Tips for a 100 miler

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Icklehutch, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Icklehutch

    Icklehutch New Member

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    It's the first time i have ever attempted such a distance and the training rides i cover have been about 60 miles max.
    I have about 6 weeks to prepare and have no real idea about how to go about it.
    It's not a race, i just intend to finish it without embarrasing myself.

    I'm not 100% confident about nutrition for the ride.

    Any tips please
     
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  2. spinner32

    spinner32 New Member

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    1st - Mindset: Be positive, don't psych yourself out. Most people (including my 52 year old mother) find their first century to be much easier than they expected.

    2nd - Intensity: Don't ramp it up on the hills, and go out EASY from the start.

    3rd - DRINK: Bring a CHO solution in your bottles, and try to finish a bottle per hour, evenly spacing your sips.

    4th - EAT: Bananas, fig newtons, PB&J sandwiches, Clif bars, dried fruit, etc. Bring more than you think you'll need. I usually shoot for about 300 Kcal of carb-ritch foods per hour on a long ride like that. Much more and I can't digest it all well. While you are training, try to figure out a rate of when/how much to eat, and stick to this during the ride. For me that's 1 bottle CHO drink, 1 banana, and part or all of an energy bar. Don't EVER let yourself feel hungry or thirsty - that's too late.

    5th - Draft: Find people who are riding at your desired pace, and draft/work with them. Share the load.

    6th - Chamois cream!


    Some people bring music with them too.

    Good luck.
     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    If you can do 60 miles with some degree of comfort and the 100 mile ride is in similar terrain, then you've got a good headstart. Don't worry about going out too much to do rides of over 70 miles that often, although a couple of long rides would be useful to make sure you're comfortable on the bike and that whatever foods/drinks you choose to feed on "work" for you.

    Pacing is key. If you're not a fast rider then starting fast is the worst thing you can do. Ride at an even effort throughout the ride even if this means going up hill at less than 5 mph in a gear that you can pedal seated if there are any long climbs. Better to start at a comfortable pace and go faster near the end than start fast and not finish.

    Feeding. I dig Hammer Perpetuem because it's a simple all in one product that gives me the 300KCals per hour that I need and doesn't give me stomach cramps nor does it leave me wanting something else. Find something that works for you before you get on the ride. Just because you might 'use' 700 calories per hour doesn't mean that you should eat/drink that much, infact, if you try you'll probably end up sitting in a porta potty on the side of the road squirting most of it back out... 300KCals per hour is the around accepted baseline max amount for intake. It varies per person and it also varies due to level of effort, heat and altitude and as you probably figured, the only way to figure out what works is to go out and try. Probably the last thing you want to do is use something new on the day of the event. If you know the ride organisers are using "Product X, Y or Z" then try some before the ride.

    Comfy shorts and a good position on the bike. Shouldn't need mentioning but you'd be surprised how many riders bitch about a sore ass after 6 hours in the saddle....

    Sunscreen. Just because your legs feel toasted at the end of the ride, it doesn't mean that you should look like a roasted red pepper too. Even if you start at "early o'clock", slather on the sunscreen for layer in the day. It's any easy one to forget early in the morning and it's usually too late by the time you start feeling your skin turn dry and turning a nice shade of lobster red. :p

    Don't make any changes to your bike within a few days of the event unless you're really confident of your wrenching skills. You'll probably have enough on your plate with the ride itself without having a crank arm fall off, have a brake cable pull through the clamp on the caliper or the gears wander into the spokes of your back wheel when you're searching for bottom gear on a hill. I could think of many more ways to a not-so-happy ending but I'm sure your getting it by now. :D

    Enjoy the ride... have fun.
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    +1 on Spinner and Swampy, great advice.

    About all I can think of to add is to take short breaks. I see folks taking naps at rest areas on centuries and it really sucks to warm up all over again after a lengthy break. I try to keep them to 5 minutes or less, maybe with a longer break at lunch but hate the way my legs feel late in the day after too long at a rest stop.

    The guys above nailed the nutrition question, but the key is that very few people can digest more than 300 Calories per hour when working hard and 250-280 is a safe upper bound if you're not sure. Try to cram down too many calories too fast and you risk cramping, bloating and feeling awful. What to eat? That's up to you and it depends a bit on your pacing, cruise the ride and you can eat just about anything, if you're riding closer to your fastest 100 mile pace you'll probably want to stick to your favorite sports foods and fruit as it's tough to digest heavy foods when working hard. And definitely practice before the event.

    FWIW, I don't care for Perpetuem but love Hammer's Heed drink and HammerGel, so tastes vary. I really like Cliff ShotBlocks and like the PowerBar Triple Threat's (the ones that are basically candy bars) for longer rides because they've got a bit of protein. And on really long rides I like something resembling real food along the way like a sandwich. But tastes differ so figure out what works for you on your longer training rides. And if the ride is going to be hot and or humid think seriously about some electrolyte supplements possibly even more than you'd get from an electrolyte drink, again I use the Hammer caps, but only for very hot or humid long rides where the Heed doesn't seem to be enough. But that's just me, figure out what works for you.

    Have fun and let us know how it goes,
    -Dave
     
  5. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Excellent advice thus far.

    Spinner hit on the fact that you need to make sure that you're have plenty of liquid on board and that you drink even if you're not feeling thirsty.
    If you start to feel thirsty, this means that you have not consumed enough liquid.

    As the others have said, make sure to pace yourself and try to refrain from trying to "go out too fast, too soon".
    The temptation to try to cover the distance as fast as you possibly can, will be there.
    So you need to make sure that you resist this temptation.

    And best of luck!
     
  6. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    One thing that peaves me a little on big organized rides is that some people don't follow the instructions posted by the marshalls/organisers. Help the event marshalls help you...

    I know people get a little grumpy when they're reaching their limits and are knackered but if you see a big sign that says "don't put bikes here during your rest stop" it's probably there for a reason. A couple of years ago an ambulance at the top of Ebbetts Pass (Deathride 2007) was delayed because some numpty parked his bike in such a manner and personally I wouldn't have blamed the driver if he'd crushed it in order to get too the rider that face planted at great speed on the way down to Hermitt Valley.

    With Science in Sports PSP22 I could get upto 400 Kcals down my neck and not get the farts, squirts or cramps. Amazing, amazing stuff... I never race with it that strong but I tried it a few times during longer winter rides. Very neutral and dissolves almost instantly. Can't buy it in the US though. Not sure if I could still do that with the product though as it's been over a decade since I've used it. My intestinal flora may be somewhat different after too many years drinking too many beers...

    Hammer have a new flavour for Perpetuem - some Cafe Latte thing. By all accounts it tastes like those little glass bottles of Starbutts cold latte drinks - and it has caffiene in it too. Great! Now I can mainline coffee to some uber early start and then continue my habbit once on the bike! I'm gonna see if I can get a drip bag from Peet's coffee for the Alta Alpina Challenge that'll hang from the coat hook above the rear door of the Jeep :D God help the poor sap that goes in the porta potty after me after that first mud laying session.
     
  7. Icklehutch

    Icklehutch New Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Details are very sparse so far. I have no idea if there are any feeding stations on the route or planned breaks. At the moment it looks as though i'll have the standard 2 x 750ml bottles and whatever i can get in my jersey pockets for starters.

    only thing that's not 100% on the bike is my cleats but that should be sorted by then. Bike and riding position will be left well alone.
     
  8. Icklehutch

    Icklehutch New Member

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    Science in Sports PSP22

    I'm currently using this on rides over 2 hours and can tolerate it at higher strength with only burps as negative effects.

    it is something i will be definately using on the ride

    thanks
     
  9. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    If it's an organized ride that you pay to enter then they better damn well have feed stations. If not what are you paying for?

    FWIW I do a handful of 100+ mile training rides every season and just fill bottles and pick up food at convenience stores, city parks, supermarkets, farm stands, you name it. You can certainly find plenty to eat and drink along most rides without support, but if that's the case you might as well just ride the 100 miles any day you feel like it and just make sure to carry some extra cash. But definitely don't try to get through a century on just two bottles, that wouldn't be wise.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  10. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Icklehutch,

    I'm going to hide in the bushes, follow you home, pound down your doors and steal your white powdery swag...

    Where's this ride at?
     
  11. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I didn't want to start a new thread and this one seemed suitable :)


    I have my first century this coming weekend and I had hoped to make a big improvement this year, but I have recently dug myself a deep hole instead training up to the event.

    Due to poor weather and heavier workload in February and March our outdoor endurance rides were either limited in mileage or prevented all together. We endured riding in the rain on several occasions, but for the most part I did most of my training indoors on the trainer with the PM.

    The last few weekends we have done mostly 80 mile rides, spirited pace, increased climbing routes with climbs greater than > 6 miles and I continued to train indoors during the week while working overtime hours.

    I noticed that each of these ride I was starting to struggle more, felt fatigued and would drop off the group. This past weekend we had our last group training ride, which was a 75 mile route with two substantial climbs and big rollers. I made it over the first climb, which was between mile 2 and mile 11 and though I was the last up and struggled to hold 200 watts I didn't feel too bad, but then the stronger guys really picked up the pace on the rollers and quickly I felt fatigue like I have never felt before in my life. My legs could not do anything. I struggled to hold 13 mph and when I dropped off the group and some of the guys dropped back to check on me I knew I was digging my hole even deeper. I never cramped in the heat and the struggle, whereas, I heard later than almost all of my group struggled toward the end with cramping. My problem seemed so obvious that fatigue was the issue.

    I cut the route short (55 miles), but the only way back to the car was to climb back over the mountain and one of my friends decided to go with me to make sure I would be okay. That was the most I had ever struggled on a bike since starting in cycling. I could barely hold 150 watts and 4 mph or just enough to keep the bike upright (plus I was stung twice on my back just for added insult :) ). I had to stop several times, which I had never done before. It took me well over an hour to get to the summit. I was completely discouraged because at that point I could see no way I could get over this type of fatigue in one week and do the event this weekend.

    Not being a cycling veteran and have never faced fatigue like this while training in other sporting events for 27 years this is a whole new feeling. Just in instinct I knew this week in this condition of fatigue was not about tapering it was about resting without any cycling at all. All of my leg muscles are extremely tight from weeks of training that they literally feel like they are going to rip wide open if I slightly bend my legs.

    Sunday - I did nothing at all.
    Monday - I did a morning and evening session of stretching that was painful.
    Tuesday - I stretched this morning and plan to continue twice a day until Friday.

    By the end of this morning session of stretching my legs are starting to feel a little better, my knees feel a little better and my confidence is coming back a little. I made some adjustments to my nutrition schedule. I am still not sure about this weekend, but there is alway a bailout option just before the last major climb that occurs at mile 80.

    It will be interesting to see how this weekend will turn out. I am making plans to do the full route, but the kicker is trying to do a sub 5 hour century the following weekend. Then I plan on a week of rest and vacation.

    If anything these are times when we get to learn lessons, sometimes by hard knocks, and learn how to avoid them in the future if possible. I am still analyzing the past several months hoping to learn something from this.
     
  12. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Felt : I think the clue is in Feb/Mar time period.

    As you said in your post, you did not train as normal during that period and I think that this may be part of the cause for the deterioration in performance.

    Even if you had a good "bank" of miles in your legs - when you stop cycling for a period of time, that "bank" of miles starts to become redundant the longer you're off the bike.
    And this become cruelly exposed when you decide to ride longer distances like 60, 70, 80 mile training spins.

    Let's look at this matter of factly.
    A spin of 60 - 80 miles is a long distance.
    Even if these distances are completed at a moderate pace, they're still substantial distances and if you haven't got the base mileage done before hand, you will struggle trying to complete these distances.

    This would also explain why your legs are sore
    Because you have had to put more effort in to acheiveing these distances in training, your system is not used to doing these distances (after your layoff), therefore your legs have built up huge lactic acid and that's why your legs are stiff/sore.

    A good cure for this, I find, is to go swimming after a very hard session.
    I recall doing a 250km distance event - having not trained as much as I should have the event.
    yes, I managed to complete the distance - but my legs were literally like lead afterwards.
    I went to the local swimming pool for a swim and within minutes my legs were fine.
     
  13. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Lim, thanks for the info.

    I think that is the lesson learned for me. Most everyone around me and those not in my group but do race feel like this season they are behind. Unlike the folk in our nothern states who train this way every year, this year was new to most of us in the southeast because we can typically train outdoors year round.

    I think most of us in my group have fallen into the trap out of a sense of urgency and panic, but you can't rush physical adaptation. Based on genetics (mine are poor for endurance sports) I was trying to push more quickly than I should have.:( Perhaps a common trap for those who are in a state of panic. :)
     
  14. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Panic is a normal reaction in those circumstances.

    The secret - not that it is a secret really - is to try to accumulate miles in a controlled way.
    By not being able to train for the best part of two months, you're losing not only miles but you are lalso osing the fitness that you had accumulated up to the beginning of February.

    So now you're back training, you're trying to make up for those miles, you're pushing yourself harder, hence............................

    I would suggest that if you're able to do 80 miles - even with missing all that training in feb/mar - that you could do 100 miles with no problems.
    If you're doing regular 70-80 mile training spins, then 100 spin is well within your range even now.
     
  15. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I think a good rest and you'll be fine. A couple of red flags popped up in your post:

    Going from just riding indoor to that is a mighty jump, especially given the overtime at work. No wonder you were feeling a little toasted.

    You probably did yourself in on several fronts here. First, you went too hard too early and then struggled to hang on thus kept going too hard for too long and then....

    .... you probably didn't eat enough. Thrashing yourself silly in the hills without a good base and all the good adaptions your body makes in order to be more effiecient just weren't there. When your glycogen stores were on empty you bonked... and bonked hard.

    Go for an easy ride of 90 minutes to 2 hours. Just turn over the pedals, gear down when needed and take a couple of carb drinks with you. Stretch, hot bath, feet up infront of the TV... Eat well immediately following the ride too. Lots of carbs and some protien.

    As for the 100 mile ride - dont push it hard on the hills if there are any. Stay well within your means and gear appropriately. If there's a climb that features 2 miles of 15% at the top and you're up near 200lbs then consider a triple and a dinner plate sized rear sprocket too. There are no prizes for trying to climb like the "angel of the mountains" and then cracking at mile 33. Feed appropriately too. I'm not sure where you are or how hot/humid it is, but one bottle an hour of some carb drink that you like (and you know that it doesn't give you stomach issues) will do you fine. If you rely on such a drink to provide most of your energy requirements for the ride then you also cut down on wait times for food if the ride you're doing is an organised affair with fancy rest stops.

    analyticalcycling.com has some good "toolbox" links for tools to calculate gears for a given power output, weight and gradient.

    Don't worry, you're not the only one who's missing training and may be facing issues on a big ride. :p
     
  16. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    I go for the strawberries and oranges at the rest stops. A source I read somewhere or other said endurance activities really run down the vitamin C.
     
  17. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Felt, I feel your pain having been there before but unless you're actually ill I suspect you could still have a good ride this weekend.

    I'd strongly suggest taking another full day off today (Tuesday) and start back tomorrow with an easy to moderate ride with no real hard efforts. Your legs will probably feel awful tomorrow after the extra rest days, don't panic, that's normal. Then I'd do another mid Tempo sort of ride on Thursday but only an hour or two at most then an openers ride on Friday before your century.

    Basically you're unlikely to gain a lot of fitness through focused training this week and it sounds like you're badly in need of some rest. The trouble with too much rest is the way our legs tend to block up when we lay off the training. So after the extra rest use some moderate but not exhausting rides to open your legs back up for the event and don't forget Friday's openers ride which should be short and sweet but include several 1 to 5 minute solid efforts up to L4 or beyond.

    I've used a pattern like that with success over the past few seasons to induce a peak, basically it's digging an extra deep hole 7 to 10 days prior to my target event, taking 2 or 3 complete rest days, opening my legs back up with Tempo (my legs always feel terrible during these rides and I have to trust that they'll come around by the weekend) and then a standard prerace openers ride.

    I can't say for certain whether this approach will work for you, but since you find yourself right in the middle of that pattern, why not give it a shot?

    And of course to echo the other guys, pay extra attention to nutrition, especially healthy carbs this week. Based on your description it sounds like you depleted your glycogen stores on the weekend ride and you'll want to go into the century topped up in that department. And of course eat 250-280 Calories per hour with fluids and electrolytes all day long during your ride whether you're hungry, thirsty or not.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes,
    -Dave
     
  18. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Thanks guys and I will definately consider your suggestions Dave and to all those who responded.

    Here is a picture of me in last year's event.

    Event Website
    Event Route Description

    Hopefully I can report back with descent results.
     
  19. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    That openers on Friday sounds scarey since I have never tried such the night before, but I will give a few of them a try.

    Silly question, but does it matter what time of the day on Friday? If I did them after work in the evening is that too late for recovery?
     
  20. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    An openers ride is less important for something like a century, especially if you carefully pace the opening miles and the course doesn't start with a hard climb.

    But in general an openers ride is really essential for short hard events including time trials and in your situation it's a really good idea since you probably won't have much if any intensity in the week leading up to your ride. IMO, it's important to wake your muscles up before events and that includes getting your Type II muscle fibers to fire a bit and get your breathing and HR up a bit. Those are the goals of the openers, not to set any records or to build additional fitness and definitely not to tire yourself out.

    My typical openers rides are about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes long. I'll spend most of that time riding really easy and then maybe a short ramp up to Tempo, maybe a few hard bursts of a few minutes each and sometimes a sprint or two (not really relevant to riding a century) and then spin home. It's one of the easiest days I do and I never dread the openers ride as it's basically an easy spin with a few jams here and there. The idea is to just prewarm the muscles and remind the body how to get up into race efforts without tiring yourself out. It's a lot like a warmup for a time trial or crit, just a bit longer and easier. Time of day shouldn't matter as it should be very easy to recover from this ride.

    Give it a try, I think you'll find the early miles of your centuries more comfortable if you don't come off a complete rest day.

    -Dave
     
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