Originally Posted by Lycosa
One thing that's kind of bothering me. Tonight I went out in the garage and checked out what gear I was in and then calculated my gear-inches on Sheldon Brown's calc. The gear I tend to ride in the most is a paltry 40 gear inches (26x18). That's making me wonder if I'd have enough time in 1 day to do 100 miles. I'm thinking I ought to start working a little harder in tougher gears and get my speed up a bit... I'm 80% sure I have what it takes to get that 100 miles done. I'm just not sure if my speed is going to cut it though.
A 40 inch gear at a cadence of 80 RPM gives a speed of around 9.6 mph.
Assuming your pedaling technique is reasonable, the gear inches is not important. It's your speed that matters. A 10 mph moving average for a flat century (without a headwind) is on the low side.
Some things to keep in mind (some of which people mentioned earlier).
* For most people, their average speed drops as the ride gets longer.
That is, the average MPH they do for a 100 mile ride is going to be less than what they do for a 20 mile ride.
* Many people do centuries that are organized. These rides have a limited time the course is "open". That ends-up meaning the 100 miles has to be done within 9-10 hours including stops
. This ends-up being a 10 MPH total average (100 miles divided by the time between when you start and when you end).
If you use this as a rough target
(it's a reasonable target because it's common), that means your moving average has to be higher than 10 mph. (Note:
Given that you are doing your own ride, it's OK to take longer but the organized century numbers indicates what many other people do normally.)
* Long/frequent stops have a large impact on your overall average.
Riding at a slower pace might be better than moving at a faster pace and taking lots of stops (that are long).
* A common problem that people have on long rides is pacing.
That is, they often start out too fast and poop-out at the end of the ride. One reason do do 50-60 mile rides is to work-out your pacing.
* Long rides reveal issues that just don't show up on short rides.
Working your distance up lets your body adjust to being on the bike for long periods of time and allows you to discover and fix issues instead of being surprise deal breakers on a century.
* People's average speed tends to drop as it gets dark.
If your ride is going to include riding in the dark, expect that you are going to be slower. You should try to minimize the time you need to ride in the dark.
(There doesn't seem much reason you won't be able to do the ride even with a 10 mph pace. It might take you a while, and you might need to ride some in the dark, and you may hurt a bit afterwards. The idea is to make your ride better and reduce the problems you could have.)
Last edited by njkayaker; 01-20-14 at 09:48 AM.