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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a fairly new rider. I bought my first road bike about a month ago, and am now at the point when I want to start working up towards my first century. I've done an 22 mile ride up mt diablo (4000 ft elevation) twice, two different 55 mile rides, both with about 400-600 feet of elevation, and a mostly flat 66 mile ride, along with several other 20-40 mile rides in between.

I live in Davis, CA, and I'm sticking around UC Davis for summer classes, which will, undoubtedly, give me some extra time to go riding around and building up.

I'm trying to decide whether I want to do an "official" century, or just ride 100 miles on my own. I've been trying to find organized century rides, but haven't been able to find anything.

I've also planned out a ride here: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=1971401 which says 95 miles, but I'm thinking it'll be more like 100 once I actually ride it, and if not, I'll ride around campus a couple times to get up to 100 miles. I'd ride down 113, stop at about the 40 mile mark for lunch in Rio Vista, then hop on 160 north and follow the river up to Sacramento, then back west to Davis.

Ideally, I'd like to ride the century in about a month. I started with 20 mile rides and quickly bumped up to 30-40 mile rides. I've found that 40 miles is quite comfortable, and even at 50-60 miles, I'm still doing alright. I actually find myself wanting to hop back on the bike later the same day. I did one of the 55 mile rides the day after the 66 mile ride because I just wanted to get back on the bike.

I am, however, wary of going a whole 100 miles. I've heard that things get hard for the last 20 miles. So far, also, I've not carried food for the ride. Twice, I've stopped for lunch partway, but otherwise I just stop to fill up my water and bring powdered sports drink with me.

So, does anyone have any tips for a new rider wanting to ride his first century, and/or know of any organized centuries in the Davis area that I could do? Also, what are the pros/cons of organized centuries compared to unorganized? Lastly, does the route I've mapped out sound good? Has anyone ridden all or part of it?

Thanks
-Jeremy
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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Welcome to the madness. I can't help on the route, but I can point you to a couple of resources:

First spend some time here playing with the search function. I'm not blowing you off, but there is soooo much good information it's worth reading.

Cascade bike club puts on a really big 200 mile ride called STP Seattle to Portland. Google that and look up the tips for new riders. It will cover all the key points.

Lastly, I would say you are well on your way. You need to eat, hydrate, and put in some electrolytes. Find out all you can about the eating part. If you are not trying to go really fast or anything, just keep eating little bits of real food. Drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry. On the other hand don't stuff yourself with too much food or water. Lastly, if anything is really uncomfortable go to a reputable shop and make sure everything fits really well.

That's all from me. Have a blast and let us know when you pull it off. Pictures are nice. Don't forget the food shot.
 

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Failboat Captian
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jenarelJAM, I'm a lot like you, only a lot older (early 40s). I did my first century after doing a lot of shorter solo rides (I started this madness in my late 30s), and did prep rides of about 60 then 75 miles. I agree with what you've heard that the last 20 miles of a full century is pretty tough. The first year I did a century, I actually did 4 of them, all organized. You need to make sure you eat enough of the right kind of foods the day before and the morning of your long ride, and make sure you feed and hydrate yourself well during the ride. I think that the reason the last 20 might be so hard is that the first 80 uses up all your stored energy, then you bonk. If you force yourself to eat and drink during the ride, it should work out better.

I like the organized centuries because you don't have to worry about carrying extra food or water, because it's waiting for you at a rest stop. You also get to draft other people once in a while and you don't have to worry about route selection. The disadvantage is that you have to pay for that, and that you don't get to choose your route. I also like the social aspects of the organized rides.

As for the riding prep, if you do your solo rides at a fast pace, you'll find that doing much longer distances at 2-3 mph slower is quite easy. If you are doing your solo rides at a moderate pace and expecting to do a century at the same speed, it's not going to happen. You WILL ride a few mph slower doing a century. And if you don't pace yourself by keeping the speeds lower for the first 50-70 miles, you'll definitely blow up in the last 20. This is probably another reason people find the last 20 so hard.
 

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What'd I do?
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It seems like you're already doing everything right. You've got a route planned, eating is a habit, you're bringing sports drink with you. The next thing to do is a couple of 80 mile rides. If you can finish that comfortably, you can probably do a century. Maybe not comfortably, but you can probably do it.

Also, make sure there are water and food stops on your route. I like to make my major stop around mile 60 or so, as the later miles are indeed harder, but I'll stop every 20-30 miles for a brief snack or to get more water.
 

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I have always figured that if you regularly ride during the week-whatever that weekly distance is you can do it in a day. Of course there is going to be some discomfort involved.......

If you want to feel ok between miles 80 to 100 be sure to eat and drink between miles 60 to 80. Plus an advil at mile 75 wouldn't hurt anything either.
 

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http://www.cyclecalifornia.com/centuries.html, http://www.bikecal.com/index.asp, http://www.bbcnet.com/RideCalendar/RideListDate.asp have lists of organized centuries. Riding a century all by yourself can get boring. And you have to figure out how to get food and water. An organized century may take you somewhere new. OTOH, in organized centuries people are sometimes tempted to race, and if you go too hard early in the ride you may end up paying for it at the end.

It sounds like you're getting close to being ready for a century. You might look up some training plans if you are so inclined.
 

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I'd recommend doing that extra loop around the campus at the beginning of your route. If you tack it on at the end it might not happen. If you go 95 miles and quit because you're tired and already back home you'll kick yourself a lot more than going 105 miles and cruising the last 5 miles as your victory ride.

Don't underestimate the draw of a comfy chair after hours in the saddle.
 

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You're ready

All you'll need to do different from your 50 and 60 milers is eat and drink more (especially eat) and earlier. An organized ride would be more fun. As cycle-crazy as Davis is, there's got to be somethign close by.
 

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I have done only 2.
The first was almost 20 years ago. Solo, unsupported and on a mountain bike with slicks.
It actaully came out to 106miles.
The second was last year. Supported, with a group. Although I had fun it was nothing like the self satification I got doing it by myself, my way.

Have fun either way you go about it and remember to eat. I like ham and cheese sandwichs and pancakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Alright. I've looked into the local centuries in this area, and there's one at the beginning of Fall quarter that I'm interested in looking into more as the date approaches, but that's a lot longer than I'm thinking of waiting before doing my first one, so I think I'll go ahead and get ready to do the route I've got mapped now.

On another note, as I looked for centuries, I ran across news of the "Davis Double" which is apparently a pretty big double century event they do every year in May (missed it for this year). If I were going to get ready for that one, and assuming I can do the century in about a month, does it sound reasonable that I could continue to do a century about once a month in order to keep my endurance up, and then a couple months before the event, push my mileage up in preparation for the double century? I know I may be overreaching at this point, having only done a 66 mile ride, but I think I've got the bug, and my dad used to do lots of cycling back in the day. He toured the US, and rode several double centuries (Not official ones). I'd like to do it for him.
 
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