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Old 01-26-09, 11:21 PM   #1
Beaker
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First century - advice

Rather than threadjack Cliff's GPC thread, thought I'd start another and get your sage input:

I was thinking of choosing one or perhaps two of the following for my first century ride:

Apr 18/19 Tierra Bella or Prima Vera

May 2/3 Wine Country Century or Grizzly Peak Century

It looks like the WCC is the easiest route of the 3, how would you guys rank the other 3 relative to each other? I'm pretty sure I can gauge GPC based on knowing most of the climbs pretty well. Anything to know about Tierra Bella or Prima Vera? I'm pretty comfortable with good 60-70mile rides, but this distance will be new territory for me

Thanks guys.
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Old 01-26-09, 11:30 PM   #2
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Grizzly Peak is actually 100+ ... probably 110 miles or so. It was originally 100 miles, but with a lunch stop at mile 70, most people didn't feel like doing just an extra 30 miles, so they extended it making it more worth while. Oh, one of those who didn't feel like doing an extra 30 was yours truely ... I mean heck, my car is 500 yards away! Oh and difficulty? It is definitely the toughest of the centuries you listed. McEwen just kicked my butt!

I only did a portion of Tierra Bella, and that was such a long time ago, I forgot what it was like.

Prima Vera is about the same as WCC, but not as pretty. I would definitely recommend WCC ... hmmm ... can you tell I like WCC?
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Old 01-26-09, 11:36 PM   #3
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You might also consider the Tour of Napa Valley Century. That was my first. A lot of fun it was.
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Old 01-26-09, 11:38 PM   #4
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That was my first. A lot of fun it was.
You always remember your first, right?

In all seriousness, I really want to do my first century this year as well. Is the WCC a fairly easy one? I've never ridden that far and I want it fairly flat so that I'll be able to finish.

Last edited by ROJA; 01-26-09 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 01-26-09, 11:56 PM   #5
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My first was Solvang, in '06. Then came Bike Around the Buttes, Napa Tour de Cure, two self-supported centuries, Healdsburg, Napa, Foxy's Fall...then we started the next year doing centuries on the tandem.

I haven't done any of those you mentioned, Beaker. However, as far as general advice goes, you don't have to ride 100 miles to ride 100 mi. My longest ride, completed 2 weeks before my first century, was 80 miles. My mind was geared for more but I didn't want to wear myself out. You most likely have well more than 100 miles in you; you just won't know until you do it. Be sure to drink frequently, eat at the rest stops, and spend <10 min. at those stops if you can. After the halfway point I tend to take power bars or non-squishable fruit with me for in-between stop fueling. Many centuries provide Gatorade or other sports drinks -- if you have a preference take extra in small baggies. I'm picky about what I drink and so I pack my own.

A century is a microcosm of a week's worth of rides, especially those in the spring. The weather changes dramatically, you meet all kinds of people, experience a number of emotions and physiological responses, sometimes have feelings of deja-vu. Essentially if you're mentally prepared you'll be fine.

Hey, that last sentence is pretty much like life in general. Gee, I just amaze myself with my brilliance. (Where's that barfing emoticon when you need it?)

Let us know what you sign up for; we've met and ridden with a number of BF friends on centuries. Pete can elaborate.
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Old 01-27-09, 12:01 AM   #6
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You always remember your first, right?
True in so many ways
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Old 01-27-09, 12:15 AM   #7
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My first was also Solvang in '05; very comfortable first century if the weather is nice (March).

Grizzly Peak was my second century and I completed the complete 109 miles although with cramps. It is definitely more challenging, a lot of ups and downs. Most of them are well known to you, Richard: Pinehurst, Grizzly Peak, the Bears, Rheem (not this year as they changed the start from Campolindo HS... to Joachim Moraga School), Redwood... but they are in succession one after the other to the end of the ride. Add the star of the ride, McEwen, to the mix and you get really tired. One part of the ride through Rodeo and its refineries is not too pretty but once you reach the upper end of the loop in Crocket it's nice again.

The WCC is almost always in very pretty settings. About 2 miles from the start you are on low traffic rural roads. The climb to the ocean is challenging but not a killer, the reward is a stunning view and it's the only major climb of the day. I remember some very pretty roads through the vineyards before the lunch stop. I was very tempted to stop for a tasting.
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Old 01-27-09, 12:21 AM   #8
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It's getting really hard to sit on the sidelines here and not participate. I might have to jump-into the fray with everyone else. WCC looks like the one...maybe.
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Old 01-27-09, 12:22 AM   #9
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Since the WCC sounds a whole lot easier than the GPC, I'm doing the former even though I started a thread on the latter.

I used to live up in Healdsburg so I know how nice a ride it must be - plus it's flat. Yesss!!
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Old 01-27-09, 12:25 AM   #10
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Thanks guys - I'm leaning towards WCC seeing the groundswell of BF support I'm seeing in Cliff's thread (- including Cliff himself!). It sounds like my ideal combo would be WCC and GPC (dang consecutive days, so unlikely) - any more views on Tierra Bella vs PrimaVera??

nachomc - I actually rode the Napa metric last year (first metric) and really liked the scenery, so I'm considering heading back for the full century later this year.
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Old 01-27-09, 12:28 AM   #11
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Thanks guys - I'm leaning towards WCC seeing the groundswell of BF support I'm seeing in Cliff's thread (- including Cliff himself!). It sounds like my ideal combo would be WCC and GPC (dang consecutive days, so unlikely) - any more views on Tierra Bella vs PrimaVera??

nachomc - I actually rode the Napa metric last year (first metric) and really liked the scenery, so I'm considering heading back for the full century later this year.
I'm very happy I rode that last year. It was beautiful and a great ride.
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Old 01-27-09, 12:41 AM   #12
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I'm interested myself...not this year, but Cycle17 believes we should ride a century together when he moves out here. That hasn't been one of my 'goals' in life, but...

It looks like WCC is already full for this year, Beaker, when I checked the site.

Any comments of WCC vs. Napa Century?
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Old 01-27-09, 12:45 AM   #13
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It looks like WCC is already full for this year, Beaker, when I checked the site.
Registration for the Wine Country doesn't open until Sunday.

I don't remember how fast it filled up, but probably best to get in on the ground floor if you want to do it.
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Old 01-27-09, 12:46 AM   #14
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I'm interested myself...not this year, but Cycle17 believes we should ride a century together when he moves out here. That hasn't been one of my 'goals' in life, but...

It looks like WCC is already full for this year, Beaker, when I checked the site.

Any comments of WCC vs. Napa Century?
Registration for WCC isn't open until Feb 1st http://srcc.memberlodge.com/WCC it's not too late!

Napa metric was a very nice ride, only 1 significant climb (ink grade) that was pretty easy by Bay area standards.
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Old 01-27-09, 12:47 AM   #15
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Ah! That's why it said 'Registration closed'.

I found this too: Monticello Solano Century

http://www.monticellocycling.org/century/century.html
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Old 01-27-09, 12:56 AM   #16
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Registration for WCC isn't open until Feb 1st http://srcc.memberlodge.com/WCC it's not too late!

Napa metric was a very nice ride, only 1 significant climb (ink grade) that was pretty easy by Bay area standards.
What a fun climb that was. I remember starting Ink thinking to myself how hammered I would be. I did great on that climb though, IMO. I made it up in about 20 minutes (according to my Garmin).
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Old 01-27-09, 08:29 AM   #17
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Last years WCC entry on my blog
http://ccorlew.blogspot.com/search/l...ntry%20century

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Old 01-27-09, 08:47 AM   #18
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I've heard great things about the Wine Country ride also - the double metric is on my radar for this Spring.

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Old 01-27-09, 09:03 AM   #19
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WCC was fun last year. Things I remember:
- the crack *****s at BBM and Mhendricks' motel
- Marco and X got lost getting to the start
- pretty fast pace getting to the climb
- that one really steep but short section
- beautiful decent
- BF group pictures by the coast
- headwind up the coast
- fairly fast paceline once we turned inland
- a bunch of bumpy backroads
- too long a lunch
- started the back section after official time cut-off
- the wind, OMG, the wind
- feeling really fried trying to hang with Marco and Ramon
- turned the wrong way to get back to finish and ended up going an two miles

It was great though.
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Old 01-27-09, 09:47 AM   #20
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Sounds like I gotta get in on the WCC this year too. Looks like fun!
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Old 01-27-09, 10:32 AM   #21
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Richard do the Prima Vera with me (I'm on the SS) my birthday ride
Do the WCC 200k with the Gang
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Old 01-27-09, 11:34 AM   #22
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Wine Country was my first ever century - 1985... we got pink cycling hats instead of patches... I think I still have it somewhere. Anyway, I liked it so much I moved to Santa Rosa and went to the JC later that year.
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Old 01-27-09, 12:44 PM   #23
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First century - 1975 Hekaton. Most recent century - uh, don't ask.

Whichever ride you choose, here is some advice about actually riding it.

1) Be careful not to go too fast at the begining. You will be excited and a little nervous, and the adreniline will make you feel like jumping on that 27mph pace line. Resist the temptation. Ride your pace (odds are there will be others going about that pace to forma pace line with). Your legs and lungs will thank you in about 70 miles.

2) Stop at every rest stop, even if only for a quick pee. It's the best way to break the ride into bite-sized bits, and it helps psychologically. Eat a little bit at each one, too. Except for the lunch stop, don't stay more than 5 or 10 minutes. Fill your bottles at each stop, even if you don't think you need to. At the one rest stop where you don't fill the bottles, you can be sure that the next segment of the ride is going to feel like the Bataan Death March. It never fails.

3) At the lunch stop, take a longer break (again, it helps psychologically), but not more than a half hour. Eat, but be careful not to eat too much lest you get that after-lunch sloth and slog feeling. A half sandwich and some fruit and a cookie or two usually works out about right.

Once you have one or two centuries under your belt, and based on how you feel at the end (you'll feel just fine), you can adjust your approach for subsequent ones. But this is a good way to make sure that you make it through the first one with the last 15 miles being fun instead of sucking

Oh, by the way, never, never, NEVER try something new on a major event ride. This is not the time to try those brand new shorts, or shoes, or energy drink, or rear derailleur, or anything. Especially not a new saddle. The only exceptions are (1) tires if they are new ones of a type with which you have previous experience and (2) if you have no choice, like when some mission-critical part bascially self-destructs the day before.

Good luck, not that you'll need it. You'll have a great time.
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Old 01-27-09, 01:13 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by BlastRadius View Post
WCC was fun last year. Things I remember:
- the crack *****s at BBM and Mhendricks' motel
- Marco and X got lost getting to the start
- pretty fast pace getting to the climb
- that one really steep but short section
- beautiful decent
- BF group pictures by the coast
- headwind up the coast
- fairly fast paceline once we turned inland
- a bunch of bumpy backroads
- too long a lunch
- started the back section after official time cut-off
- the wind, OMG, the wind
- feeling really fried trying to hang with Marco and Ramon
- turned the wrong way to get back to finish and ended up going an two miles

It was great though.
You forgot about the "BONK" episode
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Old 01-27-09, 02:01 PM   #25
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Great advice.
If you really want to have some fun over thinking it, or just like obsessing (I know I do)
go to www.thefredcast.com and find the old episodes (there are 2, numbers 05 and 07) on doing a century.
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