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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 04-11-08, 08:52 AM   #1
Nickel
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Last minute century advice for a newbie?

I am embarking on my first century ride tomorrow with the goal of just finishing. Well, hopefully, the weather is looking pretty nasty right now and the forecast is for snow and 40Fs, which is better than rain.

The race is entirely on gravel roads, with the expectation that they will be pretty sloppy. I am thinking of using CX tires (considering a 32C in the front and a 38C in the back) though I might bring a 26" spare pair of wheels if the conditions are really nasty.

My biggest concern is my feet staying warm and I have Machka's advice for preparation there. Because the conditions are going to be very wet, I picked up a pair of SealSkinz in the hopes of keeping drier for longer. Has anyone used these before? I am opting for clipless pedals which unfortunately means a vented road shoe (+ neoprene booties) as there are a ton of climbs and I think I will benefit from being able to pull as well as push.

Anything else I should be thinking about? I have 2 bottles + a Camelbak bladder, food in my handlebar bag, 2 spare tubes, hand/foot warmers, spare warm clothing and lemon juice (farm dogs).
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Old 04-11-08, 09:29 AM   #2
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I wore sealskinz while winter commuting and found them to be pretty good about keeping out the elements, but with the caveat that the most I was ever outside was an hour. No idea how well they hold up to 6+ hours of exposure.

However, I also suspect that sealskinz + neoprene booties + 40F temps means that your feet will start to cook after half an hour on the bike. You might want to leave the neoprene booties off and at least give your sealskinz a chance to vent some of that moisture.
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Old 04-11-08, 09:37 AM   #3
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It sounds like you're well prepared and have a good plan going in. Should be challenging, but do-able.

What a difference location makes. I have a double century tomorrow with 16,500 ft. of climbing and temperatures expected in the mid-90's. Just a different set of problems to cope with!

Rick / OCRR
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Old 04-11-08, 09:56 AM   #4
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It sounds like you're well prepared and have a good plan going in. Should be challenging, but do-able.

What a difference location makes. I have a double century tomorrow with 16,500 ft. of climbing and temperatures expected in the mid-90's. Just a different set of problems to cope with!

Rick / OCRR
No kidding. I'm in between conditions of you two. It's supposed to be mostly sunny and low to mid 60s for my century on Sunday.
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Old 04-11-08, 09:59 AM   #5
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If there are refueling stops, you probably won't need the Camelbak in those temperatures. Dry wool socks in a Ziploc. I'd start with the booties. Better too warm than too cold. But do hydrate. It's easy to think you don't need to when you're cold.
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Old 04-11-08, 10:27 AM   #6
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if the bike has 700c on it then 26" wont work
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Old 04-11-08, 10:48 AM   #7
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But do hydrate. It's easy to think you don't need to when you're cold.
+1
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Old 04-11-08, 11:35 AM   #8
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If there are refueling stops, you probably won't need the Camelbak in those temperatures. Dry wool socks in a Ziploc. I'd start with the booties. Better too warm than too cold. But do hydrate. It's easy to think you don't need to when you're cold.
I definitely learned this from commuting all winter. I force myself to take 2-3 sips of water every 15minutes. I plan on doing the same with food. I used to eat once an hour, 2-300 calories but I think it might be a bit easier to digest if I eat smaller amounts over time [thoughts?].

I also got a small vacuum-sealed Thermos and I tested it out overnight. WOW I didn't think the liquid would stay as hot as it did. I think that will make for a nice halfway there snack to warm up the insides.

And I don't think there is a multi-quote function but to rtruectoc , I purposefully built up 700c rims on deore hubs (with disc brakes) in order to have more flexibility.
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Old 04-11-08, 11:43 AM   #9
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You can get those chemical hand/foot warmers that skiiers use and put them in your shoes & gloves. If your gloves aren't great, you can add a pair of surgical gloves (drug store) to block the wind.

If it's a supported ride, you might consider bringing less weight (h/b bag + camelback is a LOT) and counting on the support.

General long-ride stuff:
Don't try anything new for food or sport drinks - use what you already know works.
Don't overeat the night before to "carb load" - eat a normal size meal
Don't overeat during the ride, but do keep eating small amounts frequently.
Try to get some sleep tonight - avoid anything that makes that hard, like alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, late dinners.


That is really interesting that you have a bike that can take either size wheel! Does it handle the same? If you haven't ridden those wheels a good distance to test them, it might not be a good time to do it tomorrow.

have a great ride!!!
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Old 04-11-08, 01:22 PM   #10
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Hmm, I did a couple gravel centuries this winter all ready. If the road is going to be soft 25% or more of the time, opt for the flotation of wider tires on the 26" rims versus CX tires. You'll need it. Weight is a big enemy here, but not a complete killer. Cut down on your water weight if there are going to be stops and take either the camelback (if you're used to weight on your back for hours and hours) or a couple bottles. Definitely take foods to snack on during the ride. If you can hack liquid nutrition, a water bottle with perpetuem, etc is a good choice. Plastic fenders are a godsend if it's mucky out at all. Go full on and get the front, downtube, and seat post fender. It will keep a lot of stuff off you and keep you drier. For foot wear, I'd go with winter boots, but it appears you don't have any. One trick is you use plastic baggies around your socks as wetness will definitely be an issue. Take at least a spare pair of socks. Beyond that, if you're using road shoes, I'd definitely think about using the neoprene with a light/medium pair of wool socks to keep warm. I'd rather have my feet mildly hot rather than cold. A spare pair of gloves would be nice too if you happen to get the first pair wet. A waterproof outer layer/windbreaker is your best top layer. The other clothing choices will be based on personal experience, but my choices would be winter weight base shirt, short sleeve jersey, light/medium stocking hat or beanie, and amfib bibs over a light pair of padded bibs.

Rick
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Old 04-11-08, 10:28 PM   #11
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I second (or third) the wool socks. From what I know, wool socks are the only material that can keep you warm even if they are wet.
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Old 04-12-08, 06:44 PM   #12
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So Nickel ...... how did it go? What did the weather turn out to be like?
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Old 04-15-08, 08:34 AM   #13
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Oh let's see, icy, rainy, snowy, 40mph gusts blowing you off the bluffs....and I didn't experience any of it.

Why? Because I broke the golden rule of trying to wrench the night before and ended with a huge mechanical issue (no rear brake). I'm hoping it's a wonky lever and not the disc brake caliper.
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Old 04-16-08, 03:31 AM   #14
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Too Late again

But love my sealsninz

george
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Old 04-16-08, 06:01 AM   #15
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Sealskinz are very great. I used them all though the bitter winter in any wet weather messengering. 40F seems a little warm for them. You will probably sweat like crazy and be wet from that, but at least it's your warm sweat and now the cold snow, slush, wet.

Wait, if it is 40F, it shouldn't be snowing...
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Old 04-18-08, 12:51 PM   #16
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Oh let's see, icy, rainy, snowy, 40mph gusts blowing you off the bluffs....and I didn't experience any of it.

Why? Because I broke the golden rule of trying to wrench the night before and ended with a huge mechanical issue (no rear brake). I'm hoping it's a wonky lever and not the disc brake caliper.
Well, it was probably for the best ... those kinds of conditions don't make for good centuries. I think all the brevets scheduled for this coming weekend here in Alberta have been cancelled because of bad weather conditions (snow, ice, high winds, etc.). There are safety issues to think about. Do you have another one coming up in a warmer month?
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Old 04-19-08, 03:24 PM   #17
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No, that was the only long distance ride I had signed up for this year.
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