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  1. #1
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    11 Weeks to Century Ride

    After getting back to cycling October of last year after many years break following marriage and three children.
    My goal is to ride a Century and I am signed up for the Seagull Century in September. I have been pushing myself mainly on Hill riding so I can gain strength as from the start Hills really slowed me as I am currently riding as Clyde at 212 lbs at 5'6 though I am down 25 lbs since starting and can tackle most of the hills in the area except one that reaches a 20 gradient that now requires me to stop twice on to catch my breath, down from 4 times. So I have definitely grown in that area.
    I am doing weekend rides around 45 miles and it's time to increase the miles.
    I understand that the ride I will be doing is by the Sea and even though is flat it can be quite windy.
    Can I get recommendations as to how I should focus my training.
    The area I live in is rolling hills in PA. I was thinking of riding my compact cranks with 12-28 gearing but do have 39/53 if that would be better on the flat even with wind?

    I don't have a time that I am aiming at but want to finish well and finish with energy.
    Thanks
    Allan

  2. #2
    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    11 weeks is plenty of time. Just increase your time on the bike (or distance) by about 10%/week. That way, you won't hurt yourself and you will do just fine. Make it a mix of flats and hills. Go with a compact.

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    53-39 cranks are big boy gears not for mortals.

    Your knees will thank you.

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    Senior Member skiffrun's Avatar
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    For training --> just go ride.

    You'll probably only need two gears on the Seagull ride --> one for when riding with a tailwind and one for riding into a headwind.

    I think you'll have adequate gearing for the Seagull.

    There will be plenty of stocked rest stops. Many people ride charity rides as a series of 20-mile rides between virtual picnics at the rest stops. One can do that and finish the ride well topped-up in food and drink -- but perhaps feeling even more tired than if they had done the ride with fewer stops.
    Enjoy the ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with riding hills to get in shape, but it's not really a requirement for the Seagull Century. That is one FLAT ride. Can be windy though, or so I've heard.
    2009 Cervelo R3SL TdF Edition, Ultegra Di2
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    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    I know the Seagull Century is flat, but the only thing I could think about simulating riding in the wind was Hill climbing as when you are Hill climbing and in the wind you are continuously pedaling.
    Going to keep my compact cranks on and up the mileage.
    Thanks
    Allan

  7. #7
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    I know the Seagull Century is flat, but the only thing I could think about simulating riding in the wind was Hill climbing as when you are Hill climbing and in the wind you are continuously pedaling.
    Going to keep my compact cranks on and up the mileage.
    Thanks
    Allan
    I wouldn't change the cranks just for the sake of change. But in the abstract, assuming I had a choice of bikes with both standard and compact, I think I might prefer to have the 39 for a flat ride with the wind in my teeth for a good part of it, as it's more useful than a 34 under the circumstances for many riders. It would have to be blowing pretty hard for me to have to drop off my 50. However, I would never go through the trouble of swapping cranks for one ride. One thing with wind: ignore your speed read-out (if you have one) and concentrate on cadence.

  8. #8
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    Saddle time... Get your butt used to 5 to 8 hours. You have more than enough time. Go compact on the cranks... You will not run out of gears on the "tall" end, but might run out of "short" gears.

  9. #9
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divide_by_0 View Post
    Saddle time... Get your butt used to 5 to 8 hours. You have more than enough time. Go compact on the cranks... You will not run out of gears on the "tall" end, but might run out of "short" gears.
    This. If you're not going for a time, why kill yourself with too-tall gearing?
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  10. #10
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    50 mile ride tomorrow. No I'm not going for a time, just to finish well.
    Going to ride with compact cranks. Was speaking to another rider last night who shared how windy it is on the ride.
    Will be keeping my mileage to 150 - 225 miles a week with one big ride a week.

  11. #11
    Green lights for all Rapido's Avatar
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    Progressively overload, do one interval training event per week. Think of it as four 25 milers and make yourself ride slower for the first 75 than you feel ready for. Now you will have control. Ignore the speeds others are going, stay relaxed and drink 4 oz. every 15 minutes.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    Rode 81 miles yesterday. Three laps of a loop I do so I could fill up with water and snack which I left in the car. My first loop was the slowest and I think it had to do with the temp. I felt really stiff in the knees but by the second lap I felt great. I could have easily done the additional 19 miles.
    today went out and rode 20 miles at pace to get the legs moving. Felt great.
    did a 50 mile ride in the rain last week just in case I get wet weather for my century.
    After reading some of the messages on this thread I have the urge to look at a bigger goal for next year. Maybe a double century.
    Thanks,
    Allan

  13. #13
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    Rode 81 miles yesterday. Three laps of a loop I do so I could fill up with water and snack which I left in the car. My first loop was the slowest and I think it had to do with the temp. I felt really stiff in the knees but by the second lap I felt great. I could have easily done the additional 19 miles.
    today went out and rode 20 miles at pace to get the legs moving. Felt great.
    did a 50 mile ride in the rain last week just in case I get wet weather for my century.
    After reading some of the messages on this thread I have the urge to look at a bigger goal for next year. Maybe a double century.
    Thanks,
    Allan
    I'm kind of late to this thread, but well done! I think you have that century in the bag.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    Ride was yesterday. Felt great till the 82 mile Mark.
    I started doing the saddle shuffle and coasting.
    Ended up with 16mph average speed which I was happy with.
    Hopefully by the next time I ride another century next year I will be down 20-30 lbs.
    Lady next to me for a while asked what my next plan is.
    I responded 200 k. She said jokingly you could ride that today.
    Feeling good but going to be a quiet day today.
    Allan

  15. #15
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    Ride was yesterday. Felt great till the 82 mile Mark.
    I started doing the saddle shuffle and coasting.
    Ended up with 16mph average speed which I was happy with.
    Hopefully by the next time I ride another century next year I will be down 20-30 lbs.
    Lady next to me for a while asked what my next plan is.
    I responded 200 k. She said jokingly you could ride that today.
    Feeling good but going to be a quiet day today.
    Allan
    Congrats, and I don't think she was wrong!
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  16. #16
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    Ride was yesterday. Felt great till the 82 mile Mark.
    I started doing the saddle shuffle and coasting.
    Ended up with 16mph average speed which I was happy with.
    Hopefully by the next time I ride another century next year I will be down 20-30 lbs.
    Lady next to me for a while asked what my next plan is.
    I responded 200 k. She said jokingly you could ride that today.
    Feeling good but going to be a quiet day today.
    Allan
    Nice job.

    80 miles is the threshold for many riders. It's usually when things start hurting, even for those of us with a lot of centuries behind us. Sometimes it's the lower back, sometimes it's the butt, sometimes it's the shoulders, and so on. A lot depends on how much you had to fight the wind, how bad the road surfaces are, etc.

    You know what helps me more than anything when it happens? Getting off the bike for 2-3 minutes and walking around.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mprelaw View Post
    Nice job.

    80 miles is the threshold for many riders. It's usually when things start hurting, even for those of us with a lot of centuries behind us. Sometimes it's the lower back, sometimes it's the butt, sometimes it's the shoulders, and so on. A lot depends on how much you had to fight the wind, how bad the road surfaces are, etc.

    You know what helps me more than anything when it happens? Getting off the bike for 2-3 minutes and walking around.
    Ok then I have to ask the question. How do people do 400 km or longer rides.
    I sat down in a comfortable position and enjoyed the fresh pie with ice cream and chatted to a few people but it wasn't long before the uncomfortableness came back when I was on the bike again. I wasn't in pain, just weary, arms tired and couldn't get into a comfortable rythem for long.
    i had a three hour drive home and felt great the next day.
    allan

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    I rode the Seagull Century, too. I swore at the 80 mile stop that I would burn my saddle when I finished the ride. I have yet to strike the match, but I will definitely check into other options. Specialized Romin or Selle SMP i'm thinking. I will also try to do more back and neck exercises to be a little more comfortable for the next century.
    From Assateague to the pie and ice cream was my roughest stretch. I felt pretty strong finishing, though. I wondered if something I ate at Assateague just didn't sit well. I thought it was a well organized event. The longest ride I had done previous to this was @65 in the hilly-ish potomac river valley in DC and west of DC in MD.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    That gravel didn't help either. I agree it was well organised. I liked the road surface most of the way which was certainly an upgrade from PA back roads. The only thing I would change was dilute the power ade beyond 50 percent. I still have lots to learn about riding and nutrition.
    Allan

  20. #20
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    Ok then I have to ask the question. How do people do 400 km or longer rides.
    I sat down in a comfortable position and enjoyed the fresh pie with ice cream and chatted to a few people but it wasn't long before the uncomfortableness came back when I was on the bike again. I wasn't in pain, just weary, arms tired and couldn't get into a comfortable rythem for long.
    i had a three hour drive home and felt great the next day.
    allan
    You'd have to ask someone who has ridden 400 km. That's not me.

    I'm in double digits now on century rides. It's all relative. First couple were on a bike that was too small, and which I had a bad fit, and my lower back felt it. To the point where I would stand and pedal for a minute to take the pressure off, and occasionally stop and get off the bike. Then I had the right sized frame and a good fit, and the next ones were way easier, but along the way, somewhere between 80-90 miles, some soreness sets in. Like I said, a lot depends on the conditions. How much climbing was there? Were the winds bad enough that I had to fight the front end to stay in control? Tension causes more fatigue than riding calmly. You tense up on the bars, you feel it in your neck and shoulder. How much jarring did your hands/arms/shoulders and butt get from bad roads? It all adds up. Plus, I'm 61. Not a kid any more. I'm pretty flexible and in decent shape for my age, but it still is what it is. 61 isn't 30.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    I have to say the roads were really good, compared to PA roads. I do feel that my arms and shoulders get tense over time. I think I have to work on that. I do aim to do a 200km and 400km ride next year. Just waiting a couple of days before signing up to RUSA. I don't think I will ever be fast, but I know that I have determination and want to work on building my time on the bike. Can anybody recommend a training method to build to longer distance.
    Thanks,

    Allan

  22. #22
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Look at it this way. You've completed a full century, and right now you're fit enough to add the +/- 25 miles for a double metric within the next month, if you really wanted to do it. Give yourself time to recover from the weekend. With colder temps, and decreasing daylight, doing it solo could be a challenge, but it's doable if you want to add it this year.

    Or, you could taper off the rest of the fall, try to ride enough to maintain a base over the winter, and set your sights on building time in the saddle (and maybe add in some intervals/hill work to get a little bit faster) in the spring. Adding that kind of speed work will actually help you ride farther.

  23. #23
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    I have to say the roads were really good, compared to PA roads. I do feel that my arms and shoulders get tense over time. I think I have to work on that. I do aim to do a 200km and 400km ride next year. Just waiting a couple of days before signing up to RUSA. I don't think I will ever be fast, but I know that I have determination and want to work on building my time on the bike. Can anybody recommend a training method to build to longer distance.
    Thanks,

    Allan
    One thing I noticed in my first year or so of road biking was that I had a bad habit of locking my elbows. This was probably due to a weak core, but it meant that my hands, wrists, and shoulders really got beat up on longer rides. In addition, my steering was problematic because I would put more weight on one hand and need to make little swerves to maintain my course. It takes some vigilance to develop the habit of keeping your elbows loose (wiggle them every so often), but it may help your situation.
    Last edited by ThermionicScott; 10-01-14 at 02:40 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  24. #24
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    One thing I noticed in my first year or so of road biking was that I had a bad habit of locking my elbows. This was probably due to a weak core, but it meant that my hands, wrists, and shoulders really got beat up on longer rides. In addition, my steering was problematic because I would put more weight on one hand and need to make little swerves to maintain my course. It takes some vigilance to develop the habit of keeping your elbows loose (wiggle them every so often), but it may help your situation.
    You are absolutely correct. I do struggle with that. I raised my stem which helped a little because my flexibility was not that great and carrying extra weight didn't help either. I know things will get better.
    Thanks.
    Allan

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