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Opinions wanted re: metric century this weekend(12 posts)

Opinions wanted re: metric century this weekendSpecialTater
Apr 23, 2003 7:14 AM
I'm riding in the Double Decker Century this weekend. It's supported, with hopefully around 80 riders through the hills of N. Mississippi around Oxford. I've been riding 5 weeks and have ~300 miles on my bike (with a goal of 100/week now). I want to ride the metric century option, but have never ridden more than 30 or so miles (at a 17 avg). It is hillier than I'm used to around Memphis. Is the metric a bad idea if I want to enjoy some good music and beer on the square that afternoon? Is finishing the metric in 4-4.5 hours a reasonable goal for me?

RIde website at

Secondly, I'm planning on taking:
2 energy bars
1 32oz bottle water
1 32 oz bottle half water/gatorade
1 tube
3 CO2 cartridges & inflator

It is supported (how well, I don't know). Would you add anything to this? Maybe another tube? Maybe a frame mounted mini pump?

you'll be fineDougSloan
Apr 23, 2003 7:30 AM
Take your time, and stay aerobic. Don't get caught up in too fast a pace line. Don't start racing others up hills.

I would add a second tube and a patch kit. You should be fine with the inflators only. If the event is well supported, either another rider could help you or a sag wagon might come by if you are stranded.

Drink plenty and take your time. Don't make it a race, and you'll have fun. You'll probably be surprised how easy it was afterwards.


ps: don't forget sunscreen
i'll second that second, and...JS Haiku Shop
Apr 23, 2003 7:53 AM
yep, oxford is "scenic". but, the way you were riding recently, you'll have no problems averaging 14-16 mph over those hills.

important to listen to do(u)g--don't get caught up with groups that make you go faster than comfortable. if you go too fast and blow, you'll crawl back to the car. i second his recommendation for another tube, and stick to the co2--it's a supported ride and probably has a sweep vehicle.

passing on a word of advice: last year do(u)g mentioned setting his watch to chime every 15 minutes as a reminder to eat. this helped me tremendously on long training rides leading up to (and on the actual) double centuries in late summer. after awhile, it becomes automatic, and after a few more long rides, you'll not need to be reminded, and perhaps not need to precisely measure your food and liquid intake. for now, a good idea might be to decide how much you need to ingest in an hour's time, and split that up over 15-minute spans. remember, you're eating now for the next hour. you might want to add to your list a powergel of some kind--a good, *fast* "pick me up" when energy levels are dangerously low. i like powergels, but Gu and other brands also work.

some of our out-of-town-ride regulars don't worry too much about the total time on rides. instead, they observe ride time (avg mph on the bike), and spend much time off the bike at SAG stops. you will see what i mean--those folks who view a 100-mile ride as 25-mile sprints between buffet tables. they'll hit the SAG, park the bike, and graze for 20+ minutes...

if you want to finish in 4.5 hours, that means a 15 mph average on the bike and no more than 30 minutes off the bike. on a metric century, i'd expect 2-3 stops. this means no more than 10 minutes at each stop, and that doesn't factor-in time for mechanicals.

i'm finally at the point this year where riding a "good time" on an "orgainzed" (event) 100-125 miler means having a fun experience, riding with friends, and enjoying the day. it's a step up from 2 years ago and early last year, when i wanted to test myself against the course, my timex ironman, and my riding companions. late last year and so far this year, i have had plenty of other "tests" on the bike, and--thankfully--my outlook on non-epic events (as in *not* the 6-Gap century) is much friendlier and more laid-back.

all this to say, "don't forget to have fun." i know all of us have different goals and objectives, and for you, this will be your first extended ride, and your first "large" group ride. just remember to enjoy yourself. you'll have plenty of thursday night and saturday morning opportunities for pain and suffering on the bike, if you care to join us on "training" rides. have fun this weekend.

:) !

re: Opinions wanted re: metric century this weekendMR_GRUMPY
Apr 23, 2003 7:34 AM
If your longest ride has been 30 miles, you can still do it. You just have to accept the fact you will be toasted when you are done. Take it easy, and rest often, and try to keep your average speed below 25 mph....... just kidding.
I'd add...biknben
Apr 23, 2003 7:40 AM
I'd add at least a patch kit if not an additional tube. A glueless patch kit is tiny and will get you out of a jam. If you're comfortable with the CO2 don't worry about the mini pump. OTOH, I've seen many people use their CO2 for the first time on the road and screw it up. The cartridges only carry so much air so you need to know how to use them the first time.

If you're comfy doing 30 miles @ 17 MPH I'd drop your expectations slightly. Especially if you think it's gonna be hillier than you are used to. Maybe 15 MPH for the metric? I love to hear you prove me wrong but if you go too hard too soon you will sufer at the end. Plan to take it easy initially. If you feel good at the half-way point then put the hammer down.
excellent pointsJS Haiku Shop
Apr 23, 2003 8:00 AM
know how to use and be comfortable with your co2, and with changing a tube. don't forget what most of us forget despite lots of experience with tube changes--check carefully the tire for debris before putting another tube in there and having to stop again in 10 minutes.
don't over think itmohair_chair
Apr 23, 2003 7:45 AM
Just show up and ride. When you're done, you're done. What you're taking is fine.

The only thing I might change is get rid of the water and take all gatorade instead. You will probably benefit from the extra carbs and electrolytes.
re: Opinions wanted re: metric century this weekendtarwheel
Apr 23, 2003 8:00 AM
One thing that will greatly increase your ease in completing your first metric is to find a group that you can comfortably ride in a paceline with and take turns pulling. You can easily maintain a average speed about 2 mph faster riding in a paceline compared to solo. This makes a big difference on long rides. If you're not used to riding in a paceline, be careful. Unless you're experienced, you should try to keep about 2-feet distance between you and cyclist in front of you. That will provide most of the benefits of drafting while allowing some safety factor. Pay close attention to the cyclists in front of you, particularly cues for potholes and obstructions. If your front tire comes in contact with the back wheel of a bike in front of you, chances are you will go down and possibly take down other riders behind you.

Most organized centuries have plenty of Gatorade and some snacks at rest stops, so I wouldn't go overboard on carrying a bunch of food. I find that some Gatorade and 1-2 energy bars is plenty enough to keep me going on metric-length rides.

Have a great ride.
Thanks for your helpSpecialTater
Apr 23, 2003 10:26 AM
Looks like the only change I'll make is an additional tube and my mini pump. I'm trying to ride without my camelbak (now that I have a jersey and seatbag) so I'll have to mount the pump...ugly but functional. I may practice with the inflator tonight to see if I'm comfortable.

I'm looking at this as a ride v. a race, with low expectations. I hope I ride it that way.

Really appreciate all the advice and information available here for newbies.

Pack a disposable camera...Gregory Taylor
Apr 23, 2003 12:38 PM
...take some pictures (BE SAFE! NO HIGH SPEED SHOTS) and share them here. Put the camera in a ziploc baggie to avoid the dreaded "back-sweat syndrome".

I did 92 km last Monday. Here's what I learned:BowWow
Apr 23, 2003 8:35 PM
1. It took me just under 4 hours, stopping for a minute or so every 8-10 km to snap photos. I also stopped for 15 minutes at the half-way point, and another 15 at the 3/4 point.

2. I took 70 oz. of water in a hydropack. I finished the last pull at the tube as I pulled into my yard. Next time I'll add a small bottle of gatorade on the bike. I like to carry both - I need a LOT of water, and all *ade is just too much ade for me.

3. I ate a small bowl of oatmeal and a small banana 15 minutes before I left. Next time it'll be a large bowl of oatmeal and a small banana.

4. I took one small banana with me, which I ate at the halfway point. Next time I'll add a powerbar for the 20km mark, a pb&j sandwich for the turnaround, and two homemade gu's (2 tbs honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, mixed well and tucked in the corner of a small baggie - bite the corner of the baggie off and squeeze away!) for the 70 and 85 km marks.

5. I don't know about you, but a hit of ibuprofin at the start and another dose in the pocket (just in case, around the 80 km mark...) helps take the edge off for me.

6. One tube and a minipump with 2' of duct tape wrapped around it, a small patch kit with two small tire levers, a spoke wrench, a set of allen wrenches, and a chain tool is all I carry. FWIW, I've only been stranded twice - once when I didn't carry a tube, and once when the valve stems of both the original and the spare tubes separated. Presta stems in schrader rim. I now use the correct tube for the rim!

7. I use a hydration pack so I can stow the food. I wear it pretty low on my back (looks dorky standing up, but it works for me!) to keep the weight of the water off my arms. It lightens up a lot by the end of the ride!

Above all, HAVE FUN! If that means jammin' with the peloton, cool, if it means cruisin' and socializing, makin' new friends and just generally enjoyin' the ride, then that's even better!


This is good stuffSpecialTater
Apr 24, 2003 7:21 AM
Thanks, BowWow and Gregory. I will try to take a disposable camera (or maybe I can find our ancient digital).