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My First Century(15 posts)

My First Centurymbologna
Sep 9, 2002 8:39 AM
Well, I did it! Yesterday, I completed the Coastal Cruise in Houston. The course was flat, though we did have to go over one large bridge twice (the second time at 93 miles in a torrential rain with a strong crosswind). However, the big obstacle was the weather. It rained on and off throughout, and at times it was pouring down. We also faced some strong headwinds at several points on the course.

I far exceeded my expectations, finishing in 5:17 (ride time) and 5:42, including stops! I was shooting for 6-6:30 hours riding and anywhere under 7 hours total. I did really well except from mile 67 through 82. I got dropped and had to ride that portion alone, through a strong headwind. I had been riding 20-22 mph to that point, but struggled to maintain 13-16mph over that stretch. I really wanted to quit when I reached the 82 mile rest stop, but after sitting for about 15 minutes, eating several oranges and bananas, and receiving lots of encouragement from the volunteers, I got back on and felt much better.

I've been riding since March, and had never ridden more than 62 miles, so I'm thrilled with the time! The only disappointing thing was that there was no true finish line, like at a road race (running). After that kind of effort, I wanted a finish line and a place to celebrate!

I would probably do another century, though I need to find a better saddle (I'm riding the Selle San Marco that came with my Klein Quantum.)

Thanks to everyone who has posted advice on this board about century rides. It really made a difference. When I pulled a ziploc bag out of my camelbak with clean, dry socks at mile 82, the other riders were very jealous (and impressed)!

re: My First CenturyMrCelloBoy
Sep 9, 2002 8:42 AM
Congrat's Mark!
Congratulations, I love the sock story (nm)Scot_Gore
Sep 9, 2002 8:55 AM
Ya' done good!Tig
Sep 9, 2002 9:03 AM
That is a very respectable time for someone so new, and even more so under yesterday's conditions! I rode it as well, but had to opt for the metric century thanks to severe cramps that set in due to the 24-27 race pace. I should know better by now. The best way to ride a century is to keep it close or under your regular solo pace during the first half. My quad's actually locked up at the top of the Kemah bridge on the second pass. This has never happened to me and was I in for a surprise! Oooouch! I limped home from there and managed only a 20.4 average overall.

We can always learn something. What did you learn from this century?
Several people I rode near learned that eye protection is a must in rain! I'm glad I used the amber lenses in my sun glasses.

I look back at my first century ('87) and managed a 6+ hour finish. It was done solo (I can't count any help from my friend I had to tow!), which is the way I used to ride all centuries. I think I'll go back to that again. It was much more satisfying to complete one solo at a natural pace than to go super fast and suffer!
Ya' done good!mbologna
Sep 9, 2002 11:42 AM
The first time over the Kemah bridge, I had no problems. I went over in about 20mph, and down at as much as 32mph. Of course, it was early on.

The 2nd time was a different story. That was about 91miles into the ride for me. It started pouring rain on me at about the Texaco station. I caught the light at the base of the bridge, so I had no momentum. I started up the bridge at about 19mph, but was down to 9.4mph at the top! I was afraid I was going to fall over, because I couldn't spin any faster and the crosswind was blowing me into the traffic lane (my quads also started to cramp on the ascent). As bad as that was, the descent in that rain was almost as bad. I gripped the brakes all the way down and never got over 16mph.

I was very pleased overall. On the weekend rides, I'm normally around 18-19mph, and for this I averaged about 19.6 (I don't remember exactly at the moment). I decided to stick with a paceline as long as I could because I'm not near as strong or confident by myself. I was in a group of about 14-16 riders for probably 40 miles. By 50 miles, the first time I stopped, it was down to 6 of us, then to 3 shortly thereafter. I got dropped for good around 71 miles. I hooked up with one other rider at the 82 mile rest stop and that really helped both of us finish strongly (I probably averaged about 19mph the last 20 miles or so).

I would like the challenge of a solo, but I'm not ready yet (mentally or physically).

What did I learn?

1)Continue to drink fluids (not just water) and eat regularly throughout.
2)Attach the visor to my helmet if it is rainy (I did have amber sunglasses which helped).
3)It is okay to stop at the rest areas. In fact, it probaby makes the effort more enjoyable, and it would probably be good to stretch while you're there.
4)Don't follow a paceline that is too fast just because you don't want to ride alone.
is the use of fresh socks UCI legal ??? NmSpirito
Sep 9, 2002 10:14 AM
Your Century Does Not Countjromack
Sep 9, 2002 11:10 AM
The rules clearly state that you must do the entire ride in one single pair of socks.

In order to make it count, go back over the section where you changed socks and repeat it using the old nasty wet ones.

Actually, congratulations!
Your Century Does Not Countmbologna
Sep 9, 2002 11:20 AM
As it turns out, the socks stayed dry for all of about 5 minutes before the rain started again! The look of envy on the other riders faces when I pulled out those socks was almost worth more than the comfort of having them anyway!
Congrats on Completing your 1st Centurygarhead
Sep 9, 2002 11:28 AM
Congrats on Completing your 1st Centurydave_w
Sep 9, 2002 2:18 PM
Impressive move from non-rider to able to do a century, much less in a respectable time!
Congrats on Completing your 1st Centurymbologna
Sep 10, 2002 4:12 AM
Thanks! I was a runner for many years, and did several marathons, so I think the aerobic base definitely helped. I also think the mental aspect of getting through a marathon and a century are similar. All in all, I'm thrilled!
Congrats!! (nm)jtferraro
Sep 9, 2002 11:56 AM
Next year, the HHH.Chen2
Sep 9, 2002 2:19 PM
Try the Hotter'n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls, TX, 4th Saturday in August. It's a fun century and never gets rain.
Next year, the HHH.mbologna
Sep 10, 2002 4:10 AM
I'd like to try it, but I heard horror stories about the wind this year! Maybe by next year, I'll feel confident enough to give it a go.
Not a problemChen2
Sep 10, 2002 6:17 AM
For me the wind was not a problem at all this year. I think the wind gradually diminished, by the time I turned south at ~75 miles the wind had died. Of the last 4 years, this one was definitely the easiest.