Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Rode my first century

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Rode my first century

Old 08-24-13, 05:49 PM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: South Eastern PA
Posts: 199
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
Rode my first century

I rode my first century today and have to say I don't think I will do it again. Even though I have been riding alot this year and did some longer rides the last couple weeks I really suffered today. I could not wait to get off of the bike. Back, arms, shoulders, neck. You name it it hurts.
I am glad I did it just to say that I have done one but i think I will stick to 50-60 mile rides. I will say that this was a difficult century with 5600' of climbing. I may do a flat one at some point. Would be less time in the seat.

Does anyone enjoy doing these?
Sasquatch16 is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 06:17 PM
Senior Member
volosong's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: North Idaho
Posts: 2,809

Bikes: n + 1

Liked 27 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by Sasquatch16
...Does anyone enjoy doing these?
Enjoy? I guess I have to honestly say no. But I still do several a year. It is an accomplishment, especially at our age. I think I ride them because I can, and will continue to do so for as long as I'm able. For me, at about mile 80 is when I really start hurting. Yeah! Mostly the butt and shoulders for me. Legs and arms are usually fine. I try to ride at least one metric century, (62.1 miles), every month. Those are a lot easier, but I still take one short and one long break. Short one is at about mile 20 and longer break at about mile 45-50. The 50 mile break is when I re-fill my water bottles. Depending on the temperature, some times I limp home those last 5-10 miles.

Congratulations on your first century. How many breaks did you take?
volosong is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 07:04 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Westchester County, NY
Posts: 1,299

Bikes: Giant TCR SL3 and Trek 1.5

Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
All centuries aren't created equally, but you'll see many of them run near coastal areas to minimize climbing. It's certainly not nothing, but if you pace yourself, 5600 feet over 100 miles isn't particularly bad. The trick with these kinds of events for newcomers, I think, is to focus on pacing yourself the first 20-30 miles and once you're warmed up, focus on accelerating your speed. Endurance events are as much mental as physical sometimes, so it's important to be "fresh" mentally when you need to draw a bit extra physical effort.
cafzali is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 07:04 PM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: South Eastern PA
Posts: 199
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
There were 4 breaks. Kept them sort. Filled bottles and quick snack. Had 10 bottles of water and gatorade and still did not have to use the bathroom. Will add that I am also a Clyde @ 260 lbs.
Sasquatch16 is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 07:09 PM
Senior Member
mprelaw's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Posts: 2,318
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I actually do enjoy them. I have done 3 so far this year (one was a "short" one at 97 miles, due to road closures over the regular route), and another one (supported) in 2 weeks. That one has 3 rest stops, and they do help prevent those shoulder and lower back pains. I'm pretty flexible and have a good fitting on the bike, but lower back pain usually sets in at about 70-80 miles. That's when I get off the bike for a few minutes---works wonders.

5600' of climbing isn't easy. It's a pretty big bite for your first one. The next one will probably be easier for you.
mprelaw is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 07:11 PM
Senior Member
Dudelsack's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: South Hutchinson Island
Posts: 6,647

Bikes: Lectric Xpedition.

Liked 96 Times in 46 Posts
It was a good accomplishment. I tend to look at feet climbed as the most accurate metric of a ride, and you climbed a lot. Good work.

I think it's good to give ourselves permission not to ride centuries.
Momento mori, amor fati.

Dudelsack is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 07:18 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Santa Cruz, Ca
Posts: 427
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
4 hours is kind of when I'm done now, after that point I'm just not enjoying it that much.

I did a couple 100 mile rides, but they were just long rides where I got lost really. Don't like being on the bike that long.
aramis is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 07:20 PM
Senior Member
CbadRider's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: On the bridge with Picard
Posts: 5,932

Bikes: Specialized Allez, Specialized Sirrus

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Congratulations on completing the ride!

My body is happiest doing endurance work, so I enjoy doing centuries. I've never been fast, but I can do endurance work at 85% HR for hours and hours.

Find what your body likes to do and then stick to that.
Originally Posted by Xerum 525
Now get on your cheap bike and give me a double century. You walking can of Crisco!!

Forum Guidelines *click here*
CbadRider is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 07:26 PM
Senior Member
downtube42's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,970

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Gen 3, Soma Fog Cutter, Focus Mares AL, Detroit Bikes Sparrow FG, Volae Team, Nimbus MUni

Liked 2,202 Times in 1,156 Posts
143 enjoyable miles for me today, and I could have gone around again. Probably 2/3 your climbing. Bike fit, hydration, nutrition, pacing, fitness. The pain you describe is not necessary, and is likely fitness or bike fit.
downtube42 is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 07:36 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,821
Likes: 0
Liked 1,035 Times in 581 Posts
Congratulations. Haven't tried one yet myself. Most I've done is a metric. There's a local ride this fall that offers both. Still deciding if I should try the big one.
jon c. is online now  
Old 08-24-13, 08:11 PM
just keep riding
BluesDawg's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Milledgeville, Georgia
Posts: 13,560

Bikes: 2018 Black Mountain Cycles MCD,2017 Advocate Cycles Seldom Seen Drop Bar, 2017 Niner Jet 9 Alloy, 2015 Zukas custom road, 2003 KHS Milano Tandem, 1986 Nishiki Cadence rigid MTB, 1980ish Fuji S-12S

Liked 33 Times in 22 Posts
Congratulations. Sorry you suffered, but glad you survived. Centuries aren't for everyone, but never say never. Most anyone who can do one can learn to do them better. I suffered a lot during my first few centuries but eventually worked out my effort, hydration and nutrition balance so that I rarely hit that "out of gas" moment anymore. Centuries are always a job, but they are rarely a chore anymore. edit - and yes, I do enjoy them.
BluesDawg is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 08:47 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sunny so. cal.
Posts: 904
Liked 57 Times in 31 Posts
Congratulations! Yes, you will suffer (at least if you are at a decent pace). I'm training for one myself as most of my riding is XC mtb racing and sub-50 road rides. Time in the saddle, no matter what speed or distance will help. Have you have a bike fit done? That will help a lot if you haven't. If you have a good fit, I reco more saddle time well ahead of the next event.
bikeme is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 09:00 PM
Senior Member
Cougrrcj's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 3,478

Bikes: A few...

Liked 372 Times in 258 Posts
Congrats on your first Century!!! Sounds like you need to adjust your 'fit' a bit more than a fitness issue - if back, neck, shoulders and arms hurt anyways... At least you didn't say legs!
Cougrrcj is offline  
Old 08-24-13, 11:06 PM
Uber Goober
StephenH's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dallas area, Texas
Posts: 11,758
Liked 42 Times in 33 Posts
"Back, arms, shoulders, neck. You name it it hurts."

The idea in riding centuries is not to suffer through a lot of pain to get 'er done, but to eliminate that pain and have fun. Eliminating that pain will be a lot more worthwhile goal than riding 100 miles. Try to work on fit, upgrade your saddle if necessary. A century CAN be fun!
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."
StephenH is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 04:57 AM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: South Eastern PA
Posts: 199
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
I think fitness has a lot to do with it. Have ridden about 1800 miles this year but losing some more weight should help. Also doing some core work.

Most fun of the ride was when a young fit guy went flying by me while I was grinding up a steep hill in my lowest gear (30/32) and then went past him while he was leaning against a tree stretching out his quads.

I have had a fit but at my weight finding the right saddle has been elusive. I have a box of saddles I need to put on ebay some day. THought I found the right one, Selle SMP, but over 60 miles I really start squirming.
Sasquatch16 is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 06:21 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 58
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Good job Sasquatch! Especially impressive that an old clydesdale can do it. How old are you?
barrykai is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 06:22 AM
Senior Member
Chaco's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Encinitas CA
Posts: 865

Bikes: Scott CR1 Team

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Doing a century is no different than climbing a big hill for me. Both test my abilities. Neither is 100% fun while you're doing it. But if you get up the hill or finish the century, it leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and a better understanding of your capabilities. But the more you put into it, the easier it is to enjoy it. A 50 mile ride used to be agony for me. Now I do 60 to 75 miles every weekend and don't think anything of it.
Chaco is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 08:12 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SW Fl.
Posts: 5,653

Bikes: Day6 Semi Recumbent "FIREBALL", 1981 Custom Touring Paramount, 1983 Road Paramount, 2013 Giant Propel Advanced SL3, 2018 Specialized Red Roubaix Expert mech., 2002 Magna 7sp hybrid, 1976 Bassett Racing 45sp Cruiser

Liked 837 Times in 524 Posts
Another congratulations.

I enjoy the time in the saddle for a century and that makes all the difference in the world. If you are not super comfortable with the bike set-up, make improvements and another century could very well be awaiting you in the future.
OldTryGuy is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 09:33 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Malvern, Pa.
Posts: 439

Bikes: Trek Pilot 5.9

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Congratulations, Sasquatch16! Completing one's first century is a real accomplishment, especially for us older riders. Just think of all the individuals our age who wouldn't even dream of attempting such a physical challenge.

Pursue the type of riding you enjoy. If you find century rides to be torture, then don't do them. However, you may find that as your fitness improves and you drop some weight you may get the itch to try another one as a measure of your progress.
Banded Krait is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 01:18 PM
Junior Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: South Eastern PA
Posts: 199
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by barrykai
Good job Sasquatch! Especially impressive that an old clydesdale can do it. How old are you?
54. Just a youngster in this forum.
Sasquatch16 is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 02:05 PM
Senior Member
Rwc5830's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Harlingen, TX Warmshowers Host
Posts: 449

Bikes: Fuji, Specialized, Surly, BMC

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Congrats Sasquatch16!

My suggestion on your first century is to try and learn from that experience. To me, the first one was also really difficult. It was actually a 200K brevet so was actually 128 miles. Two years later a century is really not something I dread. Sometimes they are difficult but that is usually when riding with a group where I really push the pace.

I'm sure you realize that losing additional weight will help, especially with a lot of climbing. To date, two of my easiest centuries I have done had a mile of climbing. Where I live it is very flat, hot, humid and windy almost 12 months a year. So riding a century with hills, temps below 90 degrees and low humidity is a blessing for me.

Keep riding and you will figure it out. Good luck on your next one
Rwc5830 is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 02:48 PM
Senior Member
GFish's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Oregon
Posts: 649
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Sasquatch16
I have had a fit but at my weight finding the right saddle has been elusive. I have a box of saddles I need to put on ebay some day. THought I found the right one, Selle SMP, but over 60 miles I really start squirming.
Congratulations on completing your first century!!

A century with 5600' of climbing will test anyone's physical limits. It's going to hurt, so you did extremely well just to finish.

I'm a relatively century newbie myself, having completed my first 2 this summer, 102 and 108 miles. This is year 3 for me on the road bike, and the first 2 years taught me to pace myself, especially early when I felt strong. I either ran out of energy to soon or cramped really bad while climbing for not hydrating and warming up enough.

A couple things that have helped me; drink often, even if you don't feel thirsty and the weather is cool, eat enough to keep your energy up, stay seated climbing, spin low gears rather then standing and mashing, and for every 20 minutes in the saddle stand for 20 seconds to help relieve butt fatigue and air out the shorts.

Instead of replacing the saddle, try the 20 min. / 20 sec. rule, think of upgrading your shorts/bibs if needed for a better quality chamois and put in more miles. 1800 miles isn't all that many for riding your first century, your just getting started. By riding more and over longer distances, you'll keep improving your fitness and slowly build the stamina to handle those rides.

Again, nice going and best of luck....
GFish is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 03:17 PM
Rick@OCRR's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Los Angeles area
Posts: 6,186

Bikes: Several bikes, Road, Mountain, Commute, etc.

Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Sasquatch16
I rode my first century today. .
Does anyone enjoy doing these?
Yes, actually Sasquatch I do enjoy riding centuries! Quite a lot really . Just checked my stats and I've ridden 15 so far this year plus
three double centuries (two more doubles planned for 2013).

Unlike you, I am older (63) and rather than a new rider I've been at this road bike riding for 43 years now (rode my first century in '78). I am also lighter (155 lbs.) so that's no doubt an advantage, plus I'm very happy with my bike fit and comfort level.

I agree with all the fine suggestions above, esp. the Fit & Fitness recommendation, plus the hydration and nutrition on the ride notes. All good information for you going forward. And I do encourage you to go forward. As your experience grows and your weight decreases I expect you'll find every successive ride to be more enjoyable than the last.

While not quite a century, here's a little training ride I did yesterday: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/364474803

Climbing should not scare you; the more you do the better you get!

Congratulations on your first century and here's to many more in the future .

Rick / OCRR

Last edited by Rick@OCRR; 08-25-13 at 03:20 PM.
Rick@OCRR is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 03:58 PM
Senior Member
Terex's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: 7600' Northern New Mexico
Posts: 3,686

Bikes: Specialized 6Fattie, Parlee Z5, Scott Addict

Liked 44 Times in 28 Posts
Congrats! I did my first century, with about that amount of climbing, when I was 25. I suffered just like you, and couldn't see the point in feeling like that. After returning to riding in my mid-50's, I got to where centuries were a piece of cake. Even centuries with 10k ft. climbing. You just have to ride what you enjoy, and if you enjoy progressively longer, faster rides, centuries can be fun. Even at my strongest, I drew the line at about 100 miles. I just didn't enjoy spending more than 5-6 hours on a bike.

Right now, I'm back to 50-60 miles for my longest rides and enjoy every time I'm out. Again - great job!
Terex is offline  
Old 08-25-13, 04:21 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 349
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Last year I did my first metric, and it was hard. Then I started doing more metrics, and they became easy. I started doing a few centuries and they were hard. The last two I did weren't as hard, but they still aren't easy. At some point around 80miles I think that I absolutely hate hills and never want to climb another one in my life, but I usually get over it at mile 90. Concerning your pains, you might be tensing up too much, either from fatigue or stress that you wont finish. I did a metric where I had a 2 flats early on and was out of spares. I was worried the whole time I would have a flat, and the worry caused me to ride tense, and consequently I was very sore. Relax, pace yourself and think positive.
dalameda is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.