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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)

joewein 10-09-13 12:43 AM

For moderate headwind, my recommendation would be not to watch your speed readout, but your heart rate or your power meter readout. Riding against the wind is a bit like riding uphill, except you have less to show for the effort. Your effort needs to remain in a sustainable range or you won't finish the ride.

You simply can't win against a 32 km/h wind, unless it's very temporary (exposed mountain pass). That's too fierce. Just maintaining 10 km/h ground speed into it means fighting as much air resistance as going at 42 km/h (26 mph). If it was me, I'd either go ride somewhere else or ride on a different day.

tshelver 11-07-13 04:04 AM

I did my first century last week, self supported, on a Trice (ICE) recumbent trike. It took me 8:15 hours, 85 to 93 degree heat (103 'RealFeel') of which 7 hours was riding time.
I stopped for a light roadside veg stew and rice lunch about 30 miles into the ride, as I only left at 9:30.

I carried 2.5 liters of water, 2 dosed with Nunn electrolyte, 2 boiled eggs and 2 bananas. Trike was kitted with rack, rear mudguard, 55 liter saddlebags, lights and a full set of spares and tools, as road conditions here can be a bit rough.

I popped a liter of water by the time I left, standard practice for me when riding in the heat.

I've been off the bike for over 2 years until June, as I've been moving around a lot with stuff in storage or in transit, and have never gone further than 50 miles in my life before, so I started out just doing local rides. For the last few months I've been doing a hilly ride of 30 to 45 miles every few weeks, and about a quarter of the distance being steady to steep climbing.
in between I started with 60 km longer rides (got badly affected in the heat at first) and then built up to 80 and 100k, and finally 150km distances.

Especially in the heat, I found learning how my body needed hydration and food was really important. Probably the biggest lesson was hydrating as much as possible before I leave on a ride, and then keeping up with it during the ride. The other one was not to push too hard in the beginning or on hills.

In the end, the century was easier than the first 100k ride I did a month earlier, and I did it in less time than the 150km ride 10 days before, despite the route being the same apart from a long, steep climb at the turn around point.
The other really weird part of that faster time was that I bent the derailleur hanger 3 km into the ride hitting a hidden rock while doing a water crossing. I lost the 2 smallest cassette cogs, ending up with the lower 21 speeds out of the 27 original.
That must have dropped me from a 107 gi on top to below 90 (20" wheel).
After I got the derailleur to at least stop jumping cogs and shift OK in the remaining gears, I decided to carry on and just take it easy, and see how far I got.
It seems that was the best strategy, as I stopped for photos, food, snacks and drink stops, and even ate a 'banana Q' (cooking banana fried and dipped in melted sugar).
Unlike the other 100k and longer rides, I was faster on the way home than going out...

Unlike others, I much prefer riding on my own, looking at the sights, talking to people at stops, stopping for food, drinks and photos when I feel like it, and not being stressed to keep up when I'm slow or holding back when I'm fast. Especially as a recumbent trike (tadpole) has very different speeds on climbs and descents than a normal road bike. With all the tools, spares, bags, rack, lights and stuff I ride with here, the trike is over 45lb before I add water and food.

Null66 01-09-14 06:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by unterhausen (Post 15756090)
last summer I rode in North Carolina and at the hottest part of the day I was having to stop every 15 miles for water. Under those conditions I felt like an idiot for not having a hydration pack. I rode with one on my recent 600k attempts, and it's definitely something that takes some getting used to. My second try was more successful than the first. Under very hot conditions, load the pack up with ice and when done drinking, blow the water in the tube back into the pack or you will always be drinking hot water. If it's not too hot, I can make it almost 100 miles on 2 liters

Haven't ridden a brevet yet, but really like long for me self supported rides.

If you have spare water, squirt through helmet vents...
With my camelback I'll drain some water on my bike shorts mid thigh.
Amazing how cooling this is on a hot day.
I use Keen sandals so I don't worry about water getting in my shoes, but if I wore shoes, then I would.

Jim Kukula 03-23-14 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joewein (Post 16145138)
You simply can't win against a 32 km/h wind, unless it's very temporary (exposed mountain pass). That's too fierce. Just maintaining 10 km/h ground speed into it means fighting as much air resistance as going at 42 km/h (26 mph).

That doesn't sound quite right. I think power goes like s * (s + h)^2, where s is speed and h is headwind. So riding 10 kph into a 32 kph headwind is like riding 26 kph in still air.

Yeah, you're right about the force you're pushing against. But assuming one has gears on the bike, one can shift to a lower gear to make the torque the same. With adequate gearing, power is really all that matters.

joewein 03-23-14 08:51 PM

Jim,

you're absolute correct as power = work / time and work = force * distance. Force increases with the square of total air speed (ground speed plus headwind speed if you're heading directly into the wind). Therefore the equivalent still air speed in my example is the 3rd root of ((42 kph)^2 * 10 kph) which is ~26 kph, as you say.

I stand corrected and educated! :)

Jim Kukula 03-23-14 10:37 PM

A 20 mph headwind really is brutal! Another way of looking at the numbers: my usual level speed in still air is around 12 mph. Into a 20 mph headwind, the same power output would have me going about 3.2 mph! I have plenty low gears but that is actually running off my low end. My lowest gear at my steady cadence is about 4.7 mph. At 3.2 mph my legs are slowing down quite a bit - not quite at the death struggle stage but getting there!

DaveLeeNC 06-30-14 07:09 PM

Definitely in the FWIW category.

Back in the late 70's I ran my first marathon and (surprisingly) qualified for the Boston Marathon. A group of four of us decided to make the trip the next spring. This was the year that Rosie Ruiz "won" the ladies race (she didn't pass me, BTW).

Anyway I could never learn to drink water while running (not a problem on a bike for me, BTW). A buddy (better than me) talked me into running with him and, unfortunately it was 'perfect' weather (low 80's). Of course all my training was cold weather stuff and I had no heat training whatsoever in April.

I absolutely collapsed the last 5 miles and assumed that it was just a somewhat too fast pace. While I finished with a sub 7:00 min/mile pace, my pace the last half dozen miles was more like 9:00.

Then I returned the next fall to the Nov. marathon in Louisville, Ky. Again it was the same 'perfect' weather and now I was in very good condition. But the result was the same - complete collapse the last 5'ish miles. But this time for no particular reason I had weighed myself before the race. I could easily reconstruct all the fluids that I had consumed after the race (I just couldn't drink when running). Doing the math I calculated that I had lost 13 pounds of water during this race.

Trust me here - you don't want to do this. Twice I lost around 13 pounds in 3 hours and was never uncomfortably hot. But around 2.5 hours in - things were REALLY tough. However I never felt either hot or thirsty.

dave

Willbird 06-30-14 09:29 PM

Pardon if this is an ignorant question, but how about V8 juice for electrolytes ?? The stuff is loaded with sodium and potassium.

Bill

chasm54 06-30-14 11:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Willbird (Post 16897105)
Pardon if this is an ignorant question, but how about V8 juice for electrolytes ?? The stuff is loaded with sodium and potassium.

Bill

Don't see why not, if you can stomach it while riding. Personally I think people overthink the whole electrolyte issue. There's plenty of electrolytes in ordinary food, and as an intensive care doctor once said to me, "most of my patients die with their electrolytes in perfect balance".

Willbird 07-01-14 06:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chasm54 (Post 16897405)
Don't see why not, if you can stomach it while riding. Personally I think people overthink the whole electrolyte issue. There's plenty of electrolytes in ordinary food, and as an intensive care doctor once said to me, "most of my patients die with their electrolytes in perfect balance".

I have not tried it wile riding, I drink 2 cans a day of the "low sodium", I refer to it as "lower sodium" though because it still has quite a bit, it has never caused me an issue at work in midwest heat and humidity.

Bill

Machka 07-01-14 06:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Willbird (Post 16897744)
I have not tried it wile riding, I drink 2 cans a day of the "low sodium", I refer to it as "lower sodium" though because it still has quite a bit, it has never caused me an issue at work in midwest heat and humidity.

Bill

You might go with normal sodium V8 during long rides.

Willbird 07-01-14 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Machka (Post 16897750)
You might go with normal sodium V8 during long rides.

I'm thinking of maybe doing a self supported metric century first, just ride loops around home base here and make my rest stops back here every hour or so, so that is something I could stash in the fridge. I got on to the "lower sodium stuff" when our health and wellness program had a "veggie challenge"......a can of V8 counted as 2 servings :-).

The Lower sodium for an 11oz is 200mg sodium and 1180mg Potassium,15mg carb, 3g protien....not sure how rapidly/readily avail all of that is.

The higher sodium again for 11oz is 920mg sodium and 640mg potassium, 14 carb, 2 protien.

I have been riding about 90 minutes now and want to start to phase in something other than straight water so I know it will work out if I decide to push for my Metric :-). Base right now is 20 miles so I am going to keep working up, and finding a good local "loop" or "loops" that will work well for 1 hour rest stops.

Bill

Jawbone 07-27-14 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chidonchea (Post 14146761)
Here is a video I made of a feed bag I use on centuries and double century rides. The bag can hold more than enough food to get me to the next rest stop. By eating all the while I ride, I can avoid the "Bonk".

This is so freakin' awesome!

woodcraft 07-27-14 12:35 PM

Get out of the saddle regularly, for blood circulation.

Just 10 or 15 pedal strokes every 10 or 15 minutes helps.

andy4077 07-27-14 03:07 PM

What a fantastic idea

BigC_82 11-08-14 02:10 AM

After reading this whole thread I noticed you failed to mention one key tip about sunscreen as being on bike for that long. You need stop at some point to reapply.

HkC01 10-15-15 07:36 PM

Just lurking this forum was invaluable when I was working toward my first century. Thanks again everyone.

Training for a new rider - Long slow distance had great immediate benefits for me. I got serious about a century after my first 50mi ride and did my first century 8 weeks later. Doing 2 or 3 weekly steady and easy endurance rides of 3hrs both was good for fitness and learning about what HR is telling you. Use HR to gauge effort on the century ride.

Distance - The 1.5x rule about going half as far as your previous distance works, once you've done a metric or a little further, plan to do the century. If just doing it on your own don't lock in "a day" for the event, take advantage of the fact that you just want to get it done at some point in the season (basically, try not to think about it ahead of time.)

Sunscreen - I applied sunscreen every couple hours to my arms and thighs. Ended up with a burnt back, complete with outline of the jersey tag. Wear a protective base layer that has some sun protection, and has the added bonus of making you more visible. (this may cause you to tan in "gloves" while your arms are protected... haven't figured that one out yet)

Nutrition - whatever works for you, but it's obviously critical for this duration, less is more IMO so guarantee a good base with manufactured stuff (gels and powders are efficient) and snack along the way - salted almonds and apricots are often mentioned and work. Enjoy the stuff sold in the checkout aisle, just don't overeat.

The route - Have a "big" checkpoint, e.g. know a few places you can stop for food/water at 55-75 miles (this is the point of no return area if following the distance rule of 1.5x.) Restock and know that you're only 25-45 from finishing. Know the end of your route well if possible too - the last 20mi are a bit mental, but if it's well known to you it'll be just like starting a new ride (just already really tired!) If it's a segment you've done countless times that's a get out of jail free against any doubt you won't finish.

Data - Get an app on your phone, record the ride, a line on a map is the quickest way to show friends what you're talking about, and a great reminder that you did it while you're waiting in line for whatever.

Repeat - After the first is done think about another - your fitness is great, and the unknown century is now known, so keep up some training and try to get another one in within the next 4/8 weeks. Use the days you already had planned out in case the first try didn't work.

Oatmeal cream pies - I can't find the thread now, but certainly one of the most enjoyable century stories on BF. Search for it.

Kotts 01-10-16 03:05 PM

Sunscreen Alternative
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by BigC_82 (Post 17287096)
After reading this whole thread I noticed you failed to mention one key tip about sunscreen as being on bike for that long. You need stop at some point to reapply.

Last summer I did a number of centuries (metric and "English"), topping with a 430-mile wide across South Dakota in August. I discovered "cool sleeves". Like arm warmers, but white or patterned treated spandex, with massive sweat wicking. I actually felt cooler with them on than without. The capper (and what makes this relevant to the quote)

SPF 30 that you don't have to reapply.

You still have to take care of face, neck & ears, but not having to worry about frying my arms helps.


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