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What's So Cool About A 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

What's So Cool About A Century?

Old 09-01-08, 08:42 PM
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jwetzelp
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What's So Cool About A Century?

So, that question isn't really fair. I realize that riding a human-powered machine 100 miles is amazing no matter who is asking. However, I've now gone on two long-ish rides (one metric century and 75 miles today) and have discovered that, beyond around 60-65 miles, I stop having fun. It starts becoming a "death march" as me and my backpacking buddies call a long, forced trudge to the car through sub-par conditions...more of a chore than something I enjoy.

Personally (and I think cycling zen backs me up on this), I try to avoid doing things that aren't fun if I have a choice in the matter. So I'm thinking that, at this point in my cycling experience, I'm not really interested in doing a century ride. I also know that century rides are sort of the default goal many shoot for when beginning and truly are a major accomplishment for any individual. So do I have some sort of rogue cycling gene that is skewing my perspective. Is it OK to think this way? Maybe I just haven't done ENOUGH long rides to enjoy the later part of them.

A fairer (and serious) question is somewhere in there, and I think it's this:

Many people have posted in response to those planning century rides that "the difference between 75 and 100 miles is all in your head" or something to that effect. What factors into this, because today I really felt like the difference was probably all in my legs (I was hurtin')? Am I missing experience, training, attitude, or something else that the cycling gods have yet to make me aware of. I have this cognitive dissonance between feeling as if I should want to do a century but then also knowing on some level that I would not enjoy the later part of it.

P.S. - I'll take care of a couple responses right here:

1) HTFU
2) Pics or it didn't happen.
3) Flip it.
4) Do you want some cheese?
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Old 09-01-08, 08:46 PM
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You win.

Big tough guy.

It's not the fact that it's not impossible to do.

It's a challenge between your mind and physical limits. Not EVERYONE here at BF are built out of stone like you and I.

p.s. I've never done one but there's one coming up in about two weeks that I'm strongly considering.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jwetzelp View Post
So, that question isn't really fair. I realize that riding a human-powered machine 100 miles is amazing no matter who is asking. However, I've now gone on two long-ish rides (one metric century and 75 miles today) and have discovered that, beyond around 60-65 miles, I stop having fun. It starts becoming a "death march" as me and my backpacking buddies call a long, forced trudge to the car through sub-par conditions...more of a chore than something I enjoy.

Personally (and I think cycling zen backs me up on this), I try to avoid doing things that aren't fun if I have a choice in the matter. So I'm thinking that, at this point in my cycling experience, I'm not really interested in doing a century ride. I also know that century rides are sort of the default goal many shoot for when beginning and truly are a major accomplishment for any individual. So do I have some sort of rogue cycling gene that is skewing my perspective. Is it OK to think this way? Maybe I just haven't done ENOUGH long rides to enjoy the later part of them.

A fairer (and serious) question is somewhere in there, and I think it's this:

Many people have posted in response to those planning century rides that "the difference between 75 and 100 miles is all in your head" or something to that effect. What factors into this, because today I really felt like the difference was probably all in my legs (I was hurtin')? Am I missing experience, training, attitude, or something else that the cycling gods have yet to make me aware of. I have this cognitive dissonance between feeling as if I should want to do a century but then also knowing on some level that I would not enjoy the later part of it.

P.S. - I'll take care of a couple responses right here:

1) HTFU
2) Pics or it didn't happen.
3) Flip it.
4) Do you want some cheese?

Hmmm...poor choice of descriptors. Don't think anyone who has participated in a death march would ever see any similarity between that and anything you have ever done.

Oh....and it's a century. It's not a big deal, but many have put it on a high pedastal of cycling achievement. Who are any of us to disagree.

It is whatever you want to make of it...that is if you ever actually finish one. I guess until then it doesn't really matter what you think it is or isn't.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jwetzelp View Post
So, that question isn't really fair. I realize that riding a human-powered machine 100 miles is amazing no matter who is asking. However, I've now gone on two long-ish rides (one metric century and 75 miles today) and have discovered that, beyond around 60-65 miles, I stop having fun. It starts becoming a "death march" as me and my backpacking buddies call a long, forced trudge to the car through sub-par conditions...more of a chore than something I enjoy.

Personally (and I think cycling zen backs me up on this), I try to avoid doing things that aren't fun if I have a choice in the matter. So I'm thinking that, at this point in my cycling experience, I'm not really interested in doing a century ride. I also know that century rides are sort of the default goal many shoot for when beginning and truly are a major accomplishment for any individual. So do I have some sort of rogue cycling gene that is skewing my perspective. Is it OK to think this way? Maybe I just haven't done ENOUGH long rides to enjoy the later part of them.

A fairer (and serious) question is somewhere in there, and I think it's this:

Many people have posted in response to those planning century rides that "the difference between 75 and 100 miles is all in your head" or something to that effect. What factors into this, because today I really felt like the difference was probably all in my legs (I was hurtin')? Am I missing experience, training, attitude, or something else that the cycling gods have yet to make me aware of. I have this cognitive dissonance between feeling as if I should want to do a century but then also knowing on some level that I would not enjoy the later part of it.

P.S. - I'll take care of a couple responses right here:

1) HTFU
2) Pics or it didn't happen.
3) Flip it.
4) Do you want some cheese?
If you don't want to do a century no one is forcing you. Cycling has so many facets that you can choose one and be happy. You could ride the Kilo and be done in no time. Or you can race your bike across America.

I do centuries as training rides they are not a big deal to me. But my friends and co-workers (bike friends and coworkers from my bike shop) think I'm nutty. I don't ride my bike for Zen crap. I ride my bike to challenge myself, to suffer, to achieve something difficult and to come home completely wasted. I don't go out for a fun ride or do recreational centuries. I love suffering and I love feeling like I might not make it home. But that's me you do what you want.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:54 PM
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A century ride is supposed to be a rolling party. If you don't think it is fun, then it is probably not for you. Or maybe you just need to train harder.
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Old 09-01-08, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jwetzelp View Post
So, that question isn't really fair. I realize that riding a human-powered machine 100 miles is amazing no matter who is asking. However, I've now gone on two long-ish rides (one metric century and 75 miles today) and have discovered that, beyond around 60-65 miles, I stop having fun. It starts becoming a "death march" as me and my backpacking buddies call a long, forced trudge to the car through sub-par conditions...more of a chore than something I enjoy.

Personally (and I think cycling zen backs me up on this), I try to avoid doing things that aren't fun if I have a choice in the matter. So I'm thinking that, at this point in my cycling experience, I'm not really interested in doing a century ride. I also know that century rides are sort of the default goal many shoot for when beginning and truly are a major accomplishment for any individual. So do I have some sort of rogue cycling gene that is skewing my perspective. Is it OK to think this way? Maybe I just haven't done ENOUGH long rides to enjoy the later part of them.

A fairer (and serious) question is somewhere in there, and I think it's this:

Many people have posted in response to those planning century rides that "the difference between 75 and 100 miles is all in your head" or something to that effect. What factors into this, because today I really felt like the difference was probably all in my legs (I was hurtin')? Am I missing experience, training, attitude, or something else that the cycling gods have yet to make me aware of. I have this cognitive dissonance between feeling as if I should want to do a century but then also knowing on some level that I would not enjoy the later part of it.

P.S. - I'll take care of a couple responses right here:

1) HTFU
2) Pics or it didn't happen.
3) Flip it.
4) Do you want some cheese?
Is there a question for the BF forum in here somewhere?
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Old 09-01-08, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ritterview View Post
Is there a question for the BF forum in here somewhere?
I thought it was, "does this long post make me look fat?"
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Old 09-01-08, 08:57 PM
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Give Me An H

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What Does That Spell


Htfu!!!!!


Yay
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Old 09-01-08, 09:00 PM
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Some rides I get bored at the end. Saturday was like that. 55 miles. Flat with a hill in the middle. The last flat 15 miles was plenty boring.

Today was a different story. Lots of rolling hills. 54 miles. I didn't get bored at the end like I did on Saturday.

So for me, a lot of it is the route. A flat century would be plenty boring.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by photonick View Post
Give Me An H

Give Me A T

Give Me An F

Give Me A U


What Does That Spell


Htfu!!!!!


Yay
you win teh internet
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Old 09-01-08, 09:05 PM
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Seriously, I've ridden centuries before (actually doing two or three more before the winter hits), and they are fun if you let them be. When I did the Montauk Century, it stopped being fun for me when I couldn't breathe right and my left hand went numb, coupled with the crazy drop in temperature (this was at mile 125-132), so I stopped.

It doesn't seem like you actually did a century though. 75 miles is one thing, but finishing those extra 25 is indeed (mostly) in your head! Do one with a couple of people you don't know, and see what happens.

If you don't enjoy it, at least you tried it (and can eat lots of food afterwards).
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Old 09-01-08, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MrCrassic View Post
Seriously, I've ridden centuries before (actually doing two or three more before the winter hits), and they are fun if you let them be. When I did the Montauk Century, it stopped being fun for me when I couldn't breathe right and my left hand went numb, coupled with the crazy drop in temperature (this was at mile 125-132), so I stopped.

It doesn't seem like you actually did a century though. 75 miles is one thing, but finishing those extra 25 is indeed (mostly) in your head! Do one with a couple of people you don't know, and see what happens.

If you don't enjoy it, at least you tried it
(and can eat lots of food afterwards).
If you want to get/stay fat.

Best thing after a century....is water....IMHO.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jwetzelp View Post

A fairer (and serious) question is somewhere in there, and I think it's this:

Many people have posted in response to those planning century rides that "the difference between 75 and 100 miles is all in your head" or something to that effect. What factors into this, because today I really felt like the difference was probably all in my legs (I was hurtin')? Am I missing experience, training, attitude, or something else that the cycling gods have yet to make me aware of. I have this cognitive dissonance between feeling as if I should want to do a century but then also knowing on some level that I would not enjoy the later part of it.
Well if the difference was in your legs, then yes, I would say that maybe you need to work up to the longer distances before you're able to pull a century off. You could very well be lacking the experience and training, particularly since you said you've only done two longish rides thus far. If you haven't worked your fitness up to a level where you can ride that distance, the mental side isn't going to help. I would think that once you can ride "longish" routes with good legs, the mental part of being able to push to 100 will kick in and you may be able imagine enjoying it.

Then again, some of us ride centuries for training rides and others see it as an ultimate goal. It's not absolute in cycling, so do what you feel comfortable with.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
If you want to get/stay fat.

Best thing after a century....is water....IMHO.
If all you're drinking after a century is water, you need to work harder.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Brandy View Post
If all you're drinking after a century is water, you need to work harder.
- I did not say I practice what I preach. This is usually what I am drinking after a century....



....well the hilly ones at least...
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Old 09-01-08, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
- I did not say I practice what I preach. This is usually what I am drinking after a century....

....well the hilly ones at least...
Cute. Stop disseminating the misinformation though. I agree...don't overeat like many people do, but get something into your body within the first 30 minutes so you can start the recovery process.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
If you want to get/stay fat.

Best thing after a century....is water....IMHO.
Hmm, wish I could, if I drink water I get very sick. So I have to drink something, I use water down Gatorade.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:32 PM
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I agree with pretty much what everyone has said. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it. Most people have trouble with centuries because they don't know how to fuel properly, and/or their body is not adapted for it. Personally, I love long rides, and 100 miles is not a problem. I've done over 30 100+ mile rides this year.

For example, today:
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Old 09-01-08, 09:37 PM
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Think of it as time on the bike rather than miles, and it'll make a lot more sense. If I spend 5 hours riding and figure that's enough, I'm pooped, that's maybe a metric century, and I'm not too interested in a ride beyond that. But 5 hours for a lot of guys IS a century, and isn't any harder for them than the metric century is for me.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
I agree with pretty much what everyone has said. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it. Most people have trouble with centuries because they don't know how to fuel properly, and/or their body is not adapted for it. Personally, I love long rides, and 100 miles is not a problem. I've done over 30 100+ mile rides this year.

For example, today:
Nice ride Agree with your post too.
Just keep riding those 75 milers and 100 will come soon enough with out to much pain.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jwetzelp View Post
...

P.S. - I'll take care of a couple responses right here:

1) HTFU
2) Pics or it didn't happen.
3) Flip it.
4) Do you want some cheese?
I can't tell you how to enjoy a century, I just know that I enjoy them. I usually ride them every Saturday though I've been a little lax (only one in July, two in August). I'll have at least 2 in September (left over hurricane next Saturday, grr). I'm hoping for at least 1 double metric in October. Either the Cranbury-Batso-Tabernacle loop or the Cranbury-Tuckerton loop. BTW, if you ride a Century you can pretty much eat what you want, with cheese.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jwetzelp View Post
So, that question isn't really fair. I realize that riding a human-powered machine 100 miles is amazing no matter who is asking. However, I've now gone on two long-ish rides (one metric century and 75 miles today) and have discovered that, beyond around 60-65 miles, I stop having fun. It starts becoming a "death march" as me and my backpacking buddies call a long, forced trudge to the car through sub-par conditions...more of a chore than something I enjoy.

Personally (and I think cycling zen backs me up on this), I try to avoid doing things that aren't fun if I have a choice in the matter.
Yup, I find anything over 50 miles to be boring. After a while, I just want to do something else. Riding with a group helps. But after about 50 or 60 miles, even that wears thin.
Doesn't matter what type of cycling I'm doing, after a while I'm ready to do something else. BTW, I completely agree with your comment about keeping if fun. My LBS gives the same advice don't ride because you have to, ride when you want to. I'm making a small exception doing some training for an upcoming MS ride, but once that's complete, its back to ride when I want to.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:42 PM
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To me a century is a fairly long distance, but nothing really exceptional. Most anybody could do it with some training, at least if it's on flat terrain and nice weather. It's a sort of a goal for many cyclists, but I think that's arbitrary and is related to the number 100. I think in km, so 161 km is less significant to me than 100 or 200 km.
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Old 09-01-08, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
I agree with pretty much what everyone has said. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it. Most people have trouble with centuries because they don't know how to fuel properly, and/or their body is not adapted for it. Personally, I love long rides, and 100 miles is not a problem. I've done over 30 100+ mile rides this year.

For example, today:
Is that Mt. Hamilton between miles 20 and ~40?
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Old 09-01-08, 09:46 PM
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Tonight's post-century menu includes one family size chicken/bacon/artichoke Papa Murphy's pizza, half a gallon of water, and two really big brownies, fresh from the oven.
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