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Thinking about a century

Old 09-16-21, 07:23 PM
  #1  
donm1967
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Thinking about a century

I've been riding for years just for exercise, nothing extreme. Last year after back surgery I start riding more and farther. I continued this year, and bought a road bike.
I ride 15-20 mi 3-4x during the week (avg 16.5 mph), and a longer ride on the weekend. My longest ride was 50 mi last weekend with a friend. We were pretty tired last 10 miles, probably started too fast. Avg speed was 15.5 mph. We're goig to try 60 this weekend.
If we can do 60, is it reasonable to think I can do a century in 2 weeks? I've never done group rides, never done an organized ride. There is an option for 68 mi, which I'm starting to think might be more enjoyable rather than struggling to complete 100. Or should I just go for it ? I know eat/drink every hour, slower pace, stop, stretch, etc.

thx, Don
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Old 09-16-21, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by donm1967 View Post
I've been riding for years just for exercise, nothing extreme. Last year after back surgery I start riding more and farther. I continued this year, and bought a road bike.
I ride 15-20 mi 3-4x during the week (avg 16.5 mph), and a longer ride on the weekend. My longest ride was 50 mi last weekend with a friend. We were pretty tired last 10 miles, probably started too fast. Avg speed was 15.5 mph. We're goig to try 60 this weekend.
If we can do 60, is it reasonable to think I can do a century in 2 weeks? I've never done group rides, never done an organized ride. There is an option for 68 mi, which I'm starting to think might be more enjoyable rather than struggling to complete 100. Or should I just go for it ? I know eat/drink every hour, slower pace, stop, stretch, etc.

thx, Don
I would go for the 68 mile option, and see how that goes. If you're tired the last 10 miles of 60, imagine how tired you be 40 miles later!
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Old 09-16-21, 07:55 PM
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Just do it....
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Old 09-16-21, 08:06 PM
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I've seen people say that you can ride in one day what you average in a typical week. When I did my first century the longest I'd ridden a bike for was 2h10m. I made it about four hours before I started to hurt badly - mostly my lower back and rear. I finished, though.

So, sure, go for it.
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Old 09-16-21, 08:23 PM
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Assuming the 100 mile route doesn't include loads of climbing compared to your usual routes, you take it a little easier (don't blast off from the gun) and remember to fuel correctly, you should be fine! *

It's a big step up though so be prepared to suffer at times and summon some grit to push through towards the end.


* By fine, I mean you can do it! It may or may not hurt. Badly.
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Old 09-16-21, 08:36 PM
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I think you can improve your endurance a bit by doing the 68m this week and then try something in the 80-85 mile range next week. Take a week to ride a lower volume of miles with maybe your long ride about 35miles and the the following week go for the 100 mile mark!
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Old 09-16-21, 08:52 PM
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I figured I'd get mixed responses The ride is Oct 3 so not much more time to train. They say at the 48 mi rest stop is when you need to decide 68 or 100.
I did think about hills too and asked the club organizing the ride. they said 1600' for the 100, with a 4-5 "noticeable" climbs. On our 50 last week we did 1100', but not too steep.

I'll see how the 60 goes on Saturday. I just need to get my friend to remember to not go all out. What ached the most during our last ride was upper back/shoulders.
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Old 09-16-21, 08:52 PM
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Things that might bite you, some you already mentioned.

Starting too fast. Newbs do it, veterans do it, pros do it. Don't do it.
Getting dehydrated. Depending on the weather, this can be extremely difficult to avoid. It will lead to much suffering later, if you let it happen. Drink a lot, pee a lot.
Underfueling. Lots of debate here, but bottom line if you get behind on eating, it's tough to catch up. Power goes down, suffering goes up.
Related, eating the wrong stuff. Do you know what your stomach can handle for a lot of hours? You're gonna eat a lot of food, don't eat the wrong stuff.
Bike fit. Anything that hurts at little at 40 miles is going to hurt a lot later. Find it, fix it.
Attitude. Just the right amount of finish-at-all-costs is needed; not enough and you'll sag out, a little too much can get you in a world of hurt.

With that in mind, do it.
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Old 09-16-21, 09:00 PM
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If you can ride 50 or 60 in a day, you can ride 100. Start earlier, pace yourself, and be sure to eat and drink enough (but don't eat too much) along the way.
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Old 09-16-21, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by donm1967 View Post
I've been riding for years just for exercise, nothing extreme. Last year after back surgery I start riding more and farther. I continued this year, and bought a road bike.
I ride 15-20 mi 3-4x during the week (avg 16.5 mph), and a longer ride on the weekend. My longest ride was 50 mi last weekend with a friend. We were pretty tired last 10 miles, probably started too fast. Avg speed was 15.5 mph. We're goig to try 60 this weekend.
If we can do 60, is it reasonable to think I can do a century in 2 weeks? I've never done group rides, never done an organized ride. There is an option for 68 mi, which I'm starting to think might be more enjoyable rather than struggling to complete 100. Or should I just go for it ?

thx, Don
A 68 mile supported adventure will be fun. You could do a century on your own any time. Itís all about fun- take care.
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Old 09-16-21, 11:35 PM
  #11  
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If I just wanted to be able to say "I did it" even if I did it badly .... I'd just go for it.

Maybe I would send the last 25 miles hating myself, life, cycling, everyone who asked it I was okay, and all the parts of my body which really hurt sharply .... and maybe I would have to stop every five or seven miles in the last 25, because it hurt too much .... but I'd make it. Or not.

If I wanted to Enjoy a century, I would take my time preparing and make sure i was ready. it might be a seven-hour adventure, so I would need to plan for changes in weather, and Lots of food and even more water and/or sports drinks. I would probably want to consider restroom breaks and where they could be done conveniently. And it depends f you wanted to be as much as possible non-stop, or a 20-minute break at 70 miles was okay with you.

I am too old to ride to prove stuff. I know I can hurt myself and I tend to regret it more and recover Much more slowly as I age. if you are fit and young, you might lose a few days to stiffness and soreness and fatigue. I might lose a week or more before my body was ready to ride again---which I why I would rather prepare more and push myself less on the day of.

I like to enjoy my rides, even if I am enjoying riding hard .... which I cannot do for long .... so for me, I'd do the 68 and work up to 100 over a longer time. But maybe you have the capacity to do it and not regret it. Who Knows.

I find my lower back is where I get the worst and sharpest pain. Neck and shoulders feel stiff and sore but the lower back muscles really scream at the end of a near-capacity ride. My legs get tired and sometimes cramp (which really sucks) but the only unbearable pain is usually my lower back.

Keep us updated please.
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Old 09-16-21, 11:50 PM
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If Iím paying for an organized century, I want to enjoy it! I make sure Iíve done a 70 or 80 mile ride within two weeks of the ride. If the century has big hills, I throw some hills into my training ride. Then I know Iím good to go. Why pay to suffer when you can suffer for free?
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Old 09-17-21, 12:02 AM
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Originally Posted by donm1967 View Post
I did think about hills too and asked the club organizing the ride. they said 1600' for the 100, with a 4-5 "noticeable" climbs. On our 50 last week we did 1100', but not too steep.

Less that 500 metres of elevation gain spread over 160km, you'll be fine. 😎
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Old 09-17-21, 04:23 AM
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If you do the 60 mile training ride and are not miserable, go for the century ride, especially since the course is pretty flat. I've found that 2/3 rule works for me when I'm doing normal riding before. With some focused training in advance, I've was tired but comfortable after a 120 mile ride when my previous long one was in the 60 mile range.

If there is a rest stop at 60 miles or so, after that you just have 2 more of those short midweek rides to go with a break in between.
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Old 09-17-21, 04:32 AM
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Centuries are overrated. Unless youíre trying to impress non-cycling people by telling them you did a ďCenturyĒ?

Nobody actually cares at all. I mean people at my work are impressed by an 18 mile commute. Theyíre dumbfounded if I take the long way to work at 32 miles.

Ride what youíre comfortable riding. If itís a personal goal then sure, have at it.

With your riding experience you can do one no problem.

But really, why would you.
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Old 09-17-21, 05:08 AM
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You can ride in a day what you normally ride in a week. When I get to mile about mile 70 my body starts to protest for a little bit trying to pretend its tired. Normally clears up around mile 80 or 85 and I finish pretty well.
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Old 09-17-21, 05:33 AM
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I intended to basically say what Maelochs said. If you want to be able to say you did a century, then you can almost certainly do it. If you want to enjoy the experience, that may be a different story.

Everyone is different, but I'll relate my experience for reference: prior to my first century (solo), I had regularly been doing a 65 mile, very hilly, ride most Saturdays, with another 2 hour ride on Sunday, for at least several months to a year (this was nearly 20 years ago, so my memory of the run-up is a little foggy). I wanted to do a century, decided to do it solo (i.e. not as part of an organized ride) so if I wimped out no one would know but me. I took it pretty easy, but I still hit a bit of a wall at around 80 miles. After pushing through that (like I had a choice - pre-cell phone days), the last 5 miles or so I felt like I was flying - I guess I'd gotten a second wind - and I finished smiling. Not very fast, mind you (about 6.75 hours ride time, 7-ish hours elapsed, as I recall), but no major problems. (I'm your basic schlub, no one's idea of an athlete, definitely not "fast", but fairly fit.)

But, hey, you could be different. I enjoy solo rides, it sounds like you enjoy riding with others. You may find the camaraderie energizing and you could enjoy yourself immensely.
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Old 09-17-21, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by donm1967 View Post
I've been riding for years just for exercise, nothing extreme. Last year after back surgery I start riding more and farther. I continued this year, and bought a road bike.
I ride 15-20 mi 3-4x during the week (avg 16.5 mph), and a longer ride on the weekend. My longest ride was 50 mi last weekend with a friend. We were pretty tired last 10 miles, probably started too fast. Avg speed was 15.5 mph. We're goig to try 60 this weekend.
If we can do 60, is it reasonable to think I can do a century in 2 weeks? I've never done group rides, never done an organized ride. There is an option for 68 mi, which I'm starting to think might be more enjoyable rather than struggling to complete 100. Or should I just go for it ? I know eat/drink every hour, slower pace, stop, stretch, etc.

thx, Don
It is definitely doable with your background, but not very long to prepare. See how the 60 mile ride goes and decide from there. If that goes well, you could try 75 miles the following weekend. Unless those rides are seriously hurting then stretching it to 100 should be fine if you start fresh. So just make sure you are well rested and eat well in the final week beforehand.
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Old 09-17-21, 07:44 AM
  #19  
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If you can ride 60 miles in relative comfort with your contact points - hands, feet and butt, you'll do OK.

Hydrate well for a few days leading up to the ride. Plan on taking in 200-300 easily digestible carbs per hour during the ride depending on your weight and effort required for the terrain.

If at between 60-70 miles you find yourself hungry. Stop for a light meal. No since in bonking if this is just for fun.
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Old 09-17-21, 07:58 AM
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Why wait for the organized ride to find out? Just go ride a 100 miles and you'll know what to expect during and after.

Don't skimp on water and carb's. I put virtually all my carb's in my bottles. If you rather use gels or other food that's fine too.

It'll be good to try it out first because even though you might be physically ready for it, there might be some mental stuff and even some physiological stuff you just need to push through. Then you'll think you are ready for something like the RAGBRAI or even a trans-America ride.

Last edited by Iride01; 09-17-21 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 09-17-21, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ChamoisDavisJr View Post
Centuries are overrated. Unless you’re trying to impress non-cycling people by telling them you did a “Century”?

Nobody actually cares at all. I mean people at my work are impressed by an 18 mile commute. They’re dumbfounded if I take the long way to work at 32 miles.

Ride what you’re comfortable riding. If it’s a personal goal then sure, have at it.

With your riding experience you can do one no problem.

But really, why would you.
Wow! What a b!tch face.
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Old 09-17-21, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Wow! What a b!tch face.
^ I don't understand what this means. Are you condemning or teasing? Is that a common expression now?
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Old 09-17-21, 08:27 AM
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It means that he's being an a$$hat.
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Old 09-17-21, 09:00 AM
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Except he isn't.

Why a "Century"? Why a "Metric Century"?

Either it is a personal goal, or it is done to impress others. My take on that is, if I can impress you with something I can do, you aren't worth impressing. Sure, people can be positive about me making an effort, exceeding limits, all that .... but anyone who knows I am trying to impress, and is impressed .... weak. Do it to do it, don't do it to impress. This isn't junior high school.

If done for oneself, fine .... but I wouldn't hurt myself for it.

After losing a lot of fitness, riding even metric century was a serious challenge I have done a few rides of 60.9 miles, 61.2 miles, 59 and change ...... but each was exactly as long as it needed to be.

Maybe @ChamoisDavisJr was being a richard .... maybe not.

Llook what he says .....
Originally Posted by ChamoisDavisJr View Post
Centuries are overrated. Unless you’re trying to impress non-cycling people by telling them you did a “Century”?

Nobody actually cares at all. I mean people at my work are impressed by an 18 mile commute. They’re dumbfounded if I take the long way to work at 32 miles.
I think many of us have seen this. I recall @Jim from Boston saying how his co-workers would always ask in amazement, "You rode to work in This weather?" even though he rode to work every day for years and always (obviously) answered, "Yes."

He then says,
Originally Posted by ChamoisDavisJr View Post
Ride what you’re comfortable riding. If it’s a personal goal then sure, have at it.

With your riding experience you can do one no problem.

But really, why would you.
So, he Is offering encouragement, and in fact offers assurance of success. He isn't attacking the OP or undermining him.

Anyway .... different interpretations ...

Last edited by Maelochs; 09-17-21 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 09-17-21, 09:20 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Except he isn't.

Why a "Century"? Why a "Metric Century"?

Either it is a personal goal, or it is done to impress others. My take on that is, if I can impress you with something I can do, you aren't worth impressing. Sure, people can be positive about me making an effort, exceeding limits, all that .... but anyone who knows I am trying to impress, and is impressed .... weak. Do it to do it, don't do it to impress. This isn't junior high school.

If done for oneself, fine .... but I wouldn't hurt myself for it.

After losing a lot of fitness, riding even metric century was a serious challenge I have done a few rides of 60.9 miles, 61.2 miles, 59 and change ...... but each was exactly as long as it needed to be.

Maybe @ChamoisDavisJr was being a richard .... maybe not.

Llook what he says ..... I think many of us have seen this. I recall @Jim from Boston saying how his co-workers would always ask in amazement, "You rode to work in This weather?" even though he rode to work every day for years and always (obviously) answered, "Yes."

He then says, So, he Is offering encouragement, and in fact offers assurance of success. He isn't attacking the OP or undermining him.

Anyway .... different interpretations ...

Yeah, I would have been ok (I guess) with the post until the "really, why would you." At that point, I don't agree that could be interpreted reasonably as words of encouragement.

Distance goals are arbitrary, film at 11. Goals help us motivate ourselves, I think questioning them is therefore just an act to undermine that motivation and serves no constructive purpose.

I don't ride to impress anyone and OP never said they were, so I don't know why the issue of coworkers' feelings was even raised. OP is just seeking information about whether the difference between 60 miles and 100 is going to wipe them out.
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