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    Senior Member donhaller's Avatar
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    What is a good pace speed for a Century?

    I'm just starting my planned training for the Team in Training ride in Lake Tahoe. My coach gave me a schedule that requires me to ride at pace speed one day a week and the other days are kind of built around that pace speed. My problem is that I have no idea what an average or good pace speed might be. The last time I did a centuray I was 16 years old and we took ten hours to complete it. When I did the MS 150 I think I was riding between 12 and 15mph average but have forgotten. Anyone have some input on this?
    Thanks in Advance

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    It's the fastest speed at which you can travel for a very long period of time.

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    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Way back when the League of American Wheelmen figured that 25 miles in 3 hours was reasonable, and 50 in 6 and 100 in twelve. A Double Century should be done in (24 hours)-(one day).

    It all works out to 8.33 MPH. That counts all stops. When you figure a "Pace" rate I would figure how long support would be out there and divide that into the distance; as a minimum. 12 to 14 MPH would be my totally biased personal pet speed.
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    NorCal Climbing Freak
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    8 mpg is pretty slow. Just go as fast as you can comfortably go for the distance, e.g. your tempo pace. It should feel fast, but not super difficult. Better to pace yourself than go out hard and lose steam near the end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donhaller
    I'm just starting my planned training for the Team in Training ride in Lake Tahoe. My coach gave me a schedule that requires me to ride at pace speed one day a week and the other days are kind of built around that pace speed. My problem is that I have no idea what an average or good pace speed might be. The last time I did a centuray I was 16 years old and we took ten hours to complete it. When I did the MS 150 I think I was riding between 12 and 15mph average but have forgotten. Anyone have some input on this?
    Thanks in Advance
    IIRC, that's a fairly common approach in running but I think it's a weird thing to do for cycling. It would be very easy to either end up with workouts that were too easy (not a real problem, but would limit your speed), or too hard (more of a problem, as they can compromise your aerobic base).

    Most cycling training programs are heart rate based, though the more serious (and rich) train using power meters. Both of those approaches are better than being based on a pace.

    Seems to me that you have a few big challenges with that ride.

    1) Having enough endurance to finish the ride
    2) Being able to handle the climbs
    3) Having enough mental toughness to keep going

    The first and the third can be traded off a bit for time - if you're willing to go slower, it's easier. You can do this to some extent on climbs, but 1000' of climbing is still 1000' of climbing even if you ride it slowly.

    Can you tell us what your goals are for the ride?
    Eric

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    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    If you have a heart rate monitor, and you have an idea what your maximum heart rate is, you can figure out your long distance pace easily.

    For a ride that lasts several hours, you should aim for an average heart rate that doesn't exceed 75% of your maximum. This is a nice formula, because it works for just about everyone, regardless of fitness level.

    For a novice rider, that 75% may be 12 mph. For a pro, it might be 22 mph.
    Managing Director, Undiscovered Country Tours

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    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donhaller
    The last time I did a centuray I was 16 years old and we took ten hours to complete it. When I did the MS 150 I think I was riding between 12 and 15mph average but have forgotten.
    Any of those speeds are reasonable, depending on the rider, the terrain, and the mood of the ride. If you're not in a hurry to finish, there's nothing wrong with enjoying the ride over the course of 10 hours. As for a pace to aim for in a century ride, if I'm the one setting the pace, then I generally aim for a comfortable cruising speed, whatever that may be under the circumstances.
    If you notice this notice then you will notice that this notice is not worth noticing.

  8. #8
    Member JollyMon's Avatar
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    I am just starting a training regiment for my first century in late May, having never ridden one before. I am shooting to finish in six hours "moving" time, which does not count stoppage time at rest stops. That's 16.6 mph average speed. I think that is a comfortable goal for a first-time century with only moderate elevation gain over the 100 miles.
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  9. #9
    Not obese just overweight ratebeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrymorse
    If you have a heart rate monitor, and you have an idea what your maximum heart rate is, you can figure out your long distance pace easily.

    For a ride that lasts several hours, you should aim for an average heart rate that doesn't exceed 75% of your maximum. This is a nice formula, because it works for just about everyone, regardless of fitness level.

    For a novice rider, that 75% may be 12 mph. For a pro, it might be 22 mph.
    Hi Terry,

    I have a question about this. My max heart rate comes in daily at anything from 188 or so to as high as 203. It's most commonly in the low 190s.

    So 190 * .75 = 142.5. So this seems easy enough but how hard is it to get your heart rate that low?

    When I'm simply standing on my pedals getting ready to roll, my HR is around 110. If I start to pedal it bumps up from there and tend to be at 163 average for my 1 -2 hour rides. I get down to the low 150s at stop lights and rev up from there for sprints, climbs and attacks.

    I don't think I've ever seen 143. How do I dial it down to 143?

    Joe
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    Senior Member donhaller's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the great responses. I do use a HR Monitor, and I'm just going to have to go out and see where my best average speed / HR is at a comfortable cruise on flat land. From there I can estimate an average for my 100miler.

  11. #11
    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratebeer
    When I'm simply standing on my pedals getting ready to roll, my HR is around 110. If I start to pedal it bumps up from there and tend to be at 163 average for my 1 -2 hour rides. I get down to the low 150s at stop lights and rev up from there for sprints, climbs and attacks.

    I don't think I've ever seen 143. How do I dial it down to 143?
    Are you really averaging 163 for 2 hours? Assuming your max. HR is 190, that's 86% of maximum. It's really, really hard to average 86% over 2 hours. If your max is 203, that puts 163 at 80%. That's more reasonable, right in the middle of "tempo" pace, which people can sustain for a few hours.

    I did an 82% ride up Mt. Hamilton that lasted 1:40 the other day. I was wiped out at the top.
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  12. #12
    Zinophile tibikefor2's Avatar
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    ratebeer:

    you can not determine how hard you should ride from only your heart rate. 75% of max heart rate is based on an average person. if someone is not average, the 75% calculation will be of marginal help. The other important aspect of distance cycling is perceived effort. If your effort is low and your heart rate is 163, that might be your cruising heart rate. It is hard to determine what your crusing heart rate or speed should be on such limited information.

    It sounds like you do a fair amount of interval work, which will tend to skew your heart rate to the high side. On long rides you want a consistent effort. Find a flat section of road, say 10 miles and try riding at various paces / heart rates to determine your cruising speed based on heart rate and perceived effort for that day.
    Tibikefor2

  13. #13
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrymorse
    It's really, really hard to average 86% over 2 hours.
    I just got back from a two hour mountain bike ride where my average HR was 160. My max is 194. (86% would be 166, so I was running about 83%) I feel fine, and I'm not in particularly great shape right now.

    Mountain biking seems to really get my heart rate up a lot more than road riding.

    Az

  14. #14
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Just remember that finishing the century is more important than going out too fast and not finishing.. Respectable century times range anywhere between 5-8 hours depending on how much training you have done. Make sure to ride with other people who have similar fitness and finish time goals..

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    Climbing Fool terrymorse's Avatar
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    More on pacing yourself for a century with a heart rate monitor:

    Although elite athletes may sustain efforts corresponding to 92% of their maximum heart rate for one hour, after beginners have the strength and endurance, they ride at about 80% of their maximum heart rate. Since a century represents many hours of work, the level one can sustain will be considerably less. Elite racers finish a century in about 4 hours, averaging more than 80% of maximum heart rate. Beginners finish a century in more than 8 hours, averaging 65% to 75% of maximum heart rate.
    — Baker, Altitude Climbing Endurance Training for Cyclists, 5.25 ed.
    Last edited by terrymorse; 02-07-07 at 05:08 PM.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member donhaller's Avatar
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    Terry,

    Thanks, Great information - thanks! I'm excited about the training schedule, and as far as training goals and others that will be riding with me on the century; we are going to be training in a pace line towards the end of our four month preparation for the 100miler.

  17. #17
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    Riding with others will help your speed if you will be pacelining. I did the MS150 last August and pacelined with my teammates -5 guys and myself. We rode about 2 mph faster than I had been averaging on similar distance rides that summer. Good luck!
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

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    Good luck with your century. (I rode with Team in Training on the Seagull Century ride a few years back in Md. A really great experience) Another thing to keep in mind when you're training is the elevation in Tahoe, and the terrain I suspect will be more challenging than just riding mostly flat. Have fun!!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Cardiologists measure recovery time. After a treadmill test, the cardiologist will monitor your heart rate at intervals of minutes. So at a stop light, it might be a short one minute. Your heart rate will drop and after two minutes, it should substantially drop. If not, then there's something wrong.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    What is a good pace speed for a Century?
    I would assume a good pace is the pace that can be sustained through out the distance without extraordinary difficulty or injury.

    Since there is no accounting for differences among different routes and weather conditions, I guess a good pace would be reflected in the riders ability to control his or her power expenditure is the wisest and most efficient manner.

    Therefore, for a Century ride, a good pace is a dynamic, ever changing use of the rider's power in conjunction with the group he rides, the terrain and environment he encounters, and most of all his finish time goals or requirements.

    In some ways a Century ride is like riding a bull - you never know what the ride will be like until it's over.

  21. #21
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    just one thing about calculating heart rat percentages you are all seeming to miss (correct me if i am wrong) is your resting heart rate (RHR). Without incorperating this personal number your hear rate zones will be off. So, using RATEBEER's numbers we can estimate his Max HR to be 205 (as he has seen it go this high) and i will guess that his resting HR (not sitting HR) is 50 BPM. Based on these numbers, here's the equation:
    [(MHR - RHR) * X] + RHR = you HR training zone based on percentages of MHR.
    X= the percent of HR you are looking to train at.
    SO:
    [(205 - 50) * .75] +50 = 166.25 beat per minute. this is your 75% training zone.

    As you can see, this is far higher than your calculation of 142.5. do you think you could dial it down to 166, joe? it seems like a more achievable goal.
    I hope this makes sense, as it is the accepted method for determining heart rate training zones, taking a simple percentage of MHR gives very distorted numbers. This is known as the Karvonen Method, if you'd like to look it up. Without factoring RHR into the %s you will always be off in determining HR zones. Hope this helps at least 1 person.
    If you have any questions on determining MHR or RHR, shoot me a message.
    Good luck on your century!
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    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    additionally, 75% would be tough to maintain for over a few hours as your glycogen stores would be used up and you would hit the "Wall" (technical term). i would aim for less than 70% MHR for the majority of a 6-8 hour century. Hard climbs would likely spike your HR, and this should be accepted.
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  23. #23
    Not obese just overweight ratebeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldesfor1@ithaca
    [(MHR - RHR) * X] + RHR = you HR training zone based on percentages of MHR.
    X= the percent of HR you are looking to train at.
    SO:
    [(205 - 50) * .75] +50 = 166.25 beat per minute. this is your 75% training zone.
    Wow, that looks PERFECT!

    Thanks!

    Joe
    Joe

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  24. #24
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    The heart rate stuff is helpful. However, I think your Team in training plan is set up to be able to do it without a HRM, or being too precise. Your pace rides basically should be hard enough to feel like you're working, but easy enough to feel like you could work at that pace for a long time. I would correlate that perceived effort with what your HRM calculations are telling you

    As a reality check, you might also consider what your goal time is for the century, and what that translates into in mph. Your pace rides should then be at that mph. In the beginning of your training they might be a bit slower, but as you get into your training you'll need your pace rides to be at or a little above that mph to have a realistic shot at your goal time.

  25. #25
    Senior Member ldesfor1@ithaca's Avatar
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    thanks Joe, glad i could help.

    Let me just say, though that i am a bit shocked to see this ammount of miss-information, even though no one is claiming to be a cardiologist here. If you dont know what your are talking about, please state this in your posts.

    I am a ACE certified personal trainer, and I dont know what i'm talking about.

    thanks.
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