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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 07-17-07, 06:43 PM   #1
Cadillac
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Century Types

I find that a number of posts have had questions about Century types.
Perhaps I can summarize them
Personal Fast Century: A ride of a hundred miles in which you attempt to exceed your personal best.
Fast Century: A ride of a hundred miles in which you complete in 5 hours or less.
Organized Century: A ride of a hundred miles with a group of other riders usually with designated rest stops and supported by a van/truck in the event of a break-down (of you or the bike )
Unorganized Century: A ride of a hundred miles with or without other riders. It might have a support vehicle.
Solo Century: A ride of a hundred miles usually without other riders or a support vehicle.
Scenic Century: A ride of a hundred miles which has several stops, picture taking, talking with people along the way, smelling the flowers, lunch, etc. Usually it takes ten hours or more.

Some of these Century types overlap. For instance your century could be a Personal Fast Century, Fast Century, Unorganized Century and Solo.

All of these are bona fide Centuries, but not everyone can complete every one of them.
The question comes when a given rider (esp. a Newby) asks if he/she can complete a Century. And a forum poster will assume one type of Century and advise for or against doing it. In my opinion, a Newby with some previous experience of 40-50 mile rides can usually do a "Scenic Century" and possibly an Organized Century; but a Fast Century is not advisable.

Personally, I enjoy my solo, scenic Centuries. I ride them for fun. I like stopping at a fast-food outlet, ordering a burger, and chatting with other patrons. I like taking pictures of old cars and old houses along the way. I don't begrudge the fast rider who polishes a Century in half the time; but I enjoy riding 15-20 km/hr (10-13 mph) average.

A Century should meet your personal goals -- not just your speed goals.
Enjoy your ride.
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Old 07-17-07, 07:33 PM   #2
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there are also a few gaps or quibbles in this taxonomy.

ie. organized centuries don't always have a SAG wagon. unorganized centuries without other riders is, by your definition, a Solo Century. I think that there should also be a distinction between organized charity centuries, organized club centuries and organized nonaffiliated centuries as these can imply different levels of route challenge and support. Charity Centuries tend to feature a great deal of support and easier routes (though this isn't always true, as the D2R2, which raises funds for the Franklin Land Trust is probably the most brutal ride that I know). Club Centuries might have a few volunteers for rest stops but no support vehicles and could tend towards more challenging routes.
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Old 07-17-07, 09:49 PM   #3
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And all this time that those centuries I've been riding were just 100 miles, or more.

I see no reason for any distinction except for however a given person wishes to describe his ride. What's next? Hilly centuries? Windy centuries? Cold, hot, rainy, snowy, or icy centuries?

How about long centuries (150-199 miles)? Then there's double centuries and all the above modifiers for them. And even triple centuries.

Oh, and what about recovery centuries? You know. Those centuries you do to loosen up between longer rides.

My gosh! I think that every century ever ridden will have it's own unique descriptor.
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Old 07-17-07, 10:13 PM   #4
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Hey, supcom is on to something....

- Long Century: you'd swear you passed 100 miles a long time ago. Check that route slip again!
- Chamois Century: not sure about the legs or bike, but butt's done 100 miles. If you ask too many questions about a Chamois Century, rider just might have to show you.
- Hilly Century: 100 miles vertical. At least it felt that way.
- Slow Century: no one behind you. When said quickly, "I only planned a Slow Century" might deflect the comments of "you suck."
- Schizophrenic Century: I went for a 100-mile ride. And so did I. Slightly different from a Solo Century. "Invisible friend" riding partners fall into a different classification - we call that "Mental Century". A century should meet your personal goals - Enjoy your ride. All of you.
- Dysentery Century: when a rider's digestive tract is in distress for 100 miles, the agony can be epic - this requires a classification of its own.
- Easy Century: you've been riding too much, you need medical help. Everybody knows there's no such thing. Let's talk to the nice man in the white coat about all those long, lonely hours in the saddle. There, much better...

And now, the combinations boggle the mind! For instance, a "Disorganized Scenic Dysentery Century" is guaranteed to be a Solo Century. Ain't nobody going to hang around for THAT! A Hilly Fast Personal Century is likely to be a Mental Century - you're either lying or crazy, but there's no witnesses so I'm not inclined to believe you either way. A Chamois Century is probably a Slow Century, and if you ask too many questions it's bound to get mighty scenic, so don't do that!

Enough for now - I just got back from an Easy Double Century and it's time for my medication

Last edited by SandLizrd; 07-17-07 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 07-17-07, 10:19 PM   #5
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I see no reason for any distinction except for however a given person wishes to describe his ride. What's next? Hilly centuries? Windy centuries? Cold, hot, rainy, snowy, or icy centuries?
my impression about the motive behind the question was to clarify requests for advice. it's, to a lesser extent, similar to when folks discuss touring and need to distinguish between loaded and credit card touring.

so, you're going to ride 100+ miles and need help? Is it a 200k brevet with 6,000 feet of climbing and completely self-supported? or is it a 100 mile seacoast fundraiser with SAG support? or is it a 300 mile trip that you're taking with buddies to go see what the other side of the state/province/country looks like?
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Old 07-18-07, 04:06 PM   #6
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Hey, supcom is on to something....

- Long Century: you'd swear you passed 100 miles a long time ago. Check that route slip again!
- Chamois Century: not sure about the legs or bike, but butt's done 100 miles. If you ask too many questions about a Chamois Century, rider just might have to show you.
- Hilly Century: 100 miles vertical. At least it felt that way.
- Slow Century: no one behind you. When said quickly, "I only planned a Slow Century" might deflect the comments of "you suck."
- Schizophrenic Century: I went for a 100-mile ride. And so did I. Slightly different from a Solo Century. "Invisible friend" riding partners fall into a different classification - we call that "Mental Century". A century should meet your personal goals - Enjoy your ride. All of you.
- Dysentery Century: when a rider's digestive tract is in distress for 100 miles, the agony can be epic - this requires a classification of its own.
- Easy Century: you've been riding too much, you need medical help. Everybody knows there's no such thing. Let's talk to the nice man in the white coat about all those long, lonely hours in the saddle. There, much better...

And now, the combinations boggle the mind! For instance, a "Disorganized Scenic Dysentery Century" is guaranteed to be a Solo Century. Ain't nobody going to hang around for THAT! A Hilly Fast Personal Century is likely to be a Mental Century - you're either lying or crazy, but there's no witnesses so I'm not inclined to believe you either way. A Chamois Century is probably a Slow Century, and if you ask too many questions it's bound to get mighty scenic, so don't do that!

Enough for now - I just got back from an Easy Double Century and it's time for my medication
Too funny...
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Old 07-18-07, 07:33 PM   #7
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Hilarious.

I've been trying to think of names for my almost-centuries. Like, 93.6 miles and I don't want to pedal another foot. With the right name, these short-falls could become accomplishments to boast about. Of course 62 miles is a metric century, a neat little cop-out. Maybe I could do something similar with cubits or furlongs...

I do distinguish between "pure miles" and "junk miles." Pure miles is what most of you talk about--you get on the bike to crank out miles at high speeds while dressed in natty attire. I admire that, but I ride junk. I click on the odometer, ride to the dentist, then to coffee, then a longish training ride, then to visit a friend, take the long way home, another little training ride, and then there it is: a junk half-century. Commutes, training rides, off-road, I don't discriminate. My miles are the ugly step-child of distance riding, they're trash, they're junk.
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Old 07-18-07, 09:08 PM   #8
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I do distinguish between "pure miles" and "junk miles." Pure miles is what most of you talk about--you get on the bike to crank out miles at high speeds while dressed in natty attire. I admire that, but I ride junk. I click on the odometer, ride to the dentist, then to coffee, then a longish training ride, then to visit a friend, take the long way home, another little training ride, and then there it is: a junk half-century. Commutes, training rides, off-road, I don't discriminate. My miles are the ugly step-child of distance riding, they're trash, they're junk.
I have a kinder name for my afternoons spent with almost a hundred miles between home, work, grocery, theatre, shop and bar. Extreme errand running. It helps if one has a tattoo of a grocery cart. a grocery cart with flames, that is.
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Old 07-18-07, 10:58 PM   #9
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I've been trying to think of names for my almost-centuries. Like, 93.6 miles and I don't want to pedal another foot.

I've heard this called an "Irish Triathalon." We rode quite a ways, then stopped at the pub. I swam in beer, and I was so ruined the next morning I'm pretty sure I was doing laps around the bar, and quite a few of 'em, laddie! There's a similar version called Texas Century, due to the beer stop at mile 98 of Hotter 'n' Hell 100. (Don't quote me on this yet - I'll do more investigating in a few weeks, I promise! )

Your other use of terminology would be the "UMCA Century." For Century-A-Month, there are rules stating a 90-mile course can be included, and a 190-double. The added advantage is, most folk don't know what the UMCA is, so you get to tell lies! "The Umcaw is this big hairy creature lives in forest of Oregon. Smells real bad." Make sure to throw in this last part - you didn't really answer the question, but anyone who knows what a big hairy creature smells like is given instant respect

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Old 07-21-07, 09:15 PM   #10
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Hey, supcom is on to something....

- Long Century: you'd swear you passed 100 miles a long time ago. Check that route slip again!
- Chamois Century: not sure about the legs or bike, but butt's done 100 miles. If you ask too many questions about a Chamois Century, rider just might have to show you.
- Hilly Century: 100 miles vertical. At least it felt that way.
- Slow Century: no one behind you. When said quickly, "I only planned a Slow Century" might deflect the comments of "you suck."
- Schizophrenic Century: I went for a 100-mile ride. And so did I. Slightly different from a Solo Century. "Invisible friend" riding partners fall into a different classification - we call that "Mental Century". A century should meet your personal goals - Enjoy your ride. All of you.
- Dysentery Century: when a rider's digestive tract is in distress for 100 miles, the agony can be epic - this requires a classification of its own.
- Easy Century: you've been riding too much, you need medical help. Everybody knows there's no such thing. Let's talk to the nice man in the white coat about all those long, lonely hours in the saddle. There, much better...

And now, the combinations boggle the mind! For instance, a "Disorganized Scenic Dysentery Century" is guaranteed to be a Solo Century. Ain't nobody going to hang around for THAT! A Hilly Fast Personal Century is likely to be a Mental Century - you're either lying or crazy, but there's no witnesses so I'm not inclined to believe you either way. A Chamois Century is probably a Slow Century, and if you ask too many questions it's bound to get mighty scenic, so don't do that!

Enough for now - I just got back from an Easy Double Century and it's time for my medication

I've done a number of Chamois Centuries, sadly no real ones yet!

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Old 07-21-07, 09:17 PM   #11
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I have a kinder name for my afternoons spent with almost a hundred miles between home, work, grocery, theatre, shop and bar. Extreme errand running. It helps if one has a tattoo of a grocery cart. a grocery cart with flames, that is.

spokenword, I think you are the first of a new genre of cyclist, "domestic errand hammer monkey."
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