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  1. #1
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    Can I be ready for a Century in 26 days!?

    Guys - just started cycling 2 weeks ago and found out today that the "Hotter than Hell" 100 event is August 28th in the DFW area (where I live). I was planning to train for a century for 12 weeks or so . .but, I really want to do this race - can I be ready by then?

    Some stats on me:

    36, male in good shape (been playing tennis for years and have good endurance)
    For the last 2 weeks (since I started!) I am biking every day for 7-10 miles and could do more just haven't
    Have no health issues
    I can train pretty hard between then and now

    So, can I make it or should I just opt for the 50 miler?

    Thanks
    Adam

  2. #2
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i have relatives in dallas, so i know what the weather is like in august. it's brutal to be on a bike to say the least. if i were you (and others may disagree), i would opt for the 50 miler this time around. if it goes well, then you can do a longer distance later on. i found after about 40 miles or so i would develop pain that i never had riding shorter distances. knee, back, butt, etc. you may not be ready to be on a bike for 6 hours.

  3. #3
    Senior Member prabbit's Avatar
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    Could you do it? Maybe. Maybe even probably. Would you feel it the next day? Absolutely! Would you probably shun long bike rides because you hurt too much or pushed yourself too far? Maybe.

    7-10 miles is about 30-45 minutes of riding each day. That's not much. Not when you consider that a century will take six hours of riding (or more).

    I'd opt for the 50 miles. Much more doable and should still give you a sense of accomplishment.

    Although the century ride is a milestone, it's not the Holy Grail of cycling. Most important: Enjoy yourself and keep riding!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by acrafton
    Guys - just started cycling 2 weeks ago and found out today that the "Hotter than Hell" 100 event is August 28th in the DFW area (where I live). I was planning to train for a century for 12 weeks or so . .but, I really want to do this race - can I be ready by then?

    Some stats on me:

    36, male in good shape (been playing tennis for years and have good endurance)
    For the last 2 weeks (since I started!) I am biking every day for 7-10 miles and could do more just haven't
    Have no health issues
    I can train pretty hard between then and now

    So, can I make it or should I just opt for the 50 miler?

    Thanks
    Adam

    HELL NO!! you will suffer big time if you even finish it before night fall!!! not to mention the danger you will be to others and yourself with no pack ride skills. IMO you should not do the 50! do you have a nutrition and hydration plan? you have not even rode long enough for that to be a concern, but after 1 hour on the bike it will be a need.please don't get started cycling the wrong way you may get hurt, at least get a book on cycling, or do lots of reading on the net about endurance cycling.

  5. #5
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    I don't think so. If they definitely have a shorter option, take it. Then train a bit wiser next year.

    It's like the others said- it may be too much of a distance for you considering the lack of saddle time you've had, plus the lack of saddle time you're taking, plus pacesetter makes a good point about the nutrition and hydration. Century rides definitely need more time to build to.

    Take this as a learning experience. Do the shorter ride, start pacing yourself for rides on your bike where you gradually and comfortably build up the distance and time spent on your bike, and then next year, you'll hopefully be ready for the century ride.

    Koffee

  6. #6
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    I did the HHH last year. The heat becomes brutal in the second half of the ride. If you are not used to riding long miles in the heat, don't try it. I would say that if you are not comfortable doing metric centuries in Dallas heat, you should not attempt the 100 miles. The 50 miles is probably more reasonable. Not only is it shorter, but you'll be done before the really high temps set in.

    The HHH is an incredible ride. 8000 cyclists and EVERY rest stop is well stocked with plenty of ice, cold water, PowerAde, snacks, and medical personnel.

  7. #7
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    g'day,

    as the others have said....perhaps stick to the 50 miles this year.......You need to build up your time in the saddle before attempting a 6 hr ride. Remember, a 100 mile ride isn't just 10 x 10 mile rides....the effects of fatigue, heat & lack of training will be cumulative.It'll get worse as the day goes on. Set some 'do-able' targets first, then build up toward the 100 & be patient,

    cheers,

    Hitchy

  8. #8
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    I agree with others have said above. I just started in April and have 1400 miles now, but still feel the effect of longer than normal rides. I did 42 in the heat and humidity last Saturday, normally do 32. The last 7 miles were hard as I hit the wall and due to heat and fatigue. I have done 2 centuries in my time, both wear you down and leave you tired. 26 days at your level is not enough, you will regret the decession. Like the others have said try a shorter ride that you can handle. You will like that better. There are a few sites on endurance riding that have good info and plans, both are blocked here for me at work. They explain how to ramp up for a long ride. You are not suppost ot increase more than 10% per week. Using that info you will be ready in 21 weeks not days.
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  9. #9
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    Guys - thanks for all the great info and advice. I think I could do it but it wouldn't be wise for the reasons pointed out here - so, I am going to do the 20 miler and just have fun and get used to riding in a large group, etc. . .

    Thanks
    Adam

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bolo Grubb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acrafton
    Guys - thanks for all the great info and advice. I think I could do it but it wouldn't be wise for the reasons pointed out here - so, I am going to do the 20 miler and just have fun and get used to riding in a large group, etc. . .

    Thanks
    Adam

    Sounds like a good plan, enjoy

  11. #11
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    I am up against the same thing. I just got started and want to do the HTH100, but I am aiming for the 50 mile, but after reading this I might aim for the 20 or 25 mile.
    Good Luck!

  12. #12
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJetMech
    I am up against the same thing. I just got started and want to do the HTH100, but I am aiming for the 50 mile, but after reading this I might aim for the 20 or 25 mile.
    Good Luck!
    If you are in the Dallas area, there are probably better selections for short (<50 mile) rides than going up to Wichita Falls for the HHH. The HHH is VERY popular and unless you made hotel reservations last year, you are not going to get a room anywhere near the city. I understand there is camping available this year near the start, but it's still a long drive up there.

    You might check out www.bicycle-stuff.com for an extensive calendar of organized bike rides in the DFW area. Most organized rides offer routes from 10 to 60 miles. There are rides just about every weekend this time of year.

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    yes i am from the Dallas area and thats a great web site. thanks for the info.

  14. #14
    TX Ciclista CarlJStoneham's Avatar
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    No offense, but "no". I'm doing the HtH as well and I'm even a bit nervous eventhough I have 1,500 miles for the year and have completed a metric century and rode an MS150 last year.

    Doing the 20-mile ride is a good idea. You MIGHT even be able to try a 30-mile if they have one. One rule of thumb that seems to apply to most cyclists is that you can usually do 50% more than your longest ride if you stay hydrated and don't go all out. You can probably even double your longest if you're careful. You were wanting to do 1,000% which is difficult andcould be potentially dangerous.

    OTOH, you decision to ride in the HtH is great start. I've found one of the BEST motivators to get on the bike is an upcoming ride. VERY helpful. Best of luck and take pride in your accomplishment. I'm sure that when I pass the 60-mile marker and realize I have 40 to go, I'll wish I had done the 20-mile route as well

  15. #15
    Ready to go anywhere Csson's Avatar
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    Is it possible to be ready for a century after riding for a month? In my opinion, yes it is.

    A couple of years ago my brother (reasonably fit, but with no previous (serious) endurance training decided to do a certain organized ride. His training consisted of about 350 km of riding with a longest ride of 60 km. To top it of he stayed of the bike completely two weeks directly prior to the ride. How did it go? We finished the 300 km ride in just over 19 hours, and he had trouble sitting down for a week..

    That being said, I wouldn't advice you to do it. But I wouldn't advice you not to do it either. If you plan on doing that century I would suggest building distance relatively quickly and to do a reasonably long ride (say 90-120 km) not less than five-six days prior to the event in order to be fully recovered in time.

    The wisest choice is probably to do a shorter route, especially since it takes a while to be ready to ride for long distances in hot temperatures.

    /Csson
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
    I took the one less travelled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
    (R. Frost)

  16. #16
    Cranky in WNY
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    ---------------Mon----Tues---Wed-----Thu----Fri-----Sat-----Sun
    ---------------Easy----OFF---Hills-----Pace----OFF---Pace----Endurance---Total
    July26-31 ------15------0 -----15------15------0------15-------15----------75
    Aug2-8 --------15------0 -----20 -----15 ------0 -----25 -------15----------90
    Aug9-15 -------15------0 -----20 -----15 ------0 -----30 -------20----------100
    Aug16-22 ------20------0 -----25 -----15 ------0 -----35 -------20----------115
    Aug23-29 ------20------0 -----25 -----15 ------0 -----45 -------30----------135
    Aug30-5 -------20------0 -----25 -----15 ------0 -----65 -------30----------155
    Sep6-12 -------20------0 -----25 -----15 ------0 -----100 ------15----------175

    Pace = the speed/cadence you intend for the century.
    Easy = leave it on the lower chainring and spin away.
    Hills = need I say more? Pick a route that really challenges you, getting more difficult with each week.
    Endurance = For me this is 3 minute hard followed by 3 minute recovery spins. Harder then it sounds.

    Above is my training schedule for a hilly century scheduled for Sept 11. The week prior to July 26th I had been on my bike for 2 15 mile rides. Prior to that I had not been on my bike, or really exercised much in the past 4 years.

    I realize this will not get you ready to ride in 21 days. I think it is about the minimum you would need to train to complete a comfortable century with no previous time in the saddle.

    This will be the second time I have used this type of schedule, having done it once before in 1994. Granted I was ten years younger then, but I believe it is still doable.

    I will not be riding at the front of the pack, but by training in similar conditions over similar terrain and pacing myself during the ride I am confident I can complete the ride with minimal suffering. I am counting on a sore @ss, some aching muscles and a grin from ear to ear.

    On Your OTHER left!
    John
    Last edited by Adker; 08-09-04 at 01:19 PM.

  17. #17
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    I think the 50 is the wiser choice. But...

    If you have the time to train, then you can at least find the answer yourself. Plan a 40 miler very soon. If all went well with that, increase to a 60 miler. If all went well with that, then I'd say you can do it. Stay on your bike between now and 4 days before the tour for 3-5 days a week. Put in at least two 60 mile training rides in addition to many shorter rides and you will probably do fine.

    Other tips.
    Keep a consistent pace and resist the urge to hang with faster riders.
    Start eating before you get low on energy and drink before dehydration. Sounds easy, but many fail to do it enough.
    If you feel dizzy, over-heat, or get an upset stomach, stop and recover. It may take 30-60 minutes before you feel better. If you continue cycling while you feel like crap then you'll get into such a deficit of energy that you'll bonk. After that, you can forget finishing the ride.

    Have fun

  18. #18
    TX Ciclista CarlJStoneham's Avatar
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    One note to those of you suggesting the century is "doable" (and I'm not disagreeing with you, thought it's going to sound like it... ): the latter half of this ride may be in temperatures above 100degrees (thermometer) and quite possibly 110 on the road. There's a reason they call it the "Hooter'n Hell 100" I wouldagree that a century would be a possibility IF the conditions were "ideal" (mainly in the low 80's temp wise). I think the staggeringly high heat is a MAJOR obstacle. But yes, the body can do just about anything we tell it to. Navy SeALs know this. Whether it's wise to do so is another quesiton (Navy SeALs do NOT know this! )

  19. #19
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    I rode 127 miles a couple of saturdays ago in 95 degree temps with decent hills after only having ridden 200 miles ALL SEASON. I was totally out of shape but managed to avg 18.25 mph for the 6.5 hrs. The next day I was in pretty bad shape, sunburnt and stiff as a board. But it was definately worth it. Could you do it at any cost? probably. Should you? probably not.


    Do it anyway, you can always get medical help along the way. If you do start to feel bad during the ride, QUIT! you could have a heat stroke. this is not something that you want to have happen
    Last edited by duracann; 08-10-04 at 03:12 PM.

  20. #20
    TX Ciclista CarlJStoneham's Avatar
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    Duracann,
    You also have a history of some pretty serious cycling tho and likely haven't lost too much given your age. If you had "just started cycling 2 weeks ago" (original post) a ride like that could literally have killed you (i.e. heat stroke on the side of a less-then-traveled road, etc). But your overall post is quite true. "At any cost" is likely possible, but not wise. Also, your point about going as far as you can then just quitting is good too

  21. #21
    Wer wagt, gewinnt.
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    Hey Mr. Crafton,

    After I read your comment about being an avid tennis player...I laughed, not at you but
    because I had the same mindset coming into cycling!
    I have been playing for about 6 years, and play fairly well.
    I actually thought I was in decent shape...then I got on the bike.

    Man, cycling is one of those deceptive types of activities when you just observe from the sidelines.
    I figured I would be able to do my local club ride - a 30+ miler the first week I was riding.
    I barely made the 25 at a 15+ avg. What an eye opener that was. I didn't realize how
    fit avid and pro cyclists are. I was sore, stiff and shot for over a week.
    Competitive by my own nature, being somewhat naive about riding taught me a lesson.
    6 weeks later I can ride 40-50 mi. at a 16+ avg no problem.

    I hope to do a century by October.
    I think it is wise advice you received here not to try to over do it too soon.
    By this time next year you will be so much fitter and riding those long distance's
    on a regular basis. Have fun at the HtH ride.

  22. #22
    Pat
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    Yes, tennis is more of a quick twitch muscle event. Tennis players stand around most of the time and run only a stride or so. I am not denigrating tennis. Obviously it takes coordination, speed, strength, skill, strategy and so on.

    Cycling is very different. In a century, you are doing 5 hours of hard exercise non stop. Tennis is not exactly the best kind of preparation.

    It is a help not to be sedantary and to be fit. But there is a big difference between an endurance sport like cycling and most other sports.

  23. #23
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    I did a long, organized charity ride last year. As we prepared to depart I noted an awful lot of people who didn't look like they had any business in the ride. Overweight, obviously on poor, heavy equipment and very naive about what was to come.

    We started out on a hilly 80 mile route, fortunately with rest stops every 20 miles. As the day progressed, it got hot - very hot for Northern NY, over 90. As I was riding I really became concerned for some of the people behind me. As it turned out, the sag wagon was very busy that day. Some people quit the week long ride completely. Some got off the bike and stayed in the sag wagons for the rest of the week. Some people got sick. That ride was only 80 miles.

    Recreational bike riding (pedaling around the neighborhood) is nothing like a long distance ride. I equate it to taking a casual jogger and putting him in the Boston Marathon. You really need to work up to it, or you risk hurting yourself. Badly.

  24. #24
    fredelicious mini-masher overthere's Avatar
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    Avid tennis player here too, getting into biking. dc70 is right on! I thought I was in decent shape, bonked on a 20 mile ride and had retirees passing me by! What an eyeopener. Biking is a completely different animal: however, I'm quick up to speed out of a stop sign, I think due to those quick reflexive sprints in tennis, good reaction time is good. But my whole body is changing - this whole feast/purge/hydrate thing is wild. AND I'm a better tennis player. My legs have built up, and I'm getting to balls I usually haven't, and I'm less winded after a couple of sets. All is good.

  25. #25
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    I did my first century last Saturday-- the Grizzly Century http://www.grizzlycentury.org/. I read this thread the week b4 after thinking maybe I didn't train enough and some of the posts made me concerned. I started training in mid September and took the last week off. I completed the whole hundred miles in 9.5 hours on my mtb hardtail w/ 1.25 "fatboy" slicks. I was the most sore in my lower back, but all things considered, very pleased with myself and how I felt at the end. No water or food bonking, no cramps. I had a baggy of dry Cytomax (enough for the whole trip) and there were lots of food/water breaks on the trip (how do you guys keep from gaining weight with all that food?). No beer for two nights b4 (can you tell how serious I was), carbo loading on Friday night (brown rice, broccoli, cauliflower). I'm 45, 6'2", 215 lb. I do keep in OK shape most of the year with mtb riding and running (for a big series of mtb rides in Moab I ran 5 miles a day, rode on weekends got down to 205lbs), but my schedule over the summer somehow saw me slacking off. It was a great ride, I'm going to do it next year, but I will now start searching these threads for ideas on training sooner and I may look into getting a road bike. Oh, I happened to be reading Into Thin Air the week b4, a tragic Everest expedition, made me 100% sure I would make the whole 100 miles...

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