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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I am planning to ride my first century later this summer or possibly early this fall, and was just wondering what I need to know that I don't even know I need to know? In other words, I am looking for advise for the century newbie.

So far this summer I have ridden a 60 mile supported group ride, and did well at that distance. I also regularly go on 25-35 mile club rides, so I think I can handle the longer distance. I have also accumulated a little over 1000 miles so far this season between my daily commute and club/recreational riding. I'm not looking to set any records this first time out, I just want to get my first century under my belt.

I am not aware of any upcoming supported century group rides in my area (Twin Cities area of Minnesota), but would consider one if anyone knows of one coming up in the next 2 months or so. Other than that, I am planning on going it alone, or possibly with a friend if I can talk him into it.

My plan right now for an unsupported century is to map out a 100 mile loop ride with a stop at about the midway point for a nice lunch in some small town along the route. Of course I will be taking along a couple of water bottles and energy drink mix packets for later in the day, which I will fill as needed along the route at convenience stores, etc. I also plan on taking along some cheap energy bars (fig bars, etc) for the last part of the ride when I might be running out of juice. I will also have enough material to repair 2 flat tires if needed, a multi tool for other possible emergency repairs, along with a cell phone for any emergency that may come up that I am unable to handle by myself with materials on hand.

So, what other advise would you have for a century newbie?

Thanks for your input.

Regards,

Jay B.
 

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Lizzie will ride free
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You will be fine. About the only thing I will add is that you should start eating right at the start of the ride. Don't eat too much, but adding 250-300 calories from the start of the ride will prevent a bonk later on. Have fun, take it easy, and post a ride report.
 

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I'd also recommend (along with your 1 scheduled lunch stop) that you plan to take another brief stop in the second half... 75 miles in or so... Don't stop long, your legs will start to stiffen up. But I find that my neck and shoulders can use the break, and the lower back by that point usually needs a stretch too.

Good luck, have fun. Be safe.
 

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Eat before you're hungry, drink before you're thirsty. Take this first century at an easy pace. Start slower than you would a typical group ride. Don't hammer the hills too hard, especially early in the day while you're still feeling fresh. Also, have some electrolytes (gatorade or better) and not just water. But most of all, enjoy the ride!
 

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Rides

Nearby Centurys:
http://jessejamesbiketour.org/
http://www.rivervalleytrails.org/
http://www.dairylanddare.com/ (might be full)
http://spreetouring.com/Harvest Ride Bicycle Event.html

If you want an organizied ride there's lots of choices in the less than 100 mile category and you would have to find the "bonus" miles on your own.
1)
http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/tourdetonka/Pages/default.aspx 65 miles

2)
Rum River Bicycle Classic: 60 miles
DATE: Aug. 16, 2008
TIME: 7:30 a.m.
LOCATION: Anoka Ramsey Community College, Cambridge Campus

I couldn't find anything but an e-mail contact for this one: [email protected]

3)
http://www.habitatprairielakes.org/tourdeprairielakes.htm - 70 miles

4)
http://ridebctc.com/RS/TDTseries-TOW.htm - 60 miles

5) http://www.woodburydays.com/bikeride.aspx - 60 miles

6) http://cuyunalakestrail.org/index.cfm/pageid/20 - 60 miles

7) http://www.bikeclassic.org/ - 33 miles. I've ridden this for many years. You could ride to the ride, go around twice, ride home, should be a century by the time you are done.

8) TCBC Century Ride:
http://www.biketcbc.net/mcalendar/event_view.asp?EID=996&ID=2&cTYPE=1&month=8&year=2008&cate=
 

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Keep eating and drinking, even if you don't feel like it. Start out at an easy pace and you'll finish stronger. Nothing worse than getting caught up with adrenalin and starting too fast on your first century. After you've ridden a few, that's the time to push your speed. Keep your stops brief. Long stops make it hard to get going again. Most people seem to hit a low point about the 80-mile point -- from then on, it becomes a mental as well as physical challenge.

Anther biggie -- don't make any significant changes to your bike before a century (or other long ride) without testing them first. That is, don't change your saddle, raise or lower your seat, put a new stem on your bike, etc., without trying them out first on shorter rides.

Don't over-tighten your shoes. Hot feet can be a problem on longer rides, and usually can be attributed to shoes being too tight because your feet swell.
 

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100 miles isn't all that far if you have all day to do it.

100 miles is one heck of a long way if you only have 4 hours to do it.

I've done both, give yourself all day and you will be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Scot_Gore said:
Nearby Centurys:
http://jessejamesbiketour.org/
http://www.rivervalleytrails.org/
http://www.dairylanddare.com/ (might be full)
http://spreetouring.com/Harvest Ride Bicycle Event.html

If you want an organizied ride there's lots of choices in the less than 100 mile category and you would have to find the "bonus" miles on your own.
1)
http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/tourdetonka/Pages/default.aspx 65 miles

2)
Rum River Bicycle Classic: 60 miles
DATE: Aug. 16, 2008
TIME: 7:30 a.m.
LOCATION: Anoka Ramsey Community College, Cambridge Campus

I couldn't find anything but an e-mail contact for this one: [email protected]

3)
http://www.habitatprairielakes.org/tourdeprairielakes.htm - 70 miles

4)
http://ridebctc.com/RS/TDTseries-TOW.htm - 60 miles

5) http://www.woodburydays.com/bikeride.aspx - 60 miles

6) http://cuyunalakestrail.org/index.cfm/pageid/20 - 60 miles

7) http://www.bikeclassic.org/ - 33 miles. I've ridden this for many years. You could ride to the ride, go around twice, ride home, should be a century by the time you are done.

8) TCBC Century Ride:
http://www.biketcbc.net/mcalendar/event_view.asp?EID=996&ID=2&cTYPE=1&month=8&year=2008&cate=
Scot,

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll take a look at them and see which one fits best in my schedule. The Harvest Ride in Hudson looks especially interesting...

Thanks again,

Jay B.
 

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To repeat what others have said about nutrition/hydration: For centuries, I tend to eat something every 20 to 30 miles (a banana, a few cookies, an energy bar, etc). I also try to drink more than I usually do. Don't overeat at lunch though and stick to foods and drinks that you know sit well with you. Also makes sure that keep hydrated in the days leading up to the ride.

I think it's easier to do a supported century your first time. That's not to say that you couldn't successfully do a self-supported one, but organized rides are often more fun, and you don't have to worry as much, if any, about the logistics.

I'd try to start doing longer weekend rides if you can. You'll feel a lot better doing your first century if you've got at least one 75-mile (give or take) ride under your belt.

"Yes" to a chamois creme of some kind, and wear your best pair of tried and true shorts.

Have fun and good luck!
 

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Treker said:
So, what other advise would you have for a century newbie?

Thanks for your input.

Regards,

Jay B.
There are 100 mile rides and then there are 100 MILE RIDES. I think that for us non-metric types, 100 miles is as much a psychological barrier as it is a physical barrier. Once you get the 100 mile thing out of your system, you will find that not only is 100 miles doable, but 100+ miles is doable too. Just to get you over the psychological barrier, I agree with MB1 -- take it easy on your first century. If you are going to do a solo ride or a ride with a friend, do it on a day with good weather and on a route that is relatively easy. I tried to do my first century solo on what turned out to be a 95+ degree day. I made it 92 miles and was quite dispirited. I despaired that I ever would do a century. Now that I have more 100+ miles in my legs than I can remember, I can say that the 92mile failed century was a much harder ride than most of my 100+ mile rides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
MB1 said:
100 miles isn't all that far if you have all day to do it.

100 miles is one heck of a long way if you only have 4 hours to do it.

I've done both, give yourself all day and you will be fine.
Yeah, all day is what I am planning for this first one. I figure if I avarage 15 mph (a conservative pace for me) it will take me about 6 1/2 to 7 hours of riding time. If I add an hour or so in for lunch and breaks, that gets me to 8 hours or so. I am not going to try and set any records on this first one.

Jay B.
 

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* A couple 70+ mile training rides never hurt.
* Get your body used to cycling and eating at the same time. It's not always comfortable to eat while you work out, but if you're working out for 8 hours you need to take in some calories.
* Eat familiar foods... don't try anything new.
* New tubes & tires 1 week before the ride reduce the likelihood of getting a flat.
* Start slower than the pace that feels right. Whatever that pace is you'll be going slower than that at mile 85.
* Get out of the paceline. If you have to follow someone to get through it you didn't do enough or long enough training rides. Is the view of some strangers butt really what you want to remember?
* There will be people going faster and slower than you so ride your own pace.
* Take a deep breath and smile. You will finish so have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, I completed my first century yesterday. It was the 102 mile River Valley Trails Autumn Trek in River Falls, WI. ( http://www.rivervalleytrails.org/ )

As a first century, I think this was a pretty good ride. I was pushed to my current personal limit, and was certainly ready to get off the bike when it was over. But I also felt a personal since of accomplishment because I had been working toward this goal all season. It feels good to get this first one under my belt.

I was told by the organizers at the check in table that while this was not an easy century, it was not too difficult to cut your teeth on either. Several of the other riders I met said that this had been their first century a few years back, so I guess I was in good company. I met a couple of other riders along the way for whom this was also their first century, so at least I had some people who were in the same boat I was in to share thoughts and ideas with.

Since I have not ridden any other centuries, I suppose I will have to agree with them at this point about this ones' relative difficulty. There was this one hill at the 87 mile mark that about killed me though. But a little bit before that there was also this great downhill just before the 70 mile mark where I hit 47.4mph, which is the fastest I have ever been on a bike. I guess someone thought I needed to pay penance for all the fun I had on that downhill.:thumbsup:

The weather was great for the day, with a low in the high 50's at the 7:30am start time, and a high in the low 80's at the scheduled 3:30pm end time. I averaged 16.1mph, and finished in 7:20 including rest stops. The route was well planned and marked, and the rest stops were well stocked with food, drink, and friendly people.

Since this was my first century, I took a camera along to document the trip. I'll post a trip report in another thread later this week when I get a little more time.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments, and especially to Scot Gore for making me aware of this event.

Later,

Jay B.
 
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