of the ride. As some others have said, there are a lot of things in your head that can make you underestimate your abilities, and if you're tired, hungry and in poor spirits, you will find excuses to quit. You'll think that you're weaker than you really are, that the road is longer or the next hill is steeper than it may be in reality. I've had more than a few, dark long and lonely nights where my head just wanted things to end, even if my legs were still good to go. Sometimes you have to be stubborn, or inventive, or skilled at lying to yourself.

I also agree with what Goonster has said about doing a full brevet series before doing Furnace Creek. The series will help build that mental toughness, and will make you a stronger rider for when the 508 comes around.
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Old 07-14-07, 09:56 PM   #5
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Yeah, pretty much.

If you are fit, as you get into longer distances other things start becoming factors such as:

-- nutritional intake ... unlike short rides, if you mess that up, the ride is over
-- bicycle fit ... you can do lots of short rides on a bicycle that doesn't fit quite right, but on the long rides, when you are turning the pedals thousands of times, fit starts to become a factor
-- sleep deprivation, and how you're going to handle it
-- and dealing with those thought that creep into your mind and tell you to quit. I'm a very stubborn person and I have finished rides that have not gone well in terms of weather, nutrition, etc., on sheer stubbornness ... determination to finish. (But I have also decided to call it a day when I realized that circumstances were about to put me into a situation that would be dangerous to my health.)

And think about the brevet series itself ... we do a 200K, and then a week or two later leap to the 300K, and then a week or two later leap to the 400K, and then a week or two later leap to the 600K ... and a few months later we leap to the 1200K distance. It's a gradual progression in a way, but definitely not the "increase your distance by 10% per week" thing we tell new riders. And between the leap from 600K to 1200K, most people don't ride any more than maybe a 300K in preparation for the 1200K. A few do the 1000K, but most just ride centuries or 200K distances.


BTW - If you can do 4 centuries (100 miles) in one month, you can definitely do a 200K (125 miles) ... that's not a huge leap. And like spokenword says, I'd do the brevet series first before the Furnace Creek 508 ... I've done 7 full brevet series, plus a bunch of other brevets, 1 - 1000K, and 4 - 1200K randonnees, and I still don't feel completely comfortable with the idea of doing the Furnace Creek 508.
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Old 07-15-07, 06:51 PM   #6
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OK, It was recently stated in another thread that (generally) if you are fit enough to do a century then you can do 500.
Pretty silly to equate the possibility of completing 500 miles with the idea of being "fit" to ride 500 miles. (or fit for 100, what ever)

In every case, circumstance will dictate success or failure, things like temperature and terrain as well night riding and circadian cycles are involved with any 500 mile ride..... Yes some Century riders could hack a 500 mile ride, if conditions are just right........
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Old 07-15-07, 07:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium
Pretty silly to equate the possibility of completing 500 miles with the idea of being "fit" to ride 500 miles. (or fit for 100, what ever)

In every case, circumstance will dictate success or failure, things like temperature and terrain as well night riding and circadian cycles are involved with any 500 mile ride..... Yes some Century riders could hack a 500 mile ride, if conditions are just right........
I don't think that we were ruling that out in our advice. We didn't say, oh, "you can ride a 100 mile ride, therefore you can do a 500 miler, no problem."

What everyone has said is that a large factor of stepping up from a 100 mile ride to longer distances is less about becoming more physically fit and more about mentally preparing yourself for things like night riding and knowing what to do when you encounter adverse conditions. Your fate in a given event is not determined by circumstances alone but how you address those circumstances.

and, also it would probably be useful to remind folks that the original thread on this topic was discussing a 500 mile, one week tour that someone was going to undertake in a year from now. That presents qualitatively different training goal from doing the Furnace Creek 508.
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Old 07-16-07, 08:16 AM   #8
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Shucks, 500 miles in a week, sounds like a good time. Yeah, anyone, should be able to do that.

My point was that, a single half-hour of cold rain, a couple climbs that ridden in the wrong gear, or an unrelenting saddle sore, will probably break more riders on a long ride than some kind all-encompassing fatigue..........
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Old 07-16-07, 10:28 AM   #9
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Personally, I like to know as much as possible about a course before I ride it. For something like the 508 you should either do a two or four person team, or crew. I have done a four person team and crewed. Right now I can say that I can't even consider it solo, and this year I have done my first complete brevet series, easily finishing the 600k in 35 hours.

Think about doing a hard 400k brevet in 24 hours. Then think about doing it again. That is the 508.

Besides the mental aspect, to be able to physically do a 500 mile event I think you have to get to the point of being able to "ride forever". If you have a weakness, say nutrition, or problems sitting on a saddle for a long period of time, doing 500 miles may (or may not) happen, but you could wreck yourself physically.

I'd say being able to ride a 1200k is a good test for thinking about the 508.
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Old 07-16-07, 09:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Talarion
OK, It was recently stated in another thread that (generally) if you are fit enough to do a century then you can do 500. It is just mental and nutrition. I can pick up and do a century anytime, typically I'll do one a month. This month, 4. I have a good base. I practice eating and recovering from hard efforts on the bike - keep moving...

My short term goal is to finish a 200K. Eventually (next fall?), I'd like to be an official finisher of the Furnace Creek 508 and possiblly keep my mileage up to qualify (via the local brevet series) for the next PBP.

You're sayin' that from here on out it is mostly MENTAL????

Thanks.
As Machka notes, you can get away with things on a single that you can't on a double.

On a double last year, I ended up feeling great for the first 120, and then suffering severely for the next 80. And last Saturday I did the same on a severely hilly century (6000', was supposed to be 120 miles/8000'), where I had to turn back on one climb (luckily possible on the route).

I'm convinced that I'm not getting close to enough sodium for my needs, but that took me a while to figure out, and I've never had issues on normal centuries.
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Old 07-17-07, 06:42 AM   #11
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This makes sense. Earlier in the year I was completely unprepared for a 200k with about 2700 meters of elevation gain but managed to do it somehow. My longest rides prior to that were somewhere around 50-60 miles of not very hilly terrain. Still, I finished with two amazing women who helped keep me going mentally in under 12 and a half hours. I hurt my knees and my IT band pretty bad from over doing it, but it still boggles me how I was able to. I think mostly it was the support of the people around me but also the fact that every 40 miles or so we stopped for long enough for me to stretch, eat plenty and recover.
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