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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-23-08, 08:35 PM   #1
andre nickatina
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My Track Bike Century

Today was my first century ride, and I did it fixed and solo. Rode Highway 30 out to Rainer, OR and back to Portland. 6.5 hours total with 5 breaks to eat / stretch / buy more water.

I had no digestive complaints this time and I'm pretty stoked because I've had some problems with that in the past on long rides, and I hear the same from a lot of other roadies. I ate 3 Clif Bars, 1 PBJ and 4oz. of honey / sea salt mix in a squeeze flask. This time I brouht some digestive enzyme pills and some glucosamine and took both at the 50 mile mark in Rainier after eating and the ride back was a lot easier than the ride there. I think the road is a lot smoother on the way back is why, because going there, there was a lot of really mellow but miles long downhill stuff where I actually had to work harder to ride through because the asphalt was way rough. Heading back I was going up those same hills but finding it way easier. A few hills I took my feet out of the pedals, put them on the fork crowns and "coasted" down. Only real problem I had was taint soreness / my **** going numb and falling asleep after 65 miles onward. Really sucked and forced me to stand up and pedal a lot to relieve it.

Other than the taint going numb, I didn't really feel limited by the track bike. It would have been nice having gears up a couple hills, but the route wasn't particularly hilly really. I <3 Nitto bullhorns with cork tape/gel for long rides too, works out so perfectly. I guess the taint thing is either saddle angle could be better, saddle could be better or seat tube is a little steep for long distances. I'd say probably the second.

All in all a good ride. I'm stoked to have it under my belt now.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:48 PM   #2
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Were you wearing any cycling specific clothing? I want to try to do a few centuries this fall and have been working up to 30 miles a day but I just dont know if I can handle the pain you were talking about earlier. I think one of the main causes is that my shorts get sweaty and then everything rubs because I am constantly pedaling. Think some padded cycling shorts will help out with stuff like that?
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Old 07-23-08, 08:50 PM   #3
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Cool. I did a double century a few months back (Philadelphia to Breezewood PA, 210 miles in 18 hours) on my Iro with bullhorns, and I also had no complaints other than that I pushed myself way too hard trying to keep up with people on geared bikes. As you might expect, my body gave up on me the next day when I had another 190 miles to go; I also realized I didn't eat nearly enough, and there was no way I could make up the calories the next day without getting sick. Also it was in the driving rain, which didn't help anything. So basically, it sucked, but I think I could do it again if conditions were a little better. I don't know how many more calories you burn riding fixed vs. geared, but it's clearly a fückload more. Should figure that out before attempting such dumbness again.
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Old 07-23-08, 08:54 PM   #4
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Were you wearing any cycling specific clothing? I want to try to do a few centuries this fall and have been working up to 30 miles a day but I just dont know if I can handle the pain you were talking about earlier. I think one of the main causes is that my shorts get sweaty and then everything rubs because I am constantly pedaling. Think some padded cycling shorts will help out with stuff like that?
Yes, besides the track bike with bullhorns and spoke cards I was completely roadied out. Padded lycra shorts, clipless shoes, team jersey, cycling cap and helmet.

Try out some chamois cycling shorts, don't skimp and go too cheap unless it's on sale and be sure to use lots of lube... some use Chamois Butter or Assos Butt Buttr (products you can buy at the LBS), I use jojoba oil (a plant derived oil used for dry skin, I buy it at Trader Joes). That taint area that's contacting the saddle can get extremely chaffed when sweat hits, and I find the best way to prevent that is the oil/lube method... this is one of the biggest secrets in cycling! People don't like to talk about it haha, definitely for good reason, but it's been going on for 100 years... the old pros used to use lard and olive oil.

Being sore/numb is bad, but there's nothing worse than chaffing and saddle sores because they can make riding more unbearable than the soreness/numbness ever could.

Hope that wasn't too much information!
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Old 07-23-08, 08:57 PM   #5
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Cool. I did a double century a few months back (Philadelphia to Breezewood PA, 210 miles in 18 hours) on my Iro with bullhorns, and I also had no complaints other than that I pushed myself way too hard trying to keep up with people on geared bikes. As you might expect, my body gave up on me the next day when I had another 190 miles to go; I also realized I didn't eat nearly enough, and there was no way I could make up the calories the next day without getting sick. Also it was in the driving rain, which didn't help anything. So basically, it sucked, but I think I could do it again if conditions were a little better. I don't know how many more calories you burn riding fixed vs. geared, but it's clearly a fückload more. Should figure that out before attempting such dumbness again.
Yeah I really think eating the right amount of food/water is really the biggest thing. On the last long ride I did, 60 miles, I was feeling terrible in the last 15 miles because I wasn't eating enough. This time I felt pretty good throughout although I started to get pretty ****ty around miles 40-50 before I had that PBJ, but everything was cool after that. PBJ's are a godsend on long rides... I've heard it said before from people who have ridden much harder and much farther than me that the average fit cyclist can go all day as long as food needs are met (I'd add having a proper fit into that equation too).
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Old 07-23-08, 09:00 PM   #6
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thanks man you a huge bank of knowledge! Good to get some solid tips that I can work on before I try my long rides.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:09 PM   #7
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Wow...I never thought about all of the intricacies that go into riding a century...especially on a fixed


My goal is to do a century ride on my fixed before winter weather makes that impossible...I have only been riding since the beginning of June though so I feel like it's a lofty but possible goal.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:18 PM   #8
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Things that I have taken note of that will make it easier is to start now by working your way up to longer and longer rides. keep increasing your millage or you are going to really feel it when you do the century. Nutrition and hydration is really important too.
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Old 07-23-08, 09:24 PM   #9
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assos cream is worth the $20, has a bit of a spicy kick to it that helps pre-existing sores/chafing

+1 on the balance of food intake, 300/cal per hour is the old standby and it's definitely possible to overeat at the midway point and just feel like **** the rest of the way

for your first time out the biggest thing is to just stay within your breath and rollout the first 10 miles at a slow pace. too much too soon = doom
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Old 07-23-08, 09:55 PM   #10
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assos cream is worth the $20, has a bit of a spicy kick to it that helps pre-existing sores/chafing

+1 on the balance of food intake, 300/cal per hour is the old standby and it's definitely possible to overeat at the midway point and just feel like **** the rest of the way

for your first time out the biggest thing is to just stay within your breath and rollout the first 10 miles at a slow pace. too much too soon = doom
Yeah I read that 250-300 cal thing too. Clif Bars are just about in that area and digest easy for me. And yeah it's definitely great advice to take the first 10-15 miles slow and consider it a warm up... I like to do that then get off the bike and stretch my legs. I did a 60 miler where I was killing it from the beginning on... by mile 35 I had the absolutely horrible legs cramps after climbing some tough hills (for me; I'm not much of a climber unless it's steep and short), so bad I could barely walk let alone bike. I had to take the rest of the ride slow with no sudden accelerations, get off and walk my bike up big hills, and was in pretty good pain all the way back. That was probably the hardest ride of my life.
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Old 07-23-08, 10:03 PM   #11
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That taint area that's contacting the saddle can get extremely chaffed when sweat hits, and I find the best way to prevent that is the oil/lube method... this is one of the biggest secrets in cycling
You might try some minor adjustments to your saddle, too. Unless you've got a really serious aggro TT position you're riding in, you shouldn't be carrying much of your weight on that part of your anatomy. You should be perched back further, on your sit bones.
Anything over 50 miles gets a lot easier if you're comfortable. BTW, nice time on a 6h 30m total. I just rode that stretch of Rt 30 a couple weekends ago for STP. There's a twisty, steep horrible hill coming off Rt 30, about 5 miles before getting into the city but I can't remember the name of it. All I know is that it was at mile 197, and totally sucked. (I was riding my geared bike, and it still sucked.)
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Old 07-23-08, 10:15 PM   #12
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Yeah I saw those STP stencils on the shoulder pavement every good 5 or 10 miles coming back...
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Old 07-23-08, 10:38 PM   #13
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Today was my first century ride, and I did it fixed and solo. Rode Highway 30 out to Rainer, OR and back to Portland. 6.5 hours total with 5 breaks to eat / stretch / buy more water.

Other than the taint going numb, I didn't really feel limited by the track bike. It would have been nice having gears up a couple hills, but the route wasn't particularly hilly really. I <3 Nitto bullhorns with cork tape/gel for long rides too, works out so perfectly. I guess the taint thing is either saddle angle could be better, saddle could be better or seat tube is a little steep for long distances. I'd say probably the second.

All in all a good ride. I'm stoked to have it under my belt now.
Were you riding the concept?
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Old 07-24-08, 01:07 AM   #14
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No, Concept is hanging up on a wall in a basement for now. Still gotta get the alignment professionally checked / rebuild the rims. I rode my trusty KHS track... I don't think I'd ride the Concept on a century anyway though.
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Old 07-24-08, 07:53 AM   #15
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this is very inspiring, i would love to do a solo century, thanks for the useful tips
did you have any mechanical issues or flats?

i really want to test out the brooks by putting a bunch of miles on it at once
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Old 07-24-08, 11:40 AM   #16
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this is very inspiring, i would love to do a solo century, thanks for the useful tips
did you have any mechanical issues or flats?

i really want to test out the brooks by putting a bunch of miles on it at once
No mechanical issues, no flats (*knock on wood).

Make sure you work your way up, don't go all out if you haven't ridden 50 miles in a sitting before! The longest ride before the century was 60 for me.
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Old 07-24-08, 11:43 AM   #17
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will do, i think the most i have done on the fixed is 30 or so
i think i am ready to map out a longer route


must have been a great feeling to finish a century, i think solo is a great way to go
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Old 07-24-08, 11:49 AM   #18
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Next time bring a wrench and try adjusting your saddle after 35-60 miles. I find the position that relieves taint pain is the most correct one and, strangely, it even feels comfortable when just starting on a fresh ride. After doing this I did my house to Valley Forge, PA (about 45-55 miles) no problem.

+1 for water bottles, food, and proper clothes.
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Old 07-24-08, 11:51 AM   #19
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do you think i could do it with a backpack with all my supplies?
are racks and panniers recommended?
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Old 07-24-08, 11:54 AM   #20
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No, backpacks are a terrible idea IMO. My college commute is 35ish miles and I use a hippack and leave books in a locker at school (usually). You end up really comfortable and with a ridiculously nasty back.

A rack would be best but traveling light is ideal... assuming you're not riding cross-state into desolate areas. I have at least passing familiarity with Valley Forge and the extensive rail system around there, so I would never be left stranded in a 911 emergency. Nor would I ever run out of water/food. So I don't worry much and carry $20, cellphone, a few tools, and water.
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Old 07-24-08, 12:00 PM   #21
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I'm not so sure about riding a frame with track geometry as far as comfort is concerned. I did a couple of century rides on my track bike with bullhorns and hated it both times. I much prefer my Steamroller with bullhorns for distance rides. I've done double century rides on the Steamroller without any discomfort.
Also, wearing roadie attire makes a big difference as well.
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Old 07-24-08, 12:00 PM   #22
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Good work!!!

Preparation is really the key to making a long ride comfortable. It took me a long time to get this. Lots of pain and suffering but I finally got it. In fact I'm just now starting to use chamois cream to help prevent the saddle sore/rash thing that can happen on real long rides. Food and drink is essential.

Longest I ever did fixed was about 75 miles, but it was a tough hilly route. 100 miles flat (no headwind) would have been a bit easier I think. But it's really great to put in long miles like that fixed if you can.
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Old 07-24-08, 12:02 PM   #23
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good point
i would think any extra stress on the back riding 100 miles should be avoided...thinking about getting a little hip pack for the essentials
i commute 10 miles a day and try to get out on longer rides on the weekend so i may have a way to go
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Old 07-24-08, 12:05 PM   #24
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Next time bring a wrench and try adjusting your saddle after 35-60 miles. I find the position that relieves taint pain is the most correct one and, strangely, it even feels comfortable when just starting on a fresh ride. After doing this I did my house to Valley Forge, PA (about 45-55 miles) no problem.

+1 for water bottles, food, and proper clothes.
Oh I had the means to make adjustments to my saddle (I always carry a 15mm and allen wrench set on long rides, no exceptions), it was mostly that aside from the taint numbness I was in such a "flow" from about mile 60 onward, just feeling really good on the bike and in rythm with my speed that I didn't want to get off... I stopped twice after mile fifty and one was to buy more water at a store because I was starting to run low.
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Old 07-24-08, 12:09 PM   #25
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do you think i could do it with a backpack with all my supplies?
are racks and panniers recommended?
I can't remember if I wrote it above but I used a Camelbak to carry water / food / tools / money / phone. It's doable if you pack light, water will weigh the most. The reason I bring a Camelbak is the lack of water bottle mounts on my bike and I don't really want to buy an aftermarket one that clamps on to the seatpost when I'll probably be getting another Kilo TT in the future with the water bottle mounts on it. The trick is to pack lightly though and have the straps on the bag adjusted proper. I didn't get any back discomfort. Ab exercises help with that.
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