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Old 03-27-05, 12:26 AM   #1
Ronocerous
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Century

Hi everyone,

I thought I would like to try to do a century this summer ( a big deal for me). It will be a solo effort. I have a Trek 7300fx and have a couple of questions...

1) is the Trek 7300fx a decent bike for this type of ride (i.e. do I need a lighter road bike)?

2) Is there a century training web site that you know of?

3) will I regret attempting this with the stock pedals and sneakers or should I look into clipless (I don't have a lot of dough).

4) Last question...I'm slow. I average about 20 kms/hr on my commute on a mountain bike. When I take breaks during my century attempt, how long can they be? 5 minutes, 10, 15? Is there a maximum before your muscles start to stiffen.

Thanks...sorry about all the questions. I have no one else to ask.

R
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Old 03-27-05, 12:42 AM   #2
Machka 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronocerous
Hi everyone,

I thought I would like to try to do a century this summer ( a big deal for me). It will be a solo effort. I have a Trek 7300fx and have a couple of questions...

1) is the Trek 7300fx a decent bike for this type of ride (i.e. do I need a lighter road bike)?

2) Is there a century training web site that you know of?

3) will I regret attempting this with the stock pedals and sneakers or should I look into clipless (I don't have a lot of dough).

4) Last question...I'm slow. I average about 20 kms/hr on my commute on a mountain bike. When I take breaks during my century attempt, how long can they be? 5 minutes, 10, 15? Is there a maximum before your muscles start to stiffen.

Thanks...sorry about all the questions. I have no one else to ask.

R

This article, which I wrote a couple years ago, should answer all your questions:

http://www.machka.net/century.htm

But also:

1. Yes
2. http://www.machka.net/century.htm
3. No, what you've got are fine
4. Your breaks can be as long as you want them, but shorter is better.

Just one additional thing to keep in mind, check with the organizers to see when their cut-off time is. Some rides allow 12 hours to complete the century, others allow 8 ... the Muddy Waters 100 in Manitoba in August packs up and goes home after about 7 hours. That might help you judge how long you've got for breaks.

All the best, and if you've got any more questions, feel free to ask!
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Old 03-27-05, 12:51 AM   #3
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Hey Machka,

So glad to hear from you...you're still my hero. Thanks for the pics on your website from your Australian tour.

I was on your website and checked out your article. I'm going to start increasing my longest ride by about 10% per week...I'd like to try mu century in July. Like many of yours, this one is going to be solo and unsupported and on flats (mind that prairie wind tho'). I'm really keen. Even if I konk out at 70 miles, hey that's still a good ride.

How are things in Alberta?

R
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Old 03-27-05, 01:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronocerous
Hey Machka,

So glad to hear from you...you're still my hero. Thanks for the pics on your website from your Australian tour.

I was on your website and checked out your article. I'm going to start increasing my longest ride by about 10% per week...I'd like to try mu century in July. Like many of yours, this one is going to be solo and unsupported and on flats (mind that prairie wind tho'). I'm really keen. Even if I konk out at 70 miles, hey that's still a good ride.

How are things in Alberta?

R
I just rode a century today myself, and it was COLD!! The weather here hasn't been so good lately. Plus I'm getting used to the hills around here. They are a bit of a challenge after so many years in Manitoba.

And a few more tips ...

As you increase your distances, aim to do a ride of at least 70 miles (and as much as 80 miles) two weeks before your century ride. Then back off a little bit and the next week do maybe a 50 miler, then the following week, the century.

Take it easy out there when you do your century, it's not a race and it really doesn't matter how long you take, within reason (the century "rules" suggest it be done in 24-hours and as all-at-once as possible). Just ride at a comfortable pace for you.

Eat properly - at least 250 calories per hour between your energy bars, sports drinks, and other stuff. Eating right goes a long way to completing a century comfortably. Practice your eating as you increase your distance.

And also, since you're doing the ride alone, pick a route where you know there will be petrol stations and convenience stores every 25-30 kms if at all possible. That way you'll have places to refuel along the way.

My first century was in 1994, and I rode a Venture (heavy, old department store road bicycle) with loose-fitting toe clips and runners with a fairly stiff sole. The only pieces of cycling gear I had on were a pair of shorts, helmet and gloves ... the rest of what I was wearing was "civvy-gear" (T-shirt, etc.). I did loops to and from my apartment (which can be a difficult way to do a century - tempting to quit), and didn't eat well at all. I ended up on the verge of bonking by 80 miles. I discovered you can get away with not having the "right" equipment, but you can't get away without eating!!
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Old 03-27-05, 08:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronocerous
I thought I would like to try to do a century this summer ( a big deal for me). It will be a solo effort. I have a Trek 7300fx and have a couple of questions...
Congrats. Did my 1st metric on a hardtail mtb (with road tires) in '03 and first century last summer. IMHO, a 1st distance ride like that IS a big deal for the person doing it. As to your questions:

1) The Trek 7300fx will be just fine. Unless there is a lot of climbing where a much lighter bike would help, or strong headwinds (hint - ride downwind) so being able to tuck low would help. Skinny tires (if you don't have them already) for the ride will help a lot.

2) Besides Machka's site, there are quite a few others. Friel (Cyclist's Training Bible) has a century training plan in "Cycling Past Fifty" that I found easy to understand and useful.

3) Your setup is OK, but watch for sales on basic clipless pedals and shoes. Doesn't have to be "road" style - MTB shoes and SPD or Eggbeater styles are fine for many people. I find my pedaling is much better when clipped in.

4) I rode my 1st century (with about 5,500 feet of climbing) in about 7 hrs riding time, 9 hrs total. I rode with several other people, we definitely could have done a better job managing our rest stops. (and taking less time to fix a flat). You should get faster as you prepare for the actual ride; 20km/hr is about 12 mph (8:20 plus rest stops); I would try to build up to closer to 25 km/hr as an average speed on terrain similar to your planned route. I try to keep my rest stops to 2-3 minutes every hour to 1.5 hrs on training rides, and try to do my eating while riding (I may stop to tear the package open). Numbers nut that I am, I actually did a detailed plan for the ride based on what I thought we could do on the various segments. I wasn't too far off, except the longer-than planned rest stops.

A few other suggestions:
- enlist the help of friends to keep you motivated for your training; maybe provide some support and encouragement during the ride.
- Check with local bike shops and bike clubs - opportunities for training rides, riding partners, maybe find out about a supported century that fits your plans.
- Ride on terrain similar to the planned route. For the metric, I didn't do that, and felt it on the actual ride. For the century, I rode much of the route and KNEW what to expect and that I could manage it.

Good luck!
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Old 03-27-05, 08:54 PM   #6
DXchulo
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I just want to confirm that you'll be OK with platform pedals and sneakers. I did my first 2 centuries that way.

Good luck!
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Old 03-27-05, 10:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronocerous
I thought I would like to try to do a century this summer ( a big deal for me)
After the first one, it won't be a big deal, & u'll want another, and another, etc.......

I did 2 Century's this month, but today was too nice of weather for one (haha), so far, it's like I can't plan one unless the wind is in excess of 25 mph. Today was only 3 mph, & I had to settle for a 40 miler.
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Old 03-28-05, 10:42 PM   #8
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A few more articles:

http://www.adventurecorps.com/way/index.html

http://www.ultracycling.com/

Browse around those sites ... there are quite a few articles on each regarding doing centuries, nutrition, training, equipment and so on.
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