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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

when is a century a century?

Old 06-02-10, 05:46 AM
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when is a century a century?

Is it 100mile with no stops?
Or would you still claim a century after having stopped for lunch and a couple of rest stops?

Last edited by doughmaker; 06-02-10 at 05:48 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-02-10, 06:07 AM
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This question gets asked VERY frequently. A search would bring up a whole bunch of similar questions.

A century is 100 miles done as all-at-once as possible. Therefore, if you can do 100 miles with no stops ... great! If you need to stop for some breaks along the way in order to make it through the century ... no problem!!

Most organised centuries are capped at 8 hours or so, but there is at least one where you're allowed as much as 24 hours (if not a bit more). It depends on commonly expected weather and terrain conditions ... and it is a good idea to find out what sort of time limit there is for any organised century you're considering. Most organised centuries also have several rest stops along the way, which you can take advantage of as desired.

If you're doing an unorganised century, you can take as long as it takes for you to finish the century, generally with cap of 24 hours (a day), to allow for adverse weather and terrain. (I've done centuries in ideal conditions in 6 hours and a century in bitterly cold and icy conditions in 15 hours, and everything in between.) You can also stop whenever you feel like for whatever you deem a "reasonable" length of time.

What would not be a century would be (for example) if you rode 50 miles on a Saturday afternoon, came home, mowed the lawn or went grocery shopping, spent the rest of the evening watching TV, slept the night, got up early and finished the 50 miles on Sunday morning. That would be two 50 mile rides. You get the idea ... the time of the bicycle should be reasonably brief.


And incidentally ... when you tell people how long it took you to do the century, include the amount of time you were off the bicycle for a total ride time. If Person A does a non-stop century in 5 hours, and and Person B does a century in 7 hours = 5 hours of ride time & 2 hours off the bicycle, it would be inaccurate and disrespectful for Person B to announce that he/she did a 5-hour century.

Last edited by Machka; 06-02-10 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 06-02-10, 07:01 AM
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Anytime you ride a 100 miles its a "century worth of miles." I think most people would give any cyclist "credit" if they ride 100 miles in a whole day - like 12 hours or so.
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Old 06-02-10, 09:45 AM
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Just my personal goal for any century, but I use the same pace as would be allowed for a 200k. So if a 200k (125mi) gets 13h 30m, then 100mi gets 10h 48m.
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Old 06-02-10, 10:27 AM
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When I hear "century" I think organized, supported, 100+- mile ride. Entry fee, lots of other riders, food and drink supplied, etc.

When I do a hundred mile solo ride, it's just that: a hundred mile solo ride. Not a "century". That's not to say it's any easier than a century - doing 100 miles solo, unsupported is harder in a lot of ways. And I usually go for more challenging routes than most century rides. But whatever: to me a "century" is an event, a subset of hundred-mile rides if you will.

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Old 06-02-10, 11:47 AM
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Generally, if it's all "one ride", it's a century. So if you stop and eat lunch on the way, or take a nap, and then finish the ride, it's still a century. If you come home, watch TV a while, then go ride another 50 miles, that's two rides = two half-centuries.

Note that on 1200k randonneuring events, the participants will spend 90 hours +/- including usually several hours of sleeping, but it's all one ride, so it's a 1200k, not six 200k's or something.
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Old 06-02-10, 12:01 PM
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the 1st time I tried a century I only went 88 miles and I was so concerned about laying off the gas I has 2 1/2 hours of breaks! eek! so it took 8 1/2 hours!

my next attempt will be the full 100 and there's no way in hell I'm gonna be taking that much rest time. that 1st ride I changed bikes and clothes in the parking lot 1/2 way!
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Old 06-02-10, 07:35 PM
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100 miles on a bicycle in one calendar day. K.I.S.S.
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Old 06-02-10, 08:32 PM
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So you guys who are counting your centuries are actually counting the number of organized events that you paid an entry fee and rode in?

Back in college 2 friends and I rode 1800 miles from Chicago to the Florida keys in 14 days, averaging about 130 miles/day with no day less than 110 miles. We pretty much only stopped to eat, buy groceries, and camp or stealth camp. Do we get to count those as 14 centuries?

When I was in high school I used to weekend club rides that were 60+ miles but I didn't have a car. So I'd ride my bike 20+ miles out to the ride locations and limp home the 20 miles afterwords making those training rides into 100 mile days.

I probably have 50+ days in which I rode over 100 miles. But no more than a handful of organized centuries. Not that I'm counting. I'm just curious how everyone else is.

Last edited by texasdiver; 06-02-10 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 06-02-10, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by texasdiver
So you guys who are counting your centuries are actually counting the number of organized events that you paid an entry fee and rode in?
No, absolutely not. A century could be an organised event ... or an unorganised event ... or an event that I personally organised and rode by myself. If I rode 100 miles in a "day" (however you happen to define "day") ... it's a century.

There is only a very small handful of people who would only call it a century if it is an official organised event, and I'd have to guess that that small group of people must have a lot of official organised events in their area.
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Old 06-02-10, 09:18 PM
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I don't count them, I just ride my bike...
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Old 06-04-10, 12:29 AM
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I only count it as a century when Homey says it's a century!
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Old 06-04-10, 01:19 AM
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This winter I was on a fully loaded tour in California and one day rode 100 miles dawn to dusk which was the farthest I'd ever ridden... I call that a century aswell

Since then I've been getting into the long distance thing (thanks also to another BF member) and have a 300 km ride coming up in two weeks time... Gah! I'm on my old, faithful, heavy steel touring bike but I KNOW this is going to end up with me buying one of those knew fangled light weight things
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