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Recreational rider prepare for century? How?

Old 07-29-18, 01:10 AM
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I rode a century today. I will be riding a century tomorrow. I keep it nice and relaxed by planning the ride around stopping for a couple meals.
It's really not complicated. Make sure you have 2 inner tubes, a pump, and whatever else you need to fix a roadside flat. I pack a couple of cheap snacks, right now it's something called a "sweet and salty snack mix". Make sure you carry enough water. The amount varies with the weather. I carry a few bandaids just in case.

Only you will be able to tell if discomfort makes this too difficult. Try some 50 mile rides, and if those go ok, just figure on a break in the middle of the century and it really won't be much more than what you have already done.

Have fun and don't overthink this. I have no idea what half of the posters are even talking about, and this time of year, I do several century plus rides a month (I did a 147 mile ride a week ago). Truth be told, I stopped reading a couple of those posts because they don't have any practical relevance.
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Old 07-29-18, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Piggyback it on something that a club or charity is doing. That way, it's mapped, supported, and insured by them. Get in shape: Ride. Do 25-milers several evenings per week and on Saturdays start at 40 miles and increase 10 miles per week until you're at 80. If you can do 80, then add an evening ride and you're done.
You could get the group together to “train” on this ride. There are 50, 62, 75 milers, and of course the century ride.

https://www.applecidercentury.com/
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Old 07-29-18, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by talphie View Post


You could get the group together to “train” on this ride. There are 50, 62, 75 milers, and of course the century ride.

https://www.applecidercentury.com/
shoot.. that's the area we'll be winding up in..
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Old 07-29-18, 07:37 AM
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I gotta tell you guys..
this is great advice.
I've been given great points to ponder..

now if you'll excuse me, I need to go get some miles on while I ponder..
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Old 07-30-18, 07:38 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by JLDickmon View Post

I feel I need to make sure everyone is at the same level...
1. How do *I* prepare?
2. How do I make sure everyone ELSE is prepared?

I need some advice!
One step prep: get everybody on Specialized Turbo Vados, Giant Quick E+s or Trek CrossRip+s.
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Old 07-30-18, 08:50 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by JLDickmon View Post
1. How do *I* prepare?
Don't overthink it. Just ride regularly and add mileage to whatever you're riding now. Gradually build up til your longer rides are in the 50-75 mile range. If you can comfortably ride 65-70 miles, then doing a supported century will be a piece of cake.

A century is an accomplishment, but it's an entirely doable one.
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Old 07-30-18, 11:55 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by JLDickmon View Post
Ok, I've lost my freakin mind, but I've committed myself to riding a century next year. Committed myself by organizing the thing.


Here's my dilemma. I don't know the first thing about long distance riding. I'm a recreational rider. Got back into bikes for cardio rehab after I NARROWLY avoided a widowmaker when I was 50, in 2012.


Couple years ago, I loosely organized a bike club, made up of people from my High School class.

Here's the make-up.. You have me, and know now my backstory, a woman who has a hip replaced a couple years ago and rides for physical therapy, a cyclocross racer, a bike commuter, a Jock who rides with a higher level bike racer, a Minister who runs and rides for fitness, and a diabetic who is am honest to Dog distance biker (this guy does the DALMAC every year).


I feel I need to make sure everyone is at the same level, as I have planned an all-day tour of West Michigan (Kalamazoo to South Haven to Niles, train back to Kalamazoo).


Planning the ride for late next spring.


1. How do *I* prepare?

2. How do I make sure everyone ELSE is prepared?


Sorry for the droning on, but I need some advice!

Please!


Lots of good advice here. I'll just add my 2 cents since I did both of mine when I was 59 and overweight.


As a comparison, my first century took me 9 1/2 hours and my second one took me 5 1/2 hours and both were done within 3 months of each other. Why the time gap? Vertical. My first one involved almost 12,000 feet of climbing while the second on was only about 1,000 feet of climbing.


So, before you really start to train, think about the course. Is it really flat or is there a bunch of climbing. Your vertical elevation is critical to your training.


Now, what we did (there was a group of 4 of us that did the first century) was meet every Sunday and as others have said, gradually increased our distance by 5-10 miles. Yes, early spring involves riding in some cold weather even if you live in the South as I do. Coldest morning for us was 37 and that is cold for us down in the South. No slacking off either. We all were committed and made time for our weekly rides. Since the century did not happen until mid May, we had 2 good months to really train.


i should also say that I did go into a local coaching program that involved compu-trainer indoor training and without that, I doubt I would have made it.


Rule of thumb for me is that in order to do a century, you need to log 1,000 miles or 10X what the event is. By the time our event date hit, I was around 1,600 miles from January to May. As others have said, there is NO substitute for saddle time. Apart from the weekly group rides, I put in a lot of miles during the week after work. At least 75-125 per week weather permitting.


I will also concur highly that a century, if prepared is more mental than physical. 40 thru 75 is the hassle for me. At 75 miles the end is in sight. Of course, there are exceptions but it all depends on how you want to feel after the ride. My second century just a couple of months later went so well that after the ride, we got cleaned up and I was able to walk around the host city and have some fun without a total meltdown.


As for the others, you can't force them, but you need to get a group that will commit to the work. A century is a real milestone and for those that are over 50 is not a typical ride you can do just getting off the couch. Those training rides are also good rides to get your hydration and eating down as well. You need to know what to drink and what to eat. Everyone is different and what works for one might not work for you. Food choice on the ride is critical. One of the guys in our group decided to try something new the night before. Last I saw him was at mile 68 and then again at the finish as he was walking his bike across the finish line. Found out that his new food did not agree with his digestive track and he was in a world of hurt from one porta john to the next. So, figure out your eating and drinking habits on these training rides. Never introduce a new food or liquid on ride day.


I will be starting to train for my next century in November in just a week or two. I will follow mostly the same plan as before. Ramp up the weekly main ride by 5-10 per week. You should be at 80 at least 2 weeks before your century. Your fitness level will not increase over the last week and besides you will have to take it easier that last week of perparation.


Most of all, have fun.


john
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Old 07-30-18, 12:09 PM
  #33  
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This thread brings up another point. In my mind there are three kinds of cyclists. There's the occasional cyclist, who rides his bike around the campground once or twice a year while on vacation. Then there's the recreational cyclist who does it for, you know, recreation. While that might not be on a regular schedule, it's enough that the bike doesn't need a major tune-up between rides. Then there's the racers - be they amateurs or pros, they ride a LOT, regardless of weather or season.

So claiming to be a 'recreational' rider is s very wide brush. It doesn't necessarily mean you're serious; but you ride enough to want the bike adjusted to you and keep the chain lubed. Some of the people described by the OP might be occasional riders and will need a lot of time working up to 100 miles.
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Old 07-30-18, 12:35 PM
  #34  
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I don't have enough experience to tell you how to organize the ride or train for the distance yourself, but if it were me, the first thing I'd do is make sure all the riders had the same understanding of what you are planning to do. For example, how organized a ride is it? Are you having a support vehicle, mechanic, etc or is everyone expected to be prepared to deal with a flat, etc. What kind of route, how many stops, etc.

Maybe most importantly, are you going to do anything to assure that everyone is prepared to ride the distance or just show up and hope the other participants have trained? If someone can't make it, will you drop them or does that end the ride?

With the diversity of fitness levels what you're doing seems challenging but if they fully understand what the expectations are, its a lot less likely they'll be pissed at you later on. Hope it all works out and you all have a great ride.
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Old 07-30-18, 12:39 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by JLDickmon View Post
shoot.. that's the area we'll be winding up in..
The Apple Cider Century is on my calendar! Perhaps I will see you there. To prepare my wife and I have been riding weekly. Our training is different because she is prepping for triathlons so she does three or more rides per week. I ride with her on weekend rides and the occasional short evening ride.

The idea is start where you are and add miles as you go. No need to hit the full 100 prior to the actual century, if you can do 75-80 miles and not be in pain the next day you can do the full 100.

My training has included the following and I believe I am ready right now for the ride:

Early summer - May/June - Fast (average 15mph, top speed 20mph so fast is a relative term) 20 miles at least once per week.

Mid summer - June Two 40 mile fast rides and two 50-60 mile rides.

Late summer (I am also in Michigan so we are in late summer in July) On three consecutive weekends we did 80 miles, 56 miles then 63 miles.

We plan to do 60 miles this weekend at an organized ride "Pedal and Whine". However if the weather is bad we will shorten this one if need be because my wife will be on her taper week prior to a big tri the following weekend.

We plan to continue 20-40 mile weekly rides and at least one more 80 mile ride in August/September prior to the century..
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Old 07-30-18, 01:47 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Can you make it just a longer than usual group ride?
How far are your rides right now, and how often?

~~~~

It sounds like this is more like a group of friends that ride together, instead of a formal bike club.

I know some groups like that. They regularly ride together, for 40 to 60 miles. Their occasional 100 mile ride is just another ride, but more difficult and needing some advance warning to be ready. Some of their riders skip these longer rides.

A few strong riders can do these rides with just one group ride a week, but most riders need more. For example, each week, 2 or 3 group rides, usually 2+ hours, and often one is a longer ride.

These riders have a good idea of the group's usual speeds and efforts from the shorter rides, so they don't get in over their heads. I think most riders that can complete a 70 mile ride with some reserves at the end can do 100 miles with no big problems. It helps to be able to ride 60 miles pretty comfortably; then the 100 isn't such a stretch. ("ride 60 miles comfortably"...that's a big achievement for many riders, and quite impressive to non-riders. For many riders, it requires regular weekly rides, at least two rides, but three or four is better..
This is exactly what I was thinking. I am the informal leader of a group of about 12 people who do a ride most weekends (usually only half the group or less at any one ride) and occasionally do either a big organized century ride or an informal 100 mile ride with just the group. When a big ride is coming up we adopt a stepped increase in our ride distances/intensities as suggested in some of the training plans in preceding posts. During the week we converge via email on an agreed-to start location, rough route/distance and proposed lunch stop (the important part!). We also discuss bailout routes so that the less fit can ride with us at the beginning but take shortcuts back to the start. I don't think you need anything more than that. Just make your final ride a 100-miler and ensure that folks know about bailout plans.

That said, it's important that people know to bring cell phones, tools and spare parts (tubes, patch kits, chain links) and know how to use them. This kind of informal organization doesn't work if folks cannot be self-supporting. Another thing that really helps (if people have iPhones) is to download the app Find Friends and then have everyone set it up for one day of tracking. That way if you get separated a quick look at your phone will tell you where everybody is.
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Old 08-07-18, 06:14 PM
  #37  
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A few years ago I asked the forum about preparing for a century at 58 years old. Based on most responses I was convinced that I could never prepare and complete. I did get some advice that I followed: build up to be able to ride at least 100 miles per week; do some long rides to get used to having your butt in the saddle for a number of hours; know your food and water intake (for me it was learning to drink and eat something every 1/2 hour); be patient; and have a good time. It worked for me and now I ride at least one organized century a season and ride solo centuries a few time a year.

I don't know a thing about organizing a ride. That looks harder than just cycling.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 08-08-18, 06:43 PM
  #38  
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I was going to offer advice, but never mind. You got plenty to work with.

NB: flat centuries aren’t that tough. Hilly centuries are.
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Old 08-08-18, 07:04 PM
  #39  
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If you ride ~100 miles a week for a few weeks before the century, no problem. For a fast century, make that 150 miles/week. That's how you know you butt will take it - you ride the miles. Try to plan training rides which have ~50'/mile of elevation gain for at least your long weekly ride. Hills make you strong. The RideWithGPS.com website is an excellent resource for planning rides.
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Old 08-12-18, 08:52 PM
  #40  
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You need to be able to ride at least 70 miles in one gulp without serious discomfort. There's something about the 65-70 mi. threshold that triggers a change in energy transfer systems within your body. Being able to ride 100 mi. in a week works if you're 20-30, not if you're 50+.
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Old 08-26-18, 09:29 PM
  #41  
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How late in the Spring? There is a century ride in early May in Columbus and its greatest challenge is getting trained up in the sometimes cold and wet March and April months. But it's a great incentive to get started riding early and get used to foul weather knowing you have this century looming soon.
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Old 08-27-18, 07:05 PM
  #42  
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how fast do you guys ride?

Originally Posted by Terex View Post
You need to be able to ride at least 70 miles in one gulp without serious discomfort. There's something about the 65-70 mi. threshold that triggers a change in energy transfer systems within your body. Being able to ride 100 mi. in a week works if you're 20-30, not if you're 50+.
just curious- I am 68 and ride about 30 miles at 13-14 MPH- I assumed this is too slow to do a century?

Also, how do you explain the time required to your significant other?

Len
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Old 08-28-18, 08:16 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Lenkearney View Post
just curious- I am 68 and ride about 30 miles at 13-14 MPH- I assumed this is too slow to do a century?

Also, how do you explain the time required to your significant other?

Len
13-14 miles is not too slow for a century.

As for explaining the training time needed to another, can you get them to do it with you? Ask them to help you create a training and nutrition plan? Bribes? Good luck!
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Old 08-28-18, 09:03 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Lenkearney View Post
just curious- I am 68 and ride about 30 miles at 13-14 MPH- I assumed this is too slow to do a century?

Also, how do you explain the time required to your significant other?

Len
As bnewberry said, it's not too slow, but it will take you a while. As part of my caution on preparation, in addition to just the extra miles, at 14 mph you will be seated on your bike, out in the environment (heat, cold, rain, humidity) for over 7 hours. Are you really ready for that? Also, are you planning a 100 mile ride on your own, or is this part of a large, organized ride? Are you familiar with the course? If this is an organized ride, do you know if the amount of climbing is about the same that you're used to or are more hills involved? If more hills, it will be significantly more difficult than just the additional mileage. In either event, I'd have a map of the route and give a copy of the map to someone you can call to come pick you up if you get fatigued.

Re significant other, that varies with your situation. My wife has always worked a lot, so much of the time I've ridden, hiked, skied etc. has been when she's been at work. Our kids are all out of the house and spread around the world, so time commitments there are planned well in advance.

On any long rides, whether with a group or by myself, I've always brought maps so I could find the fastest route home if necessary or give pickup information to my wife if she was available. Again, I'd advise you to test yourself on a 60-70 mile ride first and see how your body responds. Good luck!
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Old 08-28-18, 12:40 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Lenkearney View Post
just curious- I am 68 and ride about 30 miles at 13-14 MPH- I assumed this is too slow to do a century?

Also, how do you explain the time required to your significant other?

Len
There are lots of folks who ride centuries at your pace. If you can handle 7 or 8 hours of riding, its just a matter of doing it. If you join an organized century, you'll also be riding with other folks and have food/water/rest stops to make it easier.

The 2nd question is tougher. Maybe tell her your plans to skydive into the nudist burlesque fest with your biker buddies fell through so you're riding a century instead.

BB
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Old 09-16-18, 04:58 AM
  #46  
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I rode my first supported century in several years yesterday - my club's annual charity century ride. Normally when I train for one, I build up gradually, doing a bunch of 50s, a few 60s and 70s, and maybe one 80 in the weeks beforehand. This year there was none of that. I have been riding a lot and am fairly fit but my rides have been generally in the 40s, with a few 50s and one 60 in the last couple of months. It was a warm day and I was riding with 5 others who were more distance-fit than I. Up to the first rest stop at 40 miles I felt great. We averaged 18.7 on a fairly flat route and I could have pushed harder. The next 40 (stop 2) was very rolling and I felt myself starting to lose my legs at about 65 miles. Me and one other guy (a strong rider who also hasn't done much distance work this year) decided to back off. The final 22 was a grind. My fellow rider was cramping regularly and there were a couple of decent hills. I definitely limped in with a final average of 16.7 over 102 miles with a sore butt.

The moral is, if your in decent ride fitness you can do a century without too much heavy training, but I recommend a very slow, steady pace. It is way too easy to get caught up in the excitement in a supported century ride.
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Old 09-16-18, 12:40 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
There are lots of folks who ride centuries at your pace. If you can handle 7 or 8 hours of riding, its just a matter of doing it. If you join an organized century, you'll also be riding with other folks and have food/water/rest stops to make it easier.

The 2nd question is tougher. Maybe tell her your plans to skydive into the nudist burlesque fest with your biker buddies fell through so you're riding a century instead.

BB
I did the Leelanua Harvest century yesterday as a "training" ride for the Apple Cider century in two weeks. This is what happens when your significant other is a triathlete. I was 10 hours on the course which had four food stops and an optional stop at the Grand Traverse light house. I estimate 9 hours of riding time. Slower than I anticipated, but it was a hilly course.

This link includes the route and elevations.


On edit, my wife, who tracks her workouts on her watch tells me I am bad with time. I was on the course 9 hours with less than 8 in ride time because of taking two long stops, one for lunch the other at the light house.


Last edited by bnewberry; 09-16-18 at 01:54 PM. Reason: I am bad at keeping time.
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