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Century Horror Stories

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

Century Horror Stories

Old 08-10-09, 07:15 AM
  #1  
gettingold
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Century Horror Stories

Just decided to do my first century Sept. 5. Previous high is one 60 and a bunch of 50s.

I'm interested in hearing about glorious triumphs for first time centurians as well as epic failures.
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Old 08-10-09, 07:24 AM
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Try the Long Distance forum:
http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=231

There's a thread in there called: "Remember Your First Century (100 miles)" ... it's up to several pages now. Have a look:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=233725
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Old 08-10-09, 07:36 AM
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My bad. I didn't even know there was a long distance forum....
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Old 08-10-09, 10:10 AM
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You'll be fine. Pace yourself, and drink and eat early and often. If you can try to gradually up your mileage before then, and get a 70 or 80 mile ride in.

As for first century stories, I way overthought my first century. Read all the adivce about hydrating. Drank a lot of water the day before. Had coffee and orange juice on the way to the ride. Drank a full bottle of water the hour before the century started.

Started the ride, going along with the fast group, and feeling fine. Only problem was I drank so much fluid I constantly had to stop and pee. Must have pee'd 6 times in a 100 mile ride. So you can overdue the hydration thing.
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Old 08-10-09, 10:31 AM
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Forgot sunscreen two weeks ago. Neglected to buy some. I am not a good enough cyclist for these tan lines.
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Old 08-10-09, 10:34 AM
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Getting lost would be my major concern. If the century is big and organized enough, it's less likely to happen.
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Old 08-10-09, 11:06 AM
  #7  
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JBC Sudden Century a couple years back. 25 mph headwind/crosswind for most of it. nothing like a line of 10 to 15 riders trudging along at 12 mph putting in massive efforts on a flat as a pancake route. good times. later.
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Old 08-10-09, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by aham23 View Post
JBC Sudden Century a couple years back. 25 mph headwind/crosswind for most of it. nothing like a line of 10 to 15 riders trudging along at 12 mph putting in massive efforts on a flat as a pancake route. good times. later.
I did the Solvang Century one time when we called it 'the wind tunnel century'. Working hard to go 13mph downhill. Also did that ride in the cold driving rain. It was faster to finish than to wait for SAG as there were hundreds of riders waiting at each rest stop. Actually dried out toward the end.
Did my first century in 1988 with bronchitis. I was hacking and coughing so much that people were telling me to quit smoking.
I did a club century with tonsilitis and was not dressed for the cold headwinds climbing over Mill Creek Summit. My friends waited for me and they said "You don't look so good". Felt like crap, too, but after that climb, I was O.K.
I did an LA Wheelmen ride a few years ago when it was 110 degrees at the end and I was 11 pounds lighter due to dehydration. Felt like crap for a couple days after that.
I did the Breathless Agony century in 2006 and I got sick on the climb to Onyx and struggled that last 10 miles, or so. I didn't think I was going to make it, but friends were waiting. I got to the point where I could see the people at the top and I still wanted to turn around, but I kept on.
I rode loaded touring from Julian, California to some seaside motel and it took 11 hours. Total nightmare on the way to the coast with gravel trucks, bee sting, traffic, etc. Got to the coast around 4pm and told my friend, "We only have 40 miles to go and a strong headwind."
Climbing over Sepulveda Pass in 115 degree weather at the end of a club century I got a bad nosebleed. I had a white bike and I looked down and saw the top tube was red. Finished with nausea from drinking hot water and blood.
I could go on and on. Good times!
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Old 08-10-09, 12:36 PM
  #9  
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Not my first century but I broke my collarbone on one I was doing with my wife... that's a pretty epic fail...
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Old 08-10-09, 12:46 PM
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First (only) century featured 20-30 mph headwinds and chipseal over the last 20 miles. It helped to make the event even more memorable.
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Old 08-10-09, 12:49 PM
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The last century I did (sat) someone flatted twice in a row.

I have patience issues when it comes to stopping on rides so that was difficult for me.




Only horror story I have is a day after story. The day after I rode the Tour of the Unknown Coast century in NorCal this year I felt absolutely horrible. Like hurting to walk and nearly passing out every hour from blood sugar dropping. I stuck with the hammer group over the first pass and for a large part of the middle section until the end of the ride when every thing blows up because the last 15 miles are uphill, save a short steep decent to the start/finish area. Did it in 5:50, 101.5 with 10,000+ feet vertical. Some people did it in 5:15 I believe. Crazy.

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Old 08-10-09, 12:51 PM
  #12  
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Assault on Mt. Mitchell, 1994, snowed on us just as we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway. Had to hold up in the back of a Ryder truck wrapped up in furniture moving blankets for an hour or so. This was mid May.
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Old 08-10-09, 01:21 PM
  #13  
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My first organized metric was the Palm Springs in 2006. I'd never been to Palm Springs before and when I was driving in I noticed many many windmills. I thought 'how cool is that! it's so good to see a large scale wind farm in action!' never making the cognitive leap that there must be a *reason* that there are so many windmills on there.

About the first 1/3 of the ride rode directly towards the wind farm, into the howling wind. I was stuck in the lowest gear I had riding at about 9mph, hiding behind a 6'3"-6'4" VLP (Very Large Person, he said he didn't mind). That was a bit of a sufferfest, rest of the ride was fun.
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Old 08-10-09, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
The last century I did (sat) someone flatted twice in a row.

I have patience issues when it comes to stopping on rides so that was difficult for me.
The second flat was because the tube didn't get seated properly after the first time. The lesson there is not to hurry. I guess that's why you kept riding around in circles instead of shootin' the breeze with us.... of course the 30+ hammerfest on the freeway after that made up for it
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Old 08-10-09, 01:53 PM
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When I lived in Vermont -- This one it is 132 miles though. We usually do the 4 gap only for a century but Lincoln Gap is really tough. I believe it is the highest mountain in Vermont although for some reason I am thinking Killington. The first time I did it, I puked and had leg cramps. But I persevered and was rewarded at the end.
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Old 08-10-09, 02:08 PM
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Haven't had a fail yet on a century (all two of them) but saw many fails during my first at the Hotter 'n Hell several years ago. Packed SAG wagons and a guy about 200 feet beyond one of the final rest stops "giving back" everything he had just consumed on the side of the road.
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Old 08-10-09, 02:20 PM
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I've had a few century plus rides finish up with a 20-30mph headwind, just miserable. I've done a couple of others were there was a headwind 100% of the time, that just plain sucked.
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Old 08-10-09, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
The second flat was because the tube didn't get seated properly after the first time. The lesson there is not to hurry. I guess that's why you kept riding around in circles instead of shootin' the breeze with us.... of course the 30+ hammerfest on the freeway after that made up for it
Ya up until that point I felt strong and had no trouble pulling through. "Must be a slower than average saturday" I thought. Yeah right.
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Old 08-10-09, 02:56 PM
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I met the actor who played Lewis in Revenge of the Nerds at a rest stop on the Solvang Century. He was pretty cool, but I could tell his eyes were rolling every time someone started laughing like Lewis.


Took us over 6 hours, because I was riding with my Pa. Spent much of the afternoon glaring at the back of his legs and willing him to pedal.
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Old 08-10-09, 03:23 PM
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My first century was completely uneventful. I have not had any epic failures unless you count the century where I developed fit issues that resulted in terrible knee pain.
There was a 165 mile ride I did with road rash down my left leg last month.
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Old 08-10-09, 03:24 PM
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First one was actually the worst I had just started riding three months previous and had intended to do ride by myself at my pace. Well I ended up hooking up with four other riders and rode with them. I took my turns out front but for to long. Ended up binking at 140k managed to finisg but felt like crap. Have done many since with no real issues, have done 3 this year solo with nothing interesting at all.
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Old 08-10-09, 04:28 PM
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If there is a lot of climbing on your first century I'd suggest looking at your chainrings and making sure there are three of them.
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Old 08-10-09, 04:38 PM
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Triple bypass, 2006, for those of you familiar with it, first pass is Squaw, at top of squaw starts raining, crashing downhill towards Idaho Springs in driving rain, temp in low 40's me in a light rain jacket and bibs. Shaking and shivering, riding the brakes, praying to God not to let me flat or I would surely die. Abandoned the ride at Idaho Spring, as did almost everyone else. Last two years 07 and 08 came back and finished, 120 mi in 8'14' 07 and 7'56" 08. Greatest triumph would be either the sub 8hr triple(120 mi, 10000 feet of climbing btw) or last years hotter'n hell hundred 4'29 min.
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Old 08-10-09, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by logdrum View Post
When I lived in Vermont -- This one it is 132 miles though. We usually do the 4 gap only for a century but Lincoln Gap is really tough. I believe it is the highest mountain in Vermont although for some reason I am thinking Killington. The first time I did it, I puked and had leg cramps. But I persevered and was rewarded at the end.
Mt. Mansfield (Stowe ski area) is the highest mountain in Vermont. Killington has the highest lift-serviced point in Vermont (i.e., the ski-area lifts go nowhere near the top of Mt. Mansfield). Not sure what the highest-elevation mountain pass in Vermont is though... that could be Lincoln Gap.
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Old 08-10-09, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bob the nailer View Post
Triple bypass, 2006, for those of you familiar with it, first pass is Squaw, at top of squaw starts raining, crashing downhill towards Idaho Springs in driving rain, temp in low 40's me in a light rain jacket and bibs. Shaking and shivering, riding the brakes, praying to God not to let me flat or I would surely die. Abandoned the ride at Idaho Spring, as did almost everyone else. Last two years 07 and 08 came back and finished, 120 mi in 8'14' 07 and 7'56" 08. Greatest triumph would be either the sub 8hr triple(120 mi, 10000 feet of climbing btw) or last years hotter'n hell hundred 4'29 min.
Eastern Sierra Double this year. 7700' altitude at the top of a 14-mile 4000' climb at 8am. 35f, rain, sleet, and the ensuing 15 mile 4400' descent averaging 35ish mph.

I was so cold at the bottom that I spent a minute trying to screw the cap to my water bottle back on to some plastic water jug. I had no idea what was going on...
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