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Need Advice - 1st Century in 3 weeks(10 posts)

Need Advice - 1st Century in 3 weeksdirthead
Aug 4, 2003 9:20 AM
I am planning to ride my first century in 3 weeks, the Hotter'n Hell 100 in Wichita Falls, Texas. I have been working up to this for a couple of months with a few other guys. I only get a couple of days a week to ride, so I have been doing a 30-40 mile ride mid week, and a 60 mile ride on the weekend. Occassionally, I will have time to do an additional ride during the week, maybe 20-30 miles. The long weekend rides have gotten easier and easier, and I can keep a fair pace (~17mph) over that distance. The terrain where I ride has rolling hills, but nothing very steep. It is almost always windy, with winds of 15-20mph almost every day. I think the route for the HH100 is fairly flat.

I guess my question is....Do I need to do anything differently in the weeks before the race? I plan to carry a flask of Hammergel and 2 bottles, since I can refill them regularly at the rest stops. Should I carry anything else?? Any advice would be appreciated, and maybe I will see some of you there!
Couple of things....Mariowannabe
Aug 4, 2003 9:43 AM
It sounds as though your in good enough shape. From my experience the last forty miles place a couple unique demands on the body. Here's what I'd do.

1. Bring solid food, with a mix of carb/protein, ie. cliff bar or powerbar. I try to eat one bar an hour on long rides. For me, gel is used for that "something extra".
2. Treat your crotch well. 6 hours in bike shorts.... you get the picture.
3. If anything is bothering you on your 60 milers, it will get a lot worse on the 100. So, sore back=stretch, feat numb=experiment on socks, headache=drink more, etc. The key to having fun on a century is to address any issue before it becomes a problem.

Finally, don't try anything too new between now and the ride. Don't adjust your bike, don't get new shoes, shorts, etc.
Couple of things....boyd2
Aug 4, 2003 10:02 AM
I just finished my first century last week. I do not get as many long rides as you do, but I am used to all day working out (MTB rides, distance running). I would imagine you are plenty ready. After all old ladies and kids on mountian bikes regurlary ride centuries! Here are my observations.

1. Don't stop for too long. I got very stiff while waiting out a bad storm.
2. I started with one bottle of sports drink but replaced it only with water. I had to fight cramps at the end and sports drink would have helped that.
3. I was on a solo century and I was fine with 2 large water bottles (I had to beg water once). If your ride is supported don't bother carrying any more then you need to.
4. I ate powerbars about one every 1.5 hours, but I found at the end that my belly wanted something more solid to work on so I stoped and bought (of all things) a hot dog!
5. Don't try any new foods or bars/drinks/gels on the ride. I was a bit nauesious for awile.
6. I have been using Gu and find it works great for "that something extra". I felt myself slipping at about mile 85 and Gu brought me back to life.
7. If you took a bananna, put it in a zip-lock baggie and mashed it up to a liquid it would taste exactly like Gu.

I hope that this helps.
Good advice above . . .ms
Aug 4, 2003 10:19 AM
I second (or third) that which mariowannabe and boyd2 have said above. The most important advice I can give you is not to make any changes in your bike, shoes, food or drinks between now and the century. I almost didn't finish my first century because the sports drink that was at the rest stops, a drink that I had not used before, did not agree with me. The other important thing, especially in something called the Hotter'n Hell 100, is to eat and drink regularly. I didn't pay too much attention to hydration on my early centuries, and survived well. But, two years ago, I dehyrdrated and bonked at mile 103.5 on a 105 mile century that was held on a day when temperatures were in the 90s. Bonking is a very unpleasant experience -- and one that can be avoided. Remember to eat and drink on a regular schedule -- if you are hungry or thirsty, you have waited too long.
re: Need Advice - 1st Century in 3 weeksCarbonJoe
Aug 4, 2003 10:21 AM
Hydrate pre-ride. I also down one or two 6 oz. yogurts before the ride, since (at least the Dannon Fruit on the Bottom kind) is high in potassium, carbs, and is easy to digest.

Depending on what type of food they serve, I always take along some of my own. These include: Fig Newtons (I put them in those small "snack-size" ZipLoc bags), dried apricots, and Power Bars. Small, easy to carry, keeps well. If they offer pizza, stay away as it tends not to sit in the stomach very well (especially Pepperoni pizza). Not what you want in the heat. Any fruit they offer is fair game, like bannanas, grapes, oranges, etc.

I've found that good 'ole Peanut Butter and Jelly tastes great, is easy to digest, and goes down easy. I generally only carry water, but if they offer Powerade or Gatorade, I'll drink that at the rest stops, and water in between.

I also look for salty foods (pretzels or chips) to help replace the salt you sweat out.

Don't forget to eat before you're hungry, and drink before you're thirsty, and you should do fine. You will need to replace 200-400 calories per hour.
re: Need Advice - 1st Century in 3 weeksSlowFast
Aug 4, 2003 10:30 AM
I suggest you try training in the heat of the day a few times before you go to Wichita Falls. The temperatures can really soar in late August. At 17 mph you'll still be on the road in the early afternoon, and it got up to 104 last year. The more accustomed to the heat you are, the better you'll do. Also, if possible stretch your ride this weekend to at least 80 miles. The HH100 is closer to 108 miles, depending on who you talk to, and as someone else noted, the last 40 put stresses on your body (and mind) that are especially hard to deal with. Going beyond 60 will help you understand how you will feel, and if you do it this weekend, will give you plenty of time to recover. I plan on doing a 80 to 100 mile ride next Monday afternoon as my last serious tune-up before the Hotter n Hell, then I'm tapering down from there.

Good luck and enjoy the experience!

Along with what others said...biknben
Aug 4, 2003 10:31 AM
I'd also recommend at lest one longer ride between now and the event. Try to get over 70 miles. If you have a goal for the century do this ride at that pace. See how you feel at the end. If you can get to the 70-80 mile mark without any issues than 100 is just another 1.5 hours. It will be a boost to your confidence going into the event.

I doubt you'll have any problems during the century without a ride over 60 miles. Since your asking, I suspect some doubt on your end. That one longer ride will help you to be better prepared for the century.
My fifth consecutive HHHChen2
Aug 4, 2003 10:50 AM
What I have learned from the Hotter'n Hell Hundred:

1) Take in extra electrolytes. I carry powdered Gatoraid and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to each bottle. Cramps are a major problem with many people on this ride.

2) Keep your bike off of the grass and out of the weeds at all times. You will see many many flats caused by goathead burrs. The rest stops are full of them and they are worse between 60 and 90 miles into the ride. Don't even roll your bike across the grass, pick it up and carry it.

3) My training schedule is similar to yours but I also try to get in at least one 85 mile ride 2 weeks before the HHH.

See you there

smell the roses......african
Aug 4, 2003 10:58 AM
well thats just a saying, but ......

just enjoy it, make sure you have a great time and enjoy it. Slow up look around and take a deep breath of air and feel good to be alive.


Thank the volunteers too.........
1st Century was 4 weeks agopedalAZ
Aug 4, 2003 11:02 AM
It was a recreational ride from downtown San Francisco, across the Golden Gate, and up to the Russian River near the coast. I had literally never been on a road bike before we started (except for 100 yards the previous afternoon at the LBS where I rented a bike for the ride).

I've been riding MTB, usually 10-20 miles an outing 1x or 2x/wk, with occasional 35's, and some cardio work in the gym.

Everything was beautiful through about 65 miles. Then, I had some serious leg cramp challenges, which were quickly diffused when I stopped at the SAG wagon and devoured a nice, fresh banana. We had a nice breakfast after about 30 miles, and lunch at 70+. The balance of the ride, I was no longer able to hang with the alpha pack, but held steady riding alone behind the lead group but in front of the next group. I had been consuming only water along the way (from a Camelbak), and despite a healthy breakfast at the first break, and a Clif Bar before that, I probably should have taken some other energy and electrolyte replacement prior to the cramps kicking in.

On long MTB rides in excess of 4 hrs, I have tried two gel products Hammer & Lava, which I now refer to generically as hummingbird food. Neither does enough to prevent cramps in my experience. I need a combination of water and solid food, especially the trusty Potassium filled banana to do the job.

The bike I had been furnished with was an aluminum Cannondale, which I had assumed would be "harsh," but it came with a suspension seat post (on a road bike!), so it didn't seem harsh at all.