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  1. #1
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    MPH pace, century training - what is fast?

    Hello All-

    I am training for my first century ride coming up in middle June. I am racking up about 135 miles per week right now and feel I am on track to be ready for the 100 miler. Over the last two months of progressive training, my average pace is settling in at about 16 MPH. I am comfortable with that, and I believe this puts me at about 6 hours to do the 100 miles - cool by me. However, when I'm out riding, I do see other riders that seem to blow by me and I'm starting to feel like a slow poke . If you are considered fit and well trained for a century, what is a reasonable pace? I am 44, weigh 180, have been training for 2 months, have a Lemond Zurich.

    TIA for the comments.

    Scott

  2. #2
    big ring MIN's Avatar
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    Sub-5 hour century is generally accepted as a "fast" pace, in the absence of hills. Average pace is meaningless when you have hills, stops signs and traffic involved.

  3. #3
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Averaging 18 or better in the saddle is fast as long as climbing doesn't exceed 50' per mile. When climbing exceeds 100'/mile, 16 would be fast. I don't do many centuries, but an elapsed time of 12 hours or less is fast for a double, hence 6 with stops would be fairly fast for a century. You're doing well for only training for 2 months. Don't worry about it. You're doing plenty of mileage, just be careful not to overdo it. Take an easy week every 4th week. Give it 5 years. They won't be blowing by you any more. Or at least a lot fewer of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zenwhipper
    I am 44, weigh 180, have been training for 2 months, have a Lemond Zurich.
    I have been training for over 20 years and racing 15. Do you really want to compare your pace to mine? What's the point of your question? Are you fast enough to be Pro, no. Can you have fun riding your bike? It's up to you.

  5. #5
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    I often have pacelines and people on dedicated tri bikes pass me at the start. I've learned on centuries that I like 5-10 miles at an easy warmup pace of 16-18, and many weekend warriors blast out of the gate at 20. I almost always catch and pass them over the next 90 miles. Don't let that bother you - most can't maintain the pace they set in the first few miles - it's an ego thing.

    I'd prefer to do 4 or 5 miles warmup before I start a century, but that's just not in the cards, so as ligament and joint protection I keep it dialed down for a while till I'm ready to "drope the hammer."

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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenwhipper
    Hello All-

    I am training for my first century ride coming up in middle June. I am racking up about 135 miles per week right now and feel I am on track to be ready for the 100 miler. Over the last two months of progressive training, my average pace is settling in at about 16 MPH. I am comfortable with that, and I believe this puts me at about 6 hours to do the 100 miles - cool by me. However, when I'm out riding, I do see other riders that seem to blow by me and I'm starting to feel like a slow poke . If you are considered fit and well trained for a century, what is a reasonable pace? I am 44, weigh 180, have been training for 2 months, have a Lemond Zurich.

    TIA for the comments.

    Scott
    you don;t mention much about the century 'profile' - is it mostly flat? or hilly? or really some serious climbing?
    nor do you mention what terrain you do your riding on to get that 16 mph avg.
    Pac NW - I hear there are some 'flat' 100 milers up there, but I just can't imagine them.

    I've noticed that for riders who are into their 1st lengthy rides of 80 miles or more, the problem is more often saddle time, 'under' or poor nutrition/hydration than doin the actual mileage. They do great until about 70 then, all of a sudden, 'Harvey' starts poppin out at them from behind the bushes...
    My best suggestion is to get at least one good 75+ miler in before the century, using a similar course, or even better, using sections of the course you will ride.
    You'll be much better prepared and aware of what it will take.
    'Joining' a riding group at the event start is also a good way to 'pace' through a large section of the ride. Often a smile and a "can I join you folks for a while?" is all you need to tag on with what seems a compatible group, if you don't have one already set to join.
    6 hours+ of saddle time is a big diff. from what one might experience during any 50 miler - so test that butt...
    there are many clubs which seem to focus and revolve around these long - managed ride events. Maybe try to find one in your area and tie in with their experienced riders/groups.
    have fun

  7. #7
    Craig A. Lebowitz lebowitz's Avatar
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    aikigreg: I do a 20 mile training loop most nights and average 15 mi/hr. However, I feel great at the end of the ride and I know I could go faster. I am 206 lbs and ride a 28# steel bike. Also been training for about 2 months and have seen weight loss and feel great. Hoping to get to a century this season.

    I really got a kick by reading the Burke and Pavelka book Long Distance Cycling and I recommend it to y'all.

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    I'm not a cycling coach, so I don't usually give out advice for cycling training, but it seems to me like you need to do some long days. You should be doing a couple longer rides a week - some 60 and 40 mile days, and then ramping those up until one day is 80 miles and one is 50-60, with the other days your shorter and more intense rides.

    But I defer to tohers here for cycling training advice.

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    Craig A. Lebowitz lebowitz's Avatar
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    I have been doing 50 mile rides on the weekend, sometimes both days. These have become considerably easier than when I started and a lot of fun.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by lebowitz
    I really got a kick by reading the Burke and Pavelka book Long Distance Cycling and I recommend it to y'all.
    +100 - that is a great book! I've got a whole bunch of cycling books on my shelf, and that one is one of the best for training for tours, centuries, etc.
    CycliStats.com - Software for Cyclists
    WeightWare.com - Weight Management Software

  11. #11
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    16 mph is a very respectable pace for someone with just 2 months of riding. For your first century focus on finding the pace that will allow you to complete the 100 miles feeling good. Don't try to go too fast. You will just end up miserable when you are at mile 70 when your body gives up.
    "Ride lots." -- Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg
    I'm not a cycling coach, so I don't usually give out advice for cycling training, but it seems to me like you need to do some long days. You should be doing a couple longer rides a week - some 60 and 40 mile days, and then ramping those up until one day is 80 miles and one is 50-60, with the other days your shorter and more intense rides.

    But I defer to tohers here for cycling training advice.
    My rules of thumb are that you can do a long ride that is 3 times the length of your usual weekend training ride, and you can do a long ride that is equal to the length of your total average weekly mileage. BUT don't expect to follow those rules and do the ride without pain! And these those rules presuppose that you will be intelligent with your pacing and have your nutrition and saddle and fit issues all resolved. So that's what the ramp up to long weekend ride distance really is: an attempt to resolve those three issues. One can even do a ride that's longer than indicated by those rules, as long as you don't have issues.

    For one's first century, I definitely recommend a program such as you discuss. Though the second long weekend day is optional.

  13. #13
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenwhipper
    I am racking up about 135 miles per week right now and feel I am on track to be ready for the 100 miler.
    You don't mention what kind of rides you do to get 135 miles per week. A lot of short rides or a few longer rides? Riding 100 miles in a single ride is much different than riding 20 miles per day. As other people have mentioned, saddle time and nutrition end up being much more important, and fatigue will make the later miles much harder if you haven't trained at long distances before.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenwhipper
    Hello All-

    I am training for my first century ride coming up in middle June. I am racking up about 135 miles per week right now and feel I am on track to be ready for the 100 miler. Over the last two months of progressive training, my average pace is settling in at about 16 MPH. I am comfortable with that, and I believe this puts me at about 6 hours to do the 100 miles - cool by me. However, when I'm out riding, I do see other riders that seem to blow by me and I'm starting to feel like a slow poke . If you are considered fit and well trained for a century, what is a reasonable pace? I am 44, weigh 180, have been training for 2 months, have a Lemond Zurich.

    TIA for the comments.

    Scott
    One of the truisms of cycling is that there are always guys that are faster than you.

    I agree with those that you should just focus on finishing your first century. Figure out what your 4 hour comfy pace is, and stick at that effort level (I use HR as a good indicator) for at least the first 3 hours.
    Eric

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  15. #15
    sch
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    One aspect hinted at is how big a group you will end up riding with.
    You can increase your average speed 3-4 mph easily by sitting in
    with a 20-30rider group and not work any harder than riding solo.
    A 6hr century solo could be done in 5hr 20 if ridden with a large
    group of faster riders. Unless the century is huge (1000 or more)
    at some point you will lose contact with a large group, either
    food stops mistimed, bladder breaks inopportunely or the mechanical
    problem, if not yours then with a friend you intended to stay with
    so riding a full century with a compatible group can be problematic.
    The biggest problem the new century rider has is proper nutrition
    and especially fluid intake plus pacing oneself beyond the 50-60mi
    mark. Summer centuries are particularly stressful in hotter areas
    though you are in the Pac NW so that may not be a problem,
    compared to where I ride. Hillier rides can really take it out of your
    legs, so multiple 3-8mi hills are annoying at 9-12mph, but really
    grind you down if tackled at 5-6mph.

  16. #16
    Skybird JLauren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen
    They do great until about 70 then, all of a sudden, 'Harvey' starts poppin out at them from behind the bushes..
    Uh?
    You are what you eat... and I eat a lot of fruit and nuts.

  17. #17
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLauren
    Uh?
    Harvey

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