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Century Ride(5 posts)

Century Ridemlester
May 9, 2002 5:01 AM
I am a bit new to the road, being an avid MTB'er I am learning to enjoy both ends of the spectrum. I am going to ride in my first century in about one month. My question to all more experienced riders is what steps do I need to take to prepare for a ride like this?

These are the times that try men's souls...
re: Century Rideheloise
May 9, 2002 6:51 AM
These are pretty basic, but since everyone else is so busy heckling Ron below...

Get in a few "long" rides before the event. I usually ride for time more than distance. If you are comfortable in the saddle for 5 or so hours you are good to go.

Don't neglect speed work. Having a little extra "kick" is nice when you are tired and you just want to get the heck home.

Ride with groups(if you are not already doing so). Being able to hook up with a fast pace line is a much nicer way to finish a century. A 100 mile TT sucks.

"Eat before you are hungry; drink before you are thirsty"

Make sure you are comfortable with your clothing/equipment. A century is not the place to try out a new saddle, energy drink, shorts or gloves. Have all the "details" worked out before hand.

Remember to stand once in awhile.

Be nice to the volunteers. Say thank-you.

Have fun.
If you did a search, you would find many informativebill
May 9, 2002 6:58 AM
threads on this subject. Couple of things:
Any kind of a cyclist can DO a century; heck, you're sitting down, you stop, on a supported century the stops usually are nicely appointed refueling stations with water, go-juice (gatorade or whatever) of some sort, bananas, you've got lots of comapny, etc., etc.
It is an aerobic adventure, with the problems normally coming not from fitness issues (assuming that you are remotely fit enough) but from ergonomic issues, from time in the saddle (butt soreness), time in the riding position (shoulders, neck, hand/arm numbness), time pedaling (foot numbness). These are all symptoms of improper fit, or, more correctly, imperfect fit and alignment. So, step one is to make sure that the danged bike is set up as comfortably as possible.
Next you need to figure out what are your goals for the century. To finish in ANY amount of time or to finish respectably or to finish FAST. Because these require different types of preparation.
Whatever you do, you'll need miles. You do NOT need to prepare for a century by going 100 miles or even 80 miles. If your aerobic fitness is good enough so that you can do 50 comfortably at a given pace, you can do 100. No problem. Unless you really want to race it, you don't need to worry about lactate threshold efforts (although training fast can sort of substitute for miles in aerobic fitness). As far a training regimen, like I said, it depends on your goals for the ride.
Strategy for event day -- take it easy. It's a very pleasant, long day. Think small goals (the next twenty, the next five, whatever it takes). Relax. If it hurts, change it. Don't wait for the chafing to become miserable somewhere. Move around in the saddle. Relax your upper body. Focus on odd habits you don't know you had (leaning on one or both arms, pedaling harder with one leg). Fix them. Don't mash -- mashing is a surefire prescription for foot numbness. Eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty. Don't spend too much time at the rest stops; you start to get too comfy and cold, making it harder to get back on the bike, and it reallly can drag your day out. But don't think that you can't stop, either. The whole approach for an enjoyable experience is not too.
Remember that there are two halves to a century, the first half, consisting of eighty miles, and the second half, consisting of the last twenty. Of course the barrier is psychological. Just be prepared for it. Make sure that you've eaten enough and drunk enough.
It's fun.
re: Century Ridemlester
May 9, 2002 9:39 AM
Thanks for the advise that you have given me. I am pretty sure that I am in the shape to complete the ride. As for goals, I don't know yet what they are. I really just planned on going out and having a good ride and not particularly worrying about time. I want to get the feel for how a long ride like this is going to affect my body and mind. Like I said I am new to the road. Again, thanks for the tips.
-ml
Well, that's maybe the best attitude. You'll have a blast. nmbill
May 9, 2002 10:10 AM
nm