How do you choose your race distance?



gigemaggs99

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Jul 6, 2003
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I have been training for 5 weeks now. I am doing the Lance Armstrong/Chris Carmichael Performance Program beginners workout. Currently I ride about 10-20 miles per training session depending on the duration and exertion the daily training calls for.
I would like to ride in a few races and events in the next couple of months. I intend on entering them for the fun of it so I'm not trying to set a record pace, however I would like it to be a challenge. How do you know the distance to choose? The longest ride I've gone on so far is 48miles. It was a group ride (the FlagPole ride B) with my local cycling club BVC (Brazos Valley Cyclists). The rides I'm looking to enter all have a century ride. They also have shorter routes (10, 30, 50, 70, etc). Would it be too early to ride the 100? When I rode the 48 miles I was tired at the end but I wasn't so worn out that I couldn't ride the next day. How do you know if you're ready for the century? I'm nervous, I DO want to be able to drive home after the race :D
Any help/advice on this would be great!
 

smnw10

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Aug 23, 2004
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you said you wanted to enter a few races....most century rides are indeed "rides" not races. if you enter a race that is sanctioned properly then you'll fall into a specific category and you don't get to choose your distance, you are told what you will do based on category.

For rides though, a century isn't bad if you have all day, but you better try some 60 and 80 mile rides before thinking about a century, if 48 is the most you've done and you jump to 100 you'll be in for a huge suprise
 

gigemaggs99

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Jul 6, 2003
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smnw10 said:
you said you wanted to enter a few races....most century rides are indeed "rides" not races. if you enter a race that is sanctioned properly then you'll fall into a specific category and you don't get to choose your distance, you are told what you will do based on category.

For rides though, a century isn't bad if you have all day, but you better try some 60 and 80 mile rides before thinking about a century, if 48 is the most you've done and you jump to 100 you'll be in for a huge suprise

Thank you for the advice! I think I will try the shorter distances first. Sorry for the misunderstanding, I am going to ride in some "rides" not races :D
Thanks again for the help.
 

dhk

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Sep 1, 2003
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gigemaggs99 said:
Thank you for the advice! I think I will try the shorter distances first. Sorry for the misunderstanding, I am going to ride in some "rides" not races :D
Thanks again for the help.

I'd say in general if you can do 50 miles in relative comfort, you can complete 100 in a day, but you'll probably suffer doing it. If your hands, arms, legs, and butt are screaming "stop" for the last two hours of the day as you struggle into the finish, that's not much fun.

A metric Century (62 miles) might be perfect for you at this point. It's a popular option on most of the century rides around here.

Also pay attention to the hills on the route.....you can ask about the ride profiles before you register. Thousands of feet of total climbing, or steep climbs of 8-10% grades or more will make a big difference in the amount of effort required.