's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

Do you enjoy doing centuries?(71 posts)

Do you enjoy doing centuries?Kristin
Jan 7, 2003 3:00 PM
After reading some of the posts in my thread below, I'm starting to wonder if "enjoying" a century is the wrong goal. So let me hear from you. If you've ridden a century, did you enjoyed the ride right to the end? Or did the last miles suck? If you've ridden more than one, did you enjoy the first one? Do you enjoy the ones you do now more?

If the first 80 miles is the only enjoyable part, then what motivates you to press on? Why not just stop when the fun drains from your legs?

Sure but we like long rides too. ;-) nmMB1
Jan 7, 2003 3:03 PM
I think he was asking us mortals :-)(nm)TREKY
Jan 7, 2003 3:13 PM
Sorry ,I meant she :-0 nmTREKY
Jan 7, 2003 4:55 PM
ROTFLOL nmcyclopathic
Jan 7, 2003 3:39 PM
A straight answer....MB1
Jan 7, 2003 5:03 PM
Centuries are not hard if you build up to them. Mentally it helps to be familiar with the course and the finish most of all. But whatever you do don't worry about things, enjoy the ride.

I have always felt that anyone could ride in a day what they normally ride in a week. So for a century you ought to be able to ride at least 100 miles in a week on a regular basis. More is better but you don't have to over do it.

Pace is also important. It is a really good idea to start after the racers go off to avoid the temptation of riding too fast at the start. Better yet find a slow but steady rider to ride the first 15 miles with. And keep your stops short and few-eat on the bike while you are cruising not while you are at the rest stops.

You can do yourself no biger favor than riding much slower than you feel you could for the first hour. Trust me you will make it up in the last hour and more.

Finally, never forget you are having fun-no matter how much it hurts.
Jan 8, 2003 4:29 PM
Centuries are a hoot. Wifey gives me a ration of crap if we bail early. I'd say it's probably 50% mental and the trick is that you need to learn to enjoy the ride and not fixate on the odometer. I find that the people who are the most goal oriented enjoy it the least. Doing self supported centuries are more fun b/c you don't get all focused on the check points and mile markers.
re: Do you enjoy doing centuries?collinsc
Jan 7, 2003 3:09 PM
well, if you just stop when the fun is gone, most likely you wont be near home.

centuries are easy.

on the STP last summer (one day, double century) if i had stopped when the fun was over I would have been about 20 miles out of Portland, and 180 from home.

stopping doesnt work.
I'm usually running on willpower at the end, but ...Humma Hah
Jan 7, 2003 3:11 PM
... keep in mind that the ONLY bike I've ever ridden century distances and beyond is the singlespeed Schwinn cruiser. At 80 miles I could usually easily be talked into swapping bikes with anyone with a decent roadbike.

Even if the last miles are a chore, I find finishing to be VERY satisfying. I've only failed to finish one century, in which I was out of shape, fighting a headwind, and running short on time. I took a shortcut to the finish and rode only about 86 miles. That was the LEAST satisfying century I've ridden, because I was more than a little ashamed that I'd wimped out.

I think its the challenge that makes centuries and longer rides enjoyable, rather than just getting in a long, pleasant ride. To be meaningful, they have to push your limits at least a little. Someone like MB1 who rides at least a century a week will look around for challenges like doing the C&O towpath in a day (186 miles on dirt) in order to get a significant challenge.
I call it the other side of the wall....dzrider
Jan 8, 2003 9:18 AM
Marathoners used to talk about hitting the wall. It's really not a wall, just keep going and get to the other side. Once I'm there, moving slowly but comfortably forward, I'm in a place that I can't describe or explain. Whether by running or riding I keep going back and finding a source of strength inside myself that amazes me every time. Almost everybody who does ultras deals with periods of pain and despair at some point. Just grab a snack and keep moving. It doesn't always get worse.
It's like Lance says...MXL02
Jan 7, 2003 3:14 PM
when asked what he enjoyed about long distance riding he said he did not do it for enjoyment, he did it for the pain. I know this sounds pathological, but I have to agree, there is something therapeutic about riding til you can't ride anymore...when the last 10-20 miles hurt like hell. It's what makes me feel alive. It is also why I ride. It's the point in your riding experience where if you are not riding up hill or into the wind, it is not a good ride. It's like asking why people climb Mt Everest knowing that it is the coldest,least hospitable place on earth, and that they may very well die trying...They do it to see if they can! I don't know if this makes sense, but it's my $.02 anyway.
Good pointkatie1
Jan 7, 2003 3:43 PM
And that must answer why I LOVE hilly centuries. I find them very self satisfying. My favorites include Mt. Mitchell, 6-Gaps, 3-State and Cherohalla (ok, it was 125 miles). Yes, I am nuts.
Hills make it more fun!look271
Jan 7, 2003 4:37 PM
You doing the 3-state this year? I used to hate hills, but I've come to really like climbing, and a hilly century is just a great way to test yourself.
Hills make it more fun!katie1
Jan 8, 2003 5:58 AM
Most likely. I'll have to see how the racing schedule goes. Last year, I focused more on centuries. I love that course. Hopefully, the weather will be better. Did you do it last year? It sucked in the rain!
Hills make it more fun!look271
Jan 8, 2003 6:41 AM
Yep. It was my 1st time. I kept hearing how beautiful the sights were from lookout and the other mountains, but, as you know, I didn't see a da#$ thing! I'm hooked, though. I traveled about 12 hrs to get there. I'll do it again! My friend's mom-in-law lives there, so that's where we stayed. My 1st trip to Tenn. Beautiful country.
hope to see you thereJS Haiku Shop
Jan 8, 2003 7:10 AM
though the brevet schedule may use all my ride tickets by then. :(

if i (we--my local peeps, too) ride 3/3, it'll be a day trip only.

c-ya then, maybe.


ps. those views are great, just last year you couldn't see 10 yards off lookout mountain. sand mountain was blowing sideways rain and 15*F cooler at the top, and i'm convinced that suck creek mountain is pretty much just a big hill. :)
hope to see you therelook271
Jan 8, 2003 8:46 AM
I'll really try to hook-up this time. Really. We'll hoist a few, ok?
sounds good to me! nmJS Haiku Shop
Jan 9, 2003 11:24 AM
Hills make it more fun!katie1
Jan 8, 2003 7:39 AM
Did you see the guy who's fork broke? It was awful. I actually repeated the course with some friends over Labor Day. It was sunny and quite beautiful that go around. My goal this year (if I do it) is < 4:50.
Jan 8, 2003 8:45 AM
Sheet girl! I'm shooting at <6 ! (Not that tough, since I was just over last year and I had to wait for my friend several times.) But <5 hrs is impressive! Hope you are doing it with a group!
Hey katie1. . .Mike P
Jan 8, 2003 9:05 AM
Were you with 3 other guys from Atlanta the day you rode the course again? If so, I met up with you guys just before getting to the Nickajack Dam access road.

Hey katie1. . .katie1
Jan 8, 2003 10:27 AM
I did it in under 5 last year. Katie1 is just my screen name (long story). My real name is Cathy. I ride a blue Giant. I don't think the other guys around me were from Atlanta but I was breathing too hard up Burkhalter gap to strike up a conversation. Actually, Travis something (rides for Krystal) rode near me most the day.
On your Labor Day ride of the courseMike P
Jan 8, 2003 11:03 AM
I don't remember names but I am pretty sure I met up with you, a fellow from south of the border that was having some digestive problems, a tall person, and a guy with huge legs that just kind of floated his bike up the hills. You guys talked me into riding over Sand Mtn (we had to ask Mr. Police which road to go up) and Lookout Mtn (borrowed some water from the nice lady at the top of Burkhalter Gap). May have been someone else.

Jan 8, 2003 1:00 PM
I am sorry! I was confused. I thought you were talking about on the actual 3-state-3-mtn day. Yep, that was us. Having fun, self sagging our own century. We had to leave our friend at the top of Burkhalter and come back with a car to get him. He was sick for the whole weekend!!
re: Do you enjoy doing centuries?TREKY
Jan 7, 2003 3:17 PM
I did my first one last year and thats all it took.I had the time of my life and will do many more in the future.The atmosphere and fellow cyclists made the day great.If you train right there should be minimal dicomfort and maximum enjoyment.
Somewhat depends on the atmosphere, and I don't mean weather.theBreeze
Jan 7, 2003 3:54 PM
I find my "enjoyment" of a century is more related to how well organized the event is, and maybe to the scenery. Though if I'm riding for time I'm not lookin' at the scenery much.

The latest century I did was El Tour de Tuscon and I can honestly say it was the BEST organized event I have ever participated in. The community and police support was fantastic. It really added to my experience.

Regarding physical enjoyment, yeah, around mile 90 survival mode kicks in. Everything hurts. But if you push on you can get through it. Ususally for me the last 3-5 miles get better and by the finish I'm feeling pretty good again.
Nope, I hate em..I dunno why anyone would wanna do one either =)BigLeadOutGuy
Jan 7, 2003 3:58 PM
I hate when I hit the 100 mark...even more so, I hate when I hit the 6 hour mark..Long endurance rides really arent fun. But I guess I have to do them because I hate losing races more than I hate doing long endurance rides. If I wasnt racing the thought of riding 100 miles would never even remotely cross my mind. But till I hang it up and stop racing I gotta do it. I guess in a bizare way I must like them somehow...actually I think I like the results I get from them more so than the actual riding itself.
I got it...I love to hate them! =)
Hmmm...Thats interestingKristin
Jan 7, 2003 4:16 PM
I must ponder. Actually, the goal behind all this training not to do a century--though I'll do one in the process--the goal is a two day ride to Lake Geneva and back (50 miles/day). So the plan is a little bit of overkill; but it fits comfortably with my schedule. I'm also trying to get some friends motivated to train for this ride. Some of them will just do the first day, then drive back to Chicago, while some others will do the round trip. It'll be fun. This plan should prepare me for rest of the summer rides. The Lake Geneva trip, two metrics and the Hilly Hundred.

I'm also wondering if a scheduled program will help reduce some of my discomfort on the bike. If it doesn't, at the end of the summer I will say good bye to Bernardo and find a different bike.
Agree: I enjoy the first 80 miles...retro
Jan 7, 2003 4:06 PM
...and hate the last 20. The only thing that keeps me going is shame.
I was relieved to learn a few years ago that a lot of people feel that way--I thought I was just a wuss.
Jan 7, 2003 4:07 PM
I've only done one. Draft when you can and eat a lot. My longest ride before that was 70 (but it was hilly and 95 degrees). The week before I did a very hilly 60 mile ride. The century did not give me major problems. I nearly bonked from following a tandem team for 20-30 miles but then I backed off, recovered and got a second wind to the finish.
if you don't over do it, you can enjoy any rideDougSloan
Jan 7, 2003 4:14 PM
Last year I truly enjoyed a double century for the first time. I never pushed it too hard, and was careful to eat and drink plenty. For some weird reason, my time was about the same as the prior two years when I suffered enormously on the same ride (Central Coast Double). I did a negative split, averaging faster on the second half than the first. I think that helps.

Yes, you can enjoy a century. Take the right gears, eat and drink plenty, and don't go too hard.

If you were out here, I'd say the quintessential century to enjoy is Solvang. It has about 5,000 riders, and it's a lot of fun to just mozey along and talk to people. I met Humma Ha in person there.

Yes Solvang CA is a very FUN Century!!!!Morgan
Jan 8, 2003 11:33 AM
Have already made reservations for this century. It was the very first century I have did. I already have my hotel reservations and registration taken care for this year. Now my wife is involved and so its sort of a family affair. Now Grizzly Century in North Fork CA for me is painful, climbing most of the time, gets very old after about the 70 mile mark. As I get older I find my self doing more century's and less racing.
That one had me suffering at mile 70 ...Humma Hah
Jan 8, 2003 1:19 PM
... when my knee started going lame. I toughed it out, and the finish was a blast. Its a pretty run but the last ten miles are simply stunningly beautiful. They've designed it so the last few miles are downhill. At about 102 miles there's an overlook and you see Solvang, one of the prettiest little towns ever to nestle in a green valley, down below you. What makes it especially pretty is knowing its downhill all the way to the finish from there!
Jan 7, 2003 4:19 PM
I am not a fast rider, but I have endurance. So, I am better suited to centuries than shorter, faster rides. Most of the organized "centuries" that I have ridden have been 102 to 105 miles. Several times when I have hit the 100 mile mark, I really began to feel that it was time to quit. But, I think that my problem was psychological (i.e., I had made my 100 miles) rather than physical. I have enjoyed the centuries that I have done and the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing a significant ride stays with you long after the ride is over. Last year (2002) I did a century that I had done the year before. 2002's ride was faster and less painful. It gave me a good gauge of my progression as a cyclist over the preceding year. One of my goals in 2003 is to do several of the centuries that I did in 2002 and see how I have improved (hopefully).
I enjoy riding a bikeKerry
Jan 7, 2003 4:40 PM
And doing pretty much weekly centuries for the past few years, I can say that I do enjoy them. A significant fraction of them are solo, and the rest are done with just a couple of other riders. We talk, we sight see, we ride hard, and we have a good time. You can feel it when you're done, but it's a "good tired" and that's just another reason to ride. Since these are out and back/loop rides, it's pretty rare that I have a choice about whether to take short cuts.
sure fire funmadwiscbiker
Jan 7, 2003 4:43 PM
i plan on running after all my centuries, usually do about 10 miles, not sure how my training partner and i started doing this, but the end of the century is no problem when you have a run ahead of you. plus you get to relearn to run for the first 5 minutes once you are off the bike. i have learned the hard way the the most important part of a century is eating, if you get that down its all fun.
They Can Be Fun...Gregory Taylor
Jan 7, 2003 4:58 PM
Or They Can Bite The Big Weenie...Gregory Taylor
Jan 7, 2003 5:02 PM

PS: The Bill mentioned in the piece is our own RBR "Bill"
Or They Can Bite The Big Weenie...look271
Jan 8, 2003 8:50 AM
I think that was my last. I'll try to do MB1's NSOCE fixed century this year. Closer to home, far less idiots, and a chance to meet the dynamic duo of MB1 and Miss M.
It was pretty miserable this year...Gregory Taylor
Jan 8, 2003 10:43 AM
But I think that I'll do it again. Tradition and all that. We have a gang that goes every year, and we use it to mark the end of the official riding "season".

I do want to get out with MB1 and Miss M. I see them fairly frequently on the Mount Vernon Trail, and they both seem to have too much fun for any pair of humans to decently admit to.
Centuries suck, I hate them!Qubeley
Jan 7, 2003 5:29 PM
I did two centuries in 2001, and only 1 last year, all solo. The ride was fun up to the turning point, I always lose motivation once I hit turning point. Spend 3 hours with "going home" the only goal really is no fun at all.
To make things worse, I always bonk somewhere on my way back, as late as 80 miles point, as early as 60 miles(this year), dragging my ass up and down and up at 13mph is destructive to mind as well as body. I didn't want to ride my bike for 2 weeks after century. This year after my century, my form took a plunge, I did not regain my form until the end of season.
We know different people has different endurance level, so why should I measure myself against someone else with a much better endurance? I really don't mind me suck at centuries, because I know where my strengths are.
Thanks for being honestKristin
Jan 8, 2003 6:01 AM
I bet there are more people who feel that way too, and they just don't admit it. I'd say I'm probably in the same camp as you. I'm going to try this training program, but if miles 50-100 are miserable, I'll probably not venture to do one again. And thats okay, right?!? Its funny, but cycling seems to be almost as much about comparing ourselves to others as it is about turning a crank and spinning gears.
Centuries suck, I hate them!CHRoadie
Jan 8, 2003 8:23 AM
Try doing an organized century. It's a lot more fun with 1,000 other people and food/rest stops every 20-25 miles!
Yes. I do one unsupported century every sunday....Bruno S
Jan 7, 2003 5:54 PM
sometimes the last 10 miles suck, sometimes I want more. After doing 4 or 5 sunday centuries in a row it just becomes another ride. It takes longer and requires more planning but you'll be amazed on how fast your body adapts and how fast you learn to listen to what it needs.

If retired I could become another MB1 :-)

BTW: If the first 80 miles is the only enjoyable part, then what motivates you to press on? How about that you need to return to your home/car.
Yes (longish)Andy M-S
Jan 7, 2003 6:45 PM
In 1998, I did my first century.

I had been riding seriously for about a year, I used sneakers and toeclips and straps and the bike was, to be honest, too big. The saddle was a Brooks B17 (which was actually very comfortable). The ride went up a small mountain. And the longest ride I had ever done before was 40 miles.

I survived. By 60 miles, I was hurting so bad I wanted to just quit, but by 80 I got my wind back and I DID finish--dead last. I went home and fell asleep and didn't look at my bike for two days.

Since then, I had done some metric centuries, but that was about it. My fitness was deinitely improved! Last summer I did the (last) Heartland AIDS Ride--six days of riding, mileage very roughly like this: 80/100/100/100/90/60. We rode from St. Paul to Chicago, mostly in Wisconsin which is NOT flat.

And you know what? It was fun! We took our time, looked around, enjoyed the people and the countryside. The ride was very well-organized, the terrain challenging.

There were a couple of times on that ride I hurt, but I really enjoyed every mile of it.

This summer, I'm planning some overnight rides on the rail-trail system in Wisconsin...Take off from home, go about 100 miles, stay over at a motel, ride back the next day.

Distance can get addicting...
Don't think. Ride the Bike!Uncle Tim
Jan 7, 2003 7:50 PM
Kristin, you are creating an enemy that doesn't exist.

Riding a century is not that big a deal. If you have decent number of miles in your legs, you can do it easily. If you tackle a hilly course, you may suffer some, but you can still do it.

Start early. Ride steady. Drink lots of fluids and get the necessary electrolytes. Stop and have some good eats. Enjoy the day and the scenery.

You can do it!
Listen to Uncle Tim . . .bill
Jan 8, 2003 8:41 AM
It's really not that big a deal. It feels like a monumental, daunting task, and it feels great to finish that first one. After that, they're just great.
Couple of things -- listen to what people are saying about eating and drinking, taking your time, warm-up, have base fitness but no need to go nuts.
But don't let any of this intimidate you. It is a physically demanding adventure, but it's very doable. Very doable.
And here's a little secret. The reason why that last 20 is hard, assuming that you've eaten and hydrated, is between your ears. It's hard because you sort of start thinking that you're almost done. But you're not really almost done -- you still have an hour to an hour and a half on the bike. It can be defeating, but it's mentally defeating, not physically defeating. Look, any ride, even the twenty-milers, have their challenges. Something about facing them in the last twenty miles of a century is particularly mentally challenging -- almost as if you're being insulted after already doing so much. But it is between your ears -- your body can do it, I promise. It is ludicrous to say that you have the stamina to make fifty, to make eighty, but not one hundred. It's just not the way it works. Your body doesn't fall apart that way. Your mind, however, does.
I love centuries, although I don't get to do too many because of the time investment. I particularly love organized centuries. It's great to see lots of people on lots of bicycles. I just love it.
I love starting out, seeing the hoi polloi, looking forward to a long, very enjoyable day in the saddle. I am usually kind of bummed now when they're over.
Jan 7, 2003 8:01 PM
I prefer distances between 30-50 miles. That's plenty of time on the bike for me. After that, it gets to be too long on the bike.

That said, I've participated in a number of centuries and plan to do more this year. It's about pushing yourself a little, overcoming a bit of pain, the satisfaction of biking farther than most people can imagine, not quiting, becoming a "real cyclist", setting and achieving goals, etc. The "enjoyment" isn't physical as much as it is mental and spiritual.
Yup. Mostly for the camaraderie and a cool, scenic route.PseuZQ
Jan 7, 2003 8:47 PM
At first it was kind of hard. The first one i did (EL Tour de Tucson) there was a nasty headwind for about the first 50 miles. I was like, WTF? Why am I doing this? But I got an amazing sense of accomplishment when I finished.

I've kept up my riding, and do solo unsupported C's about every two weeks.

BTW, I read somewhere -- one of Arnie Baker's or Ed Burke's ooks, I think -- that some cyclists have a bad habit of continually comparing themselves to more accomplished cyclists and thinking that what *they* do somehow doesn't measure up, relative to what other cyclists can do who have trained more, are more physically fit, have been riding longer, etc. Sort of a "never enough" phenomenon. (I'm guilty, BTW.)

What motivates me is a sense of achievement, a sense of mastery, a feeling of being disciplined enough to have trained, a sense of wonderment at my surroundings, and a sense of gratitude that I'm healthy and able-bodied enough to do this. I think that applies -- or ought to apply -- to every cyclist, whether you do a metric or RAAM.
DependsTrent in WA
Jan 7, 2003 9:43 PM
I've never done a century proper, but I've done a handful of metrics (my favorite distance) and 200K brevets. My first 200K, I felt like hell from around mile 60 to mile 80, then had a double shot of espresso and rode the next 20 as though I'd been shot out of a cannon. I felt great! Then I spent too much time yakking at the last control, right at the 100-mile mark, and suffered like a pig over the final, hilly 35 miles.

The second 200K I rode with my wife, MelMo (hi, cutie pie). We rode our own rides, more or less, until the last control, where I waited up for her. Prior to that, I'd spent about thirty miles riding along a terrifically busy road with no shoulder, concentrating on not getting run off the road or run over by an RV. No eating, no drinking, just a lot of obscenities and yelling. I felt like hell, but she felt worse when she showed up at the control. The ride organizer talked her out of quitting, and I towed her for about fifteen or so miles. Then I went into a low-grade bonk and she, like the angel of mercy she is, towed my sorry ass in the rest of the way.

So, the moral of the story is: Take it easy, stay hydrated, avoid bonking, and pick a ride where you can look around and relax a bit, and you can enjoy the ride.

Sure, how else could I eat so much?dwpalmer
Jan 7, 2003 9:53 PM
My first century was observed from the street. I went to support a friend's wife that was riding with Team in Training around Lake Tahoe (my good friend had just recovered from a lymphoma). As I sat at the finish line to cheer her on, I noticed many folks much older than me finishing a 100 mile ride. My main thought was "Wow if they can do it, surely I could do it". So I signed up with Team N Training for El Tour de Tucson, raised $2,500 for Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and trained my ass off. When I started I could barely ride 20 miles. El Tour was a blast and I finished feeling very strong.

The sense of accomplishment from raising that much money for charity and finishing the event was awesome. Not only did I not think I could ride 111 miles, I didn't think I could raise that much money. 6 months later I registered for a 500 mile AIDS Vaccine ride in AK (a $3,400 fund raising target). Over the years, century rides have allowed me to meet many great people, burn tens of thousands of calories, see some tremendous countryside and hopefully make a small difference.

Sure, there are times when you want to stop and your butt, shoulders, neck, back, legs and feet ache, usually way before mile 80!!, but your fellow cyclists will pull you through or your own desire to accomplish a goal will kick in. I personally participate in charity events most of the time. That helps me stay motivated and keep training.

Just remember, nutrition is king and bike fit is second in long distance riding. Your burning around 750-1000 calories an hour so keep eating and drinking. What I always tell people is that the first 50 miles are hard, the next 25 miles are twice as hard as the first 50 and the last 25 are 4 times harder than the first 75.

Like I said in the subject, I ride and then I eat all the crap you're not supposed to eat the rest of the day, I figure I deserve it.
what else is there?Rubiks_Manuever
Jan 8, 2003 12:12 AM
I do a century every saturday regardless of the weather. Down to south carolina and back. 106.5 miles from my trailer door and back. I do fifty miles every weekday on the Blue Ridge Parkway. No, I don't have a riding partner. When the season starts again I'll tear up every damm century that is on in WNC. Yes I like it. No, I don't like the "comraderie and the scenery" . I like the sad, pathetic, painful length of it. What the F^@# else am I gonna do with my weekends?! My life?!!

Lone Freak Beer-drinkin Scotty
I like! Didn't think I would before I tried one though.Mike P
Jan 8, 2003 4:48 AM
I would only ride the metric at the organized rides because I had never been on the bike for more than 80 miles.

One day last summer I was 30 miles into a 55 mile ride and bumped into four other riders on the road. They were up from Atlanta riding the 3 State 3 Mountain course and asked if I would like to join them. They twisted my arm so I figured I would give it a shot; what the heck, it's only 45 more miles. I managed to get home. . . I was dead. But after that I have, with confidence, ridden a number of supported centuries and increased the milage on my long-day rides.

Most of my milage is solo so it is a nice change of pace to have some other riders around. If you find youself getting weak, grab a wheel and strike up a conversation. When you recover you might even find some other dead soul on your wheel, and that could make you feel stronger.

Just go ride! I spent some time trying to figure out a training schedule but gave that up. It wasn't fun when I had to do this ride on this day or another particular workout on another day. So I opted for a less structured training plan; and it's been working. Get at least one long ride in each week. Try to get in a day of higher RPM leg work. Find some hills and work on them. Throw in an occasional interval day to work on the speed. Have an easy day in there too. And don't forget to take a day off. Don't even look at anything bike related on that day. Do something else like go for a hike or something.

Happy riding,
re: Do you enjoy doing centuries?tarwheel
Jan 8, 2003 5:38 AM
I do a lot of 50-60 mile rides but only a few centuries each year. Centuries can be fun if you've got some friends to ride with, ride at a reasonable pace, and eat and drink enough. You also need to make sure your bike fit and saddle are dialed in, and don't make any significant changes right before a long ride. (I made the mistake of changing saddles just before a metric, and just about killed my knees because I didn't have the adjustment right.)

One of the real benefits of riding a few centuries is the perspective it gives you. Suddenly, those 40-50-60 mile rides don't seem so long or punishing. As others pointed out, pacing is the real key to enjoying yourself. Too often on large group rides everyone starts out like it's race. I always feel much better at the end (and finish with better overall times) if I start out easier while I'm warming up.
the more i do long rides, the more i want to do longer rides nmJS Haiku Shop
Jan 8, 2003 5:57 AM
Jan 8, 2003 6:36 AM
sometimes a century is a challenge due to terrain, wind, rain, weather etc. and sometimes it seems to just fly by without a lot of thought. sometimes the ones that are a challenge are the most memorable. what motivates me to press on? 1. that i don't like to quit anything 2. that i have to get back to the car somehow.
Jan 8, 2003 6:47 AM
Whenever I am finishing up a very long ride, I have this unusual urge to get on my mountain bike and casually ride around the neighborhood. Through the grass, on the sidewalk, wherever. It is almost as though the work is done and now I can play.
Which one do you have in mind?Alex-in-Evanston
Jan 8, 2003 7:06 AM
My favorite Chicago area century is the North Shore Century (it may have something to do with the fact that the start/finish is a mile from my front door). I like riding close to the lake. Lots of nice scenery.

Its not really about the distancepmf1
Jan 8, 2003 9:37 AM
There is nothing magical about riding 100 miles. What I enjoy about an organized century is being able to spend a day riding somewhere you do not usually (or never) ride, having a route all laid out and well marked, having food/drink stops along the way and riding with new people.

I generally don't get out there and try to break any records (although some rides like the Seagull in the flat eastern shore beg for it). Sometimes I'm out there climbing the 98-th hill, or doing 35 miles straight into a headwind and wonder "what the hell am I doing this for". I almost always get into the doldrums and then develop a second wind.

I'm always happy to be done and the car seat never feels so good.
Great releif for a tired fanny: Apply warm asphaultKristin
Jan 8, 2003 10:03 AM
Has anyone else discovered how good it feels to sit on a sunny patch of pavement and stretch after a loooong ride?
Stop. Get off bike. Then sit. No relief at speed ;-0 nmBrooks
Jan 8, 2003 1:52 PM
I think they do more harm then good.LC
Jan 8, 2003 10:35 AM
Every year I see thousands of fools starting out on the STP (200 miles Seattle to Portland) and maybe only 20% of them at best actually have enough base miles to do it without killing themselves. You even got people on Wallmart Mtn bikes, tricycles, unicycles, and even roller blades setting out on a ride that will basically kill themselves off till next year when they do it again...doh! Of course the majority are trying this on a normal road bike, but you just know by looking at their square pedal strokes that they do not have any significant miles in those legs to be doing even a century, let alone a double! Most of them won't even look at a bike after it for the next month because their ass or knee or whatever begins to scream in pain if they do.

For most of us, even a amature racer like myself, the real goal should be exercise to stay healthy by doing something you enjoy. Your much better off riding consistently and spead that 200 miles over a week and not all in one day. At the end of the month got 800 enjoyable health miles, not 200 miles of misery and agony and still out of shape. You know the saying, "Rome was not built in one day."
DC Aids Ridepmf1
Jan 8, 2003 11:00 AM
Every spring, I see guys out training for the DC AIDS ride on the W&OD bike trail. Many of them look woefully out of shape riding crappy bikes with toe clips. They don't look like they can do one century, let alone 3 back to back.

But they manage to do it and I have to respect them for it.
I think the key is that they train for itKristin
Jan 8, 2003 11:21 AM
Don't the AIDS ride programs give riders specific training schedules to help them get ready for the ride? Perhaps ones ability to compete 100 miles is more about training and conditioning than it is about how much one weighs. Also, I think the AIDS rides allow for a 12mph pace...I talked to someone who rode the Heartlands ride and they said that you could go pretty slow if you wanted to.
12 mphAndy M-S
Jan 8, 2003 12:25 PM
Yes, they allow for this pace--which is as it should be. An organized Century shouldn't necessarily be about <<6 hour rides--it should be about finishing the ride. And that's not 12 mph over nice flat rail-trails, either...(see below)

Yes, they gave out specific training schedules, but I doubt that more than 50% of the riders follow them. And, frankly, training in and around Chicago in no way prepares you for western Wisconsin hillage.

One of the places that the AIDS Rides really excelled was in encouraging people. Standard procedure was that you did the ride, ate and/or cleaned up, and then you went to cheer on the rest of the riders. Staff (and riders) cheered people up the hills, and towed them when necessary.

It's a team effort, and the last rider is cheered in as much as (well, actually a whole lot more than) the first.

This works because you don't go home as soon as the ride is over for you. You support your team, which happens to be everyone else who is riding. If more centuries were organized around this idea, they'd probably be a lot more fun.

To see what it's about, go here to read my illustrated journal from last summer's AIDS Ride:
Well yes, but I wouldn't make too much of the schedules.djg
Jan 8, 2003 1:37 PM
The AIDS Ride folks made various information available, and there were all sorts of training rides one could do, but there wasn't any kind of oversight and my guess is that many, if not most, folks simply didn't follow the recommended plan. I know that nobody ever called me to check on my training. Maybe Bill once, but he didn't have an official role of any sort, he just didn't want to have to wait for me too much.

I wouldn't make too much of the schedule. Try to get your base miles in--that is, ride regularly and get some miles in your legs. Try throwing longer rides in here and there. If you typically do 20 mile rides, try a 40 miler one weekend and a 60 miler one or two weekends after that, etc. And if you're still not sure of your preparation, do what the older/heavier/less-well-equipped AIDS riders did: start reasonably early, remember to re-hydrate, eat some, and keep your electrolytes up, and set a moderate pace but keep turning the pedals.
How is that different from a century?pmf1
Jan 9, 2003 9:56 AM
The "training" is just some tips on how to prepare yourself. The training part is up to the individual.

No one is forcing you to go at any speed when you do a century. In fact, I've seen a lot of people going about 10 mph near the end of large century rides.
DC Aids Ridedjg
Jan 8, 2003 1:27 PM
I was on the DC AIDS Ride last year. There were folks who looked plenty serious. But there were quite a few folks who didn't look the part at all. And although not everybody finished each day, plenty of people of all shapes and sizes, and on all manner of rides--hybrids, mtbs, you name it--were able to get their miles in. They just kept turning the pedals and they did it.
A rite of passage.4bykn
Jan 8, 2003 1:52 PM
Your first century, while not a great distance to some here at RBR will amaze non-cycling friends. It's worth doing at least once. I must admit I havent finished one since '98, almost did one in '99, got to 94.68 miles and.....well, some of you know the story.
When you decide to ride a century, if you are looking for a friendly face for company, email me. There is a listing of rides in the state at

i Ride in Peace.....Mike
wrong url, ........nm4bykn
Jan 8, 2003 1:56 PM
Hell Yes! Hotter'n Hell Hundred, Wichita Falls Tx in August (nm)Chen2
Jan 9, 2003 8:05 AM