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Who's done a solo century, or a century with a few friends?(40 posts)

Who's done a solo century, or a century with a few friends?0_Kewl
Aug 7, 2002 2:54 PM
Has anyone done a solo century or done one with a few friends?

List your route, stops, time it took, etc.. and if it was solo or with friends. You can also list other pertinent info or oddities about the ride you did.
re: Who's done a solo century, or a century with a few friends?roadcyclist
Aug 7, 2002 3:06 PM
Some years back I did the Montauk Century route (Long Island, NY) with my cousin. We left from Jamaica (Queens) and rode all the way to the point. Mileage was 111? Maybe a little more (It was a long time ago)? Anyway, he was a gungho, no-holds-barred racer type and I was a tortoise, tourist, see-the-scenery type. He pushed me enough, and I kept him from blowing up early so that we completed the ride in about 7 hours. The first 100 miles were FLAT, but the last miles (from the town of Montauk to the point) had some rolling hills that seemed like mountains. Neither one of us was really up to the task (imo) but it was a ride that I'm glad I did. We only stopped briefly, never more than 10 minutes at a clip.
Plumas-Sierra w/one friend, first for both of us.cory
Aug 7, 2002 3:28 PM
A friend called me several years ago and said, "I'm going to do a century tomorrow." I told him, "Have a good time..." But somehow he talked me into it, and we rolled out at 6 a.m. with about 40 miles of training between us in the previous two months. I was 44 and he was 39 or 40, and my longest ride ever had been 50 miles when I was about 25. I'd just begun to switch over from running to cycling, so I had no real background or knowledge--wrong gears, tennis shoes, ordinary (non-bike) shorts with some cheap Performance liners, one water a cartoon of a guy going out to blow up.
The ride's a hilly route from Portola, Calif., over three significant passes, and we did all right to about 80 miles (there were plenty of water stops, and we ran into some friends who gave us advice on pace and drafting). At that 80-mile point, there was a turnoff that would have taken us back to the start in six or seven miles. We were sitting there looking down the road, and this old, scrawny, gray-bearded guy on a beat-up Bob Jackson frame, with tape and crap all over it, rolled by about 12mph.
"Suck it up, guys," he said. We were ashamed to take the short cut, so we followed him. Did all right until the last 8-10 miles, when we had a steady 20+ headwind. Would have been done in about six hours if not for that; it took us about 7:40.
numerous and many - - -liv2padl
Aug 7, 2002 3:32 PM
listing my route would be superfluous since you don't know anything about the area in which i live (an assumption on my part). the fastest i've done a century is 5 hours but i've taken as long as 8 hours and enjoyed it alot more.
re: Who's done a solo century, or a century with a few friends?phlegm
Aug 7, 2002 3:34 PM
I did a long solo ride a couple years ago - no record times but fun. I rode a hardtail mountain bike with slicks. I had a sleeping bag on the rack on the back, two water bottles, and a backpack with snacks, clothes, and stuff.

I left Pleasanton, CA Friday around 4pm, arrived at Half Moon Bay (on the other side of the coastal mountain range) around 9pm. I estimate it at 60 miles. I camped on the beach. Next morning around 9am I headed to Santa Cruz along highway 1. I ate lunch there, and then went home (to Pleasanton). That involved once again riding over the coastal mountain range and finding my way (rather haphazardly) through San Jose. Altogether, I'd estimate that day at 120+ miles. I stopped a couple times in San Jose for drinks and eats. I got home around 10pm.

So 30 hours total for probably 180+ miles with sleeping and eating.
re: Who's done a solo century, or a century with a few friends?montejr
Aug 8, 2002 12:22 PM
I did a solo century this past sat. It was my second. I think it was more mentally challenging than physical. It took me 6 hours on the nose to do. There were two, 2 mile climbs on it and one of them is an average grade of 9%. The rest of the ride was rolling hills. I am glad I did it!

re: Who's done a solo century, or a century with a few friends?CFBlue
Aug 7, 2002 3:49 PM
Spring 2001 I took my first solo 100 miles, prior to that my longest ride was around 75, and on a tandem. It started off with a shorter ride in mind. From home, downtown San Rafael to Novato and second breakfast of the day, to the locally famed Petaluma Cheese Factory for refill of water bottles. From there, out Petaluma Pt Reyes Road to the coast highway 1. Turn south and on to Olema, to refill the water bottle. At that point I made the decision to continue on, rather than coming home, as was my original thought. At Stinson Beach I stopped again for water and a snack, and came across the only other cyclist during the first 70 miles. Continuing South on 1 took me up and over the Coastal Mountains again, decending to Muir Beach and the popular Pelican Inn, where on Friday Nights I play music for the pub crowd. Up and over some more steep, narrow roads to Mill Valley, and back to civilization. its at this point I started encounter other cyclists, in particular a rather rude group that would cut me off at traffic signals, running the light, then making it difficult to get around them on the road when I caught up to them. (Team jerseys on this group, of course). Joined up with the MUT to Tiburon Blvd (refilled the water bottle again) and then onto the areas most popular cycling road, Paradise Loop. At its northern most I detoured out past San Quinten and down towards home off Anderson Blvd. Realizing I was only a few miles short of a real century, I turned off towards China Camp State Park and rode out until I thought I had enough milage and turned back for home. When I got back downtown, I was still about .5 miles short of my century, so I rode around two blocks and when I pulled into my driveway I had 100.2 miles on the odomoter. I hollered for my wife to grab the video camera, and when she arrived, I showed the computer to the lense and recounted my days adventure.

This still ranks as one of my favorite cycling adventures. I've since done a few other centuries, but none have been solo.
Nice to hear everyone's experiences, post more.0_Kewl
Aug 7, 2002 3:50 PM
I like the one were that old guy on the beater bike said "suck it up"
Santa Cruz to Monterey and backSantaCruz
Aug 7, 2002 4:07 PM
Well actually I start in Scotts Valley because it makes you think your riding downhill to Monterey. Have done it a couple of times. Best time was 8 hours because of all the great places to stop. Always lots of bike riders on the Monterey Coastal Bike Path, gotta watch out for the roller bladers.

San Francisco to Santa Cruz is almost 100 miles but I really don't like riding that many miles on Hwy 1 (too many high speed cars & trucks) unless there's a strong tailwind.
Ahhh, the Monotony!!grzy
Aug 7, 2002 5:19 PM
Riding 100 flat miles that is. I too live in Scotts Valley but far prefer doing 100 hilly miles of some of the most awesome riding to be had. Of course it's a bit more work - unless it's really windy from the the northwest!
Agreed. Done the Santa Cruz Skyline-Alpine loop alone.James
Aug 7, 2002 11:01 PM
It's one of the best routes I have ridden. If you leave Santa Cruz and go up Old San Jose Rd., it ends up being just over 100 miles. There is Gozzo's Creek, Swanton, and other good side routes to go for extra climbing and miles. I have done this loop alone a hand full of times and it never gets old.
This morning...Geex
Aug 7, 2002 4:09 PM
I rode a flat century solo. Came home in under five hours and didn't dab once. The cleats never hitting the pavement was my 'not done before.'
My first one just last month...jtferraro
Aug 7, 2002 7:01 PM
I was w/my girlfriend and my friend & his wife. I chose the 100 miler, my girlfriend chose the 80 miler. Unfortunatley, my friend and his wife needed SAG support. I stopped at all the designated stops, including lunch - total of 4, and also stopped b/c I caught up w/some roadies that were taking a break and I wanted to draft them once they started up again. It took me 6 hours and 51 minutes. Here's my post all about my encounter:

jtferraro "Well, I did it! My first century...and on a mountain bike.." 7/22/02 1:50pm

Very nice; on a moutain bike?!!0_Kewl
Aug 7, 2002 7:32 PM
Did you draw any stares or comments from the Roadies? I'm sure if you did, it was all in good humor and fun.
Thanks. There were only a handful of mtb and I think fewer thatjtferraro
Aug 7, 2002 7:41 PM
did the 100 miler(as opposed to the 80).

re: Who's done a solo century, or a century with a few friends?scruffyduncan
Aug 8, 2002 12:53 AM
several club runs/ training rides have eneded out that way, especially after riding to the start, getting lost etc. I only did one solo, over the small, but steep hills of the north downs, took me about 6 hours. I've done others, hidinin the group for most of it, in under 5.

The longest I ever did was a 200k randonee, that with the rides at both ends and detours was about 240k in a day. Not too hard if you stop for lunch and pace yourself.
a few...speed-chump
Aug 8, 2002 4:04 AM
Solo New Orleans to Baton Rouge along the river, 127 miles
due to a wrong turn - should have been around 120. I was
having serious regrets around 110, and was ready to crawl
down in the ditch and take a nap at 120. Took 6 1/2 hours,
but it is totally flat and I had favorable winds. A friend
came to pick me up at the end, and she brought me a
six-pack. Best buzz ever.

Did it later with a couple of friends and had much more
fun.... stopped for fried chicken, etc.

Did about 120 on the Natchez Trace with one friend a few
weeks ago. Not much to say about that other than it was
HOT. It took forever, almost 9 hours. We were seriously
dragging. Nice road, though. I'd like to check out more of

Where's Doug???? He's done stuff that makes these look like
a trip around the block.

You planning a big ride?

10 in a row!Matno
Aug 8, 2002 4:30 AM
Did a 10-day, 1000 miler "back in the day." Started in Arcata California and rode up the coast all the way to Canada. We stopped every couple of hours for a snack, plus the biggest lunch I could possibly eat. We also made a grocery shopping stop each evening before reaching a camping destination. We took one day off in north Oregon to just relax and pedal around. Took a little jaunt on Vancouver Island as well (not so leisurely). It was actually supposed to be a 3+ week trip, but my buddy who went with me dropped a "I have to be home for school" bomb on me. It was the greatest trip ever. (There were more than a few times when I wanted to rent a car and drive the rest of the way. Fortunately that was not an option since between me and my best friend, our combined age was 34! Yeah, we were both just out of high school and looking for adventure). I did the ride on a borrowed Bottechia racer that had really high gears (all 10 of them) and was older than I was. We carried all of our camping gear with us (about 25-30lbs each). Apparently, the prevailing winds make it much easier to ride in the opposite direction (Canada-->California), but we got lucky and had the opposite for 8 of our 10 days. (We really wondered why ALL the other bikers were going south though!)
Holy cow - that's quite impressive! (nm)jtferraro
Aug 8, 2002 5:11 AM
Our inspirationMatno
Aug 8, 2002 6:17 AM
was my friend's dad who rode from Portland to Salt Lake City in 5 days back around 1970. That was over 800 miles, and I'm sure the roads weren't great. Talk about a tough guy. He's 5'6" and about 120 lbs. He took off down the road with nothing but his bike and a water bottle. His older brother actually chased him down the street to give him a $20 bill to take with him! He actually did 220 miles one day. Amazing part is, he would just pull into town late at night every night and find someone to put him up for the night and feed him dinner then breakfast the next morning. (My how our world has changed!) He said it was very discouraging to think you would find a town over the next hill, only to come across a sign that says next town 25 miles...
Amazing!! Yup, "how our world has changed"! (nm)jtferraro
Aug 9, 2002 7:00 AM
Gonna try a solo one this Saturday. nmMXL02
Aug 8, 2002 5:04 AM
Sure...Gregory Taylor
Aug 8, 2002 5:39 AM
In March, I had an unanticipated week I did 4 centuries as training. Completely unimaginative loops - I basically rode from Mt. Vernon, down the W&OD trail to Leesburg VA. Ate Pancakes. Rode home. Almost exactly 100 miles door to door.

I did see some cool things, though. Outside of Leesburg the trail goes by a rock quarry -- I got stopped on the trail while they did some blasting. You could feel the shockwave travel through the ground.

I also hooked up with some other riders who were out training as well -- had a very pleasant conversation with a young racer.
I've done a fewRay Sachs
Aug 8, 2002 5:53 AM
All were rides from my front door where I just felt good and kept going, rather than looping back for a "planned" 60-70 miler. These would be in western Chester County, PA and generally well into Lancaster County and the states of Delaware and Maryland. Beautiful country, plenty of options for extending a ride. Plenty of tough hills, but enough flat to rolling sections to keep you from killing yourself. I usually finish with about 6 1/2 (plus or minus) hours of riding time, 7-8 hours total.

I like floating through the group on organized centuries(floating forward when I'm feeling good, backward when I'm not), but long days out by myself are fun also.

Fixed and Regualar road Bikeonespeed
Aug 8, 2002 5:59 AM
On my fixed-Montauk Century 5:18.

On my road bike, I had done so many I did a 240 miler by myself 17:45 I think.
Mt. Rushmore with one other riderjtolleson
Aug 8, 2002 6:00 AM
We couldn't make the Mt Rushmore century on the day of the event, so we went up last Labor Day weekend and rode the route on our own out of Rapid City. Awesome route, with more climbing than you'd expect. You go by Crazy Horse AND right by the 4 Prez!

How long? Oh, god. We stopped for ice cream along the way for gosh sakes. Sat under a tree in a park. I think we were on the road 8 1/2 hrs... no speed records but fun fun fun.
Lots of 'em, almost all soloTurtleherder
Aug 8, 2002 6:09 AM
I ride by myself almost all of the time, so my 100 milers are usually done alone. Explaining the route would not do much good, mostly just rural roads. It normally takes around 6 to 7 hours depending on the wind. The first one was the hardest when I did not have much knowledge of what I needed to eat along the way to keep going. I could not express my happiness at finding an outside vending machine in a park so I could buy a coke for that last 10 miles. I was so bonked I was seeing things. Have gotten alot better since then and don't have any problems now.
that's a short weekend rideDougSloan
Aug 8, 2002 6:21 AM
Over the last couple years, 100 miles is the minimum weekend ride. More likely it's 130 or so in the mountains or 150-200 flat. 250 takes about 14 hours. Did solo doubles almost every weekend last summer.

After a while, a century is "normal." Of course, have a baby and normal is shot to hell.

YMMV (in the truest sense)

and certainly now, his legs have gone to rubba. nmJS Haiku Shop
Aug 8, 2002 6:44 AM
re: Who's done a solo century, or a century with a few friends?aliensporebomb
Aug 8, 2002 7:23 AM
Gads. You never heard the story of my first century? Don't say I didn't warn you.

During the late 1980s (circa 1985-1988) I rode road bicycles fairly religiously. I didn't drive, so it wasn't uncommon for me to put on 40 miles per day biking to work, to friends homes, to the store. I was in good shape then. Once driving got into the picture, I stopped riding nearly altogether and my legs lost their strength and bicycling was forgotten, for the moment.

I've started riding again in the last four years, with an occasional ambitious reactivation blast; of riding in the intervening years. This story is about one of those ambitious re-activations; I attempted during my years of bicycle downtime, I'd say around sometime during the fall of 1992.

About eight years ago a friend of mine named Doug had just returned from RAGBRAI (The Iowa Register newspaper's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) and expounded at great length how wonderful it all was; the cameraderie, the atmosphere of the rolling party;, the meeting of new people, etc. Doug had infused a group of friends and myself with the joyful enthusiasm of the idea of doing a long ride.

I seem to recall the day we discussed trying this happened. It was around the time of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. Advertisements for the ever present back to school sales and the State Fair were waning ; roughly late summer heading into early fall, so the temperature was reasonably warm and the day was crisp with cloudless skies of blue, accompanied with deep orange and brown leaves falling from trees everywhere. So far so good; a textbook perfect day for a fall bicycle ride.

This is where our plans went horribly awry.

We decided, then and there that we were going to do a century (since riding across Minnesota in a day seemed dangerously implausible given our physical conditions) and nothing was going to stop us and we were going to go that very day.

I know now that we were deluding ourselves, but we must have been victims of mass hallucinations at the time since I can't imagine how we convinced ourselves we were going to do this, especially when the logistics came into play.

I neglected to mention that neither myself, nor my friend Mike, nor his then-girlfriend Margie had been on a bike that entire season. Doug, of course, trained for Ragbrai on a daily basis for months and his legs were like precision machines by the time of our ride. Our legs were jelly donuts by comparison.

We needed to use the equipment stored in Mike's parents garage, since none of us were going to have the time to return to our homes and back to get our own bicycles.

It would be a 20+ mile trip back - just not possible.

Time was a wasting; it was nearly mid-morning and we had to go
NOW; immediately.

This, in retrospect was a big mistake. What were we thinking?

Mike came from a fairly large family, so there was an assortment of bicycles in the garage that we could use. And one we couldn't.

Mike's father had a Peugeot racing bike which was hanging from the rafters high in the garage which nobody was allowed to touch on pain of death, so it stayed there.

We ended up being forced to use a variety of Schwinn's that the family had acquired over the years in various states of rideability.

There was a fairly decent LeTour (Mike got to use that one, the best conventional diamond framed bicycle in the bunch and maintained rather decently as his dad Henry was a fairly regular rider at that point), a Traveler that seemed to have no problems (other than having somewhat underinflated tires and a chain that hadn't been lubricated since the Boer Wars) and a non-maintained Varsity (this wonder of mechanics was wisely discarded by Mike's sister Helen and had components literally frozen in place over time due to disuse and best known am
Done severalbrider
Aug 8, 2002 8:03 AM
One -- from Renton Washington to Bothel along the western Lake Washington route, did a crit, rode home. Was absolutely toast for the last 5 miles, which were all uphill (Lake Washington to Renton Highlands).

Two -- group of friends rode from Enumclaw (KC fairgrounds) up Mud Mountain road, Hwy 410, up to Crystal mountain lodge, back down to Hwy 410 and up to Cayuse Pass, then back to the fairgrounds.

Three -- several alone. Here's one route: Maple Valley to Issaquah, including Tiger Mountain, up toward Carnation on Issaquah-Fall City road, down Hwy 202 into Redmond, around the Sammamish River trail and back down Burke Gilman trail (mid-day, mid-week, no traffic). Washington Arboretum and Lake Washington Blvd back to Renton, then Hwy 169 back into Maple Valley.
Yes, several ...Humma Hah
Aug 8, 2002 9:37 AM
First one, decades ago, took the cruiser out on a 200 mile attempt, with almost no training or other prep, and bonked at 130 miles, totally solo. Averaged a perfect 10 mph for 13 hours. This is the only bike I've ever ridden past about 65 miles, is singlespeed and weighs about 40 pounds when stripped for centuries.

A couple of years ago, reconditioned the same bike and rode 140 miles in something like 12.3 hours on a very flat circuit (28 5-mile laps of Lake Miramar in San Diego County).

Last summer I rode a 105 mile century on that bike, solo most of the way, with a small group of about 5 riders part of the way. The route was the No Shifting Allowed Or Coasting Either fixed-gear century MB1 puts on in Northern Virginia, starting from Nokesville VA, running a circuitous loop to Remington and Casanova. I was at about 7 hours and a couple minutes at 100 miles. I confess to coasting some.

Last fall, MB1 and his wife set up a record attempt for me, a tour of St. Mary's County, MD. Where in St. Mary's? The whole thing, end to end, side to side. Fairly flat but some short steep ravines. I sucked wheel for 152+ miles, breaking every former record by a large margin. I believe I completed 152 miles in just short of 12 hours from the start time, but can't recall exactly.
Aug 8, 2002 9:48 AM
There is no way I could ride 28 laps of a five mile circuit, especially for 12 hours solo! I would be bored to death. Why would you do that?
You want the long or short version?Humma Hah
Aug 8, 2002 3:27 PM
The basic reasons:

It was about 2 miles from home, I knew I'd be trashed by the end and I would not want a long drive home.

The ride was self-supported. I passed the truck every 5 miles and could stop for food, water, tools, air, etc.

No traffic lights. Little traffic. Clean surface.

Flat (70 ft climb per lap, and I was not in shape to put in much climbing over that distance, and I was on the singlespeed cruiser).

I couldn't find a nearby lake with a 25-mile bike path.

I had tried another flat area where I could do loops of 20-40 miles, El Centro, the preceeding week, attempting the same thing. I'd nearly passed out from heat exhaustion after 40 miles, had to rest a couple of hours before driving home 120 miles. The following day I did 40 miles at the lake so easily that I knew I'd found the perfect spot for setting a new personal distance record.

Bottom line, it was convenient for this particular effort. But yes, it was boring. I switched directions occasionally to avoid getting dizzy.

Worse possibility: I considered trying for 200 miles in one day on the velodrome. 1/3 km per lap. That would be close to 1000 laps.
re: Who's done a solo century, or a century with a few friends?Rode Warrior
Aug 8, 2002 12:25 PM
I did a solo metric century in June. Longmont to Loveland towards Estes Park, until I flatted, and turned around. About 65 miles total. *note - bring food, more water, and put sunscreen on legs*

This past weekend I did a solo 1/2 century loop around Longmont and Boulder. Total mileage was 49+. *note - bring food (idiot)*

Soon I'll get the hang of this solo distance riding thing

Steve <- just getting in shape, and hoping to get into shape for racing next year, or later this year if I am feeling good enough.
Gah!!, solo centuries are a dime a dozen with you peoples.0_Kewl
Aug 8, 2002 12:34 PM
Man seems solo centuries are the norm these days. I wonder who here has the mental fortitude to trek across the U.S. from one coast to another, either solo or with friends.

Who here has seriouly thought about riding from coast to coast? That would be some lifetime achievement to accomplish. I think it would be more tougher mentally than physically to get done.
And you didn't even hear from the king.........Len J
Aug 8, 2002 1:13 PM
of solo centuries, MB1. I think He & his wife have probably done 40 or so this year already. I kno that they did 7 in 10 days back end of June /beg of July.

It really is just about persistance & speed.

Doug Sloan would like to ...Humma Hah
Aug 8, 2002 3:32 PM
... Get on the web and look up the RAAM (Race Across America). The route is something like Florida to Oregon, diagonally the long way. Record for a solo ride is something like 8 and a half days. Evidently you ride about a quad century a day to accomplish that.

I've met one RAAM rider, at one of the NSAOCE centuries locally. He rode the century on a MTB, trying to get some meaningful exercise on such a short ride. That not being enough, he put a bag over the rear wheel containing about 20 pounds of lead, making the MTB about the same weight as the cruiser I was riding.
really would like toDougSloan
Aug 8, 2002 4:27 PM
In another life, I'd be a writer and ride across the country at least once a year, either in RAAM or all alone, decked out with full touring gear. Ahhh. That would be the life. I really, really, really would like to.

But, with a new baby, it's an even more remote dream. Maybe when I'm 60?

Rent a winnebago for wife and kid, they can be support vehicle!!0_Kewl
Aug 8, 2002 4:43 PM
while the whole family treks cross country. You ride the bike, while they ride in the winnebago. The bago can be a all-in-one support/rest/eat/bathroom/hospital vehicle. That would be a kewl idea I think.