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1 Month until my first Century....

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

1 Month until my first Century....

Old 08-12-06, 09:59 AM
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1 Month until my first Century....

Please give me a few good tips for my first century. I have put in the miles this summer and will be putting in even more in the next few weeks tuning up. But I would love to learn from all of you as well. I guess I am looking to eliminate some of th surprises I will encounter on the day of the ride, the stuff you just don't think of unless you have done an organized century. Any tips for the days leading up to the ride would help too, nutrition, sleep, warming up, pre-ride, and other topics the inexperienced would not think of. Thanks
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Old 08-12-06, 10:08 AM
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Lots of good info in the Long Distance area of the forums...

http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=231
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Old 08-12-06, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by jjmolyet
Please give me a few good tips for my first century. I have put in the miles this summer and will be putting in even more in the next few weeks tuning up. But I would love to learn from all of you as well. I guess I am looking to eliminate some of th surprises I will encounter on the day of the ride, the stuff you just don't think of unless you have done an organized century. Any tips for the days leading up to the ride would help too, nutrition, sleep, warming up, pre-ride, and other topics the inexperienced would not think of. Thanks
don't eat differently than normal.

bring an extra tube

if it is a popular one with a group/mass start, let the pack go out early, wait five minutes and then head out. THat mass of people early in the morning can be half asleep and one dumb mistake can ruin your day.

unless there is prize money on the line, finishing is all that matters (within reason). Have fun, enjoy the sites, don't get too caught up in the clock. I rode a century early this summer with some friends. At dinner after the ride I asked if anyone had noticed the front doors on this one house. (It was in the really rich part of the Hamptons.) Half the people hadn't even noticed the houses...

Have fun
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Old 08-12-06, 11:05 AM
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I'm an endurance cyclist. I ride mostly metric centuries to 80 mile loops. I do pepper a few long rides through out the year. TOMRV 200 miles two days, RAGBRAI 450 miles across Iowa, and Heartland Century. 3600 miles this year. anyhooo I'm assuming you'll be riding the OCR. As its fairly new mechanics shouldn't be an issue. But in any case go through the bike to make sure its in top shape. You dont want any issues on long rides. I would suggest new tires if they are getting worn to any exstent. Tires and shifters are the two biggest problems that can make a long ride a nightmare. Carry a multi-tool, tire repair kit, 2 spare tubes, and tire pump. Check all your gear the night before. That includes your riding kit (jersey/shorts). I have a few links I'll post for nutrition and training. So I wont go into detail. Hydration is very important on any ride. But on endurance rides its critical. I would suggest two 20-24oz bottles. I perfer the polar bottles. Fill one with sports drink the other with water. Alternate drink from the bottles to stay hydrates and maintain electrolites. For nutrition carb up the night before. Its your starting fuel for the next day. Then after the first 2 hours take in about 25g of carbs a hour. Thats one energy bar or power gel. If possiable near the half way point look for a store to buy a chocolate milk. 10-20oz of chocolate milk will help reduce lactic acid and the caffine and sugar is an energy boast. Randonneurs have used it for many years as a recovery drink. It does work. Do get a full restfull sleep the night before. On the ride, schedule your stops. Also know were you can get water along the route. Know were convenient stores and parks are for bathrooms. If possiable drive the route in a car to familarize yourself with it. This will help you plan your stops. I try to plan mine at about 20 mile intervals. At stops, rest a bit, do some legs stretches. Speaking of stretching do this in your pre-ride along with a final bike check. Dont forget to top off the tires with air. As far as warmup. I use the first 10 miles of the ride as a warm up at about 15mph pace. Then I get into a set pace. For me thats about 18-20mph. On a good calm day I up this to about 22-25mph. This is something you have to figure out ahead of time. So on some short rides before the century work on setting your pace. I dont know if your route is hilly. If you dont know how to properly attack rolling hills, learn how. It will save your legs. A high cadance on hills, no standing and grinding. Its a waste of energy and it puts undue stress on knees and feet. Centuries are an endurance thing so think to concerve energy. Any spent energy on fast pace or grinding up hills will be payed for near the end of the ride. After the ride do stretches and get a high carb meal in. Also get an other good night sleep in. Your body will recover much faster. Centuries will drain you. Have a safe and pleasent ride. Please take a look at these links for more info.

www.ultracycling.com

www.cptips.com

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Old 08-12-06, 11:43 AM
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the night before, drink a beer and chase it down with a couple of shots of jack daniels.
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Old 08-12-06, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jjmolyet
Please give me a few good tips for my first century. I have put in the miles this summer and will be putting in even more in the next few weeks tuning up. But I would love to learn from all of you as well. I guess I am looking to eliminate some of th surprises I will encounter on the day of the ride, the stuff you just don't think of unless you have done an organized century. Any tips for the days leading up to the ride would help too, nutrition, sleep, warming up, pre-ride, and other topics the inexperienced would not think of. Thanks
It sounds like you're well prepared. I think the biggest thing you'll have to get used to is the neck, shoulders and butt. Be sure to ride relaxed, move around, change positions a lot to avoid over-stressing those parts. I used an aero-bar on my first ride for additional positions and wind riding. It worked out very well for me.

HAVE FUN!!! When it's over, I'm sure you'll find, as we all have, that the Century goal is not as difficult as you imagine it to be right now.
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Old 08-12-06, 12:58 PM
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Here's my 2 cents.
1. Arrive early. Bring a floor pump. Make sure your bike is ready.
2. Dress a little light. On my last century, it was mid 50s at the start and low 90s when I was done. I was shivering the first few miles.
3. Leave as early as possible and skip the first aid station. I do this to beat the heat so it may not apply to your ride. I carry a Gu or bar in case I need them and then restock as needed. I'll usually spend the first 5-10 miles warming up and then gradually go to my normal speed.
4. 100 miles seems like a long way so I think of it as aid station to aid station. If there's 5 of them, it's 5 20 mile rides.
5. I stay as short of a time as possible at aid stations but that time lengthens as the ride goes on. Still, that usually means no longer than 10 minutes but if I'm really tired or cramping, I'll stay longer.
6. Bring one of those little bottles or sticks of sunscreen.

I like centuries because they get me away from my normal rides and I get to check out the people, the bikes and see some new things.
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Old 08-12-06, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jtree
the night before, drink a beer and chase it down with a couple of shots of jack daniels.
nicely played, sir
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Old 08-12-06, 02:59 PM
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Just keep up your routine. Try to strike up some conversations and try to fall in with a group/pace line if you can for at least part of the ride. You'll be surprised how the time flies when you're riding in a group.

Also, at some point in the ride you'll likely feel that you won't be able to go on (that happens to me, at least a little on every ride over 50 miles). Just keep in mind that you will get your second wind and you WILL be able to finish. There's a certain feeling that I get once I'm past that rough spot that makes it all worthwhile. You sort of feel like you can ride all day long once you're past that rough spot.

Good luck!
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Old 08-12-06, 10:26 PM
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Here's my shorthand: Ramp up to a single day 60+ mile ride the week before. 5-6 days before the ride, start doing LESS miles. Do very little riding 2 days before. The night before the ride, load up on carbs at dinner time. I eat pasta & veggies. Lay out all your stuff the night before. That morning have a good solid breakfast. Eggs & toast or Oatmeal are good. Drink and eat (but don't stuff yourself) throught ride day. Slowly build your pace throughout the ride. Lastly, have a good time. Check out the scenery, talk to other riders, have fun.
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Old 08-13-06, 07:25 AM
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Don't start too hard, stay within yourself. It always helps to chat and joke with others on long rides. If you feel a cramp coming, shift down and spin easy. If you hit that point some of us do where you start telling yourself it's too far or too hard, you can get through that, too. Above all, have fun, enjoy, it's supposed to be fun.
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Old 08-13-06, 08:30 PM
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Thank you all for taking the time to help me out, much appreciated!!
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Old 08-14-06, 04:05 AM
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constintly drink water, hydration is uber important. don't worry when you're halfway thinking "ahh, i'm too weak. i can't finish this. i might as well stop in 5 minutes." negative thinking WILL bring you down. eat lots of pasta night before. if you've done 50 or 60 miles before, 100 is no problem. ok, maybe a little. lol, but you'll pass it and then nothing will seem impossible, knowing that you did a century. have fun basically, don't worry about being first, or getting your best time
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Old 08-14-06, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Lucky07
Here's my shorthand: Ramp up to a single day 60+ mile ride the week before. 5-6 days before the ride, start doing LESS miles. Do very little riding 2 days before. The night before the ride, load up on carbs at dinner time. I eat pasta & veggies. Lay out all your stuff the night before. That morning have a good solid breakfast. Eggs & toast or Oatmeal are good. Drink and eat (but don't stuff yourself) throught ride day. Slowly build your pace throughout the ride. Lastly, have a good time. Check out the scenery, talk to other riders, have fun.
Solid advice. This is the setup to the first century I ever rode and it was my best day ever on a bike. I can't overemphasize the eating/drinking part of the equation.

And remember, if you want to go hard.....wait until the last 30 miles then let 'er rip.

Michael
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Old 08-14-06, 06:03 AM
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If your bike fits; if you've ridden some long rides; if you've got more than 1000 km is your legs; if you ride smart, the century will be no big deal. The best advice I can give is: pick a speed where you feel comfortable [25km/h, 30km/h, 35km/h, whatever], and stick to it. It's the accelerations that kill you.
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Old 08-14-06, 06:09 AM
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I ridden well over 100 centuries and a handfull of doubles. For the life of me I cannot recall ever riding one that was organized. I personally dont count 100 miles as a long distance ride. If I were you I would treat it no different than riding 75-85 miler. I really don't understand what people are talking about when they say things like "LEAVE EARLY". WTF??? what is early..6 AM? That just sounds absolutely crazy to me. It just seems to me that whe someone rides 90 miles the thought is that there is no prep need or that it isn't considered somthing that needs to have plans for but ride ten more miles and all of the sudden it is a "distance" event and some sort of ultra endurance thing..which it is not. SO my advice is treat it like any other moderate mileage organized ride. The difference between riding 100 miles vs. 80 - 85 miles is not noticed. If you get tired REST.. I went on a tour a few weeks ago and on one of the days I got sleepy at mile 50 to I too an hour nap under a tree.
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Old 08-17-06, 11:55 AM
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Get a nice comfortable saddle because you will definately feel it after 60 miles.

Also be very careful to rest before attempting to drive back home. It's very easy to fall asleep at the wheel after riding for 100 miles.
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Old 08-17-06, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Lucky07
Here's my shorthand: Ramp up to a single day 60+ mile ride the week before. 5-6 days before the ride, start doing LESS miles. Do very little riding 2 days before. The night before the ride, load up on carbs at dinner time. I eat pasta & veggies. Lay out all your stuff the night before. That morning have a good solid breakfast. Eggs & toast or Oatmeal are good. Drink and eat (but don't stuff yourself) throught ride day. Slowly build your pace throughout the ride. Lastly, have a good time. Check out the scenery, talk to other riders, have fun.
+2
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Old 08-17-06, 12:17 PM
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Are you riding with anyone? It definitely helps with the mental part of being on a bike for 6+ hours.
Don't go too hard at the beginning. there will be guys flying by you so do not be tempted to overdue it,
eat and drink along the way and HAVE FUN! It is just 10-10 milers in a row so you will do fine.
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Old 08-17-06, 04:03 PM
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Forgot some stuff. Check the bike out fully. If you don't do your own wreching, bring it by the LBS and have them check the everything out. Clean the bike & lube the chain the night before. Pump up your tires the in the morning.
Lastly, try to get a fair amount of sleep in the days leading up to the ride. Most people are hyped before their first organized ride and have a hard time sleeping. Make sure you've banked some solid rest in the days before.
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Old 08-17-06, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by paednoch
I ridden well over 100 centuries and a handfull of doubles. For the life of me I cannot recall ever riding one that was organized. I personally dont count 100 miles as a long distance ride. If I were you I would treat it no different than riding 75-85 miler. I really don't understand what people are talking about when they say things like "LEAVE EARLY". WTF??? what is early..6 AM? That just sounds absolutely crazy to me. It just seems to me that whe someone rides 90 miles the thought is that there is no prep need or that it isn't considered somthing that needs to have plans for but ride ten more miles and all of the sudden it is a "distance" event and some sort of ultra endurance thing..which it is not. SO my advice is treat it like any other moderate mileage organized ride. The difference between riding 100 miles vs. 80 - 85 miles is not noticed. If you get tired REST.. I went on a tour a few weeks ago and on one of the days I got sleepy at mile 50 to I too an hour nap under a tree.
Did you forget your medication this morning?
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Old 08-17-06, 06:16 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by paednoch
If you get tired REST.. I went on a tour a few weeks ago and on one of the days I got sleepy at mile 50 to I too an hour nap under a tree.
Having done several centuries(but never an organized one) I can't offer much help. Do Rest, is the best advice if you feel sleepy. I toasted a frame, fork, and a front wheel once by riding into a parked car because I was too tired to keep my head up . Stupid!
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Old 08-17-06, 08:02 PM
  #23  
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I agree with most of the above, except for joining a paceline. Unless you're confident in your bike handling skills, and equally confident in the group you want to join, you could be making a big mistake. Riding in a group or joining up with a couple of riders on the road is one thing, but a tightly organized paceline is a much more intricate thing entirely.

If you do join up with strangers, you can share the work and likely ride faster, but be careful not to burn out at a pace that's simply too fast for you over the long haul. Don't be afraid to drop off if the pace gets too far beyond you. There's a balance between the energy-savings of sharing the work and the over-expenditure of energy keeping up with faster, stronger riders.

Pace yourself, especially early in the ride--it's a long day.

Pay attention to what your body needs for fuel and hydration--the ultimate YMMV topic. Besides gels and energy bars, I usually tuck a bagel in a pocket, as I need something solid over the last half of centuries. And because there is little worse than warm energy drink, I usually fill one bottle with water, which when warm is more refreshing than warm energy drink. I half-fill one Polar bottle with drink, the other half-filled with water, and freeze them overnight. Filled in the morning, they stay cold longer. And the water can be used to squirt over your head if you need to cool down on a long, hot day.

Don't be afraid to stop and take short breaks, especially during the last 10-20 miles, if you need to.

And a mental tip I've recounted before, given to me by a marathoner friend: dedicate segments (maybe 10-15 miles each) to various people of importance in your life and draw on them when your mind (mental state) flags. On my first century, I remember telling myself that my grandson would be embarrassed if I couldn't finish.
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Old 08-17-06, 08:15 PM
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relax and enjoy.

don't kill yourself the week before, but ride your bike.

it's no big deal.

i decided to ride my 1st century a week before.

i repeat: it's no big deal.
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Old 08-17-06, 10:05 PM
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I would ride as much as you can up until the week before the century, and then take it easy for the last week. But make sure that you still ride some. And ride 5 or 10 miles the day before, just to make sure that your muscles are loose.
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