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Aug 30, 2001 2:38 PM
Century season is upon us, that time of year when clubs start to wind down the season and have the annual century ride. I suggest that each poster contribute 1 solid tip that might help any reader get through the century ride with more comfort. I will lead off:

You have just completed the big climb, the legs feel like lead, gassed, burning, etc. A quick way to energize the legs when they get in this condition is to squeeze the lactic acid out. Do this by putting the pedals in the 6 and 12 o'clock position. Flex the quad big muscle and hold it clenched for about 15 seconds and release. Do the same for the other leg. You get the most effect feeling if you wait for your legs to really get full of the acid and then squeeze them out. Now granted the feeling is only tempoary but the psychological boost you get from the relieve also helps. I gave this tip to a few newbie riders on a century once and the growns of pleasure was, well like I just gave them a shot of morphine.
Avoid the urge to dawdle at rest stops.look271
Aug 30, 2001 2:43 PM
Short stops are best. Too much waiting around lets the muscles cool down and tighten up. Fill your bottles, drain your dragon (or appropriate female analogy), eat some goodies and keep going. Wait for the end to kick back and enjoy your conquest.
Get off the saddle now and thennova
Aug 30, 2001 2:55 PM
Especially those of you who run aerobars. Keep your blood flowing to all the important places.
Aug 30, 2001 3:07 PM
Ride to finish: Resist the temptation to ride hard and fast from the start. Remember in the back of your mind that if you pace yourself correctly you will be passing a lot of folks near the end that failed to heed this advice...
re: TIP OF THE CENTURYJon Billheimer
Aug 30, 2001 3:38 PM
Eat and drink, then drink some more. Proper hydration and refueling are probably more important
to your ability to finish a long ride than training. Ideally, take in about 600 ml of fluid per hour, preferably
in the form of a sports drink with electrolytes. Top your liquid caloric intake up to about 300 calories
per hour with easily digestible carbohydrates such as sports bars, fig newtons, bananas, etc. Avoid
fats and don't worry about protein intake on the ride. Oh, and one other thing, practice and refine
your hydrating and fueling protocol BEFORE your century ride. That way you'll experience no
unpleasant surprises.
Loosen your shoes.MrCelloBoy
Aug 30, 2001 3:42 PM
If your feet start aching, try loosening your shoes slightly before taking advil. Feet can swell as the day goes on and this can IMMEDIATELY end the ache sometimes.
Bring along some antacids for cramp reliefTig
Aug 30, 2001 3:45 PM
Tums or Rolaids can be used if you start cramping. They provide quick relief. I keep about 6 wrapped up in foil, which goes in the "dry" baggie that has ID and insurance card, etc. They can come in handy when those "90 mile cramps" kick in.

Of course, keeping hydrated can help prevent most cramps, but sometimes the legs are just too worked and will cramp for different reasons. A banana or good sports drink can provide much needed minerals that can prevent cramps as well.
rest your backside/posteriorsteveuk
Aug 30, 2001 4:54 PM
every now + then pedal out of the saddle for a rest + to let the blood flow round your bottom. Do it right from the start even though you sense no discomfort. At 95 miles u will thank me for it nay scream my name in gratitude at thinking about how much worse it COULD have been:)
Aug 30, 2001 4:54 PM
Understand your salt needs. You need to replace sodium on longer quests. Probably more important in warmer climates.
Salt, very importantChen2
Aug 30, 2001 6:02 PM
Right you are. Last Saturday I road the Hotter'n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls Texas. Hundred miles, hundred degrees. The two previous years I had leg cramps from hell. This year I made sure I took in plenty of sports drinks (I like Hydra Fuel). On the drive to Wichita Falls I had stopped at the golden arches and grabbed a handful of small paper salt packets and put them in a zip lock. Then during the ride I added at least one packet to each drink bottle. My friends laughed at me at the first the first rest stop, but by the time we got to the 80 mile stop they hand cramps and I didn't. They then asked if I had enough salt to share, I did. This turned out to be my first century with no cramps.

Aug 30, 2001 4:58 PM
Have fun, enjoy and experience the venue, talk to people. Arrive at the stops while the food is fresh, not before they've had a chance to set up, and take a little time to appreciate the effort they've taken you make your day a pleasant one. You're out there because you love to ride, and not just to be the first person to leave for home.
Aug 30, 2001 5:10 PM
Use a film cannister to store your meds in. Sun screen!! Use it. Try putting an analgesic balm like mineral ice on the legs and knees before starting a long ride.
Aug 31, 2001 3:10 AM
I did that - but my sister in law (a photographer) said that film cannisters were full of nasty chemicals - can you dispel her claim and allow me to use my trusty pill vials again?
Aug 31, 2001 6:09 AM
I still have all 6 fingers and toes ;)

Rinse them well with soap and water. What chemicals? I use this trick all the time for traveling with carb mix. They're regular plastic containers, not some special nuclear plastic. If we avoided everything that "they" say we should, we wouldn't eat/drink a thing. If you're really worried, soak them in diluted bleach solution too.

Happy riding.

hey LONE GUNMANbikedodger
Aug 31, 2001 7:56 AM
This film canister contamination thing is an urban legend that has been around for years.
Just rinse it and use it.
thanks guys - nmMJ
Aug 31, 2001 8:23 AM
Paying Attentiongrzy
Aug 30, 2001 5:10 PM
Drafting opportunities are everywhere, but there is danger lurking. Continually make an assessment of not only the people's skills around you but your own as well. There will be lots of speedy people to draft and take turns pulling, but it doesn't mean that their pack riding skills are well developed. I see far too many people who crash on centuries because of this. You also need to be looking ahead when drafting since the person ahead may not point out the obstacles or even know you're there. Giving advice to others may not be welcome, but just about everybody likes being asked for advice (human nature is funny - no?) if someone seems skilled. Dead give aways that the person ahead of you isn't skilled:

Pedaling and then stopping to maintain interval - should slide out of the draft to increase wind resistance
Hitting the brakes to maintain interval and no warning
Overlapping wheels frequently and not moving out of the draft to slow
Surging the pace when taking the lead - assuming they're not trying to drop you - then getting blown off the back
Riding in aero bars while not on the nose
Drinking from a water bottle when not first or last in the pace line
Not pointing out objects and hazards to the riders behind or not repeating a signal from in front
Goofy lead changes.
Staying on the nose too long and letting speed drop.
Not announcing intentions to stop or run a light/sign

Not that these "rules" aren't meant to be broken from time to time, but you have to figure out if you should be trusting the people around you. A dangerous rider should be avoided.

Bonus century tip - bring your own fuel (bars/gels/drink mix) if you don't have a cast iron stomach. A disturbing trend with the increase in the number of organized centuries is that they sometimes get very marginal products from sponsors. Some of the available stuff will make some people sick as a dog.
Paying Attention - Beware the last few miles - a storyPdxMark
Aug 30, 2001 5:54 PM
I met a couple this weekend at the top of a good local climbing ride. They had driven up, and he was wearing a shirt for a 150 mile/10,000 foot ride I had also done a few weeks ago. She had a cast. So we chatted.

This couple, with others, were in a group that had been passing other groups in the last 20-30 miles of the ride -after all the hard climbing. With 12 miles to go they caught yet aother group. After drafting for a bit, he passed. Awhile later, she was ready to pass, but the last rider in the group in front suddenly braked because she was bonking. In the resulting crash, the woman in back ended up with a compound fracture. I don't know if the braking rider even knew someone was behind her.

Moral: Pay attention. Know that tired people might be extra sloppy. And don't surprise people, whether they are behind you or in front of you.
SPIN SPIN SPIN SPIN - leave the 11t at home NMnestorl
Aug 30, 2001 5:25 PM
Aug 30, 2001 5:36 PM
I'm no expert but one tip is to keep in mind that miles 60-80 may be the hardest. Mentally prepare yourself for that time when your still a long way from home but already feeling pretty tired. Even if the road flattens out, mentally this could be the time when you start thinking "Where's that sag wagon", or "I think that cell phone might come in handy today", or "Heck, 75 miles isn't bad". Just hang in there, one pedal stroke after another until you get to about mile 80 and then you realize, hey, I can ride 20 miles, that's less than my ????? loop that I ride all the time.
Aug 31, 2001 1:18 PM
But be VERY careful at the 80 mile mark. More than once I have been caught in the trap of "it's only 20 more miles" and decided I could hammer out the last 20 in an hour or less. Keep your pace!! Don't decide to accelerate in the last 20 miles when you think you're getting close to home. You still have a long way to go. 20 miles in and of itself is not a long way when you have been training for a Century, but add the first 80 miles on to that and you've ridden a lot of miles. More than once I have sprinted away from my friends at 80 m only to be caught at 90, with my friend asking me "What the heck do you think you're doing?". Then I have to draft my friend the rest of the way home 'cause I'm DONE! There's nothing worse than giving it all you've got at the end of a Century and looking down to see that you are going 12 MPH!!
Keep your Pace. See my reply above (nm)MisJG
Aug 31, 2001 1:20 PM
In the day or 2 before the ride...PdxMark
Aug 30, 2001 5:42 PM
1. Eat complex carbs and drinks lots of water - it will be hard to take in enough calories during the ride to cover what you'll burn, and starting out dehydrated won't help

2. Get your bike ready and your gear together, be wary of major bike/equipment changes - you don't want to forget something like your shoes, and part of doing a century is having the fit/feel of your bike dialed-in beforehand. A major change might help, but if it's a change, you won't know for sure if it will.

3. Get a good night's sleep.

Ok, I'm scraping, but the good tips were already posted...
Lots of little goals ...Humma Hah
Aug 30, 2001 6:20 PM
... Darn, most of the good suggestions are taken already. Not a stinker in the bunch!

So, I resort to my basic beginner's century advice: Don't look all the way to the end of the run. Set lots of little goals. Top of the next hill. The next even mile. The next even 5 miles. The next SAG stop. You can always do another little goal. Keep doing them and the finish always seems to come.
Don't overpackMe Dot Org
Aug 30, 2001 7:54 PM
On my first Century, I wore a large fanny pack which I had never worn and packed enough food and supplies to survive a nuclear winter. My position on the bike was thrown out of wack from all the weight and my back hurt a little. Don't use equipment you don't normally use, and don't overpack.

Don't worry about food. (Other than a little gel/salt/antacids for emergencies). There will be water stops.

Spin uphills. Use one more gear than you normally use. Take it easy for the first 60 miles.

Sunscreen: Don't forget the back of your neck.

Have fun: Treat it like a bike ride rather than a workout. Look at the scenery.
beware Boston terriers!4bykn
Aug 30, 2001 10:46 PM
If only somebody had given me this sage advice two years ago my odometer wouldn't have stopped at 94.68 miles.
Do 150 mile training rides. (A serious tip actually)MB1
Aug 31, 2001 5:27 AM
And the club century will be a piece of cake. Even 120 mile training rides will do the job. Then you can amaze your friends by picking up the pace towards the end of the club century while they are starting to wear out.
Aug 31, 2001 5:54 AM
Thank the ride organizers and volunteers. Let them know you had a good time and that you appreciate all of their efforts. Maybe then they will do it all again for your enjoyment next year.

You got my vote for the best tip. nmMB1
Aug 31, 2001 5:56 AM
Aug 31, 2001 6:31 AM
Having volumteered for events myself, I learned to appreciate those who do so when I get to play. The ride is actually more fun when you give little thank you's to the cops at intersections, rest stop workers, and anyone else who is going above the call.
Know the whole routeBeauVelo
Aug 31, 2001 6:01 AM
The most defeated feeling is saying okay let's crank up this hill only to realize the hill is much longer and steeper than'll end up suffering mentally which hurts you physically.

:) Have fun :)
Aug 31, 2001 10:32 AM
I did a century just two weeks ago. My third this year. My advice is to resist pounding down the hill like your typical club rides. Spin lightly to keep you legs loose, but don't crank like a maniac down the hill.

I saw the same couple of guys passing everybody like a pack of wolves every time we were going down a hill, but later everyone would pass them going up a hill. This went on for the first 30-40 miles over two or three hills. Later, I saw the same guys on the side of the road looking wasted. I don't recall seeing them again!
prepare the week priorSpiritual Haiku
Sep 4, 2001 6:13 AM
test rides confirm the condition of your equipment and engine. don't push too hard. overhydrate by 25% above your norm for 3 days prior. carb-load for 2 days. eat a good breakfast the day of the century, in enough time for your meal to digest. bring your own food and drink mix and don't count on anything from the SAGs beyond water, sometimes not even that.

i'd second/third/whatever the "keep your own pace" advice. most important.