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  1. #1
    Mad Mike mulvamj's Avatar
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    Am I ready for a century?

    I want to do a proper 100 mile century in three weeks. It's supported (eat and rest stops), so i can strip down my bike to the essentials, which will help.

    I've been mostly commuting on my Cannondale T-2000 (touring bike) for 6 miles round trip, 5 days a week for the last year plus. I've been slacking on my usual training rides (an 18 mile loop), down to about twice a month now. I ride those at about 18-19 mph average. I ride about 50 miles a week these days, mostly commuting, as i said, since i don't have a car. I am 34 years old, 158 pounds, pulse at rest is 44. I rode around the smokies (about 150 miles total) on a tandem, fully loaded (including my wife!) touring, about two months ago, too.

    Am i ready for this ride? What should i do to prepare myself? Also, what should i be eating? Can i just

    I don't have too much free time for training (busy grad student), so i want a compact training schedule, if possible.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Oh my.....it sure doesn't look like it.

    You don't really say how long it took you to do the 150 touring miles. I would think that a 6 mile round trip wouldn't prepare anyone for anything more than a 6 mile round trip. Okay, maybe you could stretch it to 8 miles. But I suppose you can ride any distance as long as you go slow enough....but at about 2.5 mph you will fall over.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
    grilled cheesus aham23's Avatar
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    The most miles I logged at one time prior to my first century was 47. I completed that century in just over six hours. Now, I was in pretty good shape from a winter of healthy eating and walking/running. I think I had only 300 miles under my butt before this one. I felt fine and handled it well. Just my experience. Good luck.

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    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Try it. What's the worst to happen? You have to stop before its over. It's a supported ride so you shouldn't be in any actual danger.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  5. #5
    OMG! i'm a DURT gurl!!!! caligurl's Avatar
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    what's the longest single ride you've done so far?
    OCP and PROUD!
    "OCP is not just about attitude, it's a way of life!"
    life's too short to ride a crummy bike..........

  6. #6
    Senior Member Shaman's Avatar
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    Just do it... A well supported ride will have sag wagons if you flop; which, BTW will also give you the incentive to go on I will recommend you psych yourself into completing the ride; which will give you more incentive to train...daily... between now and then. Even quick 10 mile sprints a few times a day will help. You, at break, lunch, longer route home... You just need to tell yourself "I'm gonna do it!" and you will do what is takes to do it.
    I did 45 miles last weekend and in no way am I riding a century this year. But next year I will be. 46/240lbs/and basicly lazy ain't gonna cut it for me this year

  7. #7
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulvamj
    Am i ready for this ride? What should i do to prepare myself? Also, what should i be eating? Can i just

    I don't have too much free time for training (busy grad student), so i want a compact training schedule, if possible.
    Personally, I think that just about anyone can do a century without much training, it's all a matter of how fast you want to do it. It's really just about eating enough to replenish what you burn off. If you want to do it fast, then you'll need lots of training, if you just want to finish it, then nothing else needed really. Here's my suggestion for 3-weeks:

    WEEK-1 STRENGTH: Lowest mileage, do the bare minimum like just your commuting. Add several all-out 100% sprints for as fast as you can go for as long as possible. Rest up and do it again. On a 6-mile commute, you should be able to get in 5-7 sprints in the last 3-miles or so.

    WEEK-2 ENDURANCE: Longest mileages if you can. Try to get in a long ride once during this week, a single 50-60 mile ride on the weekend would be best. Cut out all other rides if you need to conserve time, but do this one long ride.

    WEEK-3 AEROBIC: medium-mileage, this is the least-important week. Do some longer intervals, hills if possible. Hold pace right around your LT to work on the cardio system, like 1-mile stretches on your commute.

    That's it really, nothing hard about a century. Just be sure to drink and eat enough on the ride itself. Take advantage of the rest-stops to fill up. Have fun!

  8. #8
    Mad Mike mulvamj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caligurl
    what's the longest single ride you've done so far?
    I've done a couple of solo centuries before, never in an organized event, both on a mountain bike and both completely self-supported: the first was in Michigen (flat) about 10 years ago on a solo tour across the country. The last century i did was during Peace Corps, from the border of Bolivia to the coast of Chile (great downhill, but terrible headwind in the desert!). My philosophy is that all i have to do is just keep stepping on the peddles and i'll eventually get there. Probably take me 7 hours, but hell, i'm not going to do anything else that day anyway!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulvamj
    I want to do a proper 100 mile century in three weeks. It's supported (eat and rest stops), so i can strip down my bike to the essentials, which will help.

    I've been mostly commuting on my Cannondale T-2000 (touring bike) for 6 miles round trip, 5 days a week for the last year plus. I've been slacking on my usual training rides (an 18 mile loop), down to about twice a month now. I ride those at about 18-19 mph average. I ride about 50 miles a week these days, mostly commuting, as i said, since i don't have a car. I am 34 years old, 158 pounds, pulse at rest is 44. I rode around the smokies (about 150 miles total) on a tandem, fully loaded (including my wife!) touring, about two months ago, too.

    Am i ready for this ride? What should i do to prepare myself? Also, what should i be eating? Can i just

    I don't have too much free time for training (busy grad student), so i want a compact training schedule, if possible.

    Thanks!
    Ready is a relative word.

    50 miles a week puts you in the right range to be able ride a century, but my big concern is that you don't have any long rides under your belt. You need some experience on that.

    I would try to get in some 3 and 4 hour rides in the next week or so. If you can handle those with food and water, you should be able to finish the century, though first centuries are always a mental challenge.

    Look to eat 250-350 calories/hour on a century. most people eat too much.
    Eric

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    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  10. #10
    cars are fun
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    I'm in the same situation [and in worse shape], and actually... since you are in Alabama, we may be training for the same Century! Is this the Kid One Transport Century on October 14th?

    I've actually only been in the saddle for about 2 months now, commuting ~15 miles a day. I try to train on my commute by climbing hills twice and doing intervals. I'm also hitting the gym regularly now, which is REALLY helping me climb. I haven't done more than than ~23 miles in one sitting yet. [anything over a year ago doesnt count to me, I've ridden 167miler 6-7 years ago] My commutes are actually quite varying and I usually don't take the same route in a week's time (I have about 5-6 different routes I take). I've even started tackling the hills I normally went around, and were too afraid of trying (mental training).

    I think I've been pushing myself too hard, as I developed a soreness below my left calf muscle... which isnt a muscle is it? I'm hoping it isnt a pulled tendon. Either way, because of it, I decided to cancel my first real distance ride of 54 miles round trip yesterday. Instead, I went out for a slow paced 22 mile trip last night and it helped tremendously, so I'm thinking it was just a sore muscle.

    For the rest of this week, I plan on recovering both tonight and tomorrow. Tomorrow night will include light footwork as I coach soccer. Wed. I will commute again, then recover again on Thursday. Friday, I am actually taking off work, and I am considering either doing the 54 miler I missed this weekend, or recovering and doing it on Saturday morning.

    Pretty much going to keep up my Monday-Wed-Thursday commute/training with a ride on the weekends up until the Century. The Century I'm actually doing has 4 options... 25, 60, 80, or 100 miles, but they arent really the same route. I will decided the week of the Century if I want to run the 100 mile route or not. There is a 9 hour time limit on this particular Century, and I'm not really concerned about how fast I go. Right now my main focus is recovering from this injury, and steadily training up until the event.

    If I fail completely, end up trying the 100 mile route, and giving out at mile 81, 61, or even 26, I'm really not that worried about it. I have plenty of jokes and I can make even the SAG wagon ride enjoyable. I'm not doing this Century to run it in 5 hours and be able to sit with the full carbon boys at the after-race dinner, I'm doing it for the kids/charity.
    the lion from within must guard his palace, because everybody's going to try to take a sip from his chalice

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulvamj
    I want to do a proper 100 mile century in three weeks. ...
    Am i ready for this ride?
    Quote Originally Posted by mulvamj
    I've done a couple of solo centuries before ...
    So you've done centuries before and you're asking a bunch of anonymous strangers if you're in shape to do one now? What are you really after here?

    To answer your question, based on your previous experience how does your fitness now compare to what it was when you last did a century? If it is lower, is it lower to a degree that based on past experience you think your ability to complete the ride is in doubt? These are purely rhetorical questions, there's no need to reply here.

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I think anyone in reasonable physical condition can ride a century. Note: I said "can ride a century.". I did not say, "can ride a century comfortably."

    In other words, yes, I think you could ride the century, but whether or not you'd feel comfortable out there is another matter all together.


    I've encountered a lot of people interested in riding centuries who post stats about how fast they can cover a relatively short distance. Speed over a short distance has NOTHING to do with how well you'll ride a longer distance such as a century. Newbies who have not been on a bicycle since they were children can ride short distances. And speed training is something quite different than distance training.

    Keep going with the short distances throughout the week ... they can help you maintain a certain level of fitness, but this weekend, I'd suggest doing one 40 mile ride (about double your "usual"). Then next weekend you might try a 60 mile ride. You haven't got much time to work with, but at least doing those two rides can give you an idea if you are eating and drinking properly for long distance rides, and can let you know if you've got the bicycle set up reasonably well.

  13. #13
    Mad Mike mulvamj's Avatar
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    The century is now a little less than 2 weeks away, and i thought i'd tell you all where i'm at. The third weekend before the event, i did 66 miles. I didn't really know what to eat, so i ate lots of crap food (snickers, baby ruth, peanuts, honey bun and a blueberry muffin), whatever i could find on the way to keep me going. When i got home, i was starving and ate a big leftover dinner (chicken, potatoes, veggies), napped for a few hours and woke up with pangs that felt like food poisoning. I ended up throwing up, and then felt much better. I think that must have been because my GI system was shut down after such a long ride (for me). So that was the third weekend before the event. Total miles for that week was about 120. The thing that ride taught me was that i can handle the legwork, but my ass was sore and chafed. So now i'm figuring that the hardest part of the century will be to endure the pain in the ass. Any suggestions here? Can i use my wife's Brazilnut body butter, or do i have to buy some expensive cream?

    Last weekend (two weekends before the event) i rode the usual 18 mile ride on friday and then a 36 mile ride on sunday. I should be able to get 100 miles in for the week if i can get out of the lab early enough a couple days this week, plus my commuting.

    So that's where i'm at now. I'm committed to the 100 miles, though. I know i can do it, it's just a matter of enduring the pain, i think.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulvamj
    The century is now a little less than 2 weeks away, and i thought i'd tell you all where i'm at. The third weekend before the event, i did 66 miles. I didn't really know what to eat, so i ate lots of crap food (snickers, baby ruth, peanuts, honey bun and a blueberry muffin), whatever i could find on the way to keep me going. When i got home, i was starving and ate a big leftover dinner (chicken, potatoes, veggies), napped for a few hours and woke up with pangs that felt like food poisoning. I ended up throwing up, and then felt much better. I think that must have been because my GI system was shut down after such a long ride (for me). So that was the third weekend before the event. Total miles for that week was about 120. The thing that ride taught me was that i can handle the legwork, but my ass was sore and chafed. So now i'm figuring that the hardest part of the century will be to endure the pain in the ass. Any suggestions here? Can i use my wife's Brazilnut body butter, or do i have to buy some expensive cream?

    Last weekend (two weekends before the event) i rode the usual 18 mile ride on friday and then a 36 mile ride on sunday. I should be able to get 100 miles in for the week if i can get out of the lab early enough a couple days this week, plus my commuting.

    So that's where i'm at now. I'm committed to the 100 miles, though. I know i can do it, it's just a matter of enduring the pain, i think.

    Here are some tips!!
    http://www.machka.net/century.htm

    I'll just highlight a few points:

    1) Eat approx. 250 calories per hour the entire time you are out there. That will help prevent the desire to gorge after the ride, and will provide you with enough calories during the ride to keep you going. Eat after the ride, of course, but don't eat too much.

    2) Drink approx. one 750 ml bottle of water and/or sports drink every 1 to 1.5 hours while you are out there.

    3) Creams won't help you ... making sure your bicycle fits will. However, it might be a bit too late for that at this point ... you could check Peter White's info on fit though. http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm (scroll down)
    The only way a cream will help you is if the temperature is very hot (and you sweat a lot) or if it is rainy (and your shorts get wet from rain). Creams provide a protective layer to the skin in situations when your skin is more fragile ... like when it is wet. And no, you don't need an expensive cream ... something with lipids, slicone, or that sort of thing (a relatively heavy cream) will do.

    4) Pace yourself. Centuries are not races and you don't have to finish first. Take it easy because you'll need your strength later in the ride ... especially around the 80 mile point.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulvamj
    The century is now a little less than 2 weeks away, and i thought i'd tell you all where i'm at. The third weekend before the event, i did 66 miles. I didn't really know what to eat, so i ate lots of crap food (snickers, baby ruth, peanuts, honey bun and a blueberry muffin), whatever i could find on the way to keep me going. When i got home, i was starving and ate a big leftover dinner (chicken, potatoes, veggies), napped for a few hours and woke up with pangs that felt like food poisoning. I ended up throwing up, and then felt much better. I think that must have been because my GI system was shut down after such a long ride (for me). So that was the third weekend before the event. Total miles for that week was about 120. The thing that ride taught me was that i can handle the legwork, but my ass was sore and chafed. So now i'm figuring that the hardest part of the century will be to endure the pain in the ass. Any suggestions here? Can i use my wife's Brazilnut body butter, or do i have to buy some expensive cream?

    Last weekend (two weekends before the event) i rode the usual 18 mile ride on friday and then a 36 mile ride on sunday. I should be able to get 100 miles in for the week if i can get out of the lab early enough a couple days this week, plus my commuting.

    So that's where i'm at now. I'm committed to the 100 miles, though. I know i can do it, it's just a matter of enduring the pain, i think.
    How much did you drink on that 66-mile ride? You should've have drunken about 4 water-bottles worth, 16-24oz hour. Dehydration will give you the stomach upset that you had.

    For the chafing, are you wearing tight-fitting cycling shorts? Loose clothing will bunch up and teh folds will end up rubbing you, leading to painful spots.

  16. #16
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Chafing and other saddle woes, are some of the biggest obstacles to riding long distances. Generally they come from a poor fit between the rider and saddle. The various butt lubes may help but are generally a poor substitute for finding a more comfortable saddle.

    My experience is that softer is not better, but I am a firmly entrenched Brooks saddle user.

  17. #17
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    I agree that being able to stay on the bike long enough to finish the century will be your biggest challenge. I have done centuries with little more than my daily 17 mile RT commute but my century bike is a recumbent so there are no comfort or chafing issues.
    If you don't get any more long ride in before the century remember to pace yourself and take advantage of all the rest stops. Without the experience of a long ride you may find that you run out of steam in the second half unless you are careful to take it easy early on. If you are still feeling good at the 75 mile mark then you can push it the rest of the way home.
    Craig

  18. #18
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    In addition to all the good advise above, here is an easy way (for me) to do a century.
    Start very early in the morning, after an Oatmeal Breakfast. Do 25 miles and eat something good. (I like Subway sandwiches) En route drink three bottles of water and Gatorade. (50/50)
    Repeat 25 miles. (do not forget hydration)
    Have a nice relaxing lunch with sensible food such as pasta salad, peanut butter/jelly sandwich, honey, etc., or another Subway.
    Go for a little walk. Take it easy.
    Repeat the above for another 50 miles in the afternoon.
    I use a fair amount of trail mix to get quick energy.
    My wife and I do vacation trips using above style, on a Tandem. No problem and we are 65.

  19. #19
    Mad Mike mulvamj's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your help, everybody... I finished the century, no problem. Even got to add an extra 10 miles on when i missed some arrows, so i finished strong at 112 miles in about 7 hours and 15 minutes. The only thing that really hurt was my ass. I'll definately be doing more of these in the future! Thanks again for all the advice!

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