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Is Every 100 mile single day ride a century?(22 posts)

Is Every 100 mile single day ride a century?jtolleson
Jul 10, 2002 6:10 PM
This rant copied from, where it was labeled "100 Miles Is Not a Century." Rather than post my own take on the issue, I'd like to know what others think...

Here's what the poster said:

I think calling every 100 mile day a "Century" cheapens the whole idea of the Century ride. Ultimately I think it could hurt the Century ride organizers and take the Uniqueness out of the Century Rides.

It is the whole American attitude of "lets get something for nothing and not work too hard at it". If I can ride 100 miles in a day why should I pack up the car, drive across the state and have to pick up my number and wait with all these cycling enthusiasts talking about bikes and other rides and how much they enjoy cycling when I can just ride around town for 5 hours and call it a CENTURY.
I have done both and my first Century last year was the "Hotter n' Hell 100". The Century ride is an exciting, fun, informative, challenging experience and would love every cyclist to enjoy that feeling.

Let me give you an example: As we all know Jan Ullrich is not racing the Tour de France this year. But in 3 months he decides to ride all the same exact stage routes, get an official to time him and even gets a team to ride the team trials with him. He does outstanding and beats the winning time for this year. Did he win the Tour de France? No, he road a tour of France but did not ride THE Tour de France.
You can ride a hundred miles but not ride a CENTURY.
This whole argument that it is not a "century" isLazywriter
Jul 10, 2002 6:16 PM
RETARDED. Century is simply a different way of saying I rode 100 miles in one day. It is a nickname. Century=100. What is the BFD. It is a milestone and to be honest, a 100 miles on your own is more of an accomplishment.
I totally agree with Lazywriter. 100 on you own is harder...nmDave Hickey
Jul 11, 2002 3:09 AM
We cyclists get way to upset about amazingly little things...PdxMark
Jul 10, 2002 6:36 PM
wow... and some of us cite terrible examples to support our rants, like riding the TdF route after the race....

What he needed to say was that his riding the "Hotter 'n Hell 100" route on the day of the organized ride IS a century, but doing the very same ride on another day is NOT a century... hmmm, maybe his Ullrich example is more pursuasive afterall...
oops.. "too upset" nmPdxMark
Jul 10, 2002 6:48 PM
I'll be happy to do my first 100 km "century".Eug
Jul 10, 2002 6:57 PM
Hope my knees hold out.
If you're just tallying opinions, mine is that the rant is nuts.djg
Jul 10, 2002 7:00 PM
A century is a CENTury because it's a hundred miles long, not because some bike club sponsors it and not because you drive "across the state" to get to the starting point (geeze, what about people who drive only half-way across a smallish state? or what about people who actually live near the start of the poster's cherished hotter n' hell 100--is it a century for people who have a long drive to the start but not for people who don't?). And how organized does it have to be exactly? Do bad route markings disqualify it? Bad food or infrequent pits?

The term "century" refers to a ride of a particular length. I'm willing to let people (riders, ride organizers) fudge a little bit on the exact length, but I understand the root of the word and don't want to quarrel with folks who are sticklers. I also don't wish to quarrel with French folks who aren't clear on what a mile is and whose cycling lingo likely doesn't include the term in any case (been quite a while since I lived there; I just don't remember). If you wanna go metric, go metric and go in peace. The term "Tour de France" refers to a particular bike race (which happens to be a different length each year). So: yeah, previewing (or postviewing) the ROUTE of the Tour de France is not the same as riding in the Tour de France. It's a hell of a ride, but it aint Le Tour. But riding any old hundred miles, on your own, in a day, is riding a century.

Now that I've done my own rant I find two things disturbing:

(1) I've gone on a really long time on a simple little point; and
(2) I agree with lazywriter entirely.
I think the guy's a lawyer and he recently took up cycling..(nm)yfoiler
Jul 10, 2002 7:07 PM
Talk about Disturbing...jtolleson
Jul 10, 2002 7:24 PM
as a lawyer, I resent that! : )

And as noted above, I am also in the unenviable position of agreeing with Lazywriter and not only finding this analysis really petty I find it illogical. No more or less illogical of course than the rider 6 months ago who claimed his 2-day MS 150 should be treated as a "century" because it was all one event.

I also like the theory that we are just pursuing the lazy American way where ... eeegads! .... we are claiming credit for a century even though we didn't do it with 2,000 others and get a t-shirt! Clearly not getting a t-shirt must have made it easier (they are so aerodynamic you know).

But I had to bring it over here for a reality check (I have my own myopic moments, surprise, surprise).
Two observations...TJeanloz
Jul 11, 2002 4:41 AM
From many people's perspective, it's not a century unless two criteria are met:

1. You get a T-shirt. Which you can wear around after the event, proving to all who see you that you were man (or woman enough) to ride 100 miles in one day.

2. You get a number for your bike, which you leave affixed to the handlebar or seatpost indefinitely, in the hopes that some poor sap will ask about it, and then you can educate them with an incredibly long and pointless story about the century that you did.

You will notice that actually RIDING the 100 miles is not a criteria, even if you flatted in the first 5 miles and had to sit in the sag wagon for the other 95, it's a century. Why- because you have a T-shirt and a number on your bike, and that's what really counts.
Like a hole-in-one, do you need witnesses? [nm]Leroy
Jul 11, 2002 4:53 AM
ha! that's pretty goodColnagoFE
Jul 11, 2002 9:28 AM
i think i'd feel too guilty to wear the t-shirt/jersey of something i haven't completed. i'm saving my triple bypass jersey until after i complete the ride--not to mention that wearing it during the ride makes you pretty anonymous as it seems EVERYONE wears it or at least a previous year's jersey.
another observationDougSloan
Jul 11, 2002 9:34 AM
It's not a century unless you stand around at 5 or 6 food stops talking about your new bike and eating 15,000 calories of junk food and bananas. Of course, even though you spent a total of 3 hours at food stops, you'll still report your century as "under 5 hours."

A solo ride of 100 miles in which you stop only once for water and eat a banana out of your jersey pocket while riding just can't compare, can it?

Kids, don't try that on your own.djg
Jul 12, 2002 6:24 AM
It is very, very dangerous to eat a banana out of your back jersey pocket while riding.

Please: reach around the back with your hand and remove the banana from the jersey pocket and eat the thing out of your hand--it's really the only way to keep your eyes on the road, which you must do for safe riding. Either that or come to a full stop.
Ride Promoter trying to make moneybigrider
Jul 11, 2002 3:31 AM
This guy must be a promoter trying to make bucks on an organized ride. Who else would worry about losing the special feeling of riding with 1000 of your closest friends.
Self satisfaction vs. Boasting.Len J
Jul 11, 2002 4:53 AM
This whole discussion, it seems to me, comes about because some people NEED to be able to boast about their accomplishments and be able to back up the boasts with evidence (T-shirts, Numbers), and some people need to challange others assertion that they did a century (To build up their own frgile egos).

I personally don't care what someone else defines as a century. I measure my own fitness and my own accomplishments based on my own goals & my own efforts. I can BS anyone else, but I can't BS myself. I am much more proud of the solo 80 mile ride with the partial bonk in the last 20 miles where I gutted it out and finished without bailing reducing the course or stopping than I am of a century ride done at high speed in a mega paceline with 5 stops. But that's me.

I Say set your own goals and have pride in your struggle to accomplish them.

I suspect that there are riders for whom doing a metric century is a bigger accomplishment for them then me doing a 100 miles, good for them. We are all in different places.

But we are all riders.

How many pin-heads can fit on the head of a pin?MB1
Jul 11, 2002 5:39 AM
The author just sounds a little too excited after doing a first "Century".

Perhaps after a second one the person will calm down. For us the excitement of organized centuries has passed long ago. We much prefer to ride on our own.

Plus we sure don't need another t-shirt that we will never wear.
We have a century in CT that's only 96 miles!dzrider
Jul 11, 2002 6:13 AM
Yup, it may be official by that guy's standard but it's 4 miles short. Last fall I was asked to find an alternate route that eliminated parts of the ride that riders found too crowded with cars. I split from the course at the 40 mile mark and got to the 60 mile mark twenty miles later. When six of us checked the whole ride we all got 96 and some fraction total miles. My 20 was a few tenths long.

It's damned sure official, but it ain't 100 miles and doesn't count in my book.
sort of sillyDougSloan
Jul 11, 2002 6:59 AM
That's about the most worthless rant I've heard in a long time.

What are you doing reading Bicycling Magazine (print or web)? See what you get? :-)

The desire to be great vs. The desire to be thought of as great?PBWatson
Jul 11, 2002 8:27 AM
Just as surely as a=a: 100 miles = 100 miles. It is illogical to sugest otherwise.

Since we all know that you can go farther, faster & with less effort when drafting as opposed to pulling. It should be considered more of an accomplishment to do a solo century. I also have to mention the added ease of support vehicles & feed areas. I think I'll write "century" on a plain white t-shirt with permanent marker just to prove my point.

The best rides are the ones that are just for me, my own little secret memory & not poluted with interpersonal politics.

just a question - do Eureopeans have "centuries" & if its a metric century do they wear them as a badge of honor like some people do with our centuries? I cant imagine bragging that you actually rode 100km (60 miles) in a day, or magazine articles dedicated to training for a metric century.
What a crockgrzy
Jul 12, 2002 8:35 AM
A "century" is a generic term for the quantity of 100. The term TdF is a very specific label for a unique event. There is a huge difference in these two concepts, but it should come as no surprise that the morons from Bicycling mag. don't get it. But then they're the same people that think the word "naive" isn't in the dictionary. Nothing more than an overt ploy to support ride organizers by taking something generic and trying to lay claim to it. Most organized centuries actually have a unique name (i.e. The Dim Bulb 100) so the only way you can say you did that event is if you actually entered it and participated. It should be more like you can ride 100 miles but not ride THE century.

I hear next month that Bicycling is going to have a feature article titled "When 100 miles isn't 100 miles."
Jul 12, 2002 8:50 AM
Maybe they should use this: Century ®