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Novice Century Etiquette

Old 06-05-22, 03:40 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
You will feel good early in the event and the perception may be that you shouldn't stop at the rest/support stop. DO SO. No matter how good you feel. Stop in, stretch your legs, get something to eat and drink and just be off the bike for a moment.
That is already part of the plan. My first marathon I planned a pace strategy and even though I felt I could have started a bit faster, I stuck with the plan and was glad I did. On the other hand, I did a half marathon with an out and back route once. I felt good going out and decided to push it a little too hard thinking I could PR that day, I hated life that day.
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Old 06-05-22, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
My LBC sponsors a century every year. They serve pizza at one of the stops. I'd recommend being very mindful of what you eat and drink.... (I'm not criticizing my LBC - I think they're giving the riders what they want. I just wonder how many riders stuff themselves with pizza and therefore struggle for the last 15 miles or so.)
My local century features Chik-Fil-A fried chicken sandwiches at the next-to-last rest stop. I don’t know how anyone eats fried chicken and then rides another 30 miles in late July when it’s over 100F out.

And OP: the fact that you’re thinking about what what you need to know for your first century indicates that you’re conscientious and thoughtful enough to be just fine. Have fun!
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Old 06-05-22, 05:39 PM
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Don't know about the gran fondo format, but on the centuries and metrics I've done, there is a group that goes off the front and those are the serious group riders. The remaining 99% ride about their own pace and mini-groups come together and fall apart. The mini-groups aren't real pacelines, though maybe a couple of riders know each other and take pulls and the others just happen to be going about the same speed. At the start/rollout I need to keep my wits about me as it can be kind of squirrely, but the speed tends to be really slow so it's really a question of deciding if you have to get out of your cleats. When there's lots of riders around it doesn't really make any sense to do too much communicating, but when spread out car up/car back calls might help, maybe some on your left if appropriate. Use a "when in Rome" style to judge communication.

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Old 06-05-22, 05:58 PM
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for me, 100 +/-10 miles in one continuous ride without breaks is contingent on the route (environment) . Heavy traffic with intersections, busy pathways, rough surfaces (for a road bicycle) or very poor weather will increase the R&R frequency. I don't like to stop, just to stop for a break. Much rather be rollin!
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Old 06-05-22, 07:03 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by A350driver View Post
Since you usually ride alone, be aware of hand signals by riders ahead of you, usually pointing to obstacles in the road such as potholes or sticks, etc. Also you will hear riders behind you yelling something like, “Car back!” which means there’s a car coming up about to pass you. Move over if you have the room, but don’t cut anyone off.

Keep your head on a swivel watching for riders around you, cars, dogs, potholes, etc especially at the start when the pack is huge and going fast. After it thins out you can relax and enjoy it, but the mass starts are always a recipe for disaster if someone in front of you goes down. Leave yourself an out, don’t get trapped on the inside of a mob. Keep your fingers on your break levers until the group thins out.
​​​​​​IMHO, I think this, especially the first paragraph, is the best advice. You're riding alone but still in a group. Point out the road hazards to riders behind you and let riders ahead know a car is behind. In the US, I typically ride alone but always with a mirror. If I know I'm alone, obviously I don't point out hazards, but if someone is behind and not even "with" me, I do.

On another note...

I've ridden a handful of centuries and never alone. My smallest was just me and another rider. My largest was in a very small group with a 1000 others. I am typically a solitary rider and I could probably do a century on my own (my longest is two 75 mile days back to back), BUT just having one other person out there as your lifeline is priceless. They may be providing "support" to you or you to them, but I think you will get an extra physical boost from it.

Enjoy!

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Old 06-05-22, 07:11 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by ted_major View Post
I don’t know how anyone eats fried chicken and then rides another 30 miles in late July when it’s over 100F out.
The rest stop I volunteered at last year was hosted by an Octoberfest organization. They were offering beer and brats to the riders. I don't know how many of the people taking them up on them were riding the full Gran or one of the two shorter distances, but there was a lot of people I saw getting seconds on the beer. And it was very hot that day with high humidity.

Originally Posted by scott967 View Post
Don't know about the gran fondo format, but on the centuries and metrics I've done, there is a group that goes off the front and those are the serious group riders. The remaining 99% ride about their own pace and mini-groups come together and fall apart. The mini-groups aren't real pacelines, though maybe a couple of riders know each other and take pulls and the others just happen to be going about the same speed.
This is what I believe this ride is. There is an Ace peloton registration option that is escorted and starts ahead of the recreational riders. The Ace riders have I think two or three popup food stations, the rest of the pack gets a rest stop about every 15 miles.

Originally Posted by Troul View Post
for me, 100 +/-10 miles in one continuous ride without breaks is contingent on the route (environment) . Heavy traffic with intersections, busy pathways, rough surfaces (for a road bicycle) or very poor weather will increase the R&R frequency. I don't like to stop, just to stop for a break. Much rather be rollin!
That is something I don't think I could have done at any point in my life even training well. I know that my chance of finishing this depends on my judicious use of the rest stops and managing my pace.
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Old 06-05-22, 07:26 PM
  #32  
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On big event rides I've done, the riders thin out after the 30 and 40 mile routes split off -- A lot of riders do the shorter courses. And by then, the fast riders are long gone, and slow, steady ones are way back. The remaining riders are more predictable, rarely hard braking or swerving. But still pay attention, of course.

I like all the rest stops, and usually stop at every one (perhaps skipping the first one if it's really early.) Eating at each stop and topping off my bottle is very useful for keeping on top of calories and water for such a long ride.

Is this your first century? It's funny how I check the mileage on my bike computer after riding for "a long time". I must be pretty far into the ride by now... Nope, it's always 22.3 miles, 24.5, or similar. I still have 78 to go!! What! But by the 40-50 mile point, I'm still rolling fine, and the ride is looking doable.

It's nice to ride with a small group or a couple of riders that's going my speed. That really seems to make the miles roll by quicker. And if I'm solo, that group changes quite often! Let the faster groups go ahead, don't try to hold on. Too slow? Continue with a different group that passes by at a reasonable pace.

I load the route into my Garmin, even though the roads are marked. At least once or twice during the ride, I'm wondering if I missed a turn or followed the wrong distance, and it's nice to know that I'm still on the route, how far to the next turn, and how far to the finish.

If you have to use brakes heavily to slow quickly, calling out "Slowing!" will give the riders behind a bit of reaction time. But heavy braking like that should be rare.

Last edited by rm -rf; 06-05-22 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 06-05-22, 07:45 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
The rest stop I volunteered at last year was hosted by an Octoberfest organization. They were offering beer and brats to the riders. I don't know how many of the people taking them up on them were riding the full Gran or one of the two shorter distances, but there was a lot of people I saw getting seconds on the beer. And it was very hot that day with high humidity.


This is what I believe this ride is. There is an Ace peloton registration option that is escorted and starts ahead of the recreational riders. The Ace riders have I think two or three popup food stations, the rest of the pack gets a rest stop about every 15 miles.


That is something I don't think I could have done at any point in my life even training well. I know that my chance of finishing this depends on my judicious use of the rest stops and managing my pace.
Doing it infrequently versus daily makes or breaks my probability of making it a successful outcome. After an undetermined distance during the expedition, it becomes a mental ability that the physically body will be more influenced in succeeding imo.
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Old 06-09-22, 09:05 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
With this being your first ever group ride, I would stay at the back and not get too close the wheel in front of you. Riding close in a group requires some experience to do safely. Following the last wheel in a group is the best way to gain that experience without endangering others around you. Riding in the middle of a pack without experience is not a good idea to start off with. Your plan of starting at the middle of the back of the pack will probably put you right amongst the least experienced riders and hence the most likely to cause a crash!
I agree with Pete 82%, but it is not a guarantee that if someone screws up and falls ahead of you in the paceline, you may not hit the others that also went down. There is no good place other than leading a paceline, but that takes experience. When I was learning, I kept in the rear, but kept a wary eye ahead. Always try to ride with more experienced people who are willing to educate you until you have it down, then start taking your turn at pulling the group and rotating back.
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Old 06-10-22, 04:02 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
I agree with Pete 82%, but it is not a guarantee that if someone screws up and falls ahead of you in the paceline, you may not hit the others that also went down. There is no good place other than leading a paceline, but that takes experience. When I was learning, I kept in the rear, but kept a wary eye ahead. Always try to ride with more experienced people who are willing to educate you until you have it down, then start taking your turn at pulling the group and rotating back.
Yeah, that’s a good point. In a group I like to be either up front or right at the back. Middle of the pack is the worst place for 💥
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Old 06-10-22, 04:55 AM
  #36  
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I think I miscommunicated when if I suggested I would be riding in a group. This will be my first organized ride and I will still be riding solo in as much as I won't be riding among others as a group or drafting off of others, especially strangers. Drafting off of someone uninvited is among the poor etiquette I had already knew to avoid (although I'm not sure how I may feel about someone trying to draft off of me). The Ace group and other semi-serious pace line riders will be long gone by the time I cross the start line. I received an email this week explaining the starting method. It pretty much explained what I already assumed to be the case for the start.
Saturday Staging at the Start: If you registered for the Ace (only bibs 1-100), stage in the designated area at the very front. For all other Fondo participants (Gran, Medio, Piccolo), please situate yourself in the rider staging area according to your realistic skill level and pace. Look for the signs. If you know you can sustain 18+ mph, head toward the front. If you’re taking your me and getting your money’s worth, please stick to the back.
Looking for the signs will help me find the "middle of the back" that I still think I want to start at. I do something similar when seeding myself in marathon start corrals by looking for the pacer for my anticipated finish time. There was also mention of the "Tough Turn", a 32.7 mile point that should be reached by 10:30 am. If this turn is not reached by then, it is suggested taking the Medio route the rest of the way. Reaching this by 10:30 I don't anticipate being a problem, but I will honestly assess how it is going by then and hopefully make the right decision even if I reach it in plenty of time.

While I'm a bit more nervous about this than I was before my first half or full marathon, I still feel confident that I can complete it if I stick to a plan and manage my pace, rests and hydration.
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Old 06-10-22, 05:25 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Chuck M View Post
I think I miscommunicated when if I suggested I would be riding in a group. This will be my first organized ride and I will still be riding solo in as much as I won't be riding among others as a group or drafting off of others, especially strangers. Drafting off of someone uninvited is among the poor etiquette I had already knew to avoid (although I'm not sure how I may feel about someone trying to draft off of me). The Ace group and other semi-serious pace line riders will be long gone by the time I cross the start line. I received an email this week explaining the starting method. It pretty much explained what I already assumed to be the case for the start.


Looking for the signs will help me find the "middle of the back" that I still think I want to start at. I do something similar when seeding myself in marathon start corrals by looking for the pacer for my anticipated finish time. There was also mention of the "Tough Turn", a 32.7 mile point that should be reached by 10:30 am. If this turn is not reached by then, it is suggested taking the Medio route the rest of the way. Reaching this by 10:30 I don't anticipate being a problem, but I will honestly assess how it is going by then and hopefully make the right decision even if I reach it in plenty of time.

While I'm a bit more nervous about this than I was before my first half or full marathon, I still feel confident that I can complete it if I stick to a plan and manage my pace, rests and hydration.
If you are effectively going to ride solo and avoid drafting in groups then just treat it like normal riding in traffic. Just be mindful of any groups potentially coming past you along the way. IME you will initially get loads of small groups coming along at varying speeds, gradually thinning out during the ride. Depending on the size of the event, you will probably find yourself riding completely alone after the first hour, or even first 10 mins!
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Old 06-10-22, 06:16 AM
  #38  
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Don't underestimate the heat, it will be in the 90s and most of the route is on open roads with no shelter from the sun or the wind.

Try to have fun with it though. I did the tulsa tough century last year and personally it started out fun but many factors quickly turned it into a grueling, miserable ride. Part of that due to the terrible heat and humidity we had that day, a lot of it to poor training and preparation. My legs kept cramping to the point of locking up for the last 40 miles. I also did not enjoy the course. A good chunk of it being on two lane 65mph highways with no shoulders out in hickville or methville areas where cyclists don't get a whole lot of respect in normal times, let alone when they have to pass hundreds of us.
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Old 06-10-22, 07:07 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by freetors View Post
I did the tulsa tough century last year and personally it started out fun but many factors quickly turned it into a grueling, miserable ride. Part of that due to the terrible heat and humidity we had that day, a lot of it to poor training and preparation.
I remember last year the weather being brutal. Much of the Spring had been quite pleasant and then that morning being hot and humid.
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Old 06-11-22, 07:30 PM
  #40  
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I was unable to finish. I cut a tire at about 75 miles, replaced the tube and made it to the next rest stop 10 miles away. There they had a floor pump and once it was pumped to proper pressure, the cut didn't look like anything I wanted to risk riding on with the 106 degree heat index so I had to sag in. I think 85% is a good strong B and I'm not disappointed.

Other than that things went well enough. The etiquette concerns I had must have been a non issue because I didn't get yelled at, flipped off, have water bottles sprayed at me or threatened with a frame pump. I feel good enough that I came home, took a shower and went out to dinner with my wife. And although my Sunday run partner is out of town, I may just take an easy shakeout run tomorrow anyway if I keep feeling this good.
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Last edited by Chuck M; 06-11-22 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 06-11-22, 08:04 PM
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Don’t run into anyone and break rear wheel spokes. Happened to me in my second century. I Road 98 miles with a broken spoke twisty around the other spokes. And over tensioned spokes to straighten the wheel.
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