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Old 11-01-03, 06:38 PM   #1
Columbia
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Too young for a century?

Hi. First let me introduce myself.

My name is Liam, I am a 15 y.o. and I live in Ireland. I have been cycling regularily for about six months, but have been on and off the bike for five years.

I spend about 10 hours a week on the bike, average speed is usually around 19 MPH over a 17 mile course. My main aim at the moment is to do a century ride before the end of next Summer. Not just that, but I want to do it in under 5 hours. I bought a second hand racing bike and I have all the gear (clothes, helmet, glasses, computer and heart monitor). I have so far ridden 55 miles three times at average speeds of between 16 and 18 MPH. As I said, I want to work up to a century, so my question is seeing as though I aim to improve distance (greatly) and speed (slightly) should I spend more time doing as many hours as possible than speed work? Should I do intervals (if so, how long and how many)? What should I eat on the longer rides (jam sandwiches at the moment and I'm growing weary of them)? Or (the biggie) am I too young to even think about doing centuries for a few years?

I am very dedicated to the sport, and am willing to work extremely hard on the bike. I also have big goals for the future, I am determined to go pro and join a top European cycling team.
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Old 11-01-03, 06:57 PM   #2
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I think if you work on increasing distance and speed incrementally, you should be ready by let's say spring 2004 for what you are trying to achieve.
At around your age, I started my first race with a local club, 80 miles of which half was pretty steep mountains. So I did many centuries just for fun or during training. unfortunatly, my career as a racer did not last very long, but I still kept cycling for pleasure, including in Ireland where I lived for more than a decade before moving to the states.
Age is not a factor, not a limit. Regarding food, I would recommend a couple of fruits like banana/orange, look into some energy bars, they're easy to carry. Two bottles of water or a camelbak, with good endurance training, you shouldn't need to stop at all. Good luck, this is real inspiring, brings back memories.
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Old 11-02-03, 06:44 AM   #3
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Cool, thanks Cycliste. Thats exactly the advice and encouragement I needed. I have a very lucky position in Ireland, The roads are pancake flat in three directions and there are steep mountains in one direction.
So I get the best of both worlds .
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Old 11-03-03, 07:28 AM   #4
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Have you thought about joining a local cycling club/team ? Coaching and training buddies will surely help and become indispensable if you want to go pro.

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I have a very lucky position in Ireland, The roads are pancake flat in three directions and there are steep mountains in one direction.
So I get the best of both worlds .

Are these Wicklow, Kerry or Donegal mountains ? Where are you based ?
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Old 11-03-03, 11:10 AM   #5
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Well, I rode my first century at 14 or 15 so i'd say go for it.

take care,

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Old 11-03-03, 01:01 PM   #6
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I live near the Slieve Mish mountains of Kerry. I'm just outside of Tralee.
I am also looking into membership at either Tralee C.C. or the Earl Of Desmond C.C. I'm also lucky in that my father was a top Irish cyclist himself for a few years, so he knows a few things .
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Old 11-03-03, 03:14 PM   #7
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Just finished my first century (at age 46). A twelve-year-old finished his first century (with his dad) 20 minutes ahead of me.
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Old 11-03-03, 04:24 PM   #8
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Doing it in under 5 hours may be an issue however. That is really moving for 100 miles (we were talking miles right?) Unless you can ride a pace line, I think you may not be able to make that time happen. I think it will take practice in a paceline or a couple more years of training first.

I have been riding for three years now (I'm 34), and my average is 19.56mph over the 1,500 miles that I have ridden this year. I finished a century this year in 4 hours 59 minutes and 38 seconds this summer. I was a very happy guy! And yes I relied heavily on a paceline.
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Old 11-03-03, 04:44 PM   #9
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Oh, man! If I was 15, I'd ride 100 miles every Saturday!
Seriously, I think you'll have no problem getting yourself ready for a century soon. 5 hours is flying, however, so if I were you, I'd think about dialing back a bit. Enjoy the ride the first time out.
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Old 11-04-03, 04:36 PM   #10
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Maybe I'll take a second look at speed, I'll have to think about it for a while. Another thing I need to ask is should I go for a 100 mile (we were talking miles) lap or circuit nearby or should I pick a shorter lap and do it more than once?
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Old 11-04-03, 04:45 PM   #11
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Too young for a century?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbia
Maybe I'll take a second look at speed, I'll have to think about it for a while. Another thing I need to ask is should I go for a 100 mile (we were talking miles) lap or circuit nearby or should I pick a shorter lap and do it more than once?


Your choice, but a too short circuit may be kind of boring and incite to give up before the 100 mark. A single circuit on the other hand will keep you going, unless you know a short cut . Whatever works, but no cheating.
Hey, you didn't tell us your dad was Sean Kelly
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Old 11-05-03, 12:48 PM   #12
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Not quite Sean . But he did once beat Kelly in a sprint finish. He and Sean used to be great friends, although they haven't met in years now.
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Old 11-05-03, 01:47 PM   #13
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Too young for a century?

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Not quite Sean . But he did once beat Kelly in a sprint finish. He and Sean used to be great friends, although they haven't met in years now.
Exciting! Then you've got the right dad to help you..
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Old 11-06-03, 12:18 PM   #14
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Just one question, about weight.
I weigh 64 kilos, my dad thinks thats a bit heavy for a 15 year old cyclist, is it?
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Old 11-06-03, 03:31 PM   #15
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Too young for a century?

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Just one question, about weight.
I weigh 64 kilos, my dad thinks thats a bit heavy for a 15 year old cyclist, is it?
What's your height ?
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Old 11-07-03, 10:07 AM   #16
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Sure, no reason why you can't do a century. Just remember to eat a lot. Centuries require energy and you are growing to boot. A teenager doing a century must be able to eat like a plague of locusts.

I think your goal of doing the century in less then 5 hours is not very reasonable though. From your post, you have not averaged 20 mph for 50 miles yet so why do you think you can go faster for 100 then 50? It takes a strong rider to crack 5 hours in a century solo. I did it a few times when I was younger. Oddly enough I was able to average 23 mph for a century not so long ago but that was in a big group and it wasn't as hard as doing 20 solo. I would suggest that you focus on just doing the century. You have lots of time to improve your time later. I think one thing at a time is nice. As you get the hang of it, the speed will come.

Centuries are a little tricky because pacing is very important. You push too hard and you will end up bonking (glycogen depletion). That means you can still ride but you can not even think about sprinting. You just grind along at a slow speed. To give you a rule of thumb, in doing a century, you have to back off a a couple of mph from the pace you can do 50 miles at.

See, your body only has enough glycogen (carbohydrate) stored to get you through about 40 to 60 miles or so at your fast cruising speed. When you use up glycogen, you have to burn fat. Fat takes twice the oxygen to liberate the same chemical energy so you are down to half power. You need to back off to a mid intensity cruise so you burn a mix of fat and carbohydrate. That way you can ride the whole century without having to slow way way down. It takes awhile to know what works though. And that is why I think you should just take it easy and be sure you do it. Also, no sprinting and no hammering hills. That is for short rides. Err on the side of being slow, you can always speed up some after 70 miles if you feel frisky. It is better to do that then get to 70 miles and have your legs turn to rubber and have to slow down and be facing 30 miles at a very low speed.
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Old 11-07-03, 02:13 PM   #17
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I am 5 foot 9 inches.

Yes, just thinking about the facts here, I've picked out a course thats 50 miles long, which I will do twice. The best time I ever set for this course was 2 hours 53 minutes (although I think I can go faster than that now). To get it done in 5 hours I would need to do it in 2.5 hours twice, a little out of my range I think.

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Old 11-07-03, 03:49 PM   #18
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well that is 17.34 miles an hour if you made no stops along the way. Really there's no hurry to do the ride at 20 mhp. My bet is that you will hit that speed next year or the following if you keep at it. And that probably means spinning classes or a trainer to keep you fresh over the winter (if you live in a cold weather area).
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Old 11-08-03, 04:41 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SinGate
well that is 17.34 miles an hour if you made no stops along the way. Really there's no hurry to do the ride at 20 mhp. My bet is that you will hit that speed next year or the following if you keep at it. And that probably means spinning classes or a trainer to keep you fresh over the winter (if you live in a cold weather area).
Good advice. Remember Columbia is 15 and he is nowhere near his physical peak. That could take 10 years to happen. But that is OK. I would love to be able to look forward to 10 years of increasing physical prowess.

Thing is that Columbia's best time is for his 50 mile course is 2 hours and 53 minutes. Well, call that 3 hours. Look, you ride the first 50 at near record pace, you are sure to hit glycogen depletion or the bonk somewhere along mile 60. That will mean 40 miles of a near crawl. I would sugggest shooting for a 3 hour 30 minute first half. That should give you enough power to do the second half without dying.
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Old 11-08-03, 06:54 AM   #20
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Thats seems pretty sensible advice about pacing.
How many carbs per hour should I take in?
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