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1st Metric Century...need advice

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1st Metric Century...need advice

Old 04-27-16, 02:18 PM
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1st Metric Century...need advice

Hello, new to the forums, hope I'm posting in the right one. I am 57, (still think I'm 25), have been riding off and on most of my life and am starting to get a bit more serious with longer endurance rides. I've been riding solo rides the past 7 years generally between 20 and 30 miles with some brief but steep climbing. Question is, I'm riding my 1st metric century ("Finish the Ride" in Santa Clarita, CA) this Sat and it has an elevation gain of 3300'. climb appears to be fairly well spaced out but can anyone comment on a 3300' gain...so I know what to expect? I'm in pretty good shape, do cross training 4 - 5 times per week and ride as well. I did my 1st half century last weekend and could have done more miles...but it was less elevation gain. There is an elevation graph on the race site...but looks like a heart rhythm to me

Any guidance/advice would be appreciated, thank you!
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Old 04-27-16, 02:33 PM
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There will surely be some challenging grades spaced out on that, but you'll have no trouble. The one thing that can sneak up on you if you're used to punching over short hills on shorter rides - or at least it did me - is starting out too hard on a bigger hill than you expect and then struggling half-way up.
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Old 04-27-16, 02:36 PM
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Don't over-think it. If you're in shape and riding 20-30 miles without a problem, knocking out a metric won't be an issue - especially a supported metric with rest stations, food, other riders, etc. 3000' of climbing is some climbing, but pace yourself and you'll be fine. Enjoy the ride!
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Old 04-27-16, 02:43 PM
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As you are in decent physical condition, you will be able to finish. The only real question is, how much will you suffer? My recommendation is to ride slower than your usual pace with much emphasis on spinning. Make it a point to ride the first half slower than the second half. Good luck.
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Old 04-27-16, 02:43 PM
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A typical ride in mountainous terrain gives about 1000 feet of climbing for every 10 miles. You're at about half that, I expect you've got a 50/50 mix of climbing and flats.

If you can ride between 20 and 30 miles in reasonable comfort, you should do fine for a metric century. My advice is to take your time and enjoy it.

Is there a link to the route (I couldn't find one)? I've ridden in the area reasonably often, and can comment on particular climbs.
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Old 04-27-16, 03:05 PM
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Wow, thanks for the great (and quick) feedback! You have definitely reduced my anxiety level! I will start the 1st half at an easier pace and will be paying more attention to maintaining carb and H2O levels than I normally do on the shorter rides. Biker395 the URL is www.finishtherace.com Look for Sat. Metric Century and click n the words "Metric Century" for route/elevation graph.
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Old 04-27-16, 03:13 PM
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Agree with what others have posted. Start off easy (that's always the hardest for me on a longer ride). Step back on the intensity a bit on the earlier hills. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. In typical warmer weather conditions I find that I need to drink at least 20oz (one standard water bottle) every hour. If it is colder then I don't need quite as much but I still try to keep up with that rate.
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Old 04-27-16, 07:06 PM
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Checked out the route. Might also be some headwind as you approach the top of the climb. Given that your normal rides are 20-30 mi, I suspect the sustained climb of 2000 ft is going to take some effort. But certainly do-able. At least once you get over the top (wind permitting) you should be OK from there, as long as your butt doesn't give out. But you might find the last few miles a chore if you haven't managed your exertion well enough. However I don't doubt you will complete the ride. I wouldn't go overboard on food and whatnot. You might need to pay more attention to water compared to what you are used to.

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Old 04-27-16, 08:10 PM
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Eat right. Before, during, and after.

Also do a couple of longer rides (no need for full length) a week or two prior to doing the metric.

AND have fun! Challenge yourself, but don't push too hard. Then you will have the experience when you do your next metric.

Good luck.
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Old 04-27-16, 08:43 PM
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You've been riding for 7 years and have never ridden more than 30 miles? That just strikes me as so odd. I think I did my first metric within 3 months of getting on the bike.

Supported rides are almost always easy. You'll do fine.
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Old 04-27-16, 08:46 PM
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You did 50 last weekend, this will be no problem for you. Pace yourself as others have said, on organized rides it's very easy to get caught up in other riders' pace/speed, keep that in check, ride your own ride and you'll be fine.

Interesting profile, the first half is slight uphill so definitely pace yourself on the front half and you'll feel like a superman on the return leg. With 30 miles uphill you might feel like pushing to keep your normal riding pace, resist that urge and understand if you get tired it's because you're going up hill! Sometimes it's difficult to tell on a gradual climb and you'll start to wonder what's going on and perhaps doubt yourself. It's simply the fact that you're going uphill continuously forever!

3000k feet is not outrageous, you'll probably feel it Sunday but by no means should it take you down.

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Old 04-28-16, 07:58 AM
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If you did 50 mi recently I'd tell you there's no problem for you to do 100. The difference is just going a bit more slowly and staying hydrated and keeping up on your energy. If you take a bit or two of food every twenty minutes instead of waiting an hour and then eating an entire energy bar it will go a long way to keeping your energy levels even, and on the climbs get into one gear easier than you really need, or if you're in your lowest gear, drop your speed one more mph to make the entire ride a reasonably easy ride. If you do that you could probably do a full century. The only difficult thing about 60mi as opposed to 40 or 50 is when you want to do it fast or hard/strong.
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Old 04-28-16, 08:21 AM
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try not to obsess over the mileage on your computer too, I find the last 5-10 miles grueling when I know I'm almost done. If I just look up and turn the pedals over, the miles fly by.
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Old 04-28-16, 09:27 AM
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Just relax, and keep turning the pedals. you'll reach the end before you know it and say 'That's it? what was I so worried about?'
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Old 04-28-16, 10:26 AM
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3300 feet over 62 miles is nothing, unless it comes all at once. :-)
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Old 04-28-16, 11:13 AM
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Thanks everyone for the great advice, some of these tipss I did notice during last week's half century! Especially the final 10 mile countdown, focusing on the miles remaining definitely made me focus on leg fatigue more. Dr.I, many activities to focus on (cross fit, yoga, aggressive inlines, SUP,etc.) not enough days in the week...difficult to focus on just one . Background, I let my weight get away from me in my 40's decade and when I hit the big 50, I lost 40lbs, by improving my eating habits and diving headfirst into activity...I have found that I basically love exercise (yes even burpees) and as long as I'm having fun. Eating fresh/healthy is much more enjoyable as well! All good, will check back in with everyone post race...thanks again for the most excellent advice!!
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Old 04-28-16, 11:46 AM
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If it is your first metric remember to stop at every sag stop even if just to get hydration. The temptation will be to pass one if you are feeling strong and while a metric doesn't normally take people to the wall those short breaks make it much easier.
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Old 04-28-16, 12:02 PM
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You'll be fine. Just start out at an easy pace while you're warming up and drink plenty of fluids. The only times I've had troubles on long rides are when I went out too fast and/or didn't drink enough. I'm 62 and have ridden at least one metric a month, with few exceptions, for a number of years. I've got a self-imposed "metric a month" challenge and the last time I missed one was when snow and ice made the roads unsafe a few winters ago.
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Old 04-28-16, 01:27 PM
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You can do this.
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Old 04-29-16, 07:30 PM
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If you have ridden a 50 recently then 62 miles in an organized ride will be nothing. Grab onto a good pace line and the ride will be over before you want. May need to ignore a little leg pain, but you are riding. When you think it is getting too tough, hang in there. I know I will get blow back for this, but try it, dig in and enjoy the ride.
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Old 04-29-16, 08:25 PM
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Did my first century several weeks ago, and the best advice I can give you (other than what's already been offered up), is to wear your very best padded cycling shorts. My previous best was around 70 miles, with lots of 50 milers in the last year. I never experienced any discomfort with my behind before, but those last 20 to 30 miles of the 110 were really tough in that area. Everything else did just fine though.
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Old 04-29-16, 09:01 PM
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Your ride is about 3300 feet in 62 miles = 53 feet per mile.

Feet per mile

10 feet per mile is Florida,
25 feet per mile is quite flat with some small rollers,
50 feet per mile is moderate. Our local club rides are often 35-50 feet/mile, with some mostly flat sections and 2 or 3 of our 300 foot tall climbs on a 35 mile ride.
100 feet per mile is a hilly ride, with very little flat miles. The difficult organized century rides tend to be around 10,000 feet, and throw in some steep climbs.

( 100 feet per mile doesn't sound too difficult. But that only counts the climbing. If a road goes up and back down, that means the climbing part is more like 200 feet per mile--which is still only 3.7%--moderate. But if the ride has flat sections, then the climbs will be steeper to get to the 100 feet per mile average. )

Edited:
Rides with lots of very steep hills can be hard, even if the whole ride isn't 100 feet per mile. I'd call anything over 12% steep, or a climb that's more than 1000 feet high at 8% average. Very short but steep pitches aren't so bad for most riders--maybe 50 to 100 feet of very steep in the middle of a more reasonable hill.

Last edited by rm -rf; 04-30-16 at 04:27 AM.
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Old 04-29-16, 09:05 PM
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The miles seem to fly by on big organized rides (or on any group ride!)

Get something to eat at each stop, but you won't need much, maybe a half banana and a cookie or similar. I tend to eat more than I need.

Last edited by rm -rf; 04-29-16 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 04-30-16, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf
Rides with lots of very steep hills can be hard, even if they aren't 100 feet per mile. I'd call anything over 15% steep, or a climb that's more than 1000 feet high at over 8% average.
Absurd. Anything over 7% is steep (that's 370 vertical feet per mile,) otherwise the DOT would allow highways steeper than that, and they don't. Multi-lane public roadways are generally limited to 12% or less, otherwise large vehicles cannot traverse them. 15% is where steep starts? That's almost 800 vertical feet per mile. Some of the steepest roads into the San Bernardino Mountains begin within a few miles of my house, and still take 20+ miles to gain 8,000 feet, averaging right in that 7-8% range.

Yes, there are some "off-highway" sections I can ride nearby, like Devil's Canyon, which gets up to 15% for sections of a few hundred yards at a time, and it is absolutely savage. It's 5mph territory up there. AFAIC, any extended climbs around that 7% are just brutal. But I'm not a particularly strong climber, in my own estimation. I do a regular ride that picks up 790 vertical feet in 3.1 miles, right out of my driveway. That's a "measly" 5% average, but the end of it is just murderous. And look, another with a lowly 7% average: Oak Glen Road... but look at that wedge of a grade.
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Old 04-30-16, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope
Absurd. Anything over 7% is steep (that's 370 vertical feet per mile,) otherwise the DOT would allow highways steeper than that, and they don't. Multi-lane public roadways are generally limited to 12% or less, otherwise large vehicles cannot traverse them. 15% is where steep starts? That's almost 800 vertical feet per mile. Some of the steepest roads into the San Bernardino Mountains begin within a few miles of my house, and still take 20+ miles to gain 8,000 feet, averaging right in that 7-8% range.

Yes, there are some "off-highway" sections I can ride nearby, like Devil's Canyon, which gets up to 15% for sections of a few hundred yards at a time, and it is absolutely savage. It's 5mph territory up there. AFAIC, any extended climbs around that 7% are just brutal. But I'm not a particularly strong climber, in my own estimation. I do a regular ride that picks up 790 vertical feet in 3.1 miles, right out of my driveway. That's a "measly" 5% average, but the end of it is just murderous. And look, another with a lowly 7% average: Oak Glen Road... but look at that wedge of a grade.
Yeah, your Oak Glen Road looks hard. 1900 feet at 7%--that would be around an hour long climb for me. There won't be anything that extreme on the original poster's ride, with 3300 feet total.

I didn't explain very well. I meant "extra" or "extremely" steep hills on a ride will affect the rider more than just the elevation gain would indicate. Usually, a very short steep hill is "doable" for most riders trying these longer rides.

I've been on Blue Ridge Parkway rides that had no flat roads, the ride was all up or down. But since the grades were reasonable, mostly 6% or less, it wasn't too difficult. "Reasonable" grades for me are where I can stay seated and not have to push too hard on the pedals. I'm trying not to "burn matches" during the ride with hard efforts. My 34-28 or 34-29 gears can do that on 7% grades. My 30-29 is low enough for 9-10%)

I'll edit my comment above to say "12%" instead of "15%". Most of my local cycle club members that are in groups that average 14-15 mph can handle a short 12% grade, maybe 100 to 120 feet high, which is about 0.2 mile long.

Last edited by rm -rf; 04-30-16 at 04:29 AM.
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