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 10-02-06, 12:10 PM
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Remember your first century (100 miles)?

If so ... tell us about it!

Mine was in 1994. I had been following a training plan I found in a book (although I can't remember which book). I had done about 65 miles and that went well, so 2 or 3 weeks later, I decided to do 80 miles. Then I was going to do my century a couple weeks later.

However the morning of the 80 mile ride, the weather was great and I felt good, so I figured, "why not just finish off the last 20 miles and get my century now!"

My ride was a solo, and consisted of a series of loops of about 25 kms through the city, into the local park, along a quiet road with mansions on either side, and back to my apartment again where I refilled my bottles and ate a little bit. After about 4 or 5 of these loops I got bored and started doing a different, but shorter loop, until I was finished.

Using loops was a great idea (although a little bit boring) which I've used on many occasions since to do centuries, especially winter centuries.

Unfortunately though, I really had no idea about eating and drinking on long rides. Back then the big thing was trail mix (GORP) ... and I've since discovered peanuts and I don't get along. I also remember having a few small perogies on one stop. That was about it!

The last 20 miles was very painful and slow ... and if I weren't the stubborn person I am, I would likely have quit. But I was determined to finish!!

I did ... and then I announced that I would NEVER do something like that again!!

The 100+ centuries I've done since then have been much easier than that one ... amazing the difference eating and drinking regularly can make!

What was your first century like?
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Old 10-02-06, 01:30 PM
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My first century was decided on the fly too. I was initally going to do a long loop around Lake candlewood, going out to NY rt 22 rather than riding closely through Sherman and New Fairfield. When I got to the point of decision, I decided to ride to Kent. After riding to Kent, I decided "That wasn't too bad, I wonder how far it is to the MA border?"

Answer: 51 miles-- and 51 miles back.
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Old 10-02-06, 01:39 PM
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Mine was the Apple Cider Century just over a year ago. Great ride in SW Michigan and through parts of Northern Indiana.

I rode it solo and learned a lot about my capabilities to pace myself, join others in a pseudo-paceline to conserve my strength, and about riding in a gentle early autumn rain. It rained the last 39 or so miles, but thankfully was not cold, so it was more refreshing than anything.

I remember getting back to my in-laws place, happy knowing they had a hot tub, but once I got back I laid down and slept for 11 hours!

This year, I've done about 6 or 7 100 milers, the most recent was yesterday with a bunch of forum members at the "BFNIC Century." Ride reports and pics are trickling over in the Great Lakes forum (link below).

100 miles was a mental block last year, but something I know I can do and am constantly improving in pacing and overall speed.
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Old 10-02-06, 02:30 PM
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December 1999, 173 in the Tweed Valley in Northern NSW, including about 20km on dirt roads. Actually, it's now one of my regular century "training" rides, so beautiful is the scenery in that part of the world (although I've changed the route after Uki to add more dirt and less suburbia). The thing I recall most about the first ride is that it didn't actually dawn on me for a while that I'd gone over 100 miles. I just thought of it as preparation for my first tour which was about six weeks away, and beating my previous best distance (155km).
I am clinically insane. I am proud of it.

That is all.
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Old 10-02-06, 02:58 PM
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My first was around 1987. It was called the Dripping Springs Classic and was somewhere west of Austin, TX. I am from totally flat Houston and the hills had quite an effect on me. The last 15 miles were torture. I think my total time was just under 6 hours. But what I remember most about the ordeal was visiting a friend in Chorpus the previous 3 or 4 days before leaving for my sisters house in Austin. I got a late start and didn't get into Austin until midnight. I had to get up by 5:30 to make it to DS. I grabbed a quick breakfast (probably Pop Tarts) and headed out. After the ride I headed back to Houston. BTW all the non bicycle travel was by motorcycle with bike on the back. I made it home by 6pm or so only to recieve a phone call from a girl who wanted to go out to the Rodeo at the Astodome. We went to the fair, ate a bunch of greasy food and did a bunch of the spinning and rollor coaster type rides. It was the first and only time I have ever puked on a ride. I felt pretty bad and we had to leave early. I guess it was a little too much for the day.
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Old 10-02-06, 03:33 PM
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The Tour de Palm Springs in 2004. I wanted to get an early start, so I was in the second group they let go. My adreline was pumping, so I rode faster than I should have. By mile 60 I was starting to run out of steam. It got better by mile 75 and I was barely able to make it to the finish line. The tank was empty, but I did it! 104 miles! Woo Hoo!

I learned that I need to pace myself at the beginning of a century so that I can have something for the finish. Also learned to coast whenever possible. A little stretching at the rest stops helps, too.
Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then. - Bob Seger
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Old 10-02-06, 05:34 PM
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In '84 I did a tour with a friend from college. One day his odometer showed 97 miles, so he rode 3 miles around the campground for a century. I thought he was a nut.
The next year I was in Kentucky en route Florida. Our campground choices were at 65 miles or 117 miles.

I didn't ride around the campground much that day either.
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Old 10-02-06, 06:26 PM
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My first metric century I did on my own earlier this year. Bought a bike in April and I had been riding for about two months. Got home and collapsed into bed. Was exhausted. Had pushed too hard at the start and paid the price. Three weeks ago did 160kms (108m) and last weekend rode 220kms (132m) at an average of 24km/h 14.4mph. (not including some short water and food stops) It. At 42 years old, I am finding it takes a couple of days to recharge my batteries, but at the end of the rides I am tired, but not exhausted. Eating and drinking regimes are the key. Keep eating good food and all is well. I like fruit & nut bread with honey. The mid week intervals help a lot too. Am training for the melbourne "around the bay in a day" in two weeks time. 250 kms(150m) route. This is the longest route of the event, most do 210kms and others, but there are 11,000 people registered. Hope the weather holds out!
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Old 10-02-06, 06:48 PM
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First century. Solo ride Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Plotted the route and caught a ride home with a friend.

First group century. SFVBC training ride for the Grand Tour. 160 miles.

First 'organized' centrury. The Grand Tour 2 weeks later. Part way through I was thinking it would have been easier to do the lowland triple than the highland double.

First ond only organized 'normal' century. The Lighthouse century. That was a rather unique experience. It was also a highland and lowland ride. The two had a common route for about the first 15 miles. For that part I was passing people with ease. After they split and there was climbing I was the one being passed, until they came back to a common route then I was back to passing people.
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Old 10-02-06, 06:57 PM
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I even remember my first metric century! Autumn in Bonham, Bonham, TX, Oct. 2002. 63 miles

First real century was Hotter 'N Hell, Aug. 2003. 102 miles.

This year, I've done 29 centuries so far. What a difference a few years can make.
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Old 10-02-06, 07:04 PM
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My first century was the 2006 PMC, the first day. It was 110 miles of hilliness and back roads. it was probably one of the greatest things I have ever expirenced. Of course I went on to doing another 86 miles averaging about 25 mph...
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Old 10-02-06, 09:11 PM
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My first was the NYC Century on a Rigid SS MTB. I had just started riding again and found out about the century on BF the week of the ride and decided to try it. The SS was the only bike I had in NYC. The ride was fantastic, the people, course, support and the sponsors really made my ride. Even the NYPD helped make the ride memorable.

I just finshed my second century this weekend, the Tour De Poway in California. This century was a little too hilly to ride with no training but I finished.
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Old 10-03-06, 10:05 AM
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Funny, I just posted some of this elsewhere...
My wife's cousin is a serious rider and he had been trying to get me to re-start riding for years. I had built a road bike not long after I moved to NYC planning to start riding after grad school but marriage, kids, buying our own house... we all know the story. (I had been an avid mountain biker before and during grad school.) My new bike was in the basement with four years of saw dust on it and the tires still had those little nibs...

Anyway, my cousin said to me this past March, "So, we're doing the Montauk Century this year." He said it with such conviction I replied "Of course..." thinking I had told him at some other point that we would do the ride.

Now I was committed.

So, I broke that road bike out, started half commuting to work. (I would ride in on Monday and take mass transit home that night; then MTA in on Tuesday and ride home that night. Off Wed. then the same on Thurs and Friday.) Did that for a few weeks then added round trip on Wed. Pretty soon I was doing 25-30 miles/day and longer rides on the weekends.

I did a metric as training in April (kind of by accident. It should have been a fifty mile ride but a track fire in Manhattan forced us to ride home and it wound up being 68 miles.) Did the Montauk and have now done the NYC Century too.

My single biggest piece of advice is don't do anything different for the century. Don't eat different, don't wear different clothes, don't ride different, don't eat different, don't drink different, don't eat different, etc. Trust your training and just have fun. Oh, and did I mention don't eat different? Suffice to say, the last half of my ride through the Hamptons and out to Montauk was a never ending quest for porta potties.

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Old 10-03-06, 10:22 AM
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I rode my first century in August of 1987. My Dad & I rode from Lexington, KY to Hanover, IN, where I was in school. We were both runners & had been building up mileage over the summer, so riding 105 miles ended up being not that big of a deal except for the climb away from the Ohio River.
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Old 10-03-06, 10:40 AM
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Mine was in spring of 1973. A group of us had decided that we were going to do a bike tour during our spring break. My longest ride previously had been back to back 60 milers. First day of the tour was 105 miles. It was in late march in Southern Illinois, s there had not been much time for training. As I recall that day was SO long. But we made camp by nightfall. That day was followed by 7 more days of 100 mile plus rides on fully loaded touring bikes. We lost a few guys along the way, but six of us finished the tour. We ate fast food and grocery store crap. At that point I realized that a century was not really that big of deal, just a long day in the saddle.
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Old 10-03-06, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
... and then I announced that I would NEVER do something like that again!!
Too funny, M!

My first was June 2003, "America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride," around Lake Tahoe. And it *was* stunningly gorgeous, but boy, those climbs nearly did me in . . . I was living and riding in a pretty flat part of the country then. But I enjoyed it (*after* it was over!) and even went dancing (!!) for several hours that night.

I've continued to do centuries, and MS150 rides, and I'm hoping next year to dip my toe into the baby end of the brevet pool. At least I have hills where I live now . . . lots and lots of steep, STEEP hills!
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Old 10-03-06, 11:40 AM
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'73 or '74, Tour of the Scioto River Valley (200 miles over two days). I had a white low-end Gitane with plastic Simplex derailleurs, steel rims, and the hardest plastic seat (no padding) in the universe, as was the style in those days. My buddy and I rode together. I don't remember doing any "training rides," at all. On the second day, we started with a big climb out of the Ohio River Valley, with stiff headwind, temperature in the low 50's and rain. My butt was in agony from that hard plastic seat. The rain poncho disintegrated in the wind so I was wet to the core. I was desparate for a sag wagon, but none showed up, so I just had to keep going. By the top of the climb, the wind died down, the sun came out, and I guess my butt was numb. When my friend and I got to Columbus many hours later, we were still a couple of hours ahead of schedule, and neither his nor my parents were home to pick us up. What to do? Sit around and wait. Nah, we rode the 15 miles on home!
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Old 10-03-06, 04:22 PM
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What a great topic!

My first century was Feb this year. I had just started cycling seriously in August last year. I picked a flat organized ride in Chico, CA, and I thought I would try to do it in under 5 hours. Seriously, I had no sense of what was doable, so I just picked 5 hours (solo) as a target. Well, I managed to average 18.7 mph for the first 62 miles. Then it kinda caught up to me, with my burning quads as the signal. Plus, the wind started kicking up and I gave up on the "goal". Good thing, too, because I actually started talking to people and enjoying the scenery! Around mile 85 I reached a low point and would have done anything to catch a ride home. However, I stayed with it and actually sprinted the last 4 or 5 miles to the finish. It was my first real experience with the famous "second wind". I was amazed as what my body could do after such a long day and after feeling so rotten just a short time ago. I finished the ride at about 5 hours and 40 minutes.

Fast forward to last month. I rode my bike from my house in Half Moon Bay, CA to Santa Cruz and back for a slice of pizza (just under 100 miles and 4,000 ft elevation), and ENJOYED it! By the end of the season, I will have had 4 centuries and 5 metrics.

Oh, and some friends and I are going to try to break the 5 hour century mark, but as a team. Just one of those goals that I gotta do....

I think I'm hooked....
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Old 10-03-06, 05:37 PM
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Back in the Fall of 2002, my 2yo daughter started pre-school. I had been at home with her, I'm a stay-at-home dad, since she was born. I maybe got out to ride once or twice a week but long rides were never in the picture. Once pre-school had begun, I had several hours in the morning to ride 4 days a week. My long ride to date had been 63 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway as part of tour back in 1999.

That next Spring, I had set my sites on the Assault on Mt Mitchell, a 102 mile ride from Spartanburg, SC to the top of Mt Mitchell. Unfortunately in order to get a number for the ride one has to complete the Marion portion the year before to make the list. It seems that today it is easier to just buy someones entry without doing the Marion ride. I and a friend did the ride to Marion that May in the rain and wind, 74 miles and 4:06 time. What I remember about that ride is that even though there was 3800 ft of climbing in 74 miles it was easier than most of the much shorter rides I do around home.

So ten days later, that same friend and I left town and rode up to the Parkway and came back 8.5 hours and 108 miles later. We had climbed almost 11k with a riding time of 7.5 hours. I was so glad the last 25 miles were back down to town. I think on the last climb I managed 5 mph but somehow didn't stop until I made the top at mile 83.

The next May, I did the Assault and a couple of other century rides. I've continue to do them as time allows each year. Lately I've enjoyed reading the reports of PBP and perhaps one day soon I'll set my sites on qualifying for it if time permits.
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Old 10-03-06, 05:38 PM
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September 1975, in the late and lamented Hekaton Classic that the Valley Spokesmen (Dublin/Livermore/Pleasanton CA) put on for something like 30 years - but, alas, no more. I did three or four more Hekatons in the late '90's, including once on a tandem, and it was always a great ride, well-supported and with a variety of distances and routes, so that just about anyone could find a good ride. I remember that first one was pretty cold at the start with some seriously thick fog over the first climb of the day, but was hot and windy by the end. (The windy-at-the-end part was a constant - many years later, on the tandem, I discovered that, in a headwind, tandems attract singles the way s*** attracts flies.) I also remember that first one taking a bunch longer than I, in my 18-year-old-thought-I-was-a-racer foolishness, though it should. My times never got faster, but my expectations sure got more realistic.
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Old 10-03-06, 05:41 PM
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My first century was in 1997 on my fully loaded Perth-Adelaide trip across the Nullarbor Plain. It was from Kimba -- the geoegraphical east-centre of the Australian continent -- to Port Augusta. It came after I spent a couple of days replacing the rear wheel after the original hub collapsed, taking out the derailleur and numerous spokes in the process.

It was a perfect day with a tailwind and reasonably flat country -- a few rollers to help boost the average Go here if you want to read about it.

My second century wasn't for quite sometime afterwards, about three years, I think. It was a "reconnaissance" ride for another ride I was organising for a social bike group. I rode from home, fully loaded in anticipation of probably spending overnight in the bush, did the recce over gravel roads, then road home. It was about 161km -- I just couldn't be bothered stopping to put up my tent.

My third, in January 2002, was a practice run over 200km from the north of the Tasmanian island to the south to introduce me to the concept of randonneuring with the ultimate aim of PBP-2003.
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Old 10-04-06, 09:32 AM
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my first century was in the 2000 Boston - New York AIDSride. I was doing all 360 miles on a $300 Trek 720 hybrid bike in the middle of July, and the century day was on Day 3, when we rode from Rhode Island into Massachusetts. The memories from the ride sort of blur together, but the ones that still linger in my mind include:

1) getting a flat in the middle of Rhode Island after running over a roofing nail. Swapped out the tube, reinflated everything, then rolled about a block down to a nearby Harley Davidson dealership to see if they would recycle the tube. Guy minding the store asked me where I was headed and I said, "Boston." He replied, "Hell, man, that's a long distance on any bike, even without the pedaling."

2) stopping briefly in a bank to use the ATM and feeling nearly orgasmic with my first exposure to air conditioning after three days of riding in the height of summer.

It certainly felt like an epic accomplishment when I finished. Nowadays, even with riding brevets on a 'real' road bike, there's still a small thrill when the odometer kicks into triple digits. Novelty gets a little dull, but it never gets old.
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Old 10-04-06, 12:19 PM
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Mine was last year and was about 4 months into my cycling career, and I did it solo. I managed to pick the hottest day of the year to do it on. 90+* and humid, so everytime I exhaled it felt like I was being hit in the face with a brick.

Anyway, didn't eat nearly enough, didn't drink nearly enough. I felt relatively okay until around mile 60. Felt like I was going insane by mile 70, felt like I was going to die by mile 80, found my second wind at mile 90. There were two significant climbs, one of 1500ft and another of around 800ft or so. The rest was rolling. Around 4000ft of climbing for the day, 15.66mph avg. Took me a couple of days to recover, I could barely breathe or stand after I finished it (literally)...I never wanted to do another century again.

I Did my last century a couple of weeks ago and considered it a long training ride. 6000ft of climbing, a bit over 19mph, also solo. And I felt perfect afterwards

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Old 10-04-06, 12:27 PM
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My first century was in August, 1979. It also happened to be a double century. It was time to return to college in Potsdam, NY from my home in Rochester, NY. Dad had gotten a small u-haul trailier, and despite that, the little trailer was filled, as was the trunk and the back seat - this without having loaded my bike. Then, the night before the return trip, my stepmother said she wanted to see what the campus and my room was like. This precipitated a rather rash decision. That evening, at about 7:00 pm, I decided to ride my bike the 218 miles.

I was up and out about 5:30 am, with a couple sandwiches, snacks, some water, a packet of electrolyte powder mix, and a shade under $4.00. I had no spares tubes, no tools, and just a mental image of my route. Aside from the hills going into Oswego, I was cruising along just fine. Fortunately, I had the benefit of prevailing breezes and a relatively flat journey, so when my Dad and step mom passed me on their return leg and asked me how I was doing, I gave them a smile and a big thumbs up.

A little before 7:00 pm , I reached the DQ in Canton, NY, ready to wolf something down before undertaking the final 11 miles of the trip. The sky was rapidly clouding, and I no sooner stepped inside the place when the skies opened up with a torrential deluge. Fortunately, my roomate was there in about 20 minutes, and I ended the day only about 95% successful.

That night, I slept 15 hours, and I was too sore to ride my Super Course for about 4 days. Oh to be young, very physically fit, and extremely stupid again.
In search of what to search for.
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Old 10-04-06, 12:37 PM
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My first was the Hardscrabble Century in Canon City Colo. in 1984. The event was put on by the Colorado Springs Bike Club, but is no longer held, they have moved the century to Buena Vista Colo. The ride was magnificant, starting on the Arkansas River, then south for 15 miles to the base of Hardscrabble Pass. Hardscrabble Pass is a 20 mile climb from 5500 ft elevation to the summit at 8500 ft, and just a beautiful ride. At the top of this pass riders are treated to a full view of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range and the town of Westcliffe at their base. From the lunch stop in Westcliffe, riders descended Texas Creek to come back to the Arkansas River, then to the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas. From the Royal Gorge it was a pleasant downhill run to Canon City and the finish. It still ranks as one of my favorite centuries, and it was a great first.

Sangre de Christo, Colo.
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