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Thread: Century a week

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    Century a week

    I have not ridden a century in 9 years, but I am shooting for a century a week come June. I also plan to be 170 lbs, right now I am 196 and am down from 250.

    Do you guys think that it is realistic to shoot for doing at least one century ride a week, and what sort of mileage do you guys think that I would have to do leading up to June, and during June, July, and August?

    I plan to ride all the centuries solo, and 90% of my biking will be solo. I plan to join the bike club and enter a time trial series.

    The weather is pretty cold now so I may not start riding regularly for close to a month, but occasionally I will have few nice days that I will bike in like the ones this past weekend.

    I got out on my bike the other day, first time since October, and did 50 km one day, and the next I did 100km. The 100-km day was done in 2 rides, 50 km in the morning, and 50-km in the evening. I was pretty impressed with my self even though I met some bike tourists who had been on the road from Sydney N.S.

    Right now I lift weights, swim, and do as much lung busting cardio as I can to help prepare for the coming season; this is done about 5-7 days a week.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    1. If you haven't done a century in 9 years, how about starting with the first century and see how you feel before you commit yourself to a century a week.

    2. There are a number of us here who do a century a month throughout the year. I've done it twice (in 2003 and in 2005) and I'm trying to do that again this year. If all goes well, and it isn't snowing (too hard), I'm hoping to do my March century on Sunday. The Century a Month thing might be an idea for you. If you are interested, you can log your miles with Big Dogs: http://www.big-dogs.org/scripts/bdhome.asp

    3. If you are interested in long distance cycling in general, have a look through these links:

    http://www.ultracycling.com/

    http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/links/links.html

    http://www.rusa.org/

    http://www.audax.org.au/index.asp

    http://www.audax.uk.net/index2.htm

    http://www.pactour.com/

    http://www.adventurecorps.com/

    http://www.bikecenturies.com/

    As well as my website, which has more links and articles on long distance cycling: http://www.machka.net/

    4. Specifically to answer your question ... yes, it is possible to do approx. one century ride each week. It works out that I do approx. one per week from the end of April all the way through to September because of my Randonneuring schedule. Usually the pattern is a century (or longer ride) each week for 3 weeks in a row, then a lighter week, then a century (or longer ride) each week for 3 weeks, then a lighter week, and so on.

    If you don't think the weather is going to be good enough for a long ride in the next month, I would suggest riding regularly for an hour or two each day, 5 days a week on your trainer. I'd also suggest aiming for your first century by the end of April, and another one around the middle of May, so you can ease yourself into it.

    All the best!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    If you don't think the weather is going to be good enough for a long ride in the next month, I would suggest riding regularly for an hour or two each day, 5 days a week on your trainer. I'd also suggest aiming for your first century by the end of April, and another one around the middle of May, so you can ease yourself into it.

    All the best!
    I don't have a trainer but I do cardio almost every day and I push myself as hard as I can, I could never bring myself to ride in one spot I go crazy after about 5 minutes.

    The end of April sounds like a good time to do it, I dont mind pushing, I hurt myself so many times I can see it coming from a mile away. I just wish that I could ride now but I do not like freezing my self, I could never ride that well below zero anyways. I am not a fairweather cyclist but I stay out of the crap if I can avoid it.

    If I aim for April I will probably want to ride a century a week beginning in April, the problem with that is that I have exams at that time, but I should be able to squeeze one century in to celebrate the end of school for a little while.

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    Used to be a climber.. GuitarWizard's Avatar
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    Doing cardio is great, but you need to start training the muscles that you will use while cycling.....and that takes cycling to do this. BTW, you don't need to kill yourself with each workout to make improvements.

    A new rider gunning for a century a week in 3 months' time is a bit lofty. A century a month after a good 3-4 months or so of solid riding might be a little more realistic.
    1999 Trek 2500 - hit by a car on it in May, 2011 and currently bikeless

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarWizard
    A new rider gunning for a century a week in 3 months' time is a bit lofty. A century a month after a good 3-4 months or so of solid riding might be a little more realistic.
    I would not say that I am a new rider, I have always ridden lots but not like I used too. Maybe I am aiming too high but on my second day out since October I did 100k. I guess my eyes are glasing over at the thought of getting to ride again.

    As for the cardio, I love going till I can barely stand, intervals till I can't do them anymore, thats the way I am. I have the attitude that when I go to work out I gonna give everything every time. I love feeling tottaly drained after I excersise it is the best.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by !!Comatoa$ted
    I don't have a trainer but I do cardio almost every day and I push myself as hard as I can, I could never bring myself to ride in one spot I go crazy after about 5 minutes.

    The end of April sounds like a good time to do it, I dont mind pushing, I hurt myself so many times I can see it coming from a mile away. I just wish that I could ride now but I do not like freezing my self, I could never ride that well below zero anyways. I am not a fairweather cyclist but I stay out of the crap if I can avoid it.

    If I aim for April I will probably want to ride a century a week beginning in April, the problem with that is that I have exams at that time, but I should be able to squeeze one century in to celebrate the end of school for a little while.

    Pushing yourself during short workouts is not a bad thing, and will improve your fitness level, but it doesn't really train you for riding centuries. The 50 km rides you did are also fine, but there's a BIG difference between 50 kms and 162 kms. Between the 100 km and 125 km point on a century, most people struggle .... especially if they have not been training for riding long distances. And training for riding long distances includes riding at least one longish distance ride each week ... and gradually increasing that distance from week to week ... as well as working on bicycle and equipment setup, and nutrition. You won't be able to work all the bugs out of the system, with your setup and nutrition, if you only do short distance rides.

    Incidentally, if you think riding a trainer for more than 5 minutes would drive you crazy, you might also need to develop the mental stamina for long distance riding. It isn't always that exciting out there, especially if you are doing those rides week after week, and you'll be out there a long time. Riding a trainer (or even a stationary bike) for increasing times will also help you develop that mental stamina.

    Riding in cold weather is not as bad as it sounds. I do it all the time! It's all in how you dress. At this point, you're at about 50 kms in your long distance riding, so that's only a couple hours out there. As long as the roads are clear, I would suggest getting out there again this weekend and riding another 50 km ride. Next week, try a 55 or 60, the week after, go for 65 or 70 ... and start gradually building up.

    As for starting your century a week at the end of April, I would strongly suggest doing ONE century at the end of April ... your celebration century. Then for the 2-3 weeks after plan to ride shorter distances (maybe 100 kms) and work on fixing anything that seemed to go wrong during that first century.

    A century a week is a nice idea, but in practice, it is tiring and a lot of work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Pushing yourself during short workouts is not a bad thing, and will improve your fitness level, but it doesn't really train you for riding centuries. The 50 km rides you did are also fine, but there's a BIG difference between 50 kms and 162 kms. Between the 100 km and 125 km point on a century, most people struggle .... especially if they have not been training for riding long distances. And training for riding long distances includes riding at least one longish distance ride each week ... and gradually increasing that distance from week to week ... as well as working on bicycle and equipment setup, and nutrition. You won't be able to work all the bugs out of the system, with your setup and nutrition, if you only do short distance rides.

    Incidentally, if you think riding a trainer for more than 5 minutes would drive you crazy, you might also need to develop the mental stamina for long distance riding. It isn't always that exciting out there, especially if you are doing those rides week after week, and you'll be out there a long time. Riding a trainer (or even a stationary bike) for increasing times will also help you develop that mental stamina.

    Riding in cold weather is not as bad as it sounds. I do it all the time! It's all in how you dress. At this point, you're at about 50 kms in your long distance riding, so that's only a couple hours out there. As long as the roads are clear, I would suggest getting out there again this weekend and riding another 50 km ride. Next week, try a 55 or 60, the week after, go for 65 or 70 ... and start gradually building up.

    As for starting your century a week at the end of April, I would strongly suggest doing ONE century at the end of April ... your celebration century. Then for the 2-3 weeks after plan to ride shorter distances (maybe 100 kms) and work on fixing anything that seemed to go wrong during that first century.

    A century a week is a nice idea, but in practice, it is tiring and a lot of work.
    \


    Thank you, you make some very valid points, 50 k is alot less than 160. I know that I need to be tough to be able to do it, I have always loved the longer distances though and although I have not done them in a while I have ridden 260 k in one day. Of course I do not think that is feasable at this point, and that was a long time ago. I never have found the road boring, but a trainer, I have never been able to use one, right now I could not afford one anyways.

    I can't do the trainer, but I think you are very wise when you say that I should start increasing milage as soon as possible, I would hate to get stuck in a rut and not be able to do more than 50k.

    I think the hardest part for me will be getting the nutrition right, but I will sure give it a try. I am also hoping that less fat on my frame will also equal more endurance so I am kinda banking on that as part if the equation.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Check out those sites I posted. It's possible there may be some long distance rides (centuries or brevets) in your area, and if you are going to do a lot of long rides this summer, joining up with an organized event now and then might be interesting.

    Also the first one (Ultracycling) has some excellent articles on nutrition for long distance riding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Check out those sites I posted. It's possible there may be some long distance rides (centuries or brevets) in your area, and if you are going to do a lot of long rides this summer, joining up with an organized event now and then might be interesting.

    Also the first one (Ultracycling) has some excellent articles on nutrition for long distance riding.
    Thank you I will

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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Bike riding is in particular, time consuming. Have you figured out how much time this will take and do you have the time to do it and to keep up with all your other activities that need to be done? Are you married with children?

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    Setting a goal of riding weekly centuries is not a trivial endeavor. Aside from the accumulated stress on the body from doing such long rides, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Are you mentally prepared to ride all day in the rain? Or high winds? Assuming you work for a living and are basically limited to riding on weekends, you will have to deal with whatever weather Mother Nature throws your way.

    Don't try to make up for lost time all at once. Better to work up to long riding slowly. You'll have less risk of injury and a better chance of success.

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    Scottish Canuck in the US blue_nose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    1. If you haven't done a century in 9 years, how about starting with the first century and see how you feel before you commit yourself to a century a week.
    +1

    Build up to your 100 and then set your goals for the year then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat
    Bike riding is in particular, time consuming. Have you figured out how much time this will take and do you have the time to do it and to keep up with all your other activities that need to be done? Are you married with children?
    I should have lots of time this summer since I have allot of it off. I think I have a job now, but it is casual hours, and on May 15 I will have my schedule for the summer. I am married but do not have any kids, and have very few obligations when I am not going to school. If I did not rack up the visa I would not have to work at all. My summer is going to centre around riding my bike. I even have a tour in the planning stage, it is only 4 days long and most of the days will be over 100 miles. Of course I will not be carrying any supplies with me because I will drop them at my overnight places before I get there.

    In short I will have plenty of time to ride and hope to spend most of my summer doing just that. I am hoping to see if I can get a thousand-km week in also but I think that may be stretching it.

    Right now all this is, is talk, but I believe it is doable and am going to try. I thank you guys for the questions it has given me many things to consider. If I am not able to do it I will not be to upset, it is just a goal that I am trying to shoot for. The bonus part is that if I am not able to do it I will have still put in allot of time in the saddle and that what really counts for me.

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    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    I think it is quite doable. In the last 4 years I have done a century every week except about twice a year. It is a nice groove to get into.

    I have a couple of advantages that not everybody may have. My son is all grown and out. I live in Southern California so weather is generally good year round. My wife really doesn't care for me all that much so leaving for most of Saturday is a plus. (that last one is a joke,,,,I think...)

    Anyway, as the others say, do a century first and see how long it takes to recover. But it really won't take much to do a century and have a perfectly normal next day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomson
    Anyway, as the others say, do a century first and see how long it takes to recover. But it really won't take much to do a century and have a perfectly normal next day.
    I hope that it does not take too much out of me later in the summer because I have some shorter credit card tours planned and a few consecutive days are centuries.

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    I did a century a week for about 2 months last year. I was training for a double so I needed the mileage. It wasn't that draining, it was time consuming so I tried to start as early as possible so I didnt lose my whole day. I also tried to vary my route although I had a pretty nice set route but I grew tired of it, I could navigate it on auto pilot after 3 weeks. Anyway good luck sometimes when we set crazy goals like this even if we fall short we still end up logging some great miles.

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    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomson
    I think it is quite doable. In the last 4 years I have done a century every week except about twice a year. It is a nice groove to get into.

    I have a couple of advantages that not everybody may have. My son is all grown and out. I live in Southern California so weather is generally good year round. My wife really doesn't care for me all that much so leaving for most of Saturday is a plus. (that last one is a joke,,,,I think...)

    Anyway, as the others say, do a century first and see how long it takes to recover. But it really won't take much to do a century and have a perfectly normal next day.
    Thomson,

    Have you noticed a huge difference over those 4 years from doing a century every week? Are you a lot faster, or have most of the gains come from the ability to simply withstand the discomfort of sitting on a bike for that long? Have you noticed a diff. energy-wise outside of riding?

    Thanks!

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    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donrhummy
    Thomson,

    Have you noticed a huge difference over those 4 years from doing a century every week? Are you a lot faster, or have most of the gains come from the ability to simply withstand the discomfort of sitting on a bike for that long? Have you noticed a diff. energy-wise outside of riding?

    Thanks!
    Good question.
    When I was riding a lot in the 80's, I really tried to improve my century times. (I did a century every Saturday back then too). I did strength exercises and intervals during the week to further improve the times.

    These days, however, I ride strictly for pleasure. My times for 100 miles are usually in the 6-7 hour neighborhood and have not improved (my choice) over the last 4 years. I actually usually ride 120-150 miles or so and make a day of it. So no speed records here but I would say that I have overcome any discomfort on sitting on a bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by !!Comatoa$ted
    If I did not rack up the visa I would not have to work at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by !!Comatoa$ted
    I hope that it does not take too much out of me later in the summer because I have some shorter credit card tours planned and a few consecutive days are centuries.
    Sounds like loaded, self-supported touring is the answer!

    I have yet to do a century myself, so I can't offer any advice. I hope to complete a couple centuries this summer, as well as a couple short tours.

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    By credit card touring I mean that I will be touring from someones house to someone elses house. I know people all over the country side and it is about a century ride between them, thats what I meant by credit card touring. I will go to these places before my tour and drop off clothing and the like before hand so I do not have to carry anything, I don't actually plan to use the card.

    I plan to do some self supported touring next summer, but I might spend some of my tax return on a new hammock.

    Geez see what you guys are doing, a few centuries here and there and now I am thinking more of touring, you guys are gonna make the wife upset with me

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    Focus on the future alison_in_oh's Avatar
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    So include the wife! My husband's and my favorite type of road trip is the kind where he gets up early and gets on his bike; I sleep in, have a leisurely morning, pack up the car; once he has about a 3-4 hour head start it takes me 1-1.5 hours to catch him. He hops in the car, we continue to our day's destination, hang out and do stuff, get up the next morning and start again!

    We've toured much of the Western states that way, as well as having him ride large chunks of our route between Ohio and Montana and between Ohio and Colorado.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alison_in_oh
    So include the wife!
    I would love too, but she is one step above a wheelchair.

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    Focus on the future alison_in_oh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by !!Comatoa$ted
    I would love too, but she is one step above a wheelchair.
    Wife plus another friend or family member to drive the car?

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    Quote Originally Posted by alison_in_oh
    Wife plus another friend or family member to drive the car?

    I have a small 3 or 4 day trip plan in the works, one of the stops is at her uncles, and anytime we visit him it is a party, so I think I will make that one of my stops and meet the wife there.

    Also the plan is to get away from the wife for a few days.

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    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    From your earlier post, you seem to be comfortable on the bike, so, not worrying about time it seems reasonable that you could ride 100 miles in a day once a week, depending on terrain, weather, and what your goals are for the rides. Getting into late fall, winter, and early spring will be challenges, as weather will play a role in how comfortable you are.

    If you had to, you could ride all day, 12 hours or so, to accomplish the distance. If it is about the ride, and the journey, then I think - YES, you can do it.

    If it becomes about speed, and intensity, and climbing a zillion feet each ride, then I think you will need to train hard for it, and probably a century a week is too large a goal.


    Somewhere on the Ultracycling website (see Machka's post), or maybe in one of their recent members pubs, there was a profile of a gent who did a centruy a day, for a month. 3100 miles in a month, that would be fun. And require alot of work!

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