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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 03-12-10, 02:54 AM   #1
xray1978
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Single speed century?

I am looking for training advice from those who have done a century on a single speed. My bike is not a fixie, just a single speed road bike. My century will be over hilly terrain in July. Speed is not important to me but, would like it to take less than 10 hours.

What kind of mileage did you do on weekdays and on weekends? Were your calorie needs much greater than on a 20+ speed bike per hour?

Anything you guys have for advice would be appreciated. I have never done a century but hope to change that this summer!
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Old 03-12-10, 07:26 AM   #2
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During the week I do ~120 miles by commuting to work. On the weekends I'll ride between 50 and 250 miles, depending on if there's an event that weekend.
I don't ride solely singlespeed, but about 25% of my mileage is on my single and I rode it fixed on a century last year with around 6000' of elevation. I didn't eat any differently than when I'm on my geared bike, and my total time was around 8h 15m.
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Old 03-12-10, 12:59 PM   #3
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I rode several centuries on my Worksman cruiser. Just a matter of keep going till you get there. Around 9 hours or so in my case.

One thing to watch for is that on a geared bike, as you get more tired in a ride, you can ride in a lower gear and slow up some on the hills. On the single-speed, you can't. So whatever gear works good at the start may not be so hot at the finish. Similarly, you may be riding into a stiff headwind for the first 50 miles, and wish you had lower gearing. Fortunately, that Worksman is geared pretty low, and I kept it on flatter centuries.
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Old 03-12-10, 06:38 PM   #4
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ive done long rides fixed - up to 106 miles or so...
don't think i'd have fun on a ss on the road - but going to try this year for a hilly 200k.

i didn't do anything odd with training - just rode my bike and selected a gear ratio that i thought would work for the terrain.
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Old 03-12-10, 10:59 PM   #5
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Same as Mike, pretty much. I've been "training" for LD on my geared bike for years, which really just means a couple hours a day after work, and 50-150 mile rides on weekend days. I switched to fixed gear almost exclusively a few months ago, and really haven't changed anything in the "training" routine. Food, drink, everything else have been about the same as well. My crotch had to toughen up a bit...
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Old 03-13-10, 03:46 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I ride about 20-30 miles per day in the summer commuting to work. I didn't know if I should up the amount I ride after work or not, it sounds like not. I will have to take longer rides on the weekends though as during the weekends I only get about 20-30 miles per day riding into town to hang out with friends.
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Old 03-13-10, 04:22 PM   #7
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I'd say if you can ride 50 miles and still feel good, you should be fine. Work on your pacing, and like planning for any century, eat and drink. I've done plenty of centuries fixed. It's good fun. Climbing is not so bad. Actually it's the descents that aren't as fun. Also, as Mike said, work with your gear ratio. I would recommend a double freewheel from White Industries. Not cheap, but very worth it. The 17/20 is great. Not a huge difference, but if you hit the 80 mile point and you're ready to call it quits, it can be a lifesaver.
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Old 03-13-10, 08:05 PM   #8
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I've done a few 200k and century rides on my single speed. I run 46x18. It depends a lot on hills and wind, but generally I don't think 100 miles on a single speed is too much harder than 100 miles with gears. It slows me down a bit, but not a lot. The last 200k permanent I did on my single speed had about 5500' of climbing and took 8 hours 20 min including control stops. The same ride would probably take me about 8 hrs with gears.

I typically ride about 150 miles a week, about 60% of that on a single speed.
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Old 03-14-10, 03:20 AM   #9
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I think my gearing is okay, I am currently running a 42x16 or about 70 gear inches and do well on hills. I may look into the White industries double freewheel though since this is new territory for me. It is probable that it will be windy, it seems like there is always at least a 10-20 mph wind here some times more, rarely less.

I think my riding partner will be good at keeping me from going to fast to early. He is the sensible one, rarely does he suffer from over exuberance the way I tend to.

As far as food goes, should I use Clif bars and jerky or do you have better recommendations? How often should I drink Gatorade? It will likely be at least 90 degrees. On my normal rides I use just water but, I know I will need to replace electrolytes for such a long ride in the heat.
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Old 03-19-10, 01:19 PM   #10
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Good for you! I've done a fixed century and it did'nt seem much harder than a long ride on my geared bike. The only thing I can add is do some long rides on the weekends leading up to your big ride. I'm getting ready for a double century in May, but I'm going to use a surly dingle cog and 2 front chainrings so I can have a 42x21 hill gear and a 46x17 for everything else. 2 speeds may be cheating but it's still less than 20.
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Old 03-26-10, 09:28 AM   #11
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I've done up to 200k on a 42x16 and never had any problem at all. You're not going to break any speed records, but it's rewarding to go a good distance on one gear. I wouldn't worry about a double freewheel, as ~70 gear inches has done people fine for Paris-Brest-Paris and even longer rides.

Personally I prefer real food on long rides—bananas, rice balls, PB&H sandwiches and such—but it's a good idea to have a Clif Bar or two just in case. You should probably carry a bag of salty nuts or even some potato chips, too, as it's pretty easy to sweat out a ton of salt and crash out because of it. Gatorade is fine if you like it, but if you're eating fruit and salty snacks and drinking water that will take care of everything Gatorade does.
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Old 04-05-10, 11:15 AM   #12
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not a road bike singlespeed,..it's an 29er singlespeed.i did 139miles recently on this rig.
here's my trip report:http://www.mtbnj.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15948
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Old 04-06-10, 04:56 PM   #13
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I am currently training for a 200 mile gravel grinder on my C'Mute SS. I run a 42x18 which is kinda low but combined with the 700x40's, plus the dirt road aspect, is acceptable to me. Since I know I am going to ride the 200 on a SS I have decided to ride nothing but my SS in the time leading up to the ride. I figure the more time on the specific bike plus time on my choosen gear will be money in the bank when D day comes. I try to hit all the hills I can, barring the insanely steep ones which I know I would just have to walk. I travel a lot so my training is sporadic. I try and put in at least one century a month plus commuting and general fun riding. As far as food goes just make sure to do long training runs with different strategies. When you get home take 5 to review what did and didn't work. Take a couple of notes so that you can readjust for the next time. Have fun!!!

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Old 04-07-10, 12:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xray1978 View Post
What kind of mileage did you do on weekdays and on weekends? Were your calorie needs much greater than on a 20+ speed bike per hour?
Anything you guys have for advice would be appreciated. I have never done a century but hope to change that this summer!
I've only ridden 3 fixed gear centuries and (like Robert above) my only problems have been on the descents. Since you're not riding fixed; no problem for you!

Calorie intake was the same as a multi-geared century, training the same too except that I rode the fixed gear (75" gear) more often before fixed centurys.

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Old 04-11-10, 01:38 PM   #15
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I use to go out on long ( 100-200 mile ) unsupported rides on my fixed Cross Check as well as my single speed Peugeot. Foothills of the Adirondacks so there was quite a bit of terrain. I generally ran 42x16 on the SS, 43x18 on the fixed.

During that time period I was commuting 20 miles a day, 5 days a week and had been consistently putting in about a 1000 miles a month.
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