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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 03-19-10, 01:24 PM   #1
matimeo
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Will I survive?

So, before all of you used to ride in centuries and the like, you didn't- so I'm looking for advice as I consider my first ever. A friend wants me to sign up for a 104 mile ride from Portland, OR to the Oregon coast. My current riding consists of commuting to work about three or four times a week, five miles each way. I think the longest ride I've ever done in my life is about a third of 104 miles and I thought my legs were going to fall off.
First question is, how hard it is to ride that far when you're body isn't used to that kind of endurance?
Second question is, what is a minimum training routine that I should engage in to prepare for this ride on May 15th?
Thank you in advance for your opinions. I'm sure you get this question all of the time on this forum, so please excuse my asking once again.
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Old 03-19-10, 01:34 PM   #2
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you'll definitely need to get used to more miles on the bike. it sounds like yours isn't part of a race or anything, so you should be able to take a rest stop now and then. that will help.
i did my first century last year and it went great. but, it was part of RAGBRAI, so i had already been riding 50-70 miles on the three days prior. plus there were plenty of stops for food and drink along the way. i would say you should at least train up to 75 miles. after that, pushing another 25 or so isn't too bad. it would also help if you could do a couple back to back long distance rides (on a sat-sun, 60 each, for example).
as far as a routine, just get more miles on consistently and build up to 75 or so over the next month and a half.
good luck! it is a great feeling.
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Old 03-19-10, 05:23 PM   #3
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My friend had indicated that a couple of 30 or 40 mile rides in the the weeks prior to the ride would be sufficient training. That doesn't seem like enough to me.
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Old 03-19-10, 06:46 PM   #4
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The ride to the coast is fairly flat, I rode from Astoria to Portland last summer and there were only two real climbs to get back
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Old 03-19-10, 07:24 PM   #5
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I'd say try to get where riding 30 miles or so doesn't bother you at all, not just do it a time or two. I've been averaging about 500 miles a month, and so a 100 miles is something I can do okay, but I'm definitely tired, too.
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Old 03-19-10, 09:23 PM   #6
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I think you will do fine if you get in some 30 and 40 mile rides. You must be riding "Reach the Beach". It has four different starting points, and a couple of them are a bit hilly. Might want to throw in some hill work if you can.

A nice loop you might try if you are on the eastside near Gresham is to go down along the Sandy river, cross the Stark St. Bridge and climb up that way past the college. Thats about three hundred feet of climbing, so do the loop twice and you get about 20 miles depending on how you go and some climbs. Good shoulder all the way.

For more challenge you can go up towards Corbett, but the shoulder is not very good.
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Old 03-19-10, 10:25 PM   #7
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There is about 9weeks left before your long ride. You can plan riding more and more each week. Start with comfortable distance and then increase around 10mi each week. You can do it!

Remember not to mash anytime during your long ride.

--regards, Praveen
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Old 03-20-10, 09:15 AM   #8
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based on your first paragraph (describing how much riding you do on average and how you felt after a 30ish mile ride) i'd say only doing a couple 30-40 mile rides a week or two before won't be enough. the hard part won't be doing the 30-40, it will be getting back on the bike and riding another 60 that same day. you can definitely train on 30 mile rides, but you should try to get two of those in one day. i think you'll need the confidence gained by doing some longer rides; getting back on the bike after those first 30 when you are feeling tired and realizing you can do more.
praveendv's advice above sounds perfect.
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Old 03-20-10, 04:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matimeo View Post
My friend had indicated that a couple of 30 or 40 mile rides in the the weeks prior to the ride would be sufficient training. That doesn't seem like enough to me.
That sounds like your friend has never done a century!!

It's a bit different sitting on a bike for 100 miles than it is for 30.

30 miles (even 40) is a pretty short bicycle ride.
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Old 03-20-10, 05:20 PM   #10
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I remember 2 years ago when I hadn't been riding much more than 10 miles, I went on a 55 mile ride with 3 mountain climbs. I came back and I was in agonizing physical pain for the first time in my riding career. To finish a century in good form, a 30 mile ride should be no problem for you. I always say that if you can ride a 60 mile ride without any problems, a century is probably going to be relatively easy for you. You can build up to these distances with fairly frequent rides of 20 miles or more.
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Old 03-20-10, 06:12 PM   #11
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If I were you I would positively do a lot more miles than 30 or 40. You will need the seat time to get your butt seasoned for one thing. You also need to take care of nutrition land Hydration. That needs to be done on a longer ride so you will know the foods you can take and how much you can take and still keep going with out an upset stomach or other problems. I did 75 miles three time a week for three weeks before my first century race and was glad I did. I ran into 20 to 25 mph winds on the day of the race but still took a silver. Not bad for an old guy. The jist of it is, you can't train to much with in reason. Good luck.
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Old 03-20-10, 09:27 PM   #12
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My friend had indicated that a couple of 30 or 40 mile rides in the the weeks prior to the ride would be sufficient training. That doesn't seem like enough to me.
Well, no one knows. But your friend isn't too far off with the advice.

The main thing about trying ANY new distance, is to know your own pace, and the limitations it causes. With modern bicycles, using modern common sense, you can do a century as long as you take your time.

Start out a little too fast, and you'll find out the hard way just how terrible you can feel from riding farther than usual.

My main point, listen to your friend, but make sure your you tell him how you are doing as you start the ride. Make it point not to try to keep up with someone else.
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Old 03-21-10, 03:15 AM   #13
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The longest I rode before my first century was about 70 km, and I had done 50-60 miles several times. I don't have my records from that far back with me so can't provide you with exact details.

Even having done that, my first century was tough. I didn't have the eating part right.

Ride easy and eat frequently.
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Old 03-21-10, 06:49 PM   #14
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I'm assuming you have fit taken care of, a saddle that works for you, gloves, cycling shorts... all should be to the point where 30 miles poses no comfort issues. Given that, it's preparation, pacing, eating, hydration.

Preparation
There are tons of resources online with training schedules, etc. Here are my two basic guidelines: 1) Don't increase your single ride distance more than 50%, and 2) Don't try to ride more in a day than you train in a week. Plenty of people have ignored these and been fine (including me). But I think they're good guidelines.

Pacing
Avoid the temptation to start out with a group that's too fast for you. You'll pay later and it will be harsh. Particularly in the first third when you might be tempted, ride well within your abilities. Later on it won't be so much of a problem to restrain yourself

Eating
Eat constantly. Eat before you start, eat while you ride, eat when you stop to rest, eat while you're crossing the finish line. When you see anyone else get something to eat, do the same. Bananas, fig bars, bagels and honey, trail mix. Again there are tons of resources online with cycling fuel advice. A good guideline is to eat the food you trained on. I suppose it's possible to eat too much, but I don't think I've ever eaten enough.

Hydration
I've heard of people over-hydrating, even to the point of being fatal. My experience is I rarely drink enough. Drink consistently; use one water bottle an hour as a starting point, and use your training to find what your body needs. You want to drink something that replaces electrolytes. Again a good guideline is to drink what you trained with.

In your training between now and the ride, work to find food and drinks that work for you.
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Old 03-26-10, 06:24 PM   #15
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Yes. You will.

You will be sore for a couple days. But you will have done more than you ever had before!

Enjoy it. Take a modicum of pride for your actions. Not too much, because of what goes before a fall though :-),
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Old 03-27-10, 03:29 AM   #16
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The longest ride I had done before my first century was a metric century, plus a number of 70km rides. I think you'll be fine if you do a couple of 50 mile rides before the big day.

As mentioned above, don't try to keep up with a fast group at the begining of the ride. This will make the second half of your ride very stressful. Take it easy and you'll have a good time.
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Old 04-06-10, 04:36 PM   #17
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While I haven't done a century yet, I am learning all sorts of important things on my training to get there.

When my longest ride distance exceeded 9 miles, I found that my "comfort" saddle was not. The next longer distances, I discovered that chamois lube is a wonderful invention.

When my longest ride distance got to 40 miles, I found that my cycling shoes gave me some pretty painful "hot foot". I did not experience that on days I commuted to work 35 miles round trip. I have since bought some new shoes that allowed me to loosen them up enough to be comfortable on long rides.

On my first metric century, I got blisters on my hands from soggy sweaty gloves. Next long ride I'll take a second pair of gloves. I never heard of anybody else having this problem.

I also do not eat/drink properly nor pace myself correctly for long rides. I do much better when I am not trying to maintain a "respectable" speed and when I wear a heart rate monitor.

It's nice to figure out a few of the lessons in advance so you are riding more in your "comfort zone".
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Old 04-07-10, 11:00 AM   #18
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To qualify my comments, realize I have yet to complete a century.

However, last year I completed a local 60-miler and felt pretty great at the end. Back in 1992, I attempted a century and bonked/quit at around the 60 mile point.

My training regimen prior to the 1992 attempt was strict and severe. My regimen prior to last year's ride was almost nil. The difference between the two was in my own maturity and my approach to the whole ride experience. In 1992, I was young and well-trained (I thought) and having a great time trying to keep up with a paceline for a number of miles. They were really way too fast for me, but I was keeping up and it felt so good to be going so fast and maintaining that speed. I felt so good I was skipping rest stops. Then came a flat tire, the loss of momentum, and lone riding until I felt so spent I had to drop out. Luckily there was a SAG at the decision point. Last year, however, I took it easy and rode my own pace. I stopped at the sags and kept my energy up by eating and drinking and spending a few minutes out of the saddle. Sometimes the stops seemed too close together, but I used them all, anyway. After all, it's a social event. At one point the wind sort of knocked it out of me, but then I got lucky and teamed up with another rider who was pretty near my pace, and we helped each other through the headwind leg and beyond. It was a great time. When I finished I knew I had done something but didn't feel like a sick, wet noodle. I really was sorry it had to end, as I felt ready for more miles. (Euphoric hubris, perhaps?)

I had some commuting miles as a base, riding to work maybe 3 times a week (at most) during the summer, 6 miles each way. Every now and then I snuck in a weekend ride, but not on a regular basis, and never much more than 30 miles.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-07-10, 12:26 PM   #19
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there should be a "1st century" sticky somewhere. I think since the end of February there have been at least 20 new threads from people getting ready to do their 1st century ride.

keep researching - you'll get the answers you need. from me, I'll suggest not to try any "new" foods on your long day. stay with foods that have a known and happy response from your digestive system. sprinkle a little salt in all your water bottles - not so much that you can taste it - maybe just barely. take a small potassium supplement the day before; the morning of and at the 1/2 way point or when you are done. take a tiny tiny bit of magnesium supplement that morning and maybe at night after the ride. plan a nice long hot soak with epsom salt, it's great for your butt and leg muscles. go easy the 1st 15 miles, and throughout the ride stay off the gas. this ride is going to take all day - don't rush it. plan on 6-8 hours from start to finish including some rest stops. your body temperature may change quite a bit over the duration so plan accordingly. if you normally carry 1 spare tube carry 2 for the long ride. change your body position often even standing to coast so that you can stretch your legs and adjust your shorts.

well ... that's some of it! :-) be sure to report back and bring us pictures! show us the smile at the beginning and the feet at the end! :-)

when in doubt - go slower
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Old 04-08-10, 06:02 PM   #20
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I was kinda in the same boat as you back in October. Friend asked me to do a 77 mile race a month before the date. The only riding time I had was my measly 6 mile round trip to campus that I rode leisurely. I trained for a total of 6 times while trying to keep my speed around 17-19mph. The first two 25 miles, next two 30-35, and the last two 40 miles. All flat ground training in Florida. On the race date I tried to ride as "smart as possible," always drafting, and making sure to drink through a bottle of water every 15 miles. Made sure to eat energy bar every 20 or so miles. My biggest problem through the ride was that no one told me there where hills for half the ride, heck I didn't even know FL had hills. My two friends that rode less than me dropped out after a few miles when the hills started. After 77 miles were up I was tired but definitely had the energy to continue another 23 to make my first century but the race was over and I had to go to work . Also someone told me during the ride that I would save a lot of wasted energy if I had worn bike shoes and not sneakers which I completely agree.
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