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you century (+) guys are nuts!!!(22 posts)

you century (+) guys are nuts!!!wulf
Jun 24, 2002 9:18 AM
I'm pretty new around here, but have gotten alot of pointers from all of you guys wrt seat height, grinding BB noises, stems, etc. I'm finally getting closer to really getting my bike dialed in properly, and I started riding in April, so it's taken about 2.5 months.

Now, to the century stuff: you guys are wickedly in shape. Holy schmoly - I did my longest ride ever yesterday by about 20 miles: we did 54 miles of rolly-polly foothills riding outside of Ft. Collins into Ault and back, and around the city. It was great, but I was DEAD at about 40 miles...had to eat a power bar and drink about 20oz. of water to keep pushing. We averaged about 19mph, and though sore, I feel GREAT.

You guys that go 100, 200, plus are my idols. Any suggestions for increasing my long ride endurance? I'm going to try the Courage Classic in Colorado this year, 50mi/day for 3 days, including three 11,000ft+ mountain passes...ouch.

Thanks for all your help.
- Wulf
If you think riding long is nuts...Wayne
Jun 24, 2002 9:24 AM
try racing! There is no suffering like the suffering that occurs when you're trying to keep up and 54 miles is about you're average road race length for the higher categories.
Doing a 100mi RR in San DiegoJS
Jun 24, 2002 2:35 PM
this weekend. 35+ 1,2,3. The distance isn't a big deal, just trying to find someone to feed you. There is no way to carry enough water/mix for 4 hours of racing.
So JS, where in S.D. are you riding?HAL9010
Jun 25, 2002 10:25 AM
I'm in Penasquitos. Will your route pass any where nearby?

Hal In S.D.
Drink more and soonerLowend
Jun 24, 2002 9:41 AM
Don't wait until you feel thirsty.
longer ridesTig
Jun 24, 2002 9:55 AM
It will take time for you to build up your endurance, depending on how often and what kind of riding you are doing. Don't get in too much of a hurry, but you'll need to keep riding consistently to see improved endurance.

Here's an excellent article that addresses the needs of a first time century rider as well as serious double century vet's:

While you're at it, read the short articles here as well:

The more you can learn from others, the fewer costly or painful mistakes you will have to make on your own. One good tip on century riding I'll pass on it to ride the 1st half slower than you would normally ride. Then, after a rest, pick up the speed a little and you'll be more likely to finish without being completely wiped out.
good infoDougSloan
Jun 24, 2002 9:59 AM
It's really not that hard if you work up to it year round, progressively. Make you Saturday rides longer and longer, and gradually you will build up to a double century. I'd say that once you can do a century under 6 hours, you should easily be able to do a double, pacing yourself and doing all the hydration and nutrition things you should.

Read everything at the UMCA site. Much if it is directed at the shorter distances, not necessarily doubles and beyond.

You want to see some nuts (sort of a double meaning there, eh?), take a look here:

century vs doublecyclopathic
Jun 25, 2002 3:17 AM
the biggest diff is nutrition (hydration, electrolytes, etc).
you can ride century w/o food, and you can't double.
mind over matterJekyll
Jun 24, 2002 9:56 AM
That's all it is. Until I rode a century I thought that you had to be certifiably insane to ride a bike that far. Now, many years and centuries later I still enjoy the experience of going 100 miles or more. If you can ride 54 miles you can most probably ride 100. Just try building up the distance by around 10 miles at a time until you hit your goal. Don't worry about how fast you do it (I still really don't) but listen to your body as you ride and be conservative until you really have a feel for how you are progressing and what to expect 30 miles down the road.
DRINK AND EAT - if you are going to spend 4 to 6 hours or more on a bike you have to make sure that you stay hydrated and fueled up. Plan your century around convenience stores, etc so that you can stop off for sport drinks/water and snacks.
I actually felt far more comfortable doing my first century on my own. I went at my own pace and selected a route I was comfortable with. Once you prove to yourself that you can do the distance you will feel much more comfortable doing it with others and will be able to make an intelligent decision on whether you want to stick with a particular group or find a faster/slower one.
Now the guys here like Doug Sloan (congrats!) really humble me - 500+ miles in a single sitting - that's really something...
Never mind, it doesn't matter.MB1
Jun 24, 2002 10:04 AM
Just go slow: that's all you will need to do.

Oh yea, keep riding.
re: you century (+) guys are nuts!!!godot
Jun 24, 2002 9:57 AM
There are a lot of good rides around Ft Collins. If you are going to try the Courage Classic, I would recommend making a couple of trips up Rist Canyon (starts near Bellvue) to get ready. Going from Fort Collins to Masonville has 3 good hills, although they are a bit short.

The Fort Collins Cycling Club runs a good century called the Horsetooth 100. It's on July 20th this year. It is well supported, and not too big. I'm not sure about the route this year since the road over the dams is closed and that was part of the route.

Doing a century isn't all that bad if you've been riding. Do not try to set any speed records the first time, eat, drink a lot of water and just enjoy. Also be sure to thank all the volunteers. I used to be intimidated by century rides until I tried one. Keep increasing your mileage, take some recovery days, have fun, give it a try.

Good Luck.
what kind of support?TomS
Jun 24, 2002 10:27 AM
I've never done a century either, but I've been doing 40-50 mile weekend rides for a couple of months... I just looked at the website and this horsetooth 100 ride sounds cool, plus a good goal to work towards!

Actually I've never done any kind of "organized" ride, so this may be a silly question, but what kind of support is usually offered at the aid stations? Water refills? Snacks? It says the entry fee is only $5, that seems a lot cheaper than other rides I've seen.
what kind of support?godot
Jun 24, 2002 10:40 AM
They all have water and some form of gatorade for water bottle refills.

Banana's, animal crackers, power bars, other misc munchies.

They also usually have some basic mechanical support as well. (patch kits, chain lube, basic tools)

Oh yeah, and an outhouse or other facilities.

I'm not associated with the club, so I can't say for certain, but I'm guessing it's only $5 since they aren't giving out a t-shirt. There is beer available when you finish, which isn't so bad.

In years past they also had a couple of cars/vans circling the route looking for people in trouble.

Hope this helps. I'd be happy to answer any other questions.
You're doing great Wulf!!!EJC
Jun 24, 2002 10:04 AM
If you have been riding for 2.5 months and are doing 54 miles at 19mph you are off to a grand start!

Make sure you drink DURING the rides (about 5 deep sips every ten minutes) and eat during the ride. Like getting your bike tweaked to your body, you have to 'tweak' the caloric intake you need during long rides.

I find I am best when I consume a Powergel about every 30km. BUT, everyone is different, so expiriment.

Also, build your base slowly. This is very important. Even if you feel like you are crawling, if you go out for 60 miles at 17mph you are doing your body a HUGE service vis-vis base-building. You'll do great athe the 50mile/day x 3 day event! AND you may even be doing a century by October!

Cheers Wulf,

Yeah, no doubt...Wannabe
Jun 25, 2002 6:54 AM
I've been riding seriously since January (only about 2500miles though) and I can't ride 54mi at 19mph avg!

I'm jealous!

re: yes we are, butdzrider
Jun 24, 2002 10:24 AM
Few of us are depressed, seriously overweight, or bored. It's probably a better than average compulsion and,having suffered with some that are far worse, I'm grateful that today mine is cycling.

As others have already advised, eat and drink b4 you get hungry or thirsty, take your sweet time, ride a little longer any Saturday that you can, learn routine maintenance and enjoy riding!
it gets easiermr_spin
Jun 24, 2002 10:33 AM
I used to think centuries were tough, but then I started doing them regularly. It's all in the training. It used to be that I would do metrics (100K) and at mile 40 or so, I wanted it to be done. My friends and I would go on "long" rides of 60+ miles that would kill me. I would monitor the mileage constantly and compare it to how I was feeling to make sure I had enough to get home.

Now, I rarely look at the odometer until I get back. I can think of only one ride in the past two months that wasn't 100 miles and at least 8000 feet of climbing, and that was an "easy and flat" ride of 85 miles.

Build your mileage up slowly. Crank it up overnite and you'll probably get injured. Think of adding 20 miles a month to your longest ride. That way, you'll be riding 100 by end of summer.

By the way, if your longest ride so far is 20 miles, don't plan on becoming comfortable on a century this year. That doesn't mean don't do one, it means if you do, you probably will be very happy when it's over! Try to keep good base fitness over the winter via rollers or an indoor trainer. Next year, you'll start the season much stronger and maybe by this time, you'll have a few centuries already in the can.
it gets easierTypeOne
Jun 24, 2002 11:11 AM
Good work! I don't know the elevation of Ft. Collins or the area in which you ride, but I would bet that you would do pretty well in a century ride at sea level. Dang, I doubt I could ride 54 miles in Colorado.
Enjoy the ride.
Aw, just keep working up to it.Humma Hah
Jun 24, 2002 12:52 PM
A couple of those 50-milers and you'll be itching for a century. Whatever distance you can do comfortably, you can double if you slow down a little and keep up with food intake and fluids. Its remarkable how easily you can stretch to ultra-distances with just a little training (I've ridden a number of centuries on a singlespeed cruiser, max is 152 miles in a day on it).

MB1's rule of thumb, which I find works pretty reliably, is that you can ride in a day what you're used to riding in a week. If you can routinely ride 100 miles a week, a century will be no problem. If you routinely ride 70 miles a week, you can probably finish a century but you'll be hurting. Four evening rides of 25 miles each week, for a month or so, and you're ready.

A big part of your training for centuries and longer is learning how much of what kind of food you can handle. Power bars are not usually a favorite of cyclists, as many of them are practically indigestible. Cake-like stuff, cookies, fruit, gels, and the like are more often picked. You want to choose something your body likes.
Let's see....MB1
Jun 24, 2002 1:36 PM
I ride about 320 miles a week so that fella you are talking about thinks I can ride 320 miles in a day?

What an idiot! ;-)
Let's see....Humma Hah
Jun 24, 2002 2:20 PM
I think you need to team up with Doug Sloan and ride the Furnace Creek 508!

I'll bet your wife could do it!
Keep going, it gets easierdsc
Jun 24, 2002 4:00 PM
and to echo the advice give above, DO NOT wait until you are hungry/thirsty to eat/drink. I go through a 72 oz. Camelbak in 50-60 miles (depending on the weather/terrain, etc.) so I plan my routes accordingly to top it off. Try to eat on the bike at regular intervals, at least once an hour, on longer rides. Gel packs are good for this.

Keep working at it - in no time, 100 miles will be commonplace, and you will be looking towards a new challenge...