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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-13-11, 01:56 PM   #1
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New goal - A metric century!

I am just about to the one year anniversary of my starting to ride a bike as an adult. In that twelve months I have ridden 2,000 miles. I know that many of you easily do much more than that, but I am pleased with the number.

I spent the first three months working my way up to being able to ride an 45 minutes to an hour a day, five to six days a week. So I now have managed to continue that time commitment for almost nine months. This means that I ride 10 miles a day, five days a week. With the other two days spent walking and resting my legs. On my saturday rides, I go about twenty miles and once did 30 without much difficulty.

The main reason I haven't done any longer rides yet is my speed. While it has been slowly increasing over the course of a year (from about 7mph average to about 11-12mph average now). So a 20 mile ride on Saturday takes about two hours, the 30 took almost three. And I don't have much more time than that on a regular basis.

I had decided that sometime this year I wanted to accomplish a metric century. Today I stopped in at Subway to purchase lunch and they had a brochure for this years Dallas / Fort Worth Tour de Cure on July 23rd. I had considered this in the past but decided against it. Today I changed my mind. When I returned from Subway, I got online, registered, and made a personal donation to cover my minimum donation requirement. I'll send emails this weekend to family, friends, and co-workers letting them no I am riding and asking for additional donations...

Even though I haven't ridden this distance yet, I feel fairly comfortable I could do so tomorrow if I wanted to (its only twice my longest distance which I did without any problem). Probably would be beat and pretty sore, but still doable. So I am comfortable that by the time July 23rd comes along I will be able to do the full metric century without much personal misery.

Just glad that my brooks saddle should be well "broken in" by then!

Just wanted to publicly share to give me a reason not to change my mind.
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Old 05-13-11, 02:49 PM   #2
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Nothing like a goal with a hard date to push your progress. Burnout is a concern so don't push it so much you get off your bike and stay off for too long.
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Old 05-13-11, 02:56 PM   #3
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Nice goal.
Determine a pace before you start and hold to it.
Have fun.
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Old 05-13-11, 03:07 PM   #4
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Make sure you hydrate and eat well on the ride!! Very important!!
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Old 05-13-11, 03:53 PM   #5
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Bring lots of water with you, and some food, too. Don't change anything on your bike the few days leading up to the event.

If at all possible, juggle your schedule around and do some longer rides before the event. Ideally a metric, even if it's at a slower pace, but break your own personal length record a few times. That will help you know how to pace yourself over a longer event, and identify some kinds of problems that might come up. My shoulders start to get sore after a couple hours, for example, and being aware of my posture can help me reduce it a lot.
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Old 05-13-11, 03:54 PM   #6
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Well done, achieving a goal and helping out a worthy cause is a great combination! I did my first metric century in April and it was quite easy. The farthest I had ridden prior was 40 miles once with most of my rides in the 20-30 mile range. I think you'll have no problem. Enjoy the ride!!
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Old 05-13-11, 04:06 PM   #7
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you can do it.. My advice is to GET IN THE MILES. I just did the DFW - MS 150 ( day 2 cancelled due to weather ). Day 1 was 83 miles. I had got up to 50 miles on a rides a few weeks prior and THOUGHT that 86 was going to be just like 50. To my surprise, miles 60-83 were pretty tough. My body simply wasn't prepared for that. I made it, but it was really tough at the end. A couple of things to consider... 1) your neck muscles get really tight and sore riding in that position for that long, hands numb, etc... Also, make VERY sure that your bike fits, cleat alignment on your shoes, seat height is spot on. Riding 50+ miles will expose any issues that you may have. Riding 10-20 miles won't really cause you any real discomfort, but 62 will probably draw out any knee pain, hot spots in your shoes, etc..

I'm not telling you this to discourage you because YOU CAN DO IT. Just GET IN THE MILES and train for it and you'll be fine.

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Old 05-13-11, 10:13 PM   #8
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I don't think you will have a problem with the mileage at all.

As the others have said, try and get in as many similar length outings as you can. Other than that, having a good personal sense of your fitness level and what is a reasonable pace for yourself will help a lot.

Have fun and enjoy the ride
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Old 05-14-11, 11:20 AM   #9
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Thanks for the info/suggestions guys.

I have decided to work on two things. First, gradually increase my weekend ride distances, and to do two of those longer rides each weekend rather than the one that I have limited myself too up until now.

Today was just shy of 25 miles, which I completed in less than two hours. I was especially please with that since the second half was against a 15mph headwind and on a slight uphill climb. Indeed I was really jazzed about it until I hear the boston marathon come on TV and the announcer discuss last years winner who finished in 2:05. He was faster than me on his feet... That is really humbling... ;-)

One issue I am going to have to work on is finding good longer routes. Up till now I have only used a couple of short routes that I simply added laps to when I wanted to do longer distances. That really would be boring for the longer distances so I have to start exploring.

Today was a new route, that went about like I planned, except for two problems. All of the roads selected were 6 lane minor arterials (40 mph) speeds, but the one shorter road was under construction (which I didn't know) and was down to a single lane in each direction. Fortunately, the coned off area was free of debris and I was able to stay over there preventing a long line of folks from accumulating behind me.

Then further down this road, past the construction area, I am riding in the center of the 12' lane when I hear 'on your right...' I started to move to the right, before my brain registered that they were intending to pass on that side... so I move left while they repeated themselves. Don't have a problem being passed (it happens alot), but I do find it annoying passing on the right, two abreast, moving ME closer to the traffic... The least they could do would be pass single file... Oh well.

It was a GREAT ride! Hope my legs are up for it again tomorrow.

Last edited by myrridin; 05-14-11 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 05-14-11, 01:40 PM   #10
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Go for it!
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Old 05-14-11, 06:58 PM   #11
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myrridin, The metric is my favorite ride, perhaps because it was the longest I could usually schedule. I'll pass on the advice I recieved before my first one, start off at a moderate pace, something in your comfort zone and after about 10 miles or so, ramp up the speed a little if you wish. The idea is to quell anxiety, which eats into your energy reserves.

Have a good time.

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Old 05-14-11, 07:30 PM   #12
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I wish you all the luck in the world with this ride. And a piece of advice from someone who did their first metric century ever this year. Listen to what they are saying. Bring plenty of water ( I refilled 1.5 bottles), or whatever you drink, AND bring enough to eat. I did mine with just a snack pack of crackers, and a diet bar. When I finished I was dead and starving, DON'T MAKE MY MISTAKE.
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Old 05-21-11, 03:03 PM   #13
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Well, last sunday I only did 20 miles, but that was mostly due to problems with my route selection from google maps... Ended up riding the 23c tires on hard packed dirt for about a mile, and instead of a nice wide 4 lane I ended on a narrow high speed two lane with no shoulders... The tension of riding on that really took the wind from my sails...

Today, with a south wind, was a extension of last Saturday's route. So today I did 31.17 miles at 12mph. Since 12mph is actually about my normal average for my shorter weekday rides, I am comfortable with the pace. If I can keep that pace for the metric century, I should complete it in slightly more than five hours of riding time. I am also getting a feel for what I will need to eat for the longer ride. Like last week at about the hour and a half mark I started feeling tired. A cereal bar and a short break, and I was good to go again!

Even better, the brooks saddle is really shining! Even with this, my longest ride yet, it felt very comfortable with no signs of any discomfort.

A very good day!
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Old 05-21-11, 03:23 PM   #14
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I'm about where you are on the miles. The 1st 50 mile ride was VERY hilly & the one thing I didn't prepare for & practice was what food I needed to eat to prevent cramps. You should find this out if you can before your ride, cramps are no fun. most organized rides have good SAG stops tho.
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Old 05-21-11, 04:39 PM   #15
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I think the food part cannot be stressed enough. That and some kind of electrolyte replacement. I did my first metric 2 weeks ago (Shiner Gasp) and learned that. I wanted to do the full 100 miles, but at about 74 my right thigh started cramping bad. I had worked through small cramps in my calves earlier and thought I could this one as well. But at 76 miles it was so bad that anytime I quit pedaling my thigh just seized and I found I couldn't go any further. I had been drinking plenty of water, but did not eat enough during the ride.
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Old 05-21-11, 05:06 PM   #16
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First of all, go for it. You never know what you can do until you push at your own boundaries. Last weekend I rode 150 miles over two days, then 110 miles in one day to get back again (a more direct route, hence the mileage difference).

From doing that what I'd say is mostly pretty straightforward.

Firstly if you can keep the pedals turning, even fairly slowly, you can cover more distance than you previously thought possible. Today I took a few kids from the youth group I help with on a bike ride. One of them was really worried about the distance (~20 miles) and afraid he wouldn't make it. He was the slowest by a fair margin but with a bit of encouragement he made it all the way around and by the end of it he had changed from being very downbeat to almost euphoric that he'd done it.

Secondly, make sure you keep hydrated. Water alone isn't enough, you need to replace electrolytes. A few weeks back I did just shy of 80 miles in a day and for the last 5-10 miles or so my calf muscles were giving me the pre-cramp warning shots, and when I got home it wasn't long before I had massive cramps in both quads. Not a pleasant experience. When I did the long ride last weekend I had two water bottles, one with plain water and the other with an isotonic drink made from a powder. I had no problems with cramps at any point along the way.

Thirdly, take stuff to eat with lots of calories in it. Since you posted in the Clydes forum I assume you're somewhere north of 200lbs, so chances are you're going to be burning an absolute minimum of 40-50 calories per mile. A metric century is 60 miles so that's 2400-3000 calories at least. Don't be afraid to pack snack bars, a chocolate bar or two and the like. It's best to go for more complex carbohydrates that your body will release over time rather than a massive sugar rush - too much sugar at once is generally not a good thing.

I can't say a lot in terms of training - for me I just went further and further for fun and then agreed to join a group of friends on a long cycling weekend. The reason I did 80 a few weeks back was to go and see them to discuss plans etc. Normally I'd have driven it but my car was off the road because the brakes failed, so that wasn't an option so I cycled it. Then I figured that if I can do 30-40 miles in an afternoon I can do 80 in a day, and having done 80 in a day without too much difficulty I figured I could probably do 110 in a full day with an early enough start.

You can already do 20 miles in 2 hours and 30 miles in 3 hours. 100km is a little over 60 miles, so if you allow yourself 6-7 hours you should be fine. The times I felt my morale fading on my long rides (mostly when I saw a big hill ahead) the thing I did to help was to liken it to something I know and can complete. So if you think of your metric century as a 30-mile ride (which you can already do) followed by a 30-mile ride (which you can already do) followed by a couple of miles to cool off (which barely registers on the scale) that might help you keep going if you start to get the "what did I let myself in for?" thoughts.

Finally, go for it! Believe in yourself, and let us know how you get on!
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