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-   -   Tips for riding a Century (http://www.bikeforums.net/long-distance-competition-ultracycling-randonneuring-endurance-cycling/808559-tips-riding-century.html)

ldarlee 06-11-12 07:16 AM

Hey, sevenmag, glad to see that you're not deterred by age. I'll be turning 59 in September and just rode my first century last weekend. Took me 6-1/2 hours, not counting three 10-minute rest stops. Not exactly Tour de France time, but acceptable for a grannie who's been riding less than a year. Best advice for me, personally, came from a marathon runner: pack your body with high-quality, nutrition-dense foods the day before. That is, eat a big breakfast and lunch, graze in between, and taper off to a light dinner (many folks don't sleep well on a full stomach). Like the runner, I'm on the lean side and follow a balanced vegetarian diet anyway. But overeating a tad on Saturday did seem to help boost my reserves on Sunday.

Doohickie 06-12-12 01:02 PM

Good thread.

I just heard of plans to start a new 100 mile ride right here in Fort Worth next June (the idea is to make it a prep ride for the Hotter Than Hell 100 in Wichita Falls; I think the HTH organizers are involved). That gives me 12 months to prepare. This thread has great advice regarding what to do the day of a century, but is there any advice in terms of preparation in the time leading up to the ride?

Is there any way to know how to use that time to prepare for the century distance? I currently ride 75-100 miles a week, have no problems riding 40 miles at a stretch, my longest ride in a day is 71 miles. I think I can do 100 no problem, but what should I do in the next year to make sure? Should I just keep riding for now, and ramp up the miles as I get closer to the ride? Or do you think I could probably just wing it and show up that morning, considering how much I currently ride?

joewein 06-18-12 03:26 AM

Going from 71 to 100 miles should not be a big step: It's always much easier to go further than to go faster than you're used to. It just takes longer. My key experience was a ride I joined that started early in the morning, when I realized that if you have enough hours left in the day, you can go pretty far at your own pace. As long as I eat and drink sufficiently throughout the ride, I can keep going comfortably as long as there is daylight.

I did 300 km with a longest training ride of 235 km and the distance was no problem (though lack of sleep was). Basically once you're doing 50 km or more and you have a bike that fits you (good saddle, correct height of saddle and handle bar, etc), the main things to pay attention to are regular eating and drinking and keeping a sustainable pace. My advice would be, prepare for a century next year by doing one by yourself or with a friend this summer. There is nothing magical or scary about 160 km if you follow the tips about eating and drinking.

chasm54 06-18-12 04:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doohickie (Post 14346688)
I just heard of plans to start a new 100 mile ride right here in Fort Worth next June (the idea is to make it a prep ride for the Hotter Than Hell 100 in Wichita Falls; I think the HTH organizers are involved). That gives me 12 months to prepare. This thread has great advice regarding what to do the day of a century, but is there any advice in terms of preparation in the time leading up to the ride?

Is there any way to know how to use that time to prepare for the century distance? I currently ride 75-100 miles a week, have no problems riding 40 miles at a stretch, my longest ride in a day is 71 miles. I think I can do 100 no problem, but what should I do in the next year to make sure? Should I just keep riding for now, and ramp up the miles as I get closer to the ride? Or do you think I could probably just wing it and show up that morning, considering how much I currently ride?

A year is an eternity, as far as preparation is concerned. So if your goal is merely to finish the century, I don't think you need to do much at the moment other than keep riding. In the two or three months before the ride I'd ramp up the weekly mileage to, say, 150 per week including one ride each week of > 70 miles. Then you'll be good to go.

If you want to complete it in a target time, then I'd start "training" a bit earlier and begin to challenge myself to do my usual rides a bit faster than usual. Not killing myself, just aiming over time to increase my cruising speed a bit. And I'd start experimenting with nutrition strategies on longer rides, to find out what worked for me in terms of eating and drinking on the bike to keep me going at a slightly higher intensity than I was used to.

no1mad 06-22-12 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Machka (Post 14047228)
If you have ridden a century (100 miles) or longer ride, do you have some tips to share for those who are training for a century or longer ride next year, next week, or anything in between?

-- Links to Century Training Plans
-- Century nutrition tips
-- Tips for clothing and equipment

After reading the entire thread, I haven't really seen too much covering that topic that I highlighted above. It would be nice to see more on that topic.

EdgewaterDude 07-22-12 10:02 AM

Well, I just completed my first supported century (thank God for SAG wagons) and am feeling beat as hell. Total mileage was 115. Surprisingly my legs feel good, but the rest of my body is wrecked. back, arms and legs are DRAINED. I had to pretty much dog it in the last 25 miles or so - my arm muscles could't even support the weight of my upper body, so I had to pretty much hunch into the drops for extended periods of time.

As for tips on clothing..I think I may need invest in some cycling shorts with a chamois if I'm going to do this again. I was wearing moisture wicking C-9 compression shorts from Target and my riding knickers over those. My ummm...taint...was chafed pretty raw by the end of the ride.

I felt like my nutrition was OK, but maybe needed to be tweaked more. We had a rest stops every 15-30 miles, at which I filled up on water and grabbed a banana. My only concern was that my pee was far from being clear, which leads me to believe my water intake was STILL not up to par. Also, I;m not sure a banana every 30 miles was sufficient food intake. Like I said, I was TIRING badly for the last 30 miles. I'm not sure if I can attribute that too nutrition or lack of training (I ride 20 miles daily for work commuting, supplement with a 40 mile ride on weekends.) I probably need to throw more 70 mile rides into the mix before the century.

Any more tips on nutrition?

chasm54 07-22-12 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by no1mad (Post 14392231)
After reading the entire thread, I haven't really seen too much covering that topic that I highlighted above. It would be nice to see more on that topic.

There's not too much to say about clothing and equipment, except that one shouldn't use new stuff. Don't tinker with the set-up you are used to, and shorts, shoes, saddle should all have been used enough times for you to know they won't cause you any problems after several hours on the bike. If you're in any doubt about your contact points lasting the course, chamois cream might be a good idea. I don't use it much myself, but some people seem to find it essential.


Quote:

Originally Posted by EdgewaterDude (Post 14513097)
Well, I just completed my first supported century (thank God for SAG wagons) and am feeling beat as hell. Total mileage was 115. Surprisingly my legs feel good, but the rest of my body is wrecked. back, arms and legs are DRAINED. I had to pretty much dog it in the last 25 miles or so - my arm muscles could't even support the weight of my upper body, so I had to pretty much hunch into the drops for extended periods of time.

As for tips on clothing..I think I may need invest in some cycling shorts with a chamois if I'm going to do this again. I was wearing moisture wicking C-9 compression shorts from Target and my riding knickers over those. My ummm...taint...was chafed pretty raw by the end of the ride.

I felt like my nutrition was OK, but maybe needed to be tweaked more. We had a rest stops every 15-30 miles, at which I filled up on water and grabbed a banana. My only concern was that my pee was far from being clear, which leads me to believe my water intake was STILL not up to par. Also, I;m not sure a banana every 30 miles was sufficient food intake. Like I said, I was TIRING badly for the last 30 miles. I'm not sure if I can attribute that too nutrition or lack of training (I ride 20 miles daily for work commuting, supplement with a 40 mile ride on weekends.) I probably need to throw more 70 mile rides into the mix before the century.

Any more tips on nutrition?

Good quality cycling shorts are a good investment.

Your comments about your back and arms being tired, together with your reported mileage, suggest to me that your fatigue is as much a question of fitness as nutrition. You probably simply aren't used to being on the bike for such extended periods and therefore lack endurance. You might find it beneficial to do some core exercises, too, it helps you to avoid slumping into a poor posture.

Having said that, one banana every thirty miles is not sufficient, you should be eating more than twice that number of calories. Bananas are great, but you should be thinking about maybe 250kcal per hour. A banana is about 100-120.

oldskoolwrench 07-22-12 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chasm54 (Post 14513239)
There's not too much to say about clothing and equipment, except that one shouldn't use new stuff. Don't tinker with the set-up you are used to, and shorts, shoes, saddle should all have been used enough times for you to know they won't cause you any problems after several hours on the bike. If you're in any doubt about your contact points lasting the course, chamois cream might be a good idea. I don't use it much myself, but some people seem to find it essential.

Good quality cycling shorts are a good investment.

Your comments about your back and arms being tired, together with your reported mileage, suggest to me that your fatigue is as much a question of fitness as nutrition. You probably simply aren't used to being on the bike for such extended periods and therefore lack endurance. You might find it beneficial to do some core exercises, too, it helps you to avoid slumping into a poor posture.

Having said that, one banana every thirty miles is not sufficient, you should be eating more than twice that number of calories. Bananas are great, but you should be thinking about maybe 250kcal per hour. A banana is about 100-120.

+1 to the above.

What you wear on top is important, too. Again, wear something you're comfortable with, but not too tight to restrict breathing. If it's too tight the top can also
restrict your movement, which can make you sore after a long ride. For a Century ride I usually wear a comfortable jersey 'cause I like the pockets.

Nutrition wise? EAT. DRINK. Regularly!

You should be emptying a standard bottle every 15-20 minutes on a hot day. If you can only carry two large bottles and those aren't enough, try a Camelbak.
You can carry enough water to drink, it will help keep you cool, and you can also carry a bottle to spray your face and head to keep cool.

Eat as much as you can comfortably stand. Two bananas and a couple of energy bars between rest stops should be a minimum, but don't eat anything too heavy.
You'll have to experiment with this on your training rides; some riders can eat like 70's racers... fruit, pastries, a sandwich. Others would seize up tight eating a meal
like that!

It's all a matter of keeping your body and mind comfortable and fresh... from Mile .01 to Mile 100.35!

:D

joewein 07-22-12 08:56 PM

One banana every ~50 km is far too little. That's only about 120 kcal (one banana) every 2 hours (assuming 25 km/h), versus a recommended 200 kcal every hour. You ate only about a quarter of the calories you should aim for. No wonder you were running out of energy!

I like to get some calories from liquid food (chocolate milk, grapefruit juice, etc) and some from solid carbohydrate food such as bananas, bread, homemade energy bars, etc. Half the calories in yogurt are from carbohydrates and that works well for me too.

roborovski007 07-23-12 07:17 AM

Started road cycling a few months back, been training about 1 hour a day for everyday with a day off a week. Just signed up for an upcoming century and will be my first one this coming september, cyclist whoever completes below 8 hours will receive a medal. Need training guide from you guys out there that can improve my cycling hopefully to complete it with lesser time. Maybe 5 or 6 ?





chasm54 07-23-12 08:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by roborovski007 (Post 14516189)
Started road cycling a few months back, been training about 1 hour a day for everyday with a day off a week. Just signed up for an upcoming century and will be my first one this coming september, cyclist whoever completes below 8 hours will receive a medal. Need training guide from you guys out there that can improve my cycling hopefully to complete it with lesser time. Maybe 5 or 6 ?

Five or six what? Hours? A five hour century is an accomplishment that not many people achieve. Few of them achieved it on one hour a day training for just a few months, is my guess. You need to get longer rides into your schedule. However fit you are, riding one hour per day is not going to accustom you to being on your bike for the extended period that is necessary. As a minimum I'd suggest working up to one four-hour ride per week before the date of the event.

That doesn't mean you need to do much more training than you are doing now, necessarily - six or seven hours a week might be enough, but they need to be split into a couple of shorter, more intense rides and one long, steady one.

Plus, how much climbing is involved? If the answer is a lot, you need to be getting used to doing plenty of sustained efforts in the hills.

Forget about five or six hours. Read the thread, take the advice, and concentrate on finishing in reasonable comfort.

10 Wheels 07-23-12 08:56 AM

Work your way up to fast 75 mile rides.

Jseis 07-23-12 09:22 AM

I just completed the STP (203 miles in two days).

I trained 7 months, rode about 1600 miles with the bulk in, May, June, early July and averaged 100-125 a week from May on. Rode 50 miles every saturday with all other rides 20+. When my Sautrday rides approached 15mph solo average ride time (not drafting) I knew I could likely average 13+ solo on the STP and my first day (14.2) and second day (12.2) pretty much nailed my target.

When I left the UW parking lot I forced myself to remind myself to ride my ride and ignore pace lines and solo riders that passed me. I also stopped at all rest stops. I had a very small bar bag that always had an energy bar or two that I could munch on as I rode. I made a couple mistakes....didn't drink enough. On a hydration post a FBer reccomends 750 ml of water an hour. That's a good start. I shouldve drunk 2 gallons in a 100 miles but I was half that. Also, 2nd day I got hot foot on my right foot (larger foot) and that forced me to stop ever hour and take shoes and socks off for 10 minutes which helped stop the nerve pain.

My Saturday rides should've been 70-80 miles, I would've been better prepared. My low gear was 39-26....a compact would've been so much easier but I never walked up a hill but if any hill had been much over 8%....ouch. Also, took ibuprofen in morning and at noon.

I'm 57, 192 lbs. (should be 170....) and..have gastric reflux disease and occasional heart arrhythmia. Bottom line, I did fine.

BlackPaw 07-24-12 02:02 PM

Guys i read the whole thread and all of you seem focused on nutrition, hydration etc etc.. I have another problem - my legs are fine and after 70 miles - my legs allow me to sprint - but my butt wants to get off the saddle. I get all kinds of pain on my gluteus, perineum, testicles...

Any tips or suggestions?

chasm54 07-24-12 03:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackPaw (Post 14522667)
Guys i read the whole thread and all of you seem focused on nutrition, hydration etc etc.. I have another problem - my legs are fine and after 70 miles - my legs allow me to sprint - but my butt wants to get off the saddle. I get all kinds of pain on my gluteus, perineum, testicles...

Any tips or suggestions?

Either you need a different saddle, or your position on the bike is an issue. Very difficult to advise, but sometimes small changes in saddle position - nose up, nose down (rarely) further forward, further back, fractionally lower - can make huge differences in comfort. But only make one small change at a time, or you will lose track.

Consulting a bike fitter about position might also be an option to consider.

Midnight Biker 07-24-12 03:08 PM

Howdaycara!

I'm glad to see someone brave enough to attempt the infamous century. I say, take it slow. Don't pedal hard. Do it at a light to moderate (only at certain times) pace of about 8 mph and 11 mph. Good luck. Don't hammer it, lest you want to experience heart disease later down the road.

Good luck.

cafzali 07-24-12 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnight Biker (Post 14522946)
Howdaycara!

I'm glad to see someone brave enough to attempt the infamous century. I say, take it slow. Don't pedal hard. Do it at a light to moderate (only at certain times) pace of about 8 mph and 11 mph. Good luck. Don't hammer it, lest you want to experience heart disease later down the road.

Good luck.

Are you serious? Tackling a century at a vigorous pace certainly won't lead to heart disease for the vast majority of people. The recent studies that have come out about heart disease and exercise have to do with individuals who do very rigorous exercise religiously, like competing in Ironman and triathlons. Vigorous cycling, if anything, will only contribute positive effects, such as lowering your resting heart rate.

That's not to say that I don't believe you should take time to "smell the roses" on your first century... it's definitely an experience you will remember and, when you really get down to it, most of us have relatively few of those.

As far as the other rider who's experiencing saddle discomfort, the best advice anyone can give you is to go to a bike shop that has trained "fit specialists." Some of the situations you describe could be solved with a better saddle, but there may be more to it than that and only someone qualified who observes your pedal stroke, position on the bike, etc., can really say for sure.

chasm54 07-24-12 03:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnight Biker (Post 14522946)
Howdaycara!

I'm glad to see someone brave enough to attempt the infamous century. I say, take it slow. Don't pedal hard. Do it at a light to moderate (only at certain times) pace of about 8 mph and 11 mph. Good luck. Don't hammer it, lest you want to experience heart disease later down the road.

Don't be absurd.

Midnight Biker 07-24-12 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chasm54 (Post 14523061)
Don't be absurd.

Absurd? Thinking that taking a century ride ALL at a vigorous 16 mph pace would not scar your myocardium would be way more absurd than what I said. People and all animals for that matter are not built to go super hard for super long distances. Granted, maybe I exaggerated a little. You could probably pull it off safely at a consistent moderate, occasionally vigorous pace, with plenty of breaks in between, but for God's sake don't hammer it. I guess, for me personally, to feel totally save, I would have to do most of it at around 11 mph, slowing down here or there, and speeding up only occasionally when road conditions oblige.

Anyway, to the OP: good luck to you and have fun.

I've never done a century. The farthest I've ridden was 68 miles in one stretch. I really want to do one though. Good luck!

chasm54 07-24-12 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midnight Biker (Post 14523097)
Absurd? Thinking that taking a century ride ALL at a vigorous 16 mph pace would not scar your myocardium would be way more absurd than what I said. People and all animals for that matter are not built to go super hard for super long distances. Granted, maybe I exaggerated a little. You could probably pull it off safely at a consistent moderate, occasionally vigorous pace, with plenty of breaks in between, but for God's sake don't hammer it. I guess, for me personally, to feel totally save, I would have to do most of it at around 11 mph, slowing down here or there, and speeding up only occasionally when road conditions oblige.

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Sixteen mph is not super hard, it is an extremely moderate pace for a trained cyclist.

Quote:

I've never done a century
Evidently. You may have noticed that this thread is entitled "tips for riding a century". Perhaps you'd have the courtesy to leave it to those with some experience to give the advice?

JasonCarp 07-24-12 05:38 PM

I think my heart would stop from boredom if I rode 100 miles at 8-11 miles per hour. I woud seriously question any health benefit of riding that slow for that long if you were pounding high sugar fruits and cookies every 20 minutes. That or my heart would be bruisedf from falling over from going so slow.

Midnight Biker 07-24-12 07:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chasm54 (Post 14523160)
Evidently. You may have noticed that this thread is entitled "tips for riding a century". Perhaps you'd have the courtesy to leave it to those with some experience to give the advice?

Touche.

Midnight Biker 07-24-12 07:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JasonCarp (Post 14523528)
I think my heart would stop from boredom if I rode 100 miles at 8-11 miles per hour. I woud seriously question any health benefit of riding that slow for that long if you were pounding high sugar fruits and cookies every 20 minutes. That or my heart would be bruisedf from falling over from going so slow.

I guess you could bike 1/3 of the way at a light pace, 1/3 of the way at an intense pace and 1/3 of the way at a moderate pace. That's what I would do. If you want to go all out the entire time, go right ahead.

joewein 07-25-12 03:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BlackPaw (Post 14522667)
I have another problem - my legs are fine and after 70 miles - my legs allow me to sprint - but my butt wants to get off the saddle. I get all kinds of pain on my gluteus, perineum, testicles...

It could be:

1) lack of training: As you build up your leg muscles, more of your weight will end up resting on your legs and less on your rear end, so it gets better with time.

2) the wrong kind of saddle: An overly soft saddle may feel more comfortable initially, but allows your sit bones to sink in too deeply, meaning instead of the sit bones carrying the weight, the soft tissue around them will end up getting squeezed. Not good for nerves and circulation.

3) too much sitting at one stretch: Get up from the saddle every now and then and cycle standing for a little bit, to help your circulation. Take short breaks every now and then.

I really like my Brooks leather saddle. Since I got that, the least comfortable part of cycling were the shoulder straps of my back pack when I was wearing one long distance, sitting was no longer a problem.

BlackPaw 07-25-12 09:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joewein (Post 14524752)
It could be:

1) lack of training: As you build up your leg muscles, more of your weight will end up resting on your legs and less on your rear end, so it gets better with time.

2) the wrong kind of saddle: An overly soft saddle may feel more comfortable initially, but allows your sit bones to sink in too deeply, meaning instead of the sit bones carrying the weight, the soft tissue around them will end up getting squeezed. Not good for nerves and circulation.

3) too much sitting at one stretch: Get up from the saddle every now and then and cycle standing for a little bit, to help your circulation. Take short breaks every now and then.

I really like my Brooks leather saddle. Since I got that, the least comfortable part of cycling were the shoulder straps of my back pack when I was wearing one long distance, sitting was no longer a problem.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chasm54 (Post 14522940)
Either you need a different saddle, or your position on the bike is an issue. Very difficult to advise, but sometimes small changes in saddle position - nose up, nose down (rarely) further forward, further back, fractionally lower - can make huge differences in comfort. But only make one small change at a time, or you will lose track.

Consulting a bike fitter about position might also be an option to consider.

Thank you both for your replies - tonight I'll measure the bike i ride (and compare it to the fit calculator), also will post pictures of the saddle (which recently got upgraded lol - with foam - yes i was that desperate.)


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