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Century questions(15 posts)

Century questionsSlamden
Sep 12, 2003 12:56 PM
I recently completed my first century. Three questions come to mind. What do you guys think?

The ride had rolling hills for the 1st half (approximately 3k feet of total climbing). Do you think it is easier to ride a flat century pedalling the entire time or a centrury with hills and lengthy descents that don't require much pedalling? With all the descents, it seems easier to ride a hilly ride.

Also, out of curiousity, how much time do you generally spend off the bike during century rides. It took me 6:30 to finish and my riding time was 6:15.

Finally, I used aero bars for the first time during this ride. Do you think the advantage of aero bars is commensurate to the aero advantage of riding in a small group? I did this ride by myself but would like to try one without aero bars and with a group. I was pretty wrecked at the end of this ride and am curious whether the difficulty would be similar.
Seems like you were on the bike a lot.spookyload
Sep 12, 2003 1:15 PM
Only 15 minutes off the bike for the whole century is a lot of time riding for the first try. Was this organized or with friends?

As for the hilly versus flat, I would say the hilly century is still harder. Even with the descents, you still have to climb up to the top and a 5 mile climb is a pain when you are whipped!
Seems like you were on the bike a lot.Slamden
Sep 12, 2003 1:25 PM
It was an organized ride (Harmon Hundred in Wisco). It was kind of hot (and I was kind of hungover) so I didn't feel like hanging out at the rest stops much.
Great Ride!spluti
Sep 12, 2003 1:23 PM
I hope you had a good time. Being "wrecked" at the end is part of the deal. The rolling hills are my least favorite centuries. I like some good long climbs to break up the scenery and the long descents are a good time to rest up, hydrate and eat. My fastest century was on a very flat route. I've completed three triple centuries without getting off my bike at all. It takes a great deal of comfort on the bike, a good support team and some luck. I think you did great with a fifteen minute break. Take whatever break you want/need.
I always use aero bars. Not for the aerodynamics, but for the comfort. Just stay off of them in a pace line. I have done a couple of centuries non stop with two large water bottles. That was really stretching the limit. Not anymore, now I plan on at least one water stop. I never take more than one bannana or clif bar kind of thing. Save yourself some money and eat fig bars. Same nutrition, lots cheaper.
How long did it take for a triple century?MKD
Sep 12, 2003 2:24 PM
That is an amazing distance for not getting off the bike. I don't think I could do it, plus peeing while riding.
14 hrs 10 minspluti
Sep 12, 2003 6:13 PM
Never peed. 4 gallons of water, 4 liters of All Sport 1 lb. boiled red potatos, 4 Power Bars, and a box of Fig Newtons.
10,000 feet of climbing, and a gentle head wind. According to one cycling calculator I burned 25,000 calories. I don't really believe that. Maybe 12,000-15,000.
wow, thx. nmMKD
Sep 12, 2003 7:19 PM
Never peed?rwbadley
Sep 12, 2003 8:23 PM
For some reason, late in a ride if I'm not peeing I start to feel bad. It's hard to stay hydrated. I actually find that if I stop for a bit walk around drink eat drink wait and work up a pee, I can get back on the bike and feel pretty fresh. Not having to go makes me feel like my kidneys shut down or something, not a great sign.
Excellent ride ...Humma Hah
Sep 12, 2003 2:33 PM
... that's faster than I've ever done a century. You've got the right strategy ... keep moving and minimize stops. Only stopping 15 minutes, you've got that part down perfectly.

I do centuries on the cruiser. No gears and lots of weight. For me, hills are the big problem, and I'm very sensitive to the amount of climbing. This past weekend I rode a 2-day, off-road but it actually DROPS about 800 ft in 184 miles, and is otherwise absolutely flat (the C&O canal towpath). Day 2 was the easiest 100 miles I've ever done.

On pavement, 3000 ft of climbing would be considered fairly flat ... the Amtrack Century comes to mind. Couple of moderate climbs of a few hundred feet at a grade of 6% or less, but no killers, and even the cruiser is fairly comfortable on a ride like that. The hills don't kill you and the downhill side is enjoyable. But double that amount of climbing, with a 1200 ft climb near the end, like Solvang, and I'm gonna hurt.

If you really wanna test your theory about climbing, try the Death Ride. Then tell me all about it, 'cause I'm NOT gonna try it.
Climbing centuries:MKD
Sep 12, 2003 2:40 PM
I have never done a flat century, but centuries I have done with about 4,000-6,000 ft of climbing, I avg about 17.5-18 mph. My last century+ was 135 miles with 16,000 ft of climbing with avg speed 14.5 mph. So I would guess Hills are harder. Also wind would be a factor whether flats or hills. Good job.
Sep 12, 2003 2:51 PM
I did the Markleeville ride a couple times ( I hesitate to call it the Death Ride anymore due to the accident last year) and this year did the STP Seattle to Portland. The STP is basically flat for 206 miles, with some rolling hills. The Markleeville ride is 129 miles and 16k of climbing.

Comparing the two: I enjoy doing hills so... I found the STP a good ride, but a little tiring due to the flat never get to climb/descend never get to stop pedaling feeling.

I would say the 129 Markleeville ride was much tougher, but more enjoyable.
Markleeville ride accident?MKD
Sep 12, 2003 7:30 PM
I heard there was a cyclist who died, never heard the details though. Was it a descending accident or a car? Was he wearing a helmet? My 135 miles and 16,000 ft of climbing (flyer advertised 15,500, but it was 16,000 and change according to my altimeter) was the Mt. Shasta Summit Super Century. Definitely well worth it and comparable to Death Ride without the difficulties of going through lottery to get in. 4 big climbs with a variety of scenery and only 3 1/2 hours from Sacramento. I am suprised it doesn't get very much publicity.
That sounds like a great one, I'd be up for that...rwbadley
Sep 12, 2003 8:18 PM
next year. When is it?

The fellow died descending the back side of Monitor pass. It happened high up at around 7,500 ft, it was the first descent of the day. No car involved, closed course. Nobody seems to know what happened. He was a Dr. from the San Fran area, I think around 50 yrs old. I don't remember his name. I was climbing up the backside and we had to stop while the copter lifted him out. It was gruesome. Poor guy.

The Shasta area is one of my favorites. I camped there coming back from STP. It's a nice ride up the west side of the hill from the town of Shasta. So pretty.

Hillier is harder (or slower)Kerry Irons
Sep 12, 2003 4:11 PM
Obviously depends on the amount of climbing, but in a situation where you are climbing 20% of the mileage (43% of the time) on 6% grades, you're going to slow from 20 mph on the flats to 16.4 mph in hills. This would be 6300 feet of climbing in a 100 miles, so it is a fairly tough century, but it gives you a feeling about how much hills slow you down.
Try the groupbimini
Sep 13, 2003 6:01 AM
Organized Century Rides can be a great social activity. Some do test thier limits on these rides, and go solo, that is fine. Larger rides tend to break up into small groups of riders with similar strengths. Pace lines may form with head winds, but a lot of the time is spent side by side chatting with each other. The groups also tend to break every 20-30 miles to stretch the legs and pop into the quicky mart. The exercise tends to get people to open up and you can have some great conversations. Also, there is always good excuses to cut off the bores due to traffic.

I was hoping to do one of these rides today, but got rained out. Will probably race tommorrow instead. The races are a great place to test the limits and are a lot of fun, even if you never win.