Ready for a century?

by MrBLH   September 27, 2012  

Hi all, long time voyeur, first new post.

I have been gradually building up road miles this year through commuting and the odd weekend ride. I am very tempted to try a 100 mile sportive(wiggle - South Downs) to top off this years cycling but not sure if I will be ready.

current effort(Ben Havill on strava):
twice weekly commute is 30 miles each way pushing myself at a pace of around 19mph avg - including London traffic.
Weekend ride on rolling Surrey hills ~ 40-50 miles, pushing it at 17mph.

So my question is what do I need to think about/practice in the next 3 weeks to step up to complete a century ride?

Is it just a case of longer weekend rides with more attention to food, fluid and pace?

Any tips are welcome.
Thanks,
Ben

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

My view is yes you are ready.
I would try and do a couple of slghtly longer rides over the next week or so.
Just make sure you drink and eat plenty on the day, and take it steady.

For perspective, I did the ride with brad off the back of c600 road miles, with a biggest ride of 62 miles. I do run quite a bit too, nothing mega though.

Good luck!!

posted by daleyexpress [5 posts]
27th September 2012 - 19:08

like this
Like (0)

Hi Ben,
From what you've said about you're current level of fitness, I think you're probably capable of a 100 miler as you are. You may not finish first but that that's not why most of us are there anyway, is it?
In my experience, if you approach the event with a 'can do' sort of attitude you'll get round and have a good time doing it. I firmly believe that one's performance in endurance type events (running and cycling etc.) is a function of your mental state as well as your physical condition.
You're right when you say about paying attention to food and fluids but even that doesn't need to be too scientific. Just keep drinking (water will do but a SIS or nuun type thing in one bottle might give you a boost) and pack enough jam sandwiches/fig rolls/malt loaf to keep from getting hungry.
My top tip for long events is pack something savoury for when you just don't fancy anything sweet - twiglets work best for me.
Make sure your bike's in good nick before you get to the start and just enjoy it - there'll be loads of different people to ride with for a bit and have a bit of a chat on the way round when the legs start to ache and before you know it you'll be round and tucking in to a pie and a pint.
Sorry for rambling a bit.
Most important - Have fun.

posted by peloton [3 posts]
27th September 2012 - 19:23

like this
Like (0)

I also think you are pretty ready aswell. Just chuck in a few longer riders before your sportive and you should be fine.

Just remember to take an energy bar or two and plenty of fluids.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [7665 posts]
27th September 2012 - 19:27

like this
Like (0)

Cheers for the vote of confidence and tips.

I signed up to the south downs epic on the 21st, is anyone else on here doing that?

I feel I am ready but 3 weeks of prep sounded a little short, most training guides don't seem to take commuting into account as far as building up the mileage.

posted by MrBLH [31 posts]
28th September 2012 - 7:15

like this
Like (0)

As with the others above, I think you can do it. My longest ride before the first 100m I did was 81 miles and the others before that were in the 62ish region.

My tips in no particular order would be:

1. work out a realistic pace for the full distance (let's say 16mph for the sake or argument) and stick to it, at least initially. If you've got gas in the tank for the last 30 (say) then by all means speed up. Bear in mind you might be riding alone for a long period, it might be very windy, might be more climbing than you thought etc;
2. start eating early and keep at it with small amounts at regular intervals - bonking comes on without any warning and it's no fun;
3. keep drinking little and often, even if you don't think you're thirsty;
4. don't assume that there will be food at the last feedstop;
5. as others have said, take a variety of things to eat so you don't get bored. I also keep a Zipvit 7c gel in reserve - I was very glad of this when I was shattered and found that the last feedstop at 77 miles had run out of food (see point 4 above) as it got me home comfortably. Do try any gel before the big day though to make sure you like it and it doesn't give you the trots;
5. learn to open your food with one hand and your mouth;
6. make sure your bike is clean and lubed so you minimise the chance of mechanicals; and
7. make sure you've got pump, patches, spare tubes etc. No doubt there'll be mechanical assistance but it might take a long time to get to you and their spares will probably be a lot more expensive than your LBS.

Hope that's useful and let us know how you get on.

posted by Sadly Biggins [259 posts]
28th September 2012 - 9:22

like this
Like (0)

Upped the training distance today completing 120km, I felt good but Barhatch lane almost got the better of me.

Details: http://app.strava.com/rides/23575444

Taking the above advice I ate 2 bananas and a cheese n pickle sandwich whilst moving, as well as having two bottles on the go; water and an electrolyte drink.

Will need more food & drink for the 100.

Only issues were a bit of an aching neck and needing a wee with about 10k to go.

posted by MrBLH [31 posts]
30th September 2012 - 14:51

like this
Like (0)

MrBLH wrote:
Upped the training distance today completing 120km, I felt good but Barhatch lane almost got the better of me.

Details: http://app.strava.com/rides/23575444

Taking the above advice I ate 2 bananas and a cheese n pickle sandwich whilst moving, as well as having two bottles on the go; water and an electrolyte drink.

Will need more food & drink for the 100.

Only issues were a bit of an aching neck and needing a wee with about 10k to go.

I did a 200k ride this summer and I wasn't doing as many miles as you so I'm sure you'll be fine.

One thing I noticed when I started doing longer rides was aching shoulders and neck a bit. I found the best way to avoid this was not to go on the drops much and sit fairly upright.

You will definitely need more food but not too much on the go as it can lead to stomach ache. Lots of carbs the night before and in the morning should do it.

Best of luck Smile

posted by Alan Tullett [1278 posts]
30th September 2012 - 16:53

like this
Like (0)

Well that was a tough one!

Managed it in ~6:20:00 2 mins inside the GOLD award for the Epic Big Grin Just waiting for the official time.

http://app.strava.com/rides/25693406
(battery died with a minute to go)

Spoke to several chaps along the way that kept me going at the 70/80 miles mark.

Excellent organisation and supplies from Wiggle/ukcycling, would do another sportive with them.
Thanks for the support.

posted by MrBLH [31 posts]
21st October 2012 - 17:39

like this
Like (0)

Well done. Remember to keep drinking for another few hours, your body won't have stopped being thirsty.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1716 posts]
21st October 2012 - 18:48

like this
Like (0)

Well done and a very good time too. It's a great feeling when you finally roll over the finish line.

posted by Sadly Biggins [259 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 13:59

like this
Like (0)