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

First Century

Old 10-06-08, 09:00 AM
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UprightJoe
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First Century

Well, I completed my first century on Saturday. It was solo and unsupported. I decided to make my first century an easy one so I rode most of it on a very flat bike path. (Honestly, I wasn't 100% sure I could complete a century so I was trying to do everything I could to improve my odds.) I started at the end of the Prairie Grass Trail 6 miles east of London, Ohio. I took the trail to Xenia, OH and then took another trail north towards Springfield, OH until my bike computer hit 50 miles. Then I turned around and returned the way I came.

I got on the bike at 7am. I'm not sure what the temperature was but I was cold starting out. I tried ignoring the cold and warming up by riding but eventually, I decided to put on my rain gear to warm up. I'm not sure if it was the time of day or the temperature but I couldn't quite ride my normal pace starting out. Every time I looked down at the computer, it seemed like I was only at about 12mph. In fact, I had intended to meet a friend for lunch near Springfield but I had to call and cancel because I wasn't going to be able to make it in time. I had to be back home with my daughter by 3:30 so that my wife could leave for work.

For the first 50 miles, I only averaged about 12.5mph. I ate a cliff bar and a couple packages of peanuts. I also drank a gatorade. I was wondering if I should have eaten more than a cliff bar for breakfast. I just couldn't get going. It felt like I was working twice has hard as normal even though I was traveling at about 2/3's of my normal speed.

At the 50 mile mark, I finally got warm enough to ditch the rain gear and managed to work my way up towards my normal pace. Other than hitting a squirrel on the way back, the ride was completely uneventful. My final average was just shy of 14mph so I did a bit better on the second half of the ride.

I really had to force myself to eat and drink. I wasn't hungry or thirsty for most of the ride. I felt ok while I was riding but later in the day, I felt ill. I felt feverish - hot then cold, hot then cold, as if my body was having a hard time regulating my temperature. I think I might not have drank enough. I wished later that I had weighed myself so I could tell for sure.

Anyhow, it feels good to have a century under my belt even if it was an easy one. It was one of my goals for the year when I dusted off the road bike in June. For the next one, I'll have to throw in some hills and hurt myself a bit.
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Old 10-06-08, 09:44 AM
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sojourn
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Congratulations!
Well done..........
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Old 10-06-08, 01:04 PM
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First, congratulations -- the first century is a true milestone (so to speak). Self-supported is even more so.

Second, I know exactly what you mean about rides where you just don't seem to have it. It may have been the temperature or your rain gear or both. In any case, I wouldn't worry about it unless you feel the same way on every ride.
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Old 10-06-08, 03:59 PM
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No matter how great my clothing/gear is, it is always hard for me to juggle my clothing layers to stay warm AND dry during a longer ride in cold and wet conditions. I always end up shedding too many layers and getting cold that way, or my clothes eventually become moist from sweating during exertion, which also leads to getting cold. I just can't put as much power to the pedals when I'm cold enough for my feet to start feeling numb. Nope.
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Old 10-06-08, 08:45 PM
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Awesome!
I hope to be you by early next spring
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Old 10-06-08, 09:05 PM
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yeamac
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Nice job!
Putting on extra gear always slows me down, too.
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Old 11-11-08, 10:58 PM
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Well done!

Keep in mind that nutrition and hydration are the greater part of successfully riding long distances. Get this right and everything else should fall into place.
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Old 11-12-08, 08:07 PM
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kjfitz
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Good job! You'll never look at a century as something insurmountable again.
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Old 12-12-08, 07:19 AM
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congratulations. i love hearing about peoples first century rides....takes me back to mine......it was self supported at night in a big park full of deer that kept wandering infront of me. that century changed me...!
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Old 12-12-08, 10:15 PM
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Congratulations! And yeah, impressive to just go out and do it like that. I would guess that most first centuries are on organized rides.

When I'm feeling sluggish like that and going slower than normal I always look for leaves and things along the path and hope to see them rippling in the breeze. A 5-8mph wind could make a difference like that without really making you feel like you had a headwind.

And yeah, I'm familiar with that temperature thing. Actually for me it doesn't swing back and forth much, mostly after an extra long or strenuous ride I'm cold when I get home (even in hot weather) and then 20 or 30 minutes later I get really hot for a while.
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Old 12-13-08, 06:33 AM
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Congratulations! I'm still working on knocking one off myself. I know reading about other's experiences is going to help tremendously so thanks for sharing yours.
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Old 12-13-08, 08:15 AM
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I suppose I should have posted about mine some time ago. My first century was the NYC Century this past summer. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it at all (though I did complete it). At around the 30-mile mark, I got cut off by a motorist and fell, bending my rear derailleur. I limped along to the next rest stop and the mechanic at the rest area fixed my derailleur as best as he could (at that point, all but two gears worked ok) and I rode on. At around the 60-mile mark, I fell again and sprained my wrist, but gutted my way through the pain and went on. The ride was poorly marked and the cue sheet was awful and had errors in it, so I'm not sure how far I actually rode (maybe 105 or so?) but I finished it and felt very good about that. Also, I felt that I could have continued riding when I was done, so I decided to do another century the following month.

When I rode in the Bike MS NYC, I decided to do the century route there as well. No issues with the course or equipment that day, and I had a very enjoyable day. I'm planning on doing several more centuries next summer, and maybe a double the following year. My long-term goal is to start doing brevets in 2011, and ride in PBP in 2015 (making it a family vacation - my son will be 14 and my daughter will be 10 then).
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Old 12-13-08, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bikerpilot View Post

When I rode in the Bike MS NYC, I decided to do the century route there as well. No issues with the course or equipment that day, and I had a very enjoyable day. I'm planning on doing several more centuries next summer, and maybe a double the following year. My long-term goal is to start doing brevets in 2011, and ride in PBP in 2015 (making it a family vacation - my son will be 14 and my daughter will be 10 then).
Congrats on your first century. But why not start on your brevets next year? If you can do an "imperial century", you can complete a 200km brevet. Once you've done a 200 you can be fairly confident you can do a 300 ... and so on.

If you have a hankering to do PBP, you should start ASAP to get an idea what that would entail. You'll need lots of experience. Make sure you complete some hilly brevets. Flat brevets won't prepare you for PBP.

My guess is, due to the high attendance and attrition rate in 2007, qualification requirements are going to be tightened up.

One thing about the "family vacation" idea. While this might work and France is a great place to hang out, you will need to be focussed and even family obligations can interfere with your chances of finishing. Your family will have to be prepared to put everything else aside, until your quest has concluded.

Check out my website for more rando info.

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Old 12-13-08, 12:46 PM
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Because once I start my first brevet, I know I will want to complete the whole series. And money is tight at the moment, and my bike will need some decent upgrades. (I want to get some sort of hub-powered lighting system and a handlebar bag or something.) I may even want to upgrade my bike or buy a better bike before doing brevets. My current bike is a 2008 Scott Sportster S50. Also, right now it is tricky to get away from the wife and kids for long enough for brevets, but that will change with the passage of time. It's a long story. When we're in France, the plan is for my wife to hang with the kids while I'm riding, and I'll rejoin the vacation after finishing PBP. That's the plan, anyway....
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Old 12-14-08, 01:17 PM
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Last year was my first year of riding and doing a century by the end of the season was one of my goals. The century was an organized ride, I set out by myself but ended up riding with three others. Ended up doing 180k it was a blast and haven't looked back. Did three this year one with a group and two solo all unsupported. This year I plan to do a 300k+.
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Old 12-14-08, 01:51 PM
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nice work joe - now the sky is the limit!
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