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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    248

    Century Strategy

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    I've perused the old threads (plus Velo's more recent thread), and I'm trying to put everything together. Comments? Suggestions?


    • Don't go out too hard, too fast. Learned this one from the first century attempt - didn't have much of a choice, but I did feel the effects of it. Can someone help me quantify that? What does "not too hard" feel like?
    • Try not to get too worked up/tense/stressed out - I think this might have been another one learned from the last attempt. You expend more energy when stressed. There are worse things than sagging in or taking a shorter route.
    • Don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Ride your own ride.
    • Just focus on the next stop.
    • Keep the rest stops relatively short.
    • Beating the heat - utilizing arm coolers, a Camelbak (which works for me), and I'll bring freezer bags to fill with ice (which will probably get stuffed in the jersey)
    • Nutrition - Powerade in the bottles (frozen the night before), and I'll bring a few snacks with me to supplement the fruit and such at the rest stops. Honey Stinger Chews worked pretty well for me today. I had a fantastic ride powered by donut holes, a bag of which will likely end up stuffed into a jersey pocket. I tend to do better with softer, less crunchy foods. As for protein, I'm trying to figure that one out. It'll be hot out, so anything like eggs or meat would be a bad idea. I'm thinking about a Rice Krispie treat type snack packed with Kashi Go Lean and nut butters (I'll test that recipe out Saturday). Any other protein ideas that don't require refrigeration or get nasty in the heat - I love Snickers, for example, but I'm not sure that I'm going to want one that at best has been sitting in my top tube bag all day (at worst, it's been in my jersey pocket and is REALLY melted and nasty).
    • Enjoy it! This is supposed to be fun, right?


    What have I missed?
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    492
    I like Payday candy bars. You can get a bag of snack sized ones that have 100 calories each, no chocolate so they don't melt, peanuts for protein, sugar for quick energy, and they are yummy. I have my whole cycling group hooked on them. You can also cut up big bars into chunks. You could also take a bag of trail mix heavy on nuts.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,501
    If the ride goes through populated areas and if you're not too particular about what you eat, you can grab a sandwich at a convenient store or sub shop. Egg salad or tuna salad work well for me. When I won't have the option to buy food, I know that organized rides very seldom supply near enough protein for me, so I carry some protein powder in a ziploc and mix it in my water bottle as needed.

    I know several people carry hard-boiled eggs. That would be too much weight in my jersey pockets for me, but if you'll have a fork bag or tail pack, you could consider those. Just make sure to chew them well ... it's easy to scarf hard-boiled eggs and you don't want big lumps of undigested protein in your stomach on a ride.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 07-12-2013 at 04:17 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,364
    I definitely get sweet overload on long rides - all that sweet drink mix, sweet bars.... I like to have some plain nuts or a bit of beef jerky - that little hit of salty protein really hits the spot sometimes. Another nice thing I've encountered on organized rides is salted boiled baby potatoes. Wrap them in foil and they keep fine in your pocket. I've heard great things about Alan lim rice cakes too - haven't tried them on a ride, but a bowl of scrambled eggs with rice is great before a long ride.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TE HQ, Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    1,879
    Quote Originally Posted by luvmyguys View Post
    What does "not too hard" feel like?
    It feels easy. Really. Like you have to hold yourself back from riding what you think you are capable of. Downshifting one extra gear than you think need to.

    Using that strategy, you'll find you won't slow down much in the second half, if at all. Your legs will still feel fresh at 80 miles. You won't be bonking, assuming you have fueled well. And you'll finish wanting more, not thinking that you can't pedal another foot.
    Susan Otcenas
    TeamEstrogen.com
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    248
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    For your first point: don't go out too hard, too fast, do you have an easy, high cadence developed with a disciplined speed and pedal stroke? So keep it even, and at a pace you can maintain without sprinting followed by crawling because you are exhausted.

    I try to spend as much time as possible in my small front ring, if that helps, when I do go to the large, it's temporary, and I can definitely feel ease of tension when I go back to the small front ring.

    A lot of newer riders in my area, and some not so new, spend a lot of time in the large ring. Our roads are almost completely flat, I live at sea-level. And yet, they are mashing gears to keep up, whereas the racers (and those who copy them, like me), are in the small rings in front, somewhere in the middle in the back, and not stressing because they could ride like that all day long. (I've read big gears contribute to lactic acid build-up, and they are certainly not good for the knees, not compared to the small).
    This is interesting. I started out like that - only using the big gear for downhills (and there weren't many of those - I live in flatsville). With the group I was riding with, it was the opposite - the coaches and more experienced folk were advocating - downright harping - on using the big gear on flats. NOW - I know there are some pretty similar gear ratios between the two chainrings - maybe that has something to do with it? The reasoning given was that you could go the other way, and wear yourself out aerobically too soon (as opposed to wearing your muscles out too soon by mashing in the big gear).

    I do know that the advice was "most amount of power for the least amount of effort", which factored in cadence. I was trying to go for feeling like there was barely any grab on the gears, and maybe "almost too easy" would go just a little bit further?

    The first century I tried - the timing and conditions were such that I was having to push harder, earlier - I needed to average higher than I was averaging in training, and in very windy, somewhat hilly conditions at that, just to make it back before cars were going to be towed from the starting point. That and I was a ball of nerves to begin with, partly because I had my doubts as to being able to maintain that speed for that distance.

    This one I'm going to ride on my terms.
    Last edited by luvmyguys; 07-12-2013 at 10:33 AM.
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    I try to spend as much time as possible in my small front ring, if that helps, when I do go to the large, it's temporary, and I can definitely feel ease of tension when I go back to the small front ring.

    A lot of newer riders in my area, and some not so new, spend a lot of time in the large ring. Our roads are almost completely flat, I live at sea-level. And yet, they are mashing gears to keep up, whereas the racers (and those who copy them, like me), are in the small rings in front, somewhere in the middle in the back, and not stressing because they could ride like that all day long. (I've read big gears contribute to lactic acid build-up, and they are certainly not good for the knees, not compared to the small).
    I think it's hard to make generalizations about what chainring/cog people should be, or are, using. It depends on their specific gearing, road and weather conditions, leg strength, preferred cadence and aerobic capacity.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    TE HQ, Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    1,879
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    And the people I learned it from are definitely experienced cyclists with a lot of hard races behind them. (6 Gap Century, Mt Mitchell, etc.).
    I think there's quite a bit of difference between training for a century at a comfortable pace, as opposed to training for a competitive race or to get your best/fastest time possible for a century. One is about endurance (where you may have quite a bit left in the tank when you are done, and finish feeling good), while the other is about speed (where you finish at your limit, potentially completely spent.)

    So, I think that determining a strategy for completing a century depends on what your goals for the event are. Are you trying to turn in the best possible time, and keep up with the fast kids, at the expense of some of the fun factor and at the risk of blowing up early? Or are you looking to finish the event at a comfortable pace, at your pace, taking the time to enjoy the scenery, and not being too beat up when you are done? BOTH of those are totally legitimate goals. Somedays I want to ride for time, other days not so much. But I think that one needs to decide one's goals for an event before designing a strategy for it. And if the goal is a first time finish in at an enjoyable pace, then one should probably not take all their advice from a racer on how to do that. Likewise, if your goal is to "race it", then asking advice from a tourist is probably not going to result in optimal results either.
    Susan Otcenas
    TeamEstrogen.com
    See our newest cycling jerseys
    1-877-310-4592

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Muirenn, I'm all for learning to use an efficient cadence and appropriately using one's gearing to get there. My original point was that it's an overgeneralizaton to suggest that any particular chainring/cog combo will be ideal for everyone. My husband rides a standard double. Until recently I had a compact double. My little ring, middle cog combo yields different gearing from his. And there are other variables on top of that.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    130
    For sure define your goals, this is not your first one, so you are over the just finish mentality? What is it you want? Better speed? Joining a group? If it is organised, why are you carrying so much food? I would really limit what you carry, frankly the more riding I do the more disciplined I am becoming about the stuff I carry. I have weaned off my camleback unless I riding am solo + rural + distance. In an organised ride I would avoid taking it. The support is what you pay the $$ entry fee for.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    130
    I cannot tell what gearing other people are riding in LOL, I must be really be a muggle. I cannot tell by looking who is riding a standard vs a compact.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    248
    Quote Originally Posted by Skippyak View Post
    For sure define your goals, this is not your first one, so you are over the just finish mentality? What is it you want? Better speed? Joining a group? If it is organised, why are you carrying so much food? I would really limit what you carry, frankly the more riding I do the more disciplined I am becoming about the stuff I carry. I have weaned off my camleback unless I riding am solo + rural + distance. In an organised ride I would avoid taking it. The support is what you pay the $$ entry fee for.
    Well, I didn't finish my first one (notice I say "attempt" after century each time), so yes, my one and only goal is to finish 100 miles and be happy about it. The Camelbak is almost as much for heat management as it is for hydration, and I'm still at the point where I feel more comfortable with it. (File that under "it works for me".)

    Crunchy, dry foods like cookies and such don't work quite so well with me, and there are times that bananas don't work so well either (a banana needs to be practically green for me to eat it easily). So if I rely on the food at the stops, I'll really run the risk of bonking. I don't want to carry too much, so part of the reason for this thread is to help me feel that out, so to speak, but I also know I need to carry something.

    I'm sure as I get more experienced, I'll scale down as you have. It's a process. :shrug:
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    452
    As for gearing and going long (80 miles or more), I'm sometimes in the big ring and sometimes in the small. I have zero idea what the recommendations are, but I've learned as I go that if I can keep my cadence between 85-95 and my heart rate below 155, preferably in the 140s, I can seemingly ride forever and feel good the next day. I also mostly ride in the flatlands along the ocean, and almost always with wind.
    2013 Kirk Frameworks JK Special/Selle Anatomica
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    1984 Raleigh Sport/Brooks B66

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,897
    Quote Originally Posted by luvmyguys View Post
    This is interesting. I started out like that - only using the big gear for downhills (and there weren't many of those - I live in flatsville). With the group I was riding with, it was the opposite - the coaches and more experienced folk were advocating - downright harping - on using the big gear on flats. NOW - I know there are some pretty similar gear ratios between the two chainrings - maybe that has something to do with it? The reasoning given was that you could go the other way, and wear yourself out aerobically too soon (as opposed to wearing your muscles out too soon by mashing in the big gear).

    I do know that the advice was "most amount of power for the least amount of effort", which factored in cadence. I was trying to go for feeling like there was barely any grab on the gears, and maybe "almost too easy" would go just a little bit further?

    The first century I tried - the timing and conditions were such that I was having to push harder, earlier - I needed to average higher than I was averaging in training, and in very windy, somewhat hilly conditions at that, just to make it back before cars were going to be towed from the starting point. That and I was a ball of nerves to begin with, partly because I had my doubts as to being able to maintain that speed for that distance.

    This one I'm going to ride on my terms.
    I would not do a bike ride if there was a chance that my car would be towed if I didn't finish by a certain time. Even when all the conditions are right, you never know when a mechanical will slow you down.

    I personally pay no attention to other peoples' gear choices. If I ride too long in the big ring, my knee will hurt. So I only use it when I know the road well enough to know that it will be flat for a while, or when I'm doing spinning videos on the indoor trainer. Note that I ride to have fun, not to race.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    248
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    I would not do a bike ride if there was a chance that my car would be towed if I didn't finish by a certain time. Even when all the conditions are right, you never know when a mechanical will slow you down.
    We didn't know that until we showed up that day. We knew that rider services shut down at 3 (they actually started shutting down at 1:30), but the "car towed" tidbit was a surprise on the morning of the ride.

    I definitely learned a few lessons that day.
    "Susie" - 2012 Specialized Ruby Apex, not pink/Selle SMP Lite 209

 

 

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