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  1. #1
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    Running a century... Am I ready for this?

    Hello everyone!

    I'm working myself back into shape to tour. I've been riding 20 miles a day almost every day. I have been for about a month now. I'm hoping to do a 100 mile trip next month. I'm at least to the point now where my legs don't feel spongy when I'm done with the 20 miles and I don't have to gear down nearly as much on hills/inclines. Saddle soreness is gone and my Brooks saddle is worn-in and pretty comfy. I've also been running around with my panniers on and all the bells and whistles that I would take with me.

    I'm enjoying the 20 miles a day so much that I don't feel as good if I don't make the trip.

    So based on the little info I've given above, do you think 100 miles would be a good trip to try? I have a relative to stay with once I get there and there's no terrain difference between here and there (Florida, very few hills anywhere).

    Advice?

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    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lycosa View Post
    Hello everyone!

    I'm working myself back into shape to tour. I've been riding 20 miles a day almost every day. I have been for about a month now. I'm hoping to do a 100 mile trip next month. I'm at least to the point now where my legs don't feel spongy when I'm done with the 20 miles and I don't have to gear down nearly as much on hills/inclines. Saddle soreness is gone and my Brooks saddle is worn-in and pretty comfy. I've also been running around with my panniers on and all the bells and whistles that I would take with me.

    I'm enjoying the 20 miles a day so much that I don't feel as good if I don't make the trip.

    So based on the little info I've given above, do you think 100 miles would be a good trip to try? I have a relative to stay with once I get there and there's no terrain difference between here and there (Florida, very few hills anywhere).

    Advice?
    Not yet, you need to do more miles...but you can give it a try if you ride more miles, eat and drink enough and have a bail out plan. Going from 20 miles to 100 is an enormous leap, you just don't realize how bad you can feel until you bonk with 20 miles to go. I strongly recommend that you increase your mileage and do a few 50 mile days and a couple of 70 or 80 mile days. I'd take a bit longer than a month to do this so you don't get too tired or injure yourself......good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nun View Post
    Not yet, you need to do more miles...but you can give it a try if you ride more miles, eat and drink enough and have a bail out plan. Going from 20 miles to 100 is an enormous leap, you just don't realize how bad you can feel until you bonk with 20 miles to go. I strongly recommend that you increase your mileage and do a few 50 mile days and a couple of 70 or 80 mile days. I'd take a bit longer than a month to do this so you don't get too tired or injure yourself......good luck.
    That's good advice. I pretty much figured I'd be told what you've written, but I also hoped someone would say...sure, 20 miles to 100 miles is a pretty logical step. Do you think 1 month is enough to train from 20 miles to 100?

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lycosa View Post
    That's good advice. I pretty much figured I'd be told what you've written, but I also hoped someone would say...sure, 20 miles to 100 miles is a pretty logical step. Do you think 1 month is enough to train from 20 miles to 100?

    First, you might want to have a look at the Long Distance forum, and especially the Century Tips sticky thread.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...urance-Cycling

    Second, 20 miles to 100 miles is NOT a logical step.

    The general recommendation is 10% per week. So you're doing 20 miles this week ... next week, do 22 ... the following week, do 25 ... the following week, do 27.5 ... etc.

    However, you could try a slight faster pace than that ... this coming weekend, try a 25 mile ride ... the following weekend, go for 35 miles and see how that goes ... the next weekend, make an attempt on 50 miles ... then you might try 60 or 65 ... next try 80.

    If you struggle with any of those distances, do it again the next week.

    1 month is quite a short time period to accomplish all that.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I don't think it is out of the question. Weekly mileage is as or more important than what you do on any single day. 20 miles per day is 140 miles per week and I think you can effectively train for a century by riding 100 miles per week. You do need to work in some longer single days leading up to your century. You really should have at least a few days over 50 miles under your belt and a 70 or 80 mile day is a good idea. Also it depends on how much you are willing to suffer.

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    Speaking only for me, I had only ridden 30-40 miles on a ride before my first century. Weekly miles is more important as a previous poster hinted at. If you can do 2 or 3 rides in a week in the 35-40 mile range, you should be able to complete a century. The first century will be the hardest, but also the most rewarding. My opinion.
    "It doesn't get easier, you just go faster."

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    I'd say your close but 1200+ miles in the saddle with 1 or 2 weekly rides at 50+ will just make it easier. .what will really make it fun is a year from now.
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    To me it's not clear that you are are talking about 100-miles-a-day OR a total trip of 100 miles? If you're talking about 100 miles out and a 100 back weekend trip I'd say you're probably in way over your head. Back-to-back centuries are particularly difficult and require an even higher fitness level than a single day century.

    I agree with the others that say to get your rides up to at least 50 miles on a consistent basis before attempting the century. Besides doing the ride, be sure you're prepared for the number of hours in the saddle. You'll need to be sure to start early and/or be prepared for darkness, especially in winter.

    EDIT: If you're talking about 50 miles out and then 50 miles the next day, I say go for it. On flat Florida terrain this should be doable at your current level.
    Last edited by BigAura; 01-15-14 at 07:34 AM.

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    ???

    How many days are you planning to do the 100 miles in?

    If you are planning to do it in one day, keep in mind that that being comfortable for a short 20 miles doesn't mean you will be comfortable for 100.

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    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    If you have been regularly riding 20 miles/day, you are probably fit enough to ride a century. However, you will find the century much more enjoyable if you can schedule some longer training rides in the 40-50-60 mile range before tackling the longer distance. Riding a century simply take a lot of time and it helps to get your body used to the extra time in the saddle. There is also the mental aspect, which you shouldn't underestimate. Once you get past 60 miles, it takes a certain mental toughness to keep going if you are not used to riding longer distances. Scheduling some longer training rides will also help you work out any kinks regarding bike fit and equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The general recommendation is 10% per week. So you're doing 20 miles this week ... next week, do 22 ... the following week, do 25 ... the following week, do 27.5 ... etc.
    ??? This is crazy. It makes no sense to mention it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    However, you could try a slight faster pace than that ... this coming weekend, try a 25 mile ride ... the following weekend, go for 35 miles and see how that goes ... the next weekend, make an attempt on 50 miles ... then you might try 60 or 65 ... next try 80.

    If you struggle with any of those distances, do it again the next week.

    1 month is quite a short time period to accomplish all that.
    He could, very easily, increase his mileage at a faster pace. Especially, on flat terrain. He could likely do a 40-50 mile ride right now if he didn't over-pace himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    If you have been regularly riding 20 miles/day, you are probably fit enough to ride a century. However, you will find the century much more enjoyable if you can schedule some longer training rides in the 40-50-60 mile range before tackling the longer distance. Riding a century simply take a lot of time and it helps to get your body used to the extra time in the saddle. There is also the mental aspect, which you shouldn't underestimate. Once you get past 60 miles, it takes a certain mental toughness to keep going if you are not used to riding longer distances. Scheduling some longer training rides will also help you work out any kinks regarding bike fit and equipment.
    Realistic and useful.

    Most people will also find longer rides easier with other people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    To me it's not clear that you are are talking about 100-miles-a-day OR a total trip of 100 miles? If you're talking about 100 miles out and a 100 back weekend trip I'd say you're probably in way over your head. Back-to-back centuries are particularly difficult and require an even higher fitness level than a single day century.

    I agree with the others that say to get your rides up to at least 50 miles on a consistent basis before attempting the century. Besides doing the ride, be sure you're prepared for the number of hours in the saddle. You'll need to be sure to start early and/or be prepared for darkness, especially in winter.

    EDIT: If you're talking about 50 miles out and then 50 miles the next day, I say go for it. On flat Florida terrain this should be doable at your current level.
    A few of you have asked this and my plan is 100 miles in 1 day. I'm prepared for darkness, have everything I need for touring and own a touring bike (Novara Safari).

    3 years ago I did the same trip on a beach cruiser with my wife. It was... a nightmare. We did it over 2 days with 60 miles on the first day. I didn't train for it; it was a "why not?" trip. I fared better than my wife during the trip, but I was a' hurtin' by the time I got to my destination. I'm trying to be smarter about it this time. I'd rather heed advice than suffer terribly. I don't mind pushing through when tired, but I want to make sure I'm physically up to the challenge.

    I started running 20 miles a day to meet my son at his work. He bike commutes and I ride up there when he's ready to ride home. He commutes 10 miles one way and I ride there and back with just a small break in between. Some days, I'll ride 4 miles to a nearby park with my wife and then put in the 20 miles later in the day so 24 miles/day isn't a problem at all.

    The other thing to mention is my pace... I average about 10 mph according to my computer. I'm no speed demon, but I'm not training to be. My son will be going with me, I'm 40 and he's 20, so I'll have company. We figured we'd get up and start riding at 5am to give plenty of time for breaks as needed.

    Also, as asked, this will be a single century. We'll ride down to our location then get picked up and driven home after staying the night at a relatives.

  14. #14
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    Here's NYC Century suggested training.

    Basic idea is to build both base miles as well as a single longer ride. I've used this to train for a metric century and it worked well. It sounds like you've got your base miles down, but you will want to have some longer training rides in there.

    The only comment is make sure your actual ride isn't on more difficult (e.g., hilly) terrain than your training.

    Have a good time. It's a nice thing to do with your kid.
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    I'd say you can't do it only because it's sorta on a schedule. The moment you are on a schedule you are pushing and you wear yourself out. Back a few years ago I started out on a 2 week tour, with no base mileage; had been a cyclist 20 years earlier, but virtually no cycling since; had serious knee and ankle and heart problems. In the first 4 days I did one 40-40-80-90, with a full load. But I wasn't trying to do it, I was just cycling as much as felt good and not pushing it. Terrain, wind, weather, good bike, were also on my side. The next two weeks were mostly 80 plus days, and the terrain got worse and worse. But I was just lucky to have all the time I needed, and to very nearly have each day be a little harder than the next, because the governor was me, not some external thing that might have broken me somewhere along the way.

    You don't have to train to get to a good level of performance, you have to train to get ahead of where your body says you should be and to start there on day one.

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    Usually, people's pace for long rides is slower than their pace for short rides. Adding in time for stops, it could take you 14-16 hours.

    The issue is less just being able to complete it but to enjoy it. You should do a few 60-70 mile rides first and see how well those go.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 01-15-14 at 10:33 PM.

  17. #17
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lycosa View Post
    A few of you have asked this and my plan is 100 miles in 1 day. I'm prepared for darkness, have everything I need for touring and own a touring bike (Novara Safari).

    3 years ago I did the same trip on a beach cruiser with my wife. It was... a nightmare. We did it over 2 days with 60 miles on the first day. I didn't train for it; it was a "why not?" trip. I fared better than my wife during the trip, but I was a' hurtin' by the time I got to my destination. I'm trying to be smarter about it this time. I'd rather heed advice than suffer terribly. I don't mind pushing through when tired, but I want to make sure I'm physically up to the challenge.

    I started running 20 miles a day to meet my son at his work. He bike commutes and I ride up there when he's ready to ride home. He commutes 10 miles one way and I ride there and back with just a small break in between. Some days, I'll ride 4 miles to a nearby park with my wife and then put in the 20 miles later in the day so 24 miles/day isn't a problem at all.

    The other thing to mention is my pace... I average about 10 mph according to my computer. I'm no speed demon, but I'm not training to be. My son will be going with me, I'm 40 and he's 20, so I'll have company. We figured we'd get up and start riding at 5am to give plenty of time for breaks as needed.

    Also, as asked, this will be a single century. We'll ride down to our location then get picked up and driven home after staying the night at a relatives.
    I don't want to discourage you, but the more information I get the more pessimistic I become about your chances. I encourage you to try, but please have a well thought out bail out plan.....someone you can phone who will pick you up if you totally bonk. Also make sure you have a couple of days after the ride to recover. If you do it I can guarantee things will ache for a few days and you will need time to recover.

  18. #18
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    Lycosa, I suggest some longer training rides. Fitment issues can raise their ugly heads when piling on the saddle time and better it should happen before the trip.

    Brad

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    Thanks everyone for the input. My son and I took all of your advice given and we're going to do a 52 mile ride this Friday and see how it goes. We're trying a route that'll put us on the 'Cross Florida Greenway'. I've never been on that ride, just a little worried about the terrain (it's unpaved). I think we'll do fine, but it's a definite step above what we've been doing. If I feel good at the end of that ride, I'll continue my plan to do the century in mid February. If it's all I can bear to get through it, I'll put it off until I build up my strength.

    I honestly figured a fit issue would show up in 20 miles. I really hadn't thought about that. I'm hoping at least this 52 mile trip will give me an idea of how I'll fare on this bike and how 'ready' I am for 100 miles. If this trip works out alright, we have another one that's closer to 65 miles round trip that ends up in a really beautiful state park... but it also uses the 'Cross Florida Greenway' bike/multi-use path. Has anyone rode that trail before? It mentions on the website that although unpaved, it's for both casual and mountain bike enthusiasts. I'm just hoping it's not a sand trap to sink my touring tires in.

  20. #20
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lycosa View Post

    I honestly figured a fit issue would show up in 20 miles. I really hadn't thought about that. I'm hoping at least this 52 mile trip will give me an idea of how I'll fare on this bike and how 'ready' I am for 100 miles. If this trip works out alright, we have another one that's closer to 65 miles round trip that ends up in a really beautiful state park... but it also uses the 'Cross Florida Greenway' bike/multi-use path. Has anyone rode that trail before? It mentions on the website that although unpaved, it's for both casual and mountain bike enthusiasts. I'm just hoping it's not a sand trap to sink my touring tires in.
    Hands, feet and bum are all contact points that can cause real problems as you go up in miles. 20 miles isn't long enough to expose all the possible sources of pain. Some of those issues might be bike fit, some just your body not being used to the continual pressure and motion. You definitely need to do some longer rides to bridge your experience and knowledge gap between 20 and 100 miles.

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    I'm in agreement with the rest - jumping from a daily mileage of 20 to 100 is not really feasible. You can do 20-mile days for 100 days in a row and all this training will help you do 20-miles more comfortably, but it won't prepare you to do a 100-mile day or even a 50-mile day.

    My advice is that you continue increasing your training mileage to the point where you can comfortably complete 50 or preferably 75 miles. With this, you'll probably be able to push yourself on the big day to do the 100 without being dangerously over your head. It may not be pleasant but you can probably do it.

    - Mark

  22. #22
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    It often gets said that your weekly training or commuting miles should equal your max daily tour miles.
    OP you'll be fine. Leave early and finish late, stop for coffee lots and enjoy the day.

    Expect to be sore for a day or two afterwards.

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    I disagree with those who say it can't be done and enjoyed. My first century came after my only riding over the prior year was my fifteen mile daily ride to/from school. It was so much fun I did another one six days later that had 10,000 feet of climbing. However, cycling was far from my only form of exercise. Most weeks found me in the dojo for six to ten hours of tae kwon do and in a different gym for a few two-hour long sessions of basketball.

    I bring this up because I didn't notice any mention of your physical activities other than the bike riding. Do you go for hikes or backpack? Anyone who can spend the day hiking can likely ride a hundred miles, IMO. If all you do is ride a bike for two hours and then sit on the couch, I still think you can do the ride, but before the end you may run out of fun and you've already been there, done that.

    By the way, one rule of thumb that has served me well over the years is that one can usually handle any one day ride of a length shorter than one's weekly mileage. You're doing over 100 miles per week, so you should be able to handle the ride.

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    >Thanks everyone for the input. My son and I took all of your advice given and we're going to do a 52 mile ride this Friday and see how it goes.

    Dammit, that's what I was going to suggest. Try 50, and if you feel good after that, do the 100. If you feel pretty tired, step it up to 75 or whatever.

    Riding 160km in a day is an awesome achievement, so get into it. Try to have a bail-out option the first time if you can.

    (The 10% increment advice was bizarre and impractical. Who has time for that? )

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    B. Carfree, It's not impossible to ride a century with a 20 mile per day regime. It's just usually better to work one's self into it IMHO.

    Brad

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