Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,492 Posts
nathanm said:
I plan on riding my first century on Sunday. Any last minute tips?
Training would have been a good idea, but too late for that, I suppose...
No, my first thought is "Don't go out too fast." I always feel great for the first 50 miles or so, get lulled into a false sense of adequacy, hammer for the next 25 miles, then die in the last couple of hours. I'd say to start a little slower than you think you can go and try to save something for the end, which is not to say it will be there when you need it anyway. Drink early and eat often--don't get behind on that, because it's hard to catch up. And at least in my experience, expect to feel like crap for the last 20 miles.
As far as the bike, clothing, etc, the rule is Nothing New: No new shorts, shoes, gloves, sports drinks, and no work involving cone wrenches for a couple of days before the ride. Use stuff that works, fits and agrees with you, and don't be rushing through repairs or set-up on the morning.
There's a school of thought that you should do the first 50 miles without a stop--just eat and drink on the fly. A couple of friends of mine, both much faster than I am, ride that way, but I'm more of a social rider and cookie eater.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Cory said:
No, my first thought is "Don't go out too fast." I always feel great for the first 50 miles or so, get lulled into a false sense of adequacy, hammer for the next 25 miles, then die in the last couple of hours.
+1 on that! I haven't done a century yet, but have enough experience with this from long distance running. It's like when I crossed the halfway point of a marathon and thought "I've never felt this good at 13 miles before, maybe I can pick up the pace and get a better time." I don't need to tell you what followed about 6 miles later :( .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
I did my first century last fall. After about 80 miles (for me at least), it's all mental. Realize that you're capable of turning those cranks over all day long, and focus on the present moment, not how much longer it is until the end or how slow you're going.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
638 Posts
I really agree on the mental aspect. You need to tell yoursel that youre a warrior and can do anything. Think about it this way, the indians would walk and ride horses for insane distances, soldiers endured many amazing feats during war and theres a ton of fat guys that do centuries on bikes. So logically theres no reason you cant pedal 100 miles on a nice roadbike. Also pacing yourself is important.... try to stay about 3mph under your usual cruising speed for the first 50. then up it by 1mph then haul for the final 10. Also remember to keep your cadence up, grinding the big gears is for psychos, superhumans, and team CSC lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,358 Posts
Bring an extra gel or bar just in case. Check with the organizers to see what sort of sports drink they will have. Many put it on the web site. If it is one that you are not familiar with and you have a sensitive stomach consider taking a ziplock with a premeasured bottle's worth of your favorite powder.

When you get the route sheet at the start take a moment to read it and check the route notes for hard to spot turns, call outs for dangerous descents, and bailout points.

Check the weather forecast for that location. Bring more clothes than you think you will need in your gear bag and leave some in the car. It's better to have that pair of arm warmers/jacket/booties in case you decide at the last minute to take it on the ride. Bring comfy clothes to change into after the ride. Get out of those nasty bike shorts as soon as you can.

Bring a floor pump and patch kit for the car. I've had to loan my pump to lots of people in century ride parking lots. Make sure your bike is ready too. You should not be doing any mechanical work to it the night before- just clean and lube the chain. Get any mechanical stuff done early in the week so you can test ride your changes.

Remember that it's not a race. I see many people get all amped up at the beginning and get all aggressive while I'm still warming up. Invariably those are the ones that I drop on the first climb and never see again. Don't roll through stoplights or signs unless you're sure that there's no cars around (better not to do it at all of course).

It's not a race, so be nice to other people. If someone comes by and you want to get on their wheel, say hi and be friendly (and be willing to pull at least a little bit).
 

·
hail to the redskins
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the advice-keep it coming, I am finding it very insightful! How much in advance do I need to start carb cramming? I am also nervous that I will have the jitters the night before and not get any sleep. Guess there's nothing to do about that!
BTW, I have been doing moderate training: I have been riding 20 miles a few times a week (or equivalent on trainer when it was cold) for several months now. I never have time to ride much longer than that, but I do feel like I am in pretty good shape. How prepared does that make me?
 

·
RBR Veteran Opinionater
Joined
·
1,512 Posts
It's all mental. If you don't eat or drink before or during, you'll be lighter. Ride as fast as you can immediately. That way when you get tired, you'll already be further along your route. I should know, I've already done 1 century.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,358 Posts
Just eat a decent meal the night before. Nothing unusual and make sure there's plenty of carbohydrates. Eat a decent breakfast the morning of the ride.

Don't worry about not getting enough sleep the night before, that won't hurt your ride.

20 miles a few times a week would not be enough to get me in shape for a century but it might be ok for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
It's possible to ride a century if you're in decent shape, but expect to suffer a lot if your longest ride so far has been 20 miles. Longer rides create important physical adaptations you'll need for a century ride, particularly when it comes to sitting on the saddle for that long.

Carbo-loading has gone out of fashion, just make sure you're eating high-quality, nutrient-rich food for the week before the event. Eat a bigger breakfast than usual the day of, but don't overdo that either.

This ride is going to test your mental fortitude, but keep it fun and maintain a positive attitude. That will carry you to the end at least as much as your muscle strength will.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,009 Posts
I've ridden a Century, completed it but just barely finished and since then have ridden several times 80-95 miles so I know now what I did wrong the first time around.

Lot of good advice here. Summarizing the stuff that I learned from
1) Don't go out to fast, ride 2-3 mph below your normal.
2) If you have a HRM and have been using it, ride in the fat burning zone not the carb burning zone.
3) Make rest stops short, very short
4) Eat at the rest stops and then leave
5) Drink often while you are riding, if it's hot, drink 1/2 Gatorade type and 1/2 water
6) Carry some energy bars with you and eat something every 20 minutes or so
7) Carb up for a few days before, have a good dinner the night before and have a big breakfast, pancakes and eggs, the morning of
8) Don't ride for 2-3 days before the Century
9) It's not a race, just think about completing it
11) Ride with a friend
12) Don't get caught up riding with a faster crowd that may pass you
13) I speeded up the last 10 miles but had problems between 70-90 miles. I was running out of carbs
14) For me I slowed down my cadence a little
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,832 Posts
The zone?

lawrence said:
If you have a HRM and have been using it, ride in the fat burning zone not the carb burning zone.
What, pray tell, are those zones? You will burn roughly 200 calories of fat per hour, regardless (within reason) of how hard you go. That's only about 12 mph for a fit rider. Are you suggesting that the OP ride that slow for the entire century?
 

·
Spicy Dumpling
Joined
·
9,723 Posts
Take a little food that you like for around the 80 mile mark just to give you a mental boost. I like little debbie oatmeal cakes or maybe a payday. By that time you'll be tired of the powerbars and gels. It's as much for mental well being as physical.

And I like a coke (NOT DIET) when I'm getting a bit tired. It gives you sugar, caffeine and also settles your stomach a bit. I often mix it 50/50 with water in my bottles after drinking half a bottle straight. It has saved me from a long slow death many times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
The last century I did (september) I went with a bunch of friends and we decided to do it in under 5 hours (it wasn't flat either). Every 25 miles there was a place to stop for a few minutes and grab some food. What seemed to work best for people was to eat as much as possible at the stop points. I mean several bagels, cookies, fruit, gatorade, etc. You want to throw up for the next half hour or so but it makes it much easier to maintain a pace (unless you actually throw up).

We ended up around 5:15 (including stop time) because in the last 10 miles we kind of fell apart. We were all dying because it was so hot and humid, and we were sunburned and bored. Then somebody dropped a bottle and we waited, and I believe the last 5 miles took about half an hour. One of the guys we were with jumped into a lake while we were eating at the last stop (with shoes and clothes on) because the heat was so brutal.

So stay cool, eat a LOT, use lots of sunblock, and ride with friends. I can't imagine doing something that long all by myself.
 

·
Beatchin' Technology
Joined
·
372 Posts
Good advice by the numbers

Nathan,

Be careful at the start especially. I have seen more crashes in the first mile than anywhere else in large group rides due to density and nervousness.

If you have been only training up to 20 miles, I would make sure that your chamois is well lubricated. Also consider carrying a tube of Vaseline lip moisturizer to alleviate suffering down there...

You should also be mentally prepared to suffer some on the second half because you haven't put in the long miles that would have helped. I usually have some 60-80 mile rides in the month before a century-more if I am trying to post a better time. That being said, you can do it.:thumbsup:

Make sure your tires are in good shape. Before centuries that I ride for time, I will replace a tire with some life in it rather than risk a flat.

You can read my post from the Hillier Than Thou century that I wrote last Sept-Oct for more tips but most of that advice is reflected in the other replies above. Good luck and report back on this thread next week.
 

·
hail to the redskins
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, I finished! I had a great time and made pretty good time (6 1/2 hrs rolling; add a bit over an hour of resting). Couple of observations:

1. This century, contrary to the implication of the name, is actually 103 miles! :) I wasn't expecting those last 3, and man they were tough!

2. More frequent stops that are shorter are more beneficial than fewer, longer stops.

3. I think someone mentioned bringing chapstick to relieve rashes. Brilliant idea-worked great. That brings us to point #4:

4. Gold Bond cream is a gift from God!

I have one very serious question, however. At about mile 75 I began to notice something a little unsettling: I could not feel the tip of my penis (sorry for being graphic, but this is a serious medical question). I finished the ride more than 5 hours ago, and it is still very numb. Is this normal? Should I be concerned?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,301 Posts
nathanm said:
Well, I finished! I had a great time and made pretty good time (6 1/2 hrs rolling; add a bit over an hour of resting). Couple of observations:
1. This century, contrary to the implication of the name, is actually 103 miles! :) I wasn't expecting those last 3, and man they were tough!
2. More frequent stops that are shorter are more beneficial than fewer, longer stops.
3. I think someone mentioned bringing chapstick to relieve rashes. Brilliant idea-worked great. That brings us to point #4:
4. Gold Bond cream is a gift from God!
I have one very serious question, however. At about mile 75 I began to notice something a little unsettling: I could not feel the tip of my penis (sorry for being graphic, but this is a serious medical question). I finished the ride more than 5 hours ago, and it is still very numb. Is this normal? Should I be concerned?
Congrats on your 1st century! Your time ain't bad either. Sounds like you did all the right things EXCEPT do some long weekly training rides. Those help by:
1. Training for endurance, inc. riding techniques (pedaling circles, standing periodically,etc)
2. Training for hydration/fueling
3. Building up your butt
4. Working out best bike set-up

My guess is you are paying for #3 & #4 now. Getting your backside used to long hours in the saddle is clearly helpful. Long hours on the bike can point out areas for bike improvement- like a saddle that does not agree with you.
At this point- don't worry about the numbness. It's not rare and should get better within a few days. Just stay off the bike until it does- you've earned the rest days anyway! If you want to continue doing centuries, I would also start looking for a saddle that suits you better. Saddles are very individual, so some trial and error will be involved. As you discovered- a saddle that is OK for 20mi may be torture at 100mi. Also- make an effort to change positions during long rides. Flex your neck/shoulders & stand periodically to use different leg muscles and let blood flow back into your pelvis.

Here's to your next century!
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top