Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Remember your first century (100 miles)?

Old 11-26-19, 12:03 PM
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I don't remember my first century(ies). Probably with the Charles River Wheelman/LAW out of Boston. 1976 I rode my first race, loved it and centuries seemed rather unimportant after that. That summer I rode a 105 mile race, my first open race; not club race and I was sold! (It was in pouring rain. I've never been so wet.) Next summer I rode ~120 miles most midweek days off. (I worked in a bike shop. Worked all non-race Saturdays.) Rode two rides close to 200 miles that summer just because.

I've never been a badge collector. Or, "I went this many miles". For me, it's always been about the ride, as in, me riding. Now often I do organized centuries to both ride areas I wouldn't otherwise or as training for other rides. (Cycle Oregon is one event I do regularly. I love its mission, I love where we get to ride, I love riding every day and the people have become family. It is also, if I do it on my fix gear, very hard.) Some of those rides were epic and I remember well the mileage. Now I track mileage so I can actually go back and look but unless I am curious about a particular ride, I don't.

"If you remember the '70s, you weren't there ..." Too true. My head injury was 1977. There is also that deja vu my nostrils take in near daily now.

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Old 11-26-19, 02:47 PM
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You're probably right that my first century was in the 70s. Maybe it was in the 80s. Jeez, what's wrong with me!

Well, I remember once I took a four-day solo tour, and one day's ride was from Amherst, MA to Cambridge, MA, approximately 105 miles. That was in 1983. But I suspect I did some century rides before that. I just don't remember.
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Old 11-26-19, 03:16 PM
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I rode RAGBRAI VII with my parents in 1979 when I was 8 years old on a Schwinn Stingray 5-speed with drop bars and a road saddle. My dad said the century day took us around 16 hours.
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Old 11-26-19, 03:41 PM
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Man, I have to delve back into prehistory to remember some of the early century rides. Still, a lot of solo rides.

I did a couple of bike-a-thons as a kid, but I think they were about 80 miles or so. I think I finished, but I can't remember for sure. One of them I was riding the old 24" 5-speed (Gitane?) which would have put me around 6th grade. I can remember getting a flat, and the tire being a major hassle to repair. I think with the help of another rider, we did get it repaired and I got back on the road.

In the early era, we did a few rides with my parents from Creswell, OR to Riddle, OR. Not entirely straight, so 100 or so miles, perhaps more. But done in 2 days with a layover in Roseburg. At least one hill had spots of gravel.

Now there was a ride as a late teenager, I think, when I went riding with my parents on Century Drive in Eastern Oregon. Then I camped overnight and I rode back home to Eugene, via Sisters and the McKenzie Pass. As it was getting dark, I called my parents for a pickup around Leaburg. Probably a total of about 100 miles by bike that second day. The McKenzie Pass is much easier from the East than the West, but still, it was a good ride, carrying camping gear.

Fall of 1986, I did my "Megameter" ride. Studying in Italy, I decided to ride from Parma, Italy to Rome, Italy, and back, to get my passport renewed. 10 days total (including about 3 days layover in Rome), and about 1 megameter. I got down to Rome, and they refused to renew my passport because I was staying in Parma and was supposed to go to Milano (nobody cared that I had just ridden my bicycle several days to get to the US Embassy in Rome). I can't say for sure. I think several days were around 60 miles, but I may have hit a couple of days of > 100 miles. Abetone was > 1 mile of climbing. I also broke my bike rack on that ride. I had it re-welded in a small town near Pistoia, and made it almost back to Parma before it broke again, limping the last few km back to Parma with a broken rack.

Spring of 1987, I rode most of the way from Parma, Italy, past Venice, and up towards Grado. I didn't make it all the way to Grado before catching the train, but made it close. It was a mighty long ride. I had estimated it was near 150 Google says it is about 222km from Parma to Venice, and I was a bit north of there.

My first "Official" Century would have been the "Reach the Beach" ride in the early 1990's. I think it was about 150 miles from Monroe, Oregon to Amity, Oregon to Lincoln City, Oregon. I was going to have some friends with me, but they all bailed. That is perhaps the only century ride that I actually specifically trained for. I actually started in Springfield, OR, putting the ride closer to 180 miles. Whew, I was toast when I arrived at the finish line. Well, I was pretty well shot for the entire final leg from Amity to Lincoln City. Then, since it was a 1-way ride, I camped overnight, then turned around the next day, and made my way back home (taking a few shortcuts).

I did 2 marathons, and the Hood to Coast running relay in the late 90's, but don't remember any century rides.

Early 2000's, maybe 50 or 60 mile rides in Missouri, some on the Katy Trail.

About 5 years ago, after quite a dry spell, I went "car-free" (driving again now), but I did several rides back and forth between Eugene and Portland, ranging from 130 to 200 miles. I did the "Blackberry Century" twice. And, tried to ride from Eugene to Crater Lake (got almost to Diamond Lake the first day). I completed the ride in 4 days total, for a pretty intense few days, and a lot of climbing.
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Old 04-05-20, 10:58 PM
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I started riding as a cheaper way to get to college when I was about 20yo but I quickly found I enjoyed it so would venture further from home till I was riding 50 or 60 km rides from my home in Melbourne (OZ) on my old Target-bought 12 speed all-steel bike.

So one sunny Saturday I decided to see how far I could ride and decided on the Mornington Peninsula which is a beautiful coastal ride which culminates at the town of Portsea, 87km (54mi) away.
My family and friends were not of the sporting persuasion so I'd never heard of bonking, or learnt about the calorific requirements of long distance sport so off I rode - no pump or patch kit, no food and a whopping $3 in my pocket "for emergencies".

Around the 70km mark, I was feeling a little tired but as I was getting close to Portsea (which I'd never been to) I decided to press on. Once there I admired the lovely bay and coastline but realized I was quite hungry so I ventured into the local store to see what fare I could purchase. Now Portsea was, and still is, a very wealthy town. The place where the elite of Melbourne escape the summer heat to their seaside homes which line the hills behind the town. Which also means the local store was not the best place to stretch my meager $ - not that I knew anything about nutritian anyway- so I bought a meat pie, a Mars bar and a can of coke - carefully calculating so I had only a few cents left over.

It was about 20km into the return leg that I realized I was seriously tired and each turn of the pedals was laborious and getting slower and slower. Riding over Mt Eliza and into the town of Frankston (about half way back) I thought about calling my parents for help but I idd not even have the 20c for a phone call. So on I pressed until 175km later I finally made it home, completely, utterly exhausted. It wasn't until some time later when I started reading bike magazines in my local library that I learnt about the need to fuel yourself on longer rides but it was at least 10 years until I managed another 100 mi ride, so scared was I by the experience.

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Old 04-06-20, 10:46 PM
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Old 04-06-20, 11:54 PM
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around the summer of 2001 on a lemond buenos aires 853 reynolds steel frame. 106 miles north from chula vista, ca up to oceanside and back mainly via the north/south conduits of
el camino real and pacific coast highway. i remember the body feeling okay during/after but the allergies acted up something fierce. drove up to la the next day to attend a high school reunion
and i couldn't answer the bell after 10pm. my eyes felt as heavy as dinner plates and i had zero energy whereas i'm normally a night owl. in bed and asleep by 10:30pm on that friday. wth?!
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Old 04-10-20, 01:30 PM
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After years of riding, around my early 40's, I started wondering how far I could go. First, 40 miles. Then 45, and progressively to around 80 a year or two later. I decided to do the Tour De Livingston. Two of the TdL routes, when added, totaled 103 miles.
In the early afternoon and after 62 miles, we arrived at the TdL start area. We had a quick lunch, but a younger kid stood up at the table and said "I'm going!". Somoene else looked at me and said, "Do you want to go too?" I checked my watch, still early, and said "Sure, why not?".
The first guy, a younger kid in his 20's took off before I did. I left with someone around my own age. About 75 miles in, my new riding partner developed huge knee pains and requested a SAG vehicle at the stop around mile 80. I did a lap of the GM proving grounds solo, and then saw that young kid still at the SAG stop. So, the young kid and I took off together. About 5 miles later, and this is what I love about it, he asked me to slow down! A kid, half my age, asking me to slow down! HAH.
Well, I did slow down a little, and both the younger kid and I got into heavy rain storms right before the finish.
Wet, tired, and extremely happy, I had just finished my first century. I remember it like it was yesterday. I think this was about 7 years ago.
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Old 04-11-20, 09:24 AM
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I'm just now discovering this sub-forum. I guess I now can see myself becoming an endurance cyclist in the future. I certainly have an interest in this part of the cycling world. Below is a repost from another sub-forum of my immediate thoughts after having completed my first century ride just last year in August 2019:

The event was called the Emerald Necklace 100 Bike Ride. It "encircles Cleveland using the Emerald Necklace of Parks and bike trails."

I completed the course in about 10 hours. We started at approximately 7:00AM and I finished a few minutes before 5:00PM.

One of our riders had a tube blowout within the first 10 miles and the majority of us stopped to assist with the repair or to simply offer supporting encouragement. Other than that our small group experienced no material problems that I was aware of.

The real riding didn't begin until we had covered about 25 miles. Oddly enough I was able to stay within about 10 minutes of the fast riders and we met up at the first rest stop which was at 40 miles.

The next 5-10 miles were extremely hilly as we climbed out of the Cuyahoga Valley. Between 55-70 miles I lost contact with the breakaway group of 3 or 4 but they were kind enough to wait for me at the 70 mile mark which took us out of the parks and onto mostly city streets and bike paths along the shores of Lake Erie.

I held my own with the roadies for the next 10 mostly flat miles until we reached the 80 mile rest stop at the Joy Machines bike shop in the downtown Cleveland area.

I gave my new friends permission to head out on the last 20 miles without me as I didn't want to hold them back. I needed a few more minutes of rest and from where we were I was confident that I could navigate my way back to the finish.

Overall it went just about as I expected effort-wise. I was comfortable through 40 miles. I was dragging a bit between 60-70 miles but recharged a bit during the next 10 miles. The last 20 I was on my own and it was a slog but that is how I expected to feel as my longest rides prior were in the 50- 60 mile range.

I started with two frozen water bottles. One was filled with water and the other contained Gatorade. I topped off my water bottle once along the way and I drank a small water and a small Gatorade provided at the 40 mile rest stop in addition to what I was carrying.

I had raisin bran, coffee, and juice for breakfast. I ate a Clif Bar at 25 miles. At the 40 mile rest stop I ate a banana and some trail mix. I consumed the best tasting Luna bar I have ever had at about 60 miles and I ate some more trail mix at the 80 mile rest stop.

I did no specific training for the event but I had several rides of 40-50-60 miles under my belt before taking on the century.

I started riding about mid-June of last year and found that 15 miles was a comfortable ride for me. So, of course I stretched that to 30 and by early fall I had gone a little over 40 miles in a single ride a few times.

I acquired a used trainer to help keep me pedaling during the winter months but honestly didn't use it very much.

As things warmed up again in the spring I found I was comfortable riding 30 miles and then I quickly extended that to 50 and then 60 mile long rides.

I generally do 2-4 rides of 15-20 miles as well as one long ride a week. It really just depends on the weather, how I am feeling, and available time on any particular day.

I hope this helps any newbie century riders out there.
My thoughts now are that I rode too hard during the first half of the century for my ability at the time. As the course was not marked, I was trying to keep up with those that had GPS and knew where they were going. I now realize that I could have conserved a bit of energy and just used the provided cue sheet to help me navigate even though I didn't have GPS as I had a general idea of the overall route. I don't know how long it took me to complete the last 20 miles but I'm sure it was very, very slow. I could have drank more water and consumed more food as well. I'll probably try using some gels on longer rides this year to see if that works for me.

The first one is a great learning experience. I seem to learn a bit more on nearly every ride I do and I continue to progress in ability and fitness. I hope to do a handful of centuries this summer and at least one multi-day lightweight tour of about 600 miles.
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