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Well, I did it! My first century...and on a mountain bike..(16 posts)

Well, I did it! My first century...and on a mountain bike..jtferraro
Jul 22, 2002 4:51 AM
Vernon, Vermont to Vernon, Connecticut(V2V) for the Arthritis Foundation. The event was very well organized and the route, well marked. You had the choice of riding 80 or 100 miles at the 59th mile mark. My girlfriend chose the 80, I chose the 100 and we both finished. Prior to this our only other organized ride was "Bike New York - The Great Five Boro Tour", which was only 42 miles, so this was quite a jump for us both! We are both also on aluminum mountain bikes. In fact, I don't think there were more than a handful of mountain bikes present. Almost everyone was on a road bike. I'm dying to buy one but am still saving and researching. For now, I stuck w/my old '95 Cannondale F700 w/front suspension, she has a new Trek w/front suspension. Fortunately, mine locks out, but her's doesn't. :( We were both running street oriented tires, too. I, 26 x 1.2 slicks, her 26 x 1.5 "almost" slicks(non agressive inverted tread design). Fortunately for me, my tires were pumped up to their max psi. of 90, while her tire's max psi. was only 60. :( I was also sporting my new set of Velomax Climax wheels, while she was on her stock wheels. I also reinstalled my bar ends, as to have some alternate hand locations on such a long ride and to get a little more "aero". Clearly, I had some advantages over her so I'm quite impressed that she finished the 80 miles - what a "trooper"!! ;-) Also, we accomplished this w/very little drafting. I'd say I was only fortunate to draft 25%, at most, of the time. Either the roadies were too fast(majority of them) or too slow for me and it was a fairly windy day w/some tough headwinds! Oh, and all this w/only 4 hours of sleep for us both!

One thing I noticed along this trip is that I, like many other cyclists, suffer from "numb hands". I noticed my left hand falling asleep after the first 17 miles and initially just wrote it off, thinking it was some fluke. A bit later I thought it had something to do with my cycling shirt being too tight around my bicep area, so I tried stretching it out - to no avail. Next, I realized the "emergency contact" info wrist band we were asked to wear was too tight, as my wrist had expanded due to increased blood flow, etc. I then riipped it off and tied it onto my handlebar. My hand seemed to gain some feeling at this time but still wasn't 100% back to normal. Meanwhile, my right was was feeling a bit "pins & needley", too. The last thing I could do was unvelcro my gloves. It wasn't until I finally caught up w/another cyclist that I realized this is a common problem, as nerve(s) in the hand get crimped and cut off sensation to your fingers or hand(s). These roadies recommended I constantly reposition my hands and ocassionally ride w/no hands to regain feeling. After heeding to their advice I was better off.

I'm feeling a bit sore today, but nevertheless, feel GREAT!
Thank you all who offered advice for me!!

A bit sluggish and sore today(and all the more wanting a road bike),

cool, only 50 odd days until mine....bigskulls
Jul 22, 2002 5:07 AM
I plan to do my first Sept. 8 in NYC. I'd be interested in hearing how you prepared for it. I've done a metric century (63.3 miles) and felt pretty good - I was ready to stop by the end, but I could have gone farther if I really wanted to. Did you eat alot before and / or during? I think eating really helped me on the metric.

I'll be doing mine on a road bike, so none of the mtb issues affect me.
You're gonna do it, too!jtferraro
Jul 22, 2002 6:35 AM
Best of luck to you! Wait - is this the ride from NYC to the Hamptons?? I was thinking about possibly doing that one. Like I said, I really didn't prepare much for my century. In fact, I registered just two days before, although I was thinking about the event about three weeks prior. The event organizers recommended the following:

End May to mid June = 30 to 45 mile rides
Mid June to end June = 50 to 60 mile rides
End June to mid July = 60 to 80 mile rides

I think you're in good shape for it if you've already done the metric century! As far as eating - I had a pasta w/chicken & spinach dinner the night before. That morning I had a bagel w/peanut butter, orange juice, Balance bar, and (I think) a few orange wedges, and water. At the first break just had more of the same - orange wedges, Gatorade, banana(I think), etc. For lunch I had two peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, two bananas, orange wedges, Gatorade, Cliff bar, etc. I was really hungry and asked a roadie that I knew if it was better to satify my appetite or eat on the light side. I was glad he recommended I eat more if I was still hungry so I don't "bonk" down the road. We still had two more stops(the 100mile group), while the 80 mile group had just one more stop. I didn't eat much at the 3/4 stop(59 miles) since I was still satified from lunch, but at the 7/8 stop(80miles) I had a Power Gel and a few more orange wedges and some more Gatorade. I made sure I kept drinking, as I had my CamelBack filled w/water on my back. I was impressed w/how much the lunch break helped me out b/c I was really dead going up the steepest hill, just before the lunch break!

You're gonna do it, too!bigskulls
Jul 22, 2002 7:34 AM
thanks for that. (47 days to be exact) I'm glad to hear you haven't spent the last six months preparing. I started working out for the metric only about 3 weeks before, and like I said I felt pretty good afterwords. I ride a fixte alot which I think helps me, but its geared pretty low.

No, its not the ride to the Hamptons. If you are referring to the Montauk Century, that's already gone by (May?). I'm planning on doing the Transportation Alternatives ride around NYC.

If you are from CT, the metric I did was the Bloomin' Metric, which starts in Norwalk. has more info. What a beautiful ride through the CT countryside. It will be interesting to see where you go riding 100 miles all within New York City.
Looks like a fun ride...jtferraro
Jul 22, 2002 8:02 AM
Only problem is you're dealing w/traffic since they don't, at least temporarily, close the streets to cars, as they do in "BNY - 5 Boro Tour". This ride looks more leisurly, as a result so you definitely shouldn't have any problem completing it.

Ah, I remember hearing about the "Bloomin' Metric"! I'd like to participate in that next year, as I live in CT.

Great to hearbobwill
Jul 22, 2002 5:27 AM
There's two centurys coming up in September that I want to do atleast one of them; but am afraid that I'm not in good enough shape to do it on a mountain bike. I ride between 25 and 30 miles every time I ride, but I don't know how I'll handle 100 miles, so I'll probably chicken out and go with one of the shorter rides.

Glad to hear you had a great time!
Very Cool and Congrat to you and teh SO nmPhatMatt
Jul 22, 2002 6:02 AM
Thanks!! (nm)jtferraro
Jul 22, 2002 6:05 AM
Good job!TomS
Jul 22, 2002 6:35 AM
I just did my first century this weekend also (posted below). I was on a roadbike though, it would've been tougher on a mtn bike (esp. without a suspension lockout!)

For the numb hands, if I feel mine starting to get the least bit tingly I'll shake them out one at a time. Just relax your whole arm and shake from your upper arm, so the elbow and wrist get moved around a bunch. That usually takes care of it before it actually gets numb.
Thanks for the tip - I'll keep that in mind next time!jtferraro
Jul 22, 2002 6:40 AM
Jul 22, 2002 7:09 AM
Congratulations on your finish!

And be patient saving up so you can get the road bike you really want, instead of settling for something lesser.

Thanks-yea, I don't want to just settle on my rb purchase! (nm)jtferraro
Jul 22, 2002 7:18 AM
Try some gel gloves rider
Jul 22, 2002 8:40 AM
I'm doing some fireroads in some of my races this month and notice I had to change my gloves to gel.

I got a pair of "Trek" gloves that has gel in three places. Specialize sells all there gloves with gel on the palm where the nerve numbing exist.

They say that the nerve being pinched on the handlebar is the reason why you hand gets numb. I needed better gloves because of my new bike. I did put a shorter stem on which helped a little, but you would have other problems riding the 100 miles if your bike wasn't comfortable.

Didn't your back or butt hurt after 6 hours?

I had an old MTB 1991 cannondale I used to road ride when I started racing in 1992. All I did was put a 50 tooth big chain ring to get a higher gear ratio. Not sure what the biggest chainring you can go with on 1995 crank. I know today it's 44 tooth and thats pretty low to spin on a downhill.

Hope you do some more centurys and enjoy riding your MTB on those long rides. Think of it as training to make you a better climber or rider.

Yes, butt, and lower back hurt too!jtferraro
Jul 22, 2002 9:10 AM
Yup, of course my butt and back hurt too. I just didn't mention it b/c I think it is the "norm". My butt hurt most at the 1/4 stop, then it got a bit more used to it. My lower back hurt a bit, especially towards the end. I would stand up and arch my back to stretch it out from time to time(which felt nice).

I will certainly buy gel gloves if I still have this "hand numbing" problems AFTER I purchase and get fitted for my road bike. A friend said I shouldn't have these problems if I was on a properly fitted road bike. We'll see.

I have a whole new drivetrain and my large chainring is 44 tooth(stock was 42 tooth). I think the largest I could have gone to was 46 tooth.


I knew you would!Humma Hah
Jul 22, 2002 11:51 AM
Congrats. Although probably hundreds of thousands of people ride centuries in this country, hundreds of millions DON'T, probably COULDN'T, and you can feel about as proud of your ride as a first-time marathoner does. You've joined something of an elite group.

Doing it on a MTB is probably 20-30% harder, so take credit for that, too. You probably did the equivalent of a 200k on a roadbike.

I routinely run about 63 psi on my cruiser for centuries (they're rated 45 psi). That's firm enough for a fat tire. Losing the knobs is more important than more pressure at that point. With that much pressure, aerodynamics becomes the big drag, and more pressure only gives a slight improvement.
Jul 22, 2002 12:50 PM
Although I'm "beaming" a bit today, I think I'd be even more happy w/myself if I just completed the Boston Marathon(or any marathon).

Ya' think the equivalent of 200k on a road bike? How many miles is 200k, about 120?

What exactly is a "cruiser"? Is it similar to a "comfort" bike?

Thanks again,