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    Fixed gear century

    I did my first fixed century yesterday. Honestly, I think 100 miles on the fixed gear was a bit easier for me to complete then doing 50 on a geared bike. My reason is on a geared bike I'm guilty of coasting after a big climb, only to have sore quads for the next climb. It seems like the fixed gear worked the soreness back out and I was ready to take the next climb. Anybody else have this experience?

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    Senior Member Andersper's Avatar
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    Interesting. I have no such experience myself, but I'm considering doing my first ever century next year and debating flipping my rear wheel to the fixed side.

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    Senior Member TenSpeedV2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andersper View Post
    Interesting. I have no such experience myself, but I'm considering doing my first ever century next year and debating flipping my rear wheel to the fixed side.
    I would flip it prior to the ride so that you are not figuring out how to ride fixed on a ride like that. You want to be comfortable on the bike before you tackle a century.
    Quote Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
    You wouldn't skid in your tidy whiteys, why would you skid on your bike?

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    Senior Member Andersper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
    I would flip it prior to the ride so that you are not figuring out how to ride fixed on a ride like that. You want to be comfortable on the bike before you tackle a century.
    I might flip the wheel in a few weeks when I feel more confident flipping my pedals. I'm still new to clips/straps and starting out on the freewheel side is helping a bit. The race isn't until May next year, so hopefully I've had time to improve my riding technique and general fitness by then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andersper View Post
    I might flip the wheel in a few weeks when I feel more confident flipping my pedals. I'm still new to clips/straps and starting out on the freewheel side is helping a bit. The race isn't until May next year, so hopefully I've had time to improve my riding technique and general fitness by then.
    Definitely get some seat time fixed before your attempt for sure. Ive been riding fixed consistently for a month and there were still times when i felt a little uneasy. Also, if your century is very hilly at all, run both brakes. I overheated my rim on a steep downhill and popped my tube. Its hard to backpedal as well when your legs are worn out.

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    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbitman View Post
    I did my first fixed century yesterday.
    Well done!
    A FG century is a bit relentless and a landmark.

    -Bandera
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

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    Thanks! That means a lot. We had our fairshare of setbacks( my friend crashed and broke his masterlink, and i popped my tube on a 6 percent grade hill) but we were determined to finish. Total mileage ended up being 109.6

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    Senior Member Andersper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbitman View Post
    Definitely get some seat time fixed before your attempt for sure. Ive been riding fixed consistently for a month and there were still times when i felt a little uneasy. Also, if your century is very hilly at all, run both brakes. I overheated my rim on a steep downhill and popped my tube. Its hard to backpedal as well when your legs are worn out.
    Thanks for the advice, I hadn't considered that angle before. I already run both brakes with drop bars and aero levers. I'll think twice before switching to a straight bar and losing the rear brake though.

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    Senior Member TenSpeedV2's Avatar
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    Having recently finished my first century on a geared bike, doing it fixed would be one hell of an accomplishment. My friend did one with me and he rode fixed, although again, I was on a geared bike, and he managed 105.7 miles. I need to get mine out and on a century before the end of the year.
    Quote Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
    You wouldn't skid in your tidy whiteys, why would you skid on your bike?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeedV2 View Post
    Having recently finished my first century on a geared bike, doing it fixed would be one hell of an accomplishment. My friend did one with me and he rode fixed, although again, I was on a geared bike, and he managed 105.7 miles. I need to get mine out and on a century before the end of the year.
    You will find it isn't as daunting as it may seem now. Once you're out there it's just riding. Best not to over think it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I often need to flip my brain to the freewheel side when reading this forum.
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    Really as long as you get calories in so you dont bonk, dont go too fast, and just keep pushing youll make it. This was my first ride longer than 50(geared or otherwise) and my legs didnt start crapping out until mile 105ish.

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    Buddy Ratzinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbitman View Post
    I did my first fixed century yesterday. Honestly, I think 100 miles on the fixed gear was a bit easier for me to complete then doing 50 on a geared bike. My reason is on a geared bike I'm guilty of coasting after a big climb, only to have sore quads for the next climb. It seems like the fixed gear worked the soreness back out and I was ready to take the next climb. Anybody else have this experience?
    Coasting causing soreness doesn't make much sense to me. You might just be in better shape than you used to be.

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    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobbitman View Post
    I did my first fixed century yesterday. Honestly, I think 100 miles on the fixed gear was a bit easier for me to complete then doing 50 on a geared bike. My reason is on a geared bike I'm guilty of coasting after a big climb, only to have sore quads for the next climb. It seems like the fixed gear worked the soreness back out and I was ready to take the next climb. Anybody else have this experience?
    Oh yeah! (I call it conservation of energy. You take the potential energy you have gained by climbing that hill and put it back into your legs instead of wasting it on some easy speed.) More seriously: in my crazy, post accident days living on Alameda island off of Oakland, CA, I used to ride my fix gear up Fruitvale and Joaquin Miller roads up to Skyline on the 42-17, turn around and spin crazy fast down those same roads. I would roll back into Alameda with no soreness at all after doing that 1000' climb. Whipped, yes, but not sore.

    Good work! But be careful. There is danger you might get addicted to fix gear riding. I went for a fateful (and very short; 8 miles) fixed gear ride 40 years ago and have never been the same. In fact, I have been known to say even after I got my high end custom titanium bike that if I had to trim my herd to one bike it would be my winter fix gear. Then I had that builder make me a custom titanium fix gear. Sick or what?

    I have acquiesced to my age however. This new fix gear has a very long dropout and can handle any 1/8" cog made (I have 12 teeth through 23 teeth. A 24 would fit but I have yet to see one. Anyone know where a 24 can be obtained?). On seriously hilly rides with big descents, I have been known to carry a cog wrench on the top tube so I can use three or more cogs. Oh, that bike has done two Cycle Oregons. And I am consider doing it again this year.

    Again, careful. You could end up a 60 year old fix gear addict like me.

    Ben

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    A Roadie Forever 79pmooney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratzinger View Post
    Coasting causing soreness doesn't make much sense to me. You might just be in better shape than you used to be.
    I don't know the biology of it, but I can vouch for the OP here. Being forced to spin at high speeds after a hard climb does flush the lactic acid (or whatever) out of you leg muscles very well. All of us who have done crazy descents after hard, hard fix gear climbs know this. Don't believe me? Try it. And if you live in the flats, you could put your bike on a trainer, spend 10 minutes going 25 on a 53-13 out of the saddle, then sit down, turn the motor you have hooked up to your crankset on and spin the cranks at 180+ RPM for 4 minutes. (Make sure your cleat/pedal connection is really secure!)

    You are right. Coasting doesn't cause the soreness. But allowing the lactic acid (or whatever) to sit in idle muscles does. And after that little test, you will believe us! The place where this really plays out is riding in rolling country. Typically, I hit the bottom of the hills well behind the geared guys who passed me going much faster about half way down. They carry their speed say one third of the next hill, then start to bog down and shift down. I hit the bottom of the hill going slower but spinning like crazy but usually pass them about as they are shifting. Sometimes this goes on for miles, passing and getting passed by the same riders. At the end of the day, we feel quite different. They feel beat up by the hills. I feel drained but not sore. (OF course, there are the hills that are too hard. Last year's Cycle Oregon had a 2mile climb with two stretches of 14%. I did it on the 42-17. When I rolled into camp, I was sore! (Especially my arms. Showering, it hurt to touch them with the bar of soap! But thank G** for the downhills! At least my legs got spun out.)

    Ben

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    Senior Member Unkle Rico's Avatar
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    It's my goal for next year to do a few centuries on a FG -- Just not the one i currently own since its fairly heavy.. N+1 anyone?
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    Hi! Could I train in a month for a fixed century? I am in decent shape and can run 5k's pretty easy but have never tried any type of bike race. I have a state bike co Undefeated and would love to ride a century coming up September 26th. I have not be training for it because I did not expect to ride it; however, now I can get it out of my head and want to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
    I don't know the biology of it, but I can vouch for the OP here. Being forced to spin at high speeds after a hard climb does flush the lactic acid (or whatever) out of you leg muscles very well. All of us who have done crazy descents after hard, hard fix gear climbs know this. Don't believe me? Try it. And if you live in the flats, you could put your bike on a trainer, spend 10 minutes going 25 on a 53-13 out of the saddle, then sit down, turn the motor you have hooked up to your crankset on and spin the cranks at 180+ RPM for 4 minutes. (Make sure your cleat/pedal connection is really secure!)

    You are right. Coasting doesn't cause the soreness. But allowing the lactic acid (or whatever) to sit in idle muscles does. And after that little test, you will believe us! The place where this really plays out is riding in rolling country. Typically, I hit the bottom of the hills well behind the geared guys who passed me going much faster about half way down. They carry their speed say one third of the next hill, then start to bog down and shift down. I hit the bottom of the hill going slower but spinning like crazy but usually pass them about as they are shifting. Sometimes this goes on for miles, passing and getting passed by the same riders. At the end of the day, we feel quite different. They feel beat up by the hills. I feel drained but not sore. (OF course, there are the hills that are too hard. Last year's Cycle Oregon had a 2mile climb with two stretches of 14%. I did it on the 42-17. When I rolled into camp, I was sore! (Especially my arms. Showering, it hurt to touch them with the bar of soap! But thank G** for the downhills! At least my legs got spun out.)

    Ben
    That's been my experience riding through rollers on charity rides through rollers. They beat me down and I beat them up.

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    Senior Member TenSpeedV2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtgolden1s View Post
    Hi! Could I train in a month for a fixed century? I am in decent shape and can run 5k's pretty easy but have never tried any type of bike race. I have a state bike co Undefeated and would love to ride a century coming up September 26th. I have not be training for it because I did not expect to ride it; however, now I can get it out of my head and want to do it.
    Do at least 3 50+ mile rides in the next 2 weeks. See how you feel. If you can do those, you can do the century.
    Quote Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
    You wouldn't skid in your tidy whiteys, why would you skid on your bike?

  19. #19
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtgolden1s View Post
    Hi! Could I train in a month for a fixed century? I am in decent shape and can run 5k's pretty easy but have never tried any type of bike race.
    1st: a Century is not a race.
    Some are Charity rides w/ a certain amount of support and mix of riders of all skill levels on a wide variety of equipment and speeds.
    Unless you are an experienced rider on any flavor of drivetrain pushing a pace in a charity ride is extremely risky for yourself and others.
    Giving yourself a month to train for a charity ride century if you are fit, have seat time and are experience riding FG you may do just fine, or not.

    Some are Cycling Club rides where advanced paceline skills are required. Not something a month will allow.

    -Bandera
    '74 Raleigh International - '77 Trek TX900FG - '92 Vitus 979 - '10 Merckx EMX-3- '11 Soma Stanyan

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtgolden1s View Post
    Hi! Could I train in a month for a fixed century? I am in decent shape and can run 5k's pretty easy but have never tried any type of bike race. I have a state bike co Undefeated and would love to ride a century coming up September 26th. I have not be training for it because I did not expect to ride it; however, now I can get it out of my head and want to do it.
    What kind of base have you been riding a week. What has been your longest ride over the past several weeks. Have you ever ridden a century on a geared bike? Assuming you are young you can ride 10 miles 10 times or whatever the # of rest stops buy you would not have "fun". You need to be fit enough it's challenging but fun. I'm planning of riding a century the first Saturday in October on the fixed gear bike if the wind isn't blowing hard. I've built my long fix gear ride to over 5 hours and will do a couple of 5:30 rides and then taper for the century. But if your question is "can I just jump on my bike and do a century fixed with no real base and be ready for the century in a month?", I recommend you spend months building your base and doing shorter rides first-like a half century. And don't make the mistake that a flat century is easier than one with lots of rollers.

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    Thanks for the replies! I will do a lot of riding in the next few weeks and see how it goes.

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    Thank you all for the clarification you guys on the soreness thing. I wasnt quite sure how to word it. Now, as far as training for a century in one month, its very doable if youre already fit. I did 16 miles a day, five days a week for a month on my super hilly commute. Find a good hilly route and ride like your paycheck depends on it. As far as long rides, I did a 35 mile ride 2 weeks prior and wasnt tired at all after so i didnt worry about longer rides. Will it help? Im sure it will but for me it wasnt super necessary. As long as your fitness is on point and your bike fit is solid youll be fine. Lastly, what made my ride much more enjoyable was riding with a buddy. Makes the miles go much faster.

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    Buddy Ratzinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
    I don't know the biology of it, but I can vouch for the OP here. Being forced to spin at high speeds after a hard climb does flush the lactic acid (or whatever) out of you leg muscles very well. All of us who have done crazy descents after hard, hard fix gear climbs know this.
    I suppose the question is, how much does letting the lactic acid sit in the muscle during the descent really affect you in the long run? I mean, even coasting down a hill, you're going to be using your muscles again shortly anyway. Anyway, I certainly don't know the answer, I'm just surprised that riding hills on a fixed gear could be that much easier, especially since coasting is also providing you a rest.

    You story is interesting but obviously you're in better shape than those road cyclists you're speaking of, or perhaps they're mashing up the hill on too high of a gear and slowing themselves down. There is so much going on besides just geared vs. fixed- too much to be able to draw a specific conclusion from.

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    Pirate/Smuggler jlafitte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtgolden1s View Post
    Hi! Could I train in a month for a fixed century? I am in decent shape and can run 5k's pretty easy but have never tried any type of bike race. I have a state bike co Undefeated and would love to ride a century coming up September 26th. I have not be training for it because I did not expect to ride it; however, now I can get it out of my head and want to do it.
    Training for your first fixed-gear century

    From The Octopus, who has finished PBP and climbed Mont Ventoux 4x fixed

  25. #25
    I love the rolling hills. ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratzinger View Post
    I suppose the question is, how much does letting the lactic acid sit in the muscle during the descent really affect you in the long run? I mean, even coasting down a hill, you're going to be using your muscles again shortly anyway. Anyway, I certainly don't know the answer, I'm just surprised that riding hills on a fixed gear could be that much easier, especially since coasting is also providing you a rest.
    The effect is real. Riding fixed helps keep your muscles "fresh" and limber over longer distances. It's doubtful that fixed-gear truly makes the ride "easier" but it does have some nice benefits to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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