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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my goals this year is to ride a century. I have never ridden more than 45 miles in one day and this is a big leap for me. So, of course I have a number of questions but I will start with one.

First, what if anything, can I be doing now to help prepare for this. It is still cold where I ride ( snow, rain, dark dreary, sounds like heaven doesn't it) and I just can not bring myself to ride when it is below 40 degrees.

Thanks!!
 

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miles miles and more miles and you will become a stronger rider. you did not say how long it took you to ride the 45 miles but that is a good distance unless it was a all day trip. the sooner you start your riding season the quicker you will reach your goal. good luck!
 

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Beatchin' Technology
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Welcome aboard, Comanche

I do an average of 4K miles a year and a couple of centuries, one of which is the event that I train for all year. I supplement that with about 50 hours on the trainer and 50-75 runs per year. The majority of those runs are between 3 & 4 miles with the occasional 5, 6, and 8 thrown in to help me remember when I was 21 and 168 lbs.

Tomorrow in beautiful NJ it is supposed to sleet all day so I will either hit the Kurt Kinetic in the basement for an hour or go to the YMCA and take 7am spin...'Pretend you're climbing your hardest hill.' My only thought is that half the people in the class couldn't pedal a real bike up the hardest hill I did this week...never mind some of the tough ones. But those big 40 lbs. flywheels on the spin bike do create that suffering effect that we crave. Especially with the 'lunatic instructor' as my wife describes her.

The point is that some indoor training will help.

Three weeks before the century, Hillier Than Thou, that I point toward all season, I did an 88 mile ride. Prior to that, I had done a double metric in April from Princeton into Hunterdon and Warren counties and a couple of flat centuries.

Another thought is weights. Last March I did some leg presses in the gym with the stack pinned. Then I did an hour of one minute intervals and went back on the leg press machine but could only do one rep pinned. That was the only time I ever did weight training but it was kind of fun to see the looks on the faces of the three hs kids who were there during my first set.
 

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Yes you need the all important miles, but understand the quality of the miles is just as important. Also century’s are a bit mental, in that you may be in the saddle (come rain, heat, cold, wind or shine!) for a long time. Being on the bike the entire day, was the biggest hurdle for my first century, so make sure your bike is properly fitted and you are comfortable on the seat. Anything improperly fitted will make its presence felt. Enjoy the ride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the help. I can't recall how long to it took me to the 45 miles but it certainly wasn't all day. I have been doing spin classes and find that it, like most things, you get out of it what you put into it. What do others think of spin classes? A couple of folks in my class think it is better than having a trainer.

I do feel pretty good about my bike but I am going to have to look at it from the perspective of being on it all day.
 

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I'm assuming that you're planning on riding an organized century ride as opposed to a solo ride. If that's correct my advice is to start riding with other, more experienced riders. The more miles you can get in with with more knowledgable riders, the better. They'll literally teach you how to ride.
 

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The main thing to do is get out and ride. Also try and learn what your body needs in terms of hydration and fuel and make sure that you have plenty of both. On my first and only century ride I learned the hard way what "bonking" was.
 

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Greg44
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I've done a few centuries and what works for me is two weeks before the century add a 4 to 5 hour ride to your training schedule. The last one being a week before the event. If you can get 70 miles in by yourself you will be fine in a century. Take the week of the century to do no effort recovery rides and definitely do nothing the day before. Centuries are a blast, you'll enjoy it and do better than you expect. Make sure and pace yourself. You'll be jacked up on adrenaline the first 50 miles, but at the 80 mile mark the monkey will jump on your back.
 

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Can't ride below 40F??
I went for a ride at 7F yesterday!
Mind you I live in Canada and it was a beautiful and sunny 7 :)

I'm hoping to ride a century this year too. All the best!
 

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how old are you and how fast do you plan to ride the century? is it for fun or are you being competitive? I did my first century this year...never did more than 100 miles in a week and i finished in 6 hours..i did 1 hour of high HR riding on Tuesdays. 1.5 hours of high HR spin on Thursdays and a long ride on Saturdays (started at 35 miles then worked up to 65 the weekend before the ride.) So...if you ride regularly you'll be able to do it without too much of an issue. I have two pieces of advice:

1) my biggest issue was not how long i was riding, but how my butt felt after 4 hours into it...doing the long rides on Sat helps you get used to this, but make sure you have comfortable saddle and shorts

2) bring plenty of gels/snacks/drink mix...and USE THEM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I really should restate my 40° criteria. I can ride below that however, for me, it really ceases to be fun pretty quick. I admire anyone who is out there on those below freezing days.

Which leads to what I want to do with this ride. It is for fun only. That doesn’t mean I want it to be at a very leisurely pace and take 16 hours. I am 50 years old and have been riding on the road, somewhat seriously, for over a year. Prior to picking up the road bug I was a mountain biker and even use to ride some motocross. My competitive race days are behind me.

Right now I am hitting the weights and spinning. I really appreciate the help!
 

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Food

One area where first-time century riders often have trouble is eating enough, and early enough. One of the biggest differences between a ride of 50 or so miles and a century is eating. Most people can complete 50 miles on stored energy, with a little supplement during the ride, but a century requires some real refueling along the way. Many organized centuries have decent food, but you need to find out what your stomach can handle while riding. And I think it's a good idea to bring some bars and gels of your own, so you know you have something that works for you. The gels seem gross to some people, but if the bonk starts to come on, they're the quickest way to get some fuel back in the blood.
 

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I'm pretty sure you'll do fine, all the advices here are good and I can only add these during the ride (I assume its a organized ride).

- Stop at every rest stop, eat at least one energy bar/fruit etc. even if you're not hungry, but don't stuff yourself. Refill your water bottle.

- Take aspirin or any pain reliever at mile 60-70 at suggested dosage.
 

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comanche1680 said:
One of my goals this year is to ride a century. I have never ridden more than 45 miles in one day and this is a big leap for me. So, of course I have a number of questions but I will start with one.

First, what if anything, can I be doing now to help prepare for this. It is still cold where I ride ( snow, rain, dark dreary, sounds like heaven doesn't it) and I just can not bring myself to ride when it is below 40 degrees.

Thanks!!
Just buy Bicycling Magazine there's a "First Century" story in almost every issue.:rolleyes:
 

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comanche1680 said:
One of my goals this year is to ride a century. I have never ridden more than 45 miles in one day and this is a big leap for me. So, of course I have a number of questions but I will start with one.

First, what if anything, can I be doing now to help prepare for this. It is still cold where I ride ( snow, rain, dark dreary, sounds like heaven doesn't it) and I just can not bring myself to ride when it is below 40 degrees.

Thanks!!
During the cold season you can work on your core and back with Pilates. One thing about a century, your back and shoulders will most likely tighten up at some point.

Also note that doing a century is not as hard if you stay with a pack. Drafting is your friend! It is much easier to ride at 20 mph in a paceline, than riding 16 mph solo. If you are riding 45 miles solo, that is a good start. For me, 45 miles solo equals to about 60+ miles with my group.

I've spent all winter in the gym, but there is no substitute for miles in the saddle.

Good luck. It is a great feeling to finish your first century.
 
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