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  1. #1
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    Advice requested about training for a first century please

    I've done a bit of searching through old posts on here but am not quite finding what I'm looking for. I used to cycle a lot but I never did enduro rides. Lots of 20-30 mile road rides when I lived in Georgia along with 10+ mile mountain bike rides over very hilly terrain. Now I live in Chicago where everything is flat, and to top that off I've barely ridden in the last 10+ years. For the past month or so I've been riding again with the goal of doing a century ride on September 18 from Evanston, IL to Kenosha, WI. The ride is put on by the Evanston cycling club and is fully supported with options to do shorter rides or bail completely if necessary.

    I've been riding roughly 3-4 times per week riding typically about 16 miles over the course of an hour. My goal has been simply to get out and ride our lake front path as far as I can go in a half an hour then turn around and head back.

    I set the century ride as a goal to strive for and as motivation to get back into the habit of riding for fun and health. I'm going to be 42 in a couple weeks and I'd like to get from my current 190lb back down to around 170lb or so. My wife and I already eat fairly healthy and have a balanced diet. Now, as far as the training goes, I've notice that I am usually able to ride a bit farther in the same amount of time every few rides, provided I don't experience super nasty headwinds, which unfortunately have been a pretty common occurrence recently. I've been riding mainly after work but I'm wanting to attempt to work in a longer ride each weekend of at least 25-30 miles, increasing gradually.

    I have a HRM that is a basic Timex unit and it includes some training tips utilizing a "points" system whereby you attempt to accumulate more points in order to train for a specific goal. For riding a 100 miles in one day, they say you should attempt to achieve 1200-1400 points weekly, although it doesn't suggest for how long your should be training at this level before attempting a century. Accumulating this many points amounts to a training schedule like this:

    All rides are done at Zone 3 which is 130-148 BPM, or roughly 70-80% of my max HR.

    2 rides 90 minutes each
    2 rides 60 minutes each
    1 ride 120 minutes

    So, that gives me a couple days off a week to rest and recuperate and doesn't appear to take up too much time over the course of the week. That amounts to 7 hours of riding per week which I'm sure would go a long ways towards helping my general cardiovascular health as well as lowering my cholesterol, along with good diet of course. So, am I being realistic with this schedule? Can I hope to achieve a sufficient level of fitness by mid September so I can achieve my goal of riding a century?

    Is the HRM a suitable tool along with the points system and zone training, or should I be less picky and just try to ride however many miles feel comfortable? I can tell you right now that most days I get back from my one hour ride and I am not wiped out by any means but I can certainly tell that I've exerted myself pretty well. My HRM also tells me that I seem to be burning about 983 calories per approximately 1 hour ride.

    My wife seems to think I may be over thinking this whole thing and that I should just be trying to ride a distance that feels good. I figure I have roughly 90 days to get into shape for the century so I'm wanting to do what I can to train as effectively as possible without over-training or burning myself out.

  2. #2
    This is Shangri La MTBMaven's Avatar
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    The Ultra Marathon Cycling Association has lots of good training advice here: http://www.ultracycling.com/training/training.html

    A few things come to mind:
    1) Start increasing your mileage on the weekend. Find a day during the weekend where you can get in longer rides. Start increasing your mileage so that you have done at least 70-80 miles prior to the century. You will find things out during a ride of that length that you will not doing a 20 mile ride.

    2) Start working on a nutrition plan during these longer rides as well. Shoot for 250-300 calories per hour, take in electrolytes in some form (Hammer Endurolites, Nuun tablets, eleteWater, Cytomax, etc), and drink 3/4 to 1 large bottle per hour. I like to use a 20-15 minute countdown timer on my watch on repeat mode to help me remember to drink. Read through the link above and the Hammer Nutrition site for more information on this very important subject. Hammer products are great and a perfect place to start when looking for products. Just make sure to fully test whatever product you pick well before the event.

    3) I would highly recommend spending the $100-$200 to get a professional bike fit. Over use injuries are common when starting with longer distances. Performing the same operation over and over for 6+ hours can lead to injury if your fit is not correct.

    4) Don't forget to have fun. If you are not having fun then you will not complete the ride. Have fun and it will be easy. I had a blast on my first century and completed it in 6.5 hours. I was a weekend warrior mountain biker before getting my road bike. After two months I completed my first of 11 centuries that year and dropped 30 pounds over that year and have kept if off 5 years later.

    Good luck!
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  3. #3
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    I'm seeing a lot about making sure to drink enough water, but I'm wondering how all of you guys are carrying this water. Right now I have two bottle cages in the traditional down tube/seat tube locations. I carry two 24 oz. bottles and I try to drink half of one about every 15 minutes. That works pretty good for a one hour ride, but what do you do for longer rides? Use a large hydration reservoir or carry extra water bottles in a trunk rack or other such container? The same goes for the food as well. Where is 200-300 calories per hour carried?

  4. #4
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Rode a 100 miler Sat. Use a seat post bottle holder.

    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
    I'm seeing a lot about making sure to drink enough water, but I'm wondering how all of you guys are carrying this water. Right now I have two bottle cages in the traditional down tube/seat tube locations. I carry two 24 oz. bottles and I try to drink half of one about every 15 minutes. That works pretty good for a one hour ride, but what do you do for longer rides? Use a large hydration reservoir or carry extra water bottles in a trunk rack or other such container? The same goes for the food as well. Where is 200-300 calories per hour carried?
    For weekend training rides, I plan stops every 25-30 miles (check Google maps for convenience stores and gas stations). I limit my weekday rides to that mileage. That will allow me to carry just 2-24oz bottles with me for the sub-2 hour rides. I don't like carrying the extra weight of extra bottles, or the discomfort of a Camelback.

  6. #6
    This is Shangri La MTBMaven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
    I'm seeing a lot about making sure to drink enough water, but I'm wondering how all of you guys are carrying this water.
    Living in SoCal it's pretty hard to go places where water is more than an hour a part. Most organized rides have stops every 20-30 miles with water. The few times where I go out to remote mountainous areas around me where I am unsure of finding potable water I take water purification drops just in case but have never needed it. Also consuming that much water one will run out pretty quickly.

    So you are drinking 12oz of water every 15 minutes resulting in 48oz per hour. That sounds like a lot of water but maybe that's just me. Are you consuming any electrolytes with all that water? I tried to shoot for 24oz an hour but that almost never happen and I didn't feel like I needed it. I was stopping to pee too often at that pace. I find a slow trickle of water every 15-20 minutes depending on temp, consuming about 3/4 of a bottle an hour, works well for me. Your results may vary.

    Do keep in mind that too little water will cause you to bonk and likely not finish the ride. Too much water on the other hand can actually be deadly. If you are consuming large amounts of water make sure you add appropriate amounts of electrolytes so you do have an imbalance.
    I thought of that while riding my bicycle. ~ Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
    I'm seeing a lot about making sure to drink enough water, but I'm wondering how all of you guys are carrying this water. Right now I have two bottle cages in the traditional down tube/seat tube locations. I carry two 24 oz. bottles and I try to drink half of one about every 15 minutes. That works pretty good for a one hour ride, but what do you do for longer rides? Use a large hydration reservoir or carry extra water bottles in a trunk rack or other such container? The same goes for the food as well. Where is 200-300 calories per hour carried?
    Wow. I think you are drinking a lot of water. I normally target about one bottle/hour unless I'm in extreme conditions of heat and humidity. I also do not normally drink plain water. I use something that has some electrolytes in it. Gatoraide for example.

    You seem pretty analytical; weigh yourself before and after a ride. That will guide you in your water consumption.

    When riding hard, I carry gels and bars in my jersey pockets. On short rides, less than two hours, I normally don't eat on the road.

    You should find a way to add a longer ride into your schedule every couple of weeks. You don't have to train at a 100 miles to ride a 100 miles, but you should progressively expand your range to 70 or 80 miles. Plan to do those long rides at an "endurance pace" which means that as you are riding you can picture riding that same pace indefinitely. You can talk and enjoy the scenery at that pace as well.

    Good luck,
    HB

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBMaven View Post
    The Ultra Marathon Cycling Association has lots of good training advice here: http://www.ultracycling.com/training/training.html



    2) Start working on a nutrition plan during these longer rides as well. Shoot for 250-300 calories per hour, take in electrolytes in some form (Hammer Endurolites, Nuun tablets, eleteWater, Cytomax, etc), and drink 3/4 to 1 large bottle per hour. I like to use a 20-15 minute countdown timer on my watch on repeat mode to help me remember to drink. Read through the link above and the Hammer Nutrition site for more information on this very important subject. Hammer products are great and a perfect place to start when looking for products. Just make sure to fully test whatever product you pick well before the event.

    3) I would highly recommend spending the $100-$200 to get a professional bike fit. Over use injuries are common when starting with longer distances. Performing the same operation over and over for 6+ hours can lead to injury if your fit is not correct.


    Good luck!
    r
    Thanks for the advice! What do you eat to get 200-300 calories in you per hour? I've eaten Clif Bars on longer rides in the past, finding them to be more palatable than Powerbars, but just barely. I'm sure with this century ride being supported there will be ample stops to fuel up and replenish drinking water. I will be taking your advice about professional fitting as well. I had been thinking about it and there is a LBS that does dynamic fitting for $100 which includes adjusting clipless pedals as well as everything else. I'm going to cut back on the water some as well since even I think I'm drinking a bit much for a one hour ride.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heckboy View Post
    Wow. I think you are drinking a lot of water. I normally target about one bottle/hour unless I'm in extreme conditions of heat and humidity. I also do not normally drink plain water. I use something that has some electrolytes in it. Gatoraide for example.



    You should find a way to add a longer ride into your schedule every couple of weeks. You don't have to train at a 100 miles to ride a 100 miles, but you should progressively expand your range to 70 or 80 miles. Plan to do those long rides at an "endurance pace" which means that as you are riding you can picture riding that same pace indefinitely. You can talk and enjoy the scenery at that pace as well.

    Good luck,
    HB
    I'm going to scale back the water consumption as I've been feeling like maybe that's a bit much anyway. I want to say I remember reading something once about drinking maybe 8 ounces every 20 minutes? That would equal one bottle an hour which seems more realistic. I am going to attempt to get some longer rides in as well but I still think I need to work up to them. I have after all only been riding 3 - 4 times a week just for the last month and almost no serious riding to speak of for probably the previous 10 years or so. I really used to ride a LOT more and now I'm realizing how much I miss that. Too bad I have bugger all of anywhere to ride worth a crap living smack in the city of Chicago.

  10. #10
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
    ...
    My wife seems to think I may be over thinking this whole thing ... .
    Remove the word "may" and I agree with your wife.

    Stop thinking about it so much and start doing some longer rides. 30-milers, 50 milers, 70-milers. Working up to a couple 70-milers a few weeks prior to that Kenosha ride will be much better than riding 16-miles-a-day-four-days-a-week, and should be more than adequate to get you through the 100-miler with some panache (unless the weather is uncooperative, or you intend to "faux race" the 100-miler).

    And ... given that you haven't ridden for 10 years, and appear to have never ridden long ... why are you more concerned with doing a "funky" thing with the handlebars than you are with riding? (See his other thread about getting a fitting -- which seemed to be more about flipping the handlebars around than gettting a fitting.)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post


    Stop thinking about it so much and start doing some longer rides. 30-milers, 50 milers, 70-milers. Working up to a couple 70-milers a few weeks prior to that Kenosha ride will be much better than riding 16-miles-a-day-four-days-a-week,
    I am planning to try to get a longer ride in on one of my days off. I simply don't have the time to get longer rides in during the work week unless I ride them at increasingly fast paces which seems to run counter to learning to ride long distances at a steady pace. Hopefully I can build up to gradually longer rides over time. I just don't want to go out and attempt to ride a much longer ride than I'm used to some weekend and then be so burnt up as to not be able to ride for several days after.


    Quote Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post

    why are you more concerned with doing a "funky" thing with the handlebars than you are with riding? (See his other thread about getting a fitting -- which seemed to be more about flipping the handlebars around than gettting a fitting.)
    I intended to get a fitting to make sure I was getting the best position on my bike. The whole thing about getting a funky position with butterfly bars is that I have problems with my hands getting a good position on the handlebar. I have a road bike with a flat bar and bar ends. As it is, unless I move my hands frequently, I'm getting numbness in my outer fingers, but usually only when I'm grasping the regular flat bar, not the bar ends.

    The most comfortable position for my hands on a flat section of a bar (flat bar or drop bar), is where my hands turn inwards slightly. Attaching a butterfly bar backwards to the way a lot of people use them will get me a slightly canted position for my hands which would be more natural and more comfortable. I broke my left wrist as a kid and as such have more limited range of motion in that hand/wrist than the right one.

    I may be over-thinking some of this stuff about training but given my current lack of overall fitness and the need to get a good fit on the bike with plenty of hand positions I think I'm playing it safe so that I don't do myself some lasting injury to my body or exerting myself beyond what is physically safe for someone returning to cycling after a long hiatus.
    Last edited by kiltedcelt; 06-20-11 at 09:38 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    Everyone should move their hands about on their handlebars a little to help prevent numbness, nerve damage, etc.. Decent positioning on the bike will also relieve and / or prevent some of the same. Hands should not be gripping the handlebars; calmly resting atop the bar, fingers hanging, even flopping, free will help -- the latter is a good indication of a decent position and RELAXED on the bike.

    The whole flat-bar issue has been address previously in a different thread. There are more hand positions on a standard butterfly handlebar than a flat bar with extenders, or bar-ends, or whatever. At least a couple of those positions include "hands turned in". However, see immediately prior sentences.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiltedcelt View Post
    I'm seeing a lot about making sure to drink enough water, but I'm wondering how all of you guys are carrying this water. Right now I have two bottle cages in the traditional down tube/seat tube locations. I carry two 24 oz. bottles and I try to drink half of one about every 15 minutes. That works pretty good for a one hour ride, but what do you do for longer rides? Use a large hydration reservoir or carry extra water bottles in a trunk rack or other such container? The same goes for the food as well. Where is 200-300 calories per hour carried?
    I have a set of panniers along with the 2 bottle cages. Carried 96oz for my 57 mile ride... which wasn't enough. Next time I'm marking down locations of gas stations and am going to fill up at those. Possibly carry 120oz next time as well, I'm undecided on that.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiffrun View Post
    The whole flat-bar issue has been address previously in a different thread. There are more hand positions on a standard butterfly handlebar than a flat bar with extenders, or bar-ends, or whatever. At least a couple of those positions include "hands turned in". However, see immediately prior sentences.

    Strongly agree with this. I found my hands were getting numb from just flat bars after around 20 miles. I added a pair of these:

    http://www.amazon.com/Origin8-Pro-Pu...g_ai_ps_t2_t_5

    and I suddenly have 3 positions for my hands... very comfortable and didn't feel my hands go numb once. I do, however, have some minor blisters on my palms, so I'm considering either getting gloves or wrapping the ends with bar tape.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    First off, if you are fitted properly on your bike your hands won't go numb. Second, if you don't want to do that and you're worried about it, get some aerobars and never worry about it again.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  16. #16
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I assume a "fully supported" ride (ie, typical charity ride) is going to have rest stops every 10 miles, where you can refill your bottles and get sliced bananas and stuff, so carrying food and water isn't an issue there.

    To train for my first century, I just went and rode a bunch, including several other charity rides of lesser distances. I've never used a heart rate monitor, don't know what my cadence is.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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