Sunday, August 14, 2011

Within My Grasp, Yet Out of Reach: the Evasive Century Ride

Ipswich, MA
Once a cyclist begins to ride longer distances, it is inevitable that they will hear the siren call of the Century - the 100 mile ride. While 100 miles is as arbitrary a number as any, it has an undeniable cachet to it. It is a three digit number, a round number, and impressive number. Put simply, 100 miles is unambiguously "a lot." It is often considered a marker of seriousness when it comes to long-distance cycling.

Ipswich, MA
Although I never set it as a goal for myself to complete a century, to tell the truth I thought that surely I would have done it by now. Distances of 30, 40 and 50 miles were so easy for me almost from the start, that I assumed 100 miles would inevitably follow. However, it is now my 3rd summer of cycling and somehow I still have not managed it - 65 miles being the longest distance I've covered so far in one go. One obstacle has been lack of time. As someone who gets annoyed when others tell me they don't have time to cycle, I can't believe I am using the same excuse. So maybe I should rephrase: My time management skills have been inadequate. I try to set a day aside for a century ride, but something inevitably comes up to make it impossible. Shorter rides are easier in that sense, because they do not require taking an entire day off. The other obstacle has been finding places to ride to. While the countryside outside Boston offers excellent cycling, I am having a hard time mapping out routes that exceed 65 miles and are still within my comfort zone when it comes to car traffic and elevation changes. And doing repeat loops just to cycle 100 miles is not appealing.

Surly, Rivendell, Essex MA
While on Cape Cod last summer, I thought that surely a century would finally be completed. Our plan was to gradually work up to it, but in the end we did it too gradually: Just after the 65 mile ride I got sick, and by the time I felt better it was time to go home. This summer, the inability to reach the 100 mile mark is becoming almost comical. Now that we are on Cape Ann - with both the time to do it and the perfect location - weather and other factors have intervened to foil our plans repeatedly. 50 miles along the coast has been the longest we have managed so far, and with half our stay over and more storms predicted for this week, it's possible that a century is simply not in the cards during this trip either.

Ipswich, MA
It is becoming clear that, while I am accustomed to fitting rides into my life "organically," the century may necessitate a different approach. If I am serious, then I will need more careful planning, stronger determination, and a willingness to do it in poor weather conditions or along a route that I am not entirely comfortable with. But frankly, that just doesn't seem like much fun. When I finally find the time to do a 100 mile ride on my terms, it will be fantastic. But to approach it as a grimly goal-oriented undertaking for the sake of saying that I've done a century would defeat the purpose. As far as endurance goes, I am fairly confident that I can handle the mileage, so it's just a matter of an opportune situation presenting itself. I am sure someday it will.

53 comments:

  1. That’s one advantage of living in a European country: you only have to ride 62 miles to accomplish a century (= 100 km). But of course you knew that already. :)

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  2. I have mostly done centuries (not even that many) in organized efforts, like the Tri-State Seacoast Century that the Granite State Wheelmen run in September. It is hard to figure out a route, and I find it a lot more enjoyable when there are others to ride with. My first century was done to train for a longer ride - a few of us rode 50 miles of the planned route and then returned. Hitting the 80-mile mark for the first time was a new sensation, I wanted nothing more than to get off the bike and lie down! I agree with you that you shouldn't force the issue, it should be an enjoyable experience.

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  3. Hmm...Indeed, traveling by bike is a different animal and getting in a century truly takes the entire day. By car it's merely and hour and an half! Last week I decided to visit a friend who lives 2 hours by car--119 miles--but this time I cycled. One long day of riding, two days relaxing, and another long day riding back. Glad to have it off my list:) Just a suggestion for the longer rides, lighter weight, higher pressured tires make those last forty miles much easier...

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  4. Don't try to bite off a century solo. Find a friend and do an organized century ride that has rest stops and support. You'll meet lots of interesting people that way and see a great variety of cyclists and bikes. The racer types soon jet ahead and for the bulk of the remaining ride you'll find yourself naturally riding at the same pace as others with similar levels of fitness and drive. It's a fun way to achieve 100 miles.

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  5. If you've done 65 miles, you've exceeded a metric century.

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  6. Um. There are these things called "century rides" where you sign up, show up, ride and eat.
    There are so many of them you wouldn't have to swing a very long cat to hit one.

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  7. The group rides tend to (a) have a starting point that requires driving to, or (b) be during a time when I cannot do them, usually both. I am always on the look-out though.

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  8. if you can do 65, you might be surprised by just how easy 100 is. the difference is mostly in your head. I had never done a ride longer than 70 miles before, and one day I went out and rode 168. It was much more of a mental challenge than anything else.

    If you stop every 10-20 miles and take a stretch, drink, eat, and rest a bit you will find that a century is actually pretty easy. There is no reason you have to do it all in one big gulp.

    I agree also with the other comments that its a lot more fun with a group, maybe you can set up your own lovely bicycle century ride!

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  9. I think that waking really early is the way to do a century without "losing a whole day". Last time I did it was an organized ride, and I started at 6:30 and finished just after 3:00 -- a leisurely pace, but it still left time to shower, nap, and get something done.

    Another thing I've done is to leave the house at 6:30, ride a 40 mile loop, then meet for a 40-50 mile group ride that starts at 9:30 at Quad Cycles in arlington. Even if the group ride ends up taking the same roads that I just did, I don't really notice because anything I do before 10:00am is really just fog to my memory ;)

    I did more than 80 miles that way today, and it's only 1:40pm! Plus, no planning required.

    Perhaps, though, it's not a "real" century unless it takes you 50 miles from home. oh well.

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  10. Don't force it. I promise you: your organic approach will get you there. Once my husband and set I off for an afternoon ride in Vermont and got so lost that we did a century to spite ourselves. Once we finally got back to town, we could find only one restaurant open--a pizza parlor where we ordered an extra large garlic pizza and managed to eat the whole thing in one sitting. It took us a week a showering and avoiding human society to finally rid ourselves of the stale garlic smell. I can still exhaust myself laughing when I think of it.

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  11. Organized centuries are not for me. They are expensive and are usually logistically silly. From time to time I'll be out riding and run into them. They'll think I'm part of it and get chatty and complimentary, which is fun I must admit. There is a local women-only estrogen fest Mrs. GR has done that she and friends have liked.
    Biggest advantage is, if well-organized, they're on quieter roads and the safety in numbers thing.

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  12. I'm surprised there aren't a lot of organized century rides in your area esp in the summer. Just sign up for one and you'll be committed. Usu. when training for one, I rarely ride further than 65 mile. So you're basically prepared. And, if you have a way to transport your bike by car, I think it's a small compromise to make for an organized ride with food, rest stops, numbers to keep traffic at bay- in short, an event that should be quite different likely more pleasant than riding a long distance solo.

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  13. I'm in a similar position as you. I cycle mainly for fitness and exploration (not utility), and I do care about performance-oriented accomplishments... But the Century 'badge' has been elusive. The truth is that after about 3 or 4 hours, I'm just done being on a bike. It's not even an endurance thing. I can ride up some impressive hills, and my average speed over nearly any ride I do is about 16 mph. But the long distances take a lot of time, which I don't often have. But I won't use that excuse. I just don't want to spend 6 or 7 hours on a bike saddle. So in roadie circles I guess I'm a wuss. So be it. There are other ways to impress oneself and others, if that's one's goal.

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  14. Have you considered working a century in the context of a touring? Not thinking in terms of a loop might make filling in the distance a bit easier.

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  15. You can get to the Hotter 'N Hell 100 without driving. American Eagle flies into Wichita Falls and the start is only about six miles from the airport. Of course, it is too late to start getting acclimated for this year.

    Seriously, when the 100 comes, you'll be ready - and wondering why it seemed so important.

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  16. Centuries were created as a "fin de siecle" celebration of the dawning of the 20th century, back when cycling ruled the worlds of sports, fashion, and transportation, hence the name "century."

    Many century event organziers publish the map, or even the route sheet, of their event routes online, so you could potentially ride one of those routes on a day that fits your schedule better, not to mention use a differen start/finish located at more ideal spot along their route.

    Generally, though certainly not always, the routes are pretty good, if not excellent, with the intention being to get away from traffic and showcase a nice cycling area. That said, some do a terrificly poor job of accomplishing that, especially when the organizers are really just organizing the event to raise funds for some charitable cause and don't really approach event organizing from a cyclist's perspective. When that happens, they create a route which is convenient to them - close to home - and you can end up riding through miles and miles of urban sprawl, bad or dangerous traffic, and a zillion street lights. Look for a route which is in a quiet and little populated area, and which also isn't along a transit route which connects busy urban areas.

    Out here in California, we have at least 100 organized centuries per year (we organize four), not to mention 20 double centuries for those who find 100 miles a nice training ride (we organize two). We're lucky to have such a large state, great weather, and a really dynamic cycling event community. Far and away the best cycling event calendar(s) I have found are located at www.bbcnet.com.

    I like riding organized centuries, even though I don't ever eat any of the food that's served, just because it's fun to be around so many other cyclists. Some centuries out here have several thousand riders, while others have 100-300 or so. Some are very low-key, while some have marching bands, cheerleaders, and finisher medals at the finish line.

    Sixty-five mile rides are plenty long training rides for a century, by the way. The real "trick" to riding far comfortably is knowing to fuel, hydrate, pace yourself, and enjoy the experience.

    See you out there some time!

    - Chris Kostman
    Oak Park, CA

    PS Articles I have published about training for cycling - centuries and doubles in particular - are located here:
    http://www.adventurecorps.com/way/index.html#ttcycling

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  17. Don't feel bad about about only doing 65 miles... that's a great ride! A metric century is about all I have in me. Les métriques don't take all day, typically don't leave me too spent, and don't require a whole lot of preparation. All pluses! So change your map to metric, and consider goal accomplished! Post some pics here: flickr.com

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  18. Riding to Provincetown from Boston is roughly 120mi or so. Truro about 100. I've done both and you can do it in a day. The traffic can be an issue in some areas but for the most part it's doable. Leave early and you can catch the ferry back. Or take the ferry there and ride back. It's a fun ride.

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  19. Anon 5pm - The route to the Cape is fairly unpleasant, even for seasoned riders. And the ferry back is like $100. Plus if I'm going to go through the trouble of getting to the Cape, I'd prefer to stay there for a while instead of going straight back!

    rubix - It may not take me all day if I start early, but I suspect I won't have much energy for anything else on that day after I'm done...

    GR Jim - Yeah, I don't like organised rides either; plus they are usually on a day when I am busy. Sundays are most people's days off, for instance, but I work on weekends.

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  20. The Great River Ride is coming up in October in Westfield Ma. 113 miles more and less. Checkout New Horizons Sports in Westfield on their web site.

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  21. I do enjoy group rides, however most of my long rides are with small groups, often only two riders. I find such independent rides much more flexible and allow me to enjoy just riding and being me.
    If you are looking for longer nearby routes, both CRW & Boston Brevets post their cue sheets, and their routes are mostly on quieter roads. Also the routes can usually be truncated easily once you include the mileage to get to the starting point.
    In particular I would recommend the Boston Brevet's 100k, when you include getting to Hanscomb you have almost made the 100 miles. I've heard their 200k to the south is also good, but it isn't posted, I could try to get it from a friend for you. The CRW spring century is good, having ridden on much of it.

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  22. Another 100 mile route I've been considering is Hamilton, MA to Portland, ME, using the google bike route. It looks like it avoids most main highways, should be flat along the coast. Amtrak to Portland allows bikes, which is quite easy, and is much cheaper than the ferry from P'town.

    Really, I've been wanting to do this as an overnight ride to Old Orchard Beach, ala Dunwich Dynamo.

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  23. I could never do 100 on my own, only with a planned group, and if your not ready, it can be hellish. About 8 years ago I did a quad-century, 4 days at 100+ miles, I felt like superman too. I planning on a metric century next Sunday - my longest ride this season.

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  24. I'm still planning my century training and such. Thus far I have done a one day best of 58 miles. To be honest for me it wasn't all that hard and I did it on an old German single speed bike. Most look at it and go you did 60 miles on that? *grins* Anyways for me as the others have said when the century comes it will come easy for me. Keep us posted when you finally break that number Veloruia

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  25. Brian there are crazy coastal hills around Kittery/York area.

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  26. Brian/ MDI - It depends on your definition of "hills." There are manageable but constant "rollers" that start somewhere on the North Shore and continue along the coast all through Maine, depending on the route you take. It doesn't seem like a big deal, because each individual one is not that bad. But it adds up after a while, and it's exhausting!

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  27. "As someone who gets annoyed when others tell me they don't have time to cycle, I can't believe I am using the same excuse. So maybe I should rephrase: My time management skills have been inadequate."

    You should not beat yourself. When you ride as transport, you do not set time aside for it. You use the time you would have otherwise spent in a car/public transport. You do save time even.
    When you go on leisure rides, it's a whole different ball game. You do have to set time for it or take it away from other activities. For someone who's life is pretty busy, it can be a challenge.
    So give yourself a break.

    Especially that such goals can be like sexual fantasies sometimes. Realising them might sound nice, but once you're there, uh-oh... Not so cool...

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  28. A friend of mine recently completed the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (202 miles) in a single day (most riders do it in 2 days). He's mostly a casual rider and the most he'd done in a single day previously was about 50 miles.

    I've never ridden more than about 60 miles in a day, though I keep thinking I should do STP one of these years. The biggest hurdle for me is just committing to doing it. I will say I'm not sure I would complete a century unless I was in a larger group.

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  29. I think your conclusion says it best, you will do a century, on your own terms. You will enjoy it that way best, and take time to snap photos and smell the roses on your way!

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  30. You may find that cycling one way would work better for you. I didn't do much advance planning for my first century other than, of course, being in good riding shape. I decided to do it one weekend by myself on a u-shaped course. I left a note for my hubby to come pick me up at a familiar point to both of us. I gave him my route also. It worked out very well and I got to see some new roads.

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  31. Compared to 65 miles a century requires about 3 times the hydration. Don't even try on a baking hot day.

    Maybe twice as much hunger after the ride. You won't catch up until the next day.

    A pancake flat century would be easy for you now. Hills for 100 are hard for anyone.

    One hundred is a big boost to training and makes the shorter rides seem easier physically and mentally. Just be sure to schedule rest and recovery. Making time for those is just as necessary as making time to do the 100.

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  32. Centuries are much on my mind right now. I signed up for the Potomac Pedalers Backroads century, out towards Warrenton Va. and zipping over the W. Va. border, and it has a sterling reputation. But I haven't been able to train for it properly with hideously hot Washington DC weather (the event is Sept. 18). I have a month to go but I'm not sure if I'll bag it, or do as much as I can, or just wait for the Seagull century out towards the Bay on the Maryland side--much flatter and probably more realistic for me. The backroads is a bit hilly. Longest I've ever done in one day was 40 miles.

    For Velouria, who adapted so quickly to pacelines, basically all that's required is for her to get lost some day for a hundred miles or so and voila!

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  33. When I first started cycling, I remember looking at the cyclist's map for our city (Toronto) and wondering if I could make it from my place to a shop in the east end: almost fifteen miles! I made it.

    As fitness, equipment knowledge and general cycling smarts matured, I set the bar higher, but I century was always out of my reach. Until I started commuting every day. Then it became easy, ok, easy-ish. The first few centuries were done with the sole intention of doing them. Rather gruesome, joyless affairs for me.

    Now they happen by accident, so to speak. I want to get to a rail trail, or ride some dirt roads, have a quick overnighter; sometimes it's over a hundred miles round trip, sometimes it's ninety. Which at one time would have driven me crazy: I missed by ten miles!

    I'm with bostonbiker:my centuries are usually a string of fifteen to twenty mile rides.

    My thinking (advice is too strong a word)is do a century, get it out of your system, then get back to riding for the joy and utility of it.

    One of my first (accidental) centuries this year was to have a meal and a nap in the woods: I saw fireflies for the first time in this city boy's life! I was a lot more excited by the woods twinkling with pale green lights then anything my odometer showed me.

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  34. V-There are a number of ways to get to the Cape that are quite pleasant, see Rubel maps for routes. Bay State Cruises has a ferry that runs on Sat. only that is $29. for a person and their bike one way.

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  35. A souvenir of my last century:
    http://www.brooksengland.com/en/News_Page.aspx?id=uid-20071013.163326.356.5311-5-00145E457A63--------------------5&from=

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  36. Yeah, I too figured I'd eventually do a century. But, having just done RAGBRAI, I really don't care about hitting "100" anymore. 75 miles in one day, with hills, is quite enough. As you said, it's an arbitrary number, and cycling 100 miles takes time! I LOVE cycling, but I love lots of other things & want to do them as well on any given day.

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  37. My only "century" was Part of an MS150 about 20 years ago we did 100 miles the first day and 72 the next (MS172?) I was fortunate that day to be heading out of Houston and there was a nice strong tail wind coming from the Gulf, riding time (not counting breaks) was right @ 5 hours, but I was in Racing trim at that time, I am sure it would take me MUCH longer now! ;-)

    The main advantage to riding in the group,is that much like your pace-line groups you can move a few miles an hour faster, finishing 10 or 15 minutes sooner may no sound like allot, but trust me it IS!

    Tips: Start early! Crack of dawn, be on the bike!
    Tires: I know you like your Hetres', but drop down to a 32 or 35MM tire (or thinner) and what you give up in comfort you will gain in speed!

    After 60 or so miles your main enemy will be enery, so plan a stop! load your bag with energy bars or some other energy source. this again is where the skinny tires and packing light really come into play, every extra ounce feels like a pound, and the additional rolling resistance of the comfy tires fells like you are dragging something behind you.

    AS mentioned earlier the wind can make a huge diference, so before you go it might be wise that if it's a route of your own chosing to have a couple alternates set up in case the wind direction that day is not favorable. A circuit that can be ridden either way,is wise as well! If you can't avoid the wind try riding into the wind in the morning and away from it in the PM. This never works for me bcause the wind always changes direction and I get it ALL day!

    MASMOJO

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  38. One thing I forgot, but it might help to stay off the bike for a day or two before hand. On your Cape rides plan the Century for the day after your train ride up there. that way you will be rested! If you ride around the Cape for a week, the century is going to be a bit to bite off!

    MASMOJO

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  39. Planning rest days after shorter rides is actually working against us. There will be sunshine for 2 days in a row, then heavy rain for several days after that. Can't do a 100 mile ride after a week of not riding, but can't do it the day immediately after a 50 mile ride either. The weather is not complying!

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  40. We have ridden the Santa Fe Century twice on a recumbent tandem I found at Goodwill, (of all places). I have yet to ride a century on my Rivendell. To be honest, the idea just does not appeal to me. There's a nice fifty mile loop in our area that seems about right. It's not difficult. It's beautiful. It takes most of the morning, but not all day.

    I've had fantasies about getting into randonneuring. The idea of riding all night and day in some heroic burst appeals to me, but I believe it appeals to me only as an idea.

    As a carfree person, and as an official member of the Slow Bicycle Movement, (at least I "like" it on Facebook), I like to have a place to bicycle to. On the way there, I like to relax as I ride my bicycle, and when I get there, I like to have time to linger over my coffee or wine before I turn around and head home. If I'm going to ride a hundred miles, I hope there's a nice hotel with a good restaurant at the end of the ride.

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  41. Why not set up your own unsupported century ride that starts and ends near your home? This solves the timing and getting to the start/finish issues. See if you can get three or four people with similar abilities to your's and off you go. Take some snacks with you and map out some places to stop along the ride where you can rest and purchase sports drinks and food - a decent convenience store would do. Carry between all the riders basic tools, have a couple of cell phones and maybe the spouse/friend of one of the riders who can do a pickup if absolutely necessary. Another option is to follow some of the mass transit routes that allow bicycles for an emergency return. I would probably use any local off-road paths for some of the return as they tend to be flat which is very nice after a day of cycling.

    The only real work is working out the route, which is actually a fun part.

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  42. I don't see the problem. Use google maps. The last time I plotted a route for an 80 mile ride, I ended up doing 120 by following their directions. Use google maps, they'll work in 50% more mileage for you!

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  43. When exercising, it is important to work with the body not against it. Some people get a kick out of pushing the envelope, such as: running marathons, cycling long distances, swimming across a large lake/sea, etc. While they may have the fitness do that, the more important question is: do they have the health to do that congruently? One can be fit and not be healthy and vice versa. Health and fitness are not the same thing. Every individual needs energy not only for physical activities, but also (and mainly) for spiritual activities and for body maintenance/healing. When an individual engages in an extreme exercise, the person forces the body/energy system to divert precious energy from healing/maintenance/protecting to the physical activity. Obviously, the result of it is poor health, whether the individual is consciously aware of it or not. Ask your body or your soul if it cares about riding 100 miles. Hardly. Why would they? So who cares is the person's ego. The bragging rights.
    I can see from the energy/spiritual work I've had the opportunity to do that people do NOT have the energy to engage in extreme exercises.
    So how can you tell if that exercise is extreme for you? The most accessible way is to visit a chiropractor and have him/her evaluate your spine. If your spine is tight and/or not straight (poor posture), all your body can congruently do is just an easy, very relaxed exercising - perhaps an evening walk or a gentle bike ride. If your spine is loose and in a great shape, there is some chance your body may be congruently able to handle more strenuous exercise. Some people get sick and they say, "why is this happening to me? I've been exercising, doing this and that, and yet I get hit with this disease." Well, did the person honour his/her body? Or did the person pushed his/her body beyond its limit? The conscious feeling a person has about doing something may not be a reliable indicator, as the person's ego is involved, and it can distort signals coming from the body.
    Biking 100 miles is a lot, really a lot. Yes, there are people who bike much longer distances and they would claim that 100 miles of biking is just a warm up for them. Well, I challenge them to visit a doctor who uses applied kinesiology and check with their body.
    I'm very certain they would be shocked to learn the truth. (BTW, doctors that use Neuro-Emotional Technique can help with that. www.netmindbody.com)

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  44. Go for it, if you can ride 65 miles you can ride 100, it's all in your head.
    Anybody can find the time to ride 100 miles, some of my riding buddies are heads of corporations and work way more hours than most of us do yet they regularly ride over the 100 mile mark. We ride 90 to 120 miles almost every Saturday, the more you do it the easier it gets, than once you reach that benchmark you can call yourself a Randonneur.
    Good luck and go for it!

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  45. In reply to Michael Blue,
    Riding 100 miles may be a lot for you but for most people doing it quite often as I and my friend do it is not. We are all well trained athletes, are healthy and fit. Often times "pushing your body" or your mind is a good thing, that is how you find new level both mentally and physically. Now if someone runs a marathon or more a month then I'd say yes that would not be a healthy attitude. This year I have done all the brevets required to qualify for PBP and in the process discovered new rewards and great joy. On the other hand one of my friend has done all the brevets required but he did 3 series instead of one, that I am questioning, but who knows! It may be the right thing for him.
    I am followed by doctors and have one of the best chiropractor in the country (recognized as one of the best not my judgement). I am a healthy, fit middle aged man with a balanced life.

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  46. Suddenly I'm having a craving for breakfast cereal. I could just about go coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs, or maybe some Fruit Loops. Just thought I'd share. Others have.

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  47. Last June I made my first light touring trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls (Canada) with my new Fuji touring bike. The distance was about the same as a century ride (around 165 Km) and I came back by train.
    I did it in 2 stages: the 1st 60 km to Burlington on a Friday evening, leaving the most enjoyable part for Saturday, after spending the night in a bicycle friendly hotel. Saturday evening I took the train back to Toronto.
    My training consisted of a couple of 70km trips to a point along the route and back in which I learned that drinking only water won't work for long distances, and so, hydration was my main concern.
    The most important things I learned with this trip:
    -Wool t-shirt & cap (of light color, so that they won't heat up as much in daylight), wool underwear, cycling shoes, gloves (which I didn't take) and some kind of paded trousers (which I also didn't take) will make things a lot more comfortable.
    -Even for an inexperienced person like myself, it will be possible to make the whole distance in 1 day by leaving early, riding slow and stopping at least every 2 hours for half an hour to eat and rest.
    -On hilly roads I wouldn't ride for more than an hour without stopping but that wasn't the case, the route was fairly flat.
    -I had to overcome all kinds of different discomforts (hands, arms, back...). Changing position would work with most, except with the "saddle" discomfort. I should have used padded shorts instead of thin cotton capris. At least, after stopping and resting the discomfort improves for a while.
    -Even though I had a great time riding alone, I think it would be more fun to do it in a group, as long as the size of the group isn't so big that will turn a relaxed bike tour into what seems to be a bike race.

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  48. The first time I heard of a Century, I thought, Ugh, why would you do that on purpose?

    Ha. Hahahahahaha.

    When Shawn and I started really touring together and doing longer and longer days, I thought, huh, maybe it wouldn't be so bad. Especially after the first couple of times I biked to the coast--80 miles, loaded with touring gear! I realized, pfft, I can handle a hundred unloaded miles.

    As you know, Shawn and I are in Canada right now on our cross-continent adventure. The day we biked into Edmonton wasn't planned to be a hundred miles, but it turned out to be just barely over a solid 100 miles. My first century! And totally loaded up, front and rear bags!

    I was totally, utterly exhausted. Oh my god. Also, the bike shorts I'd worn that day aren't all that soft anymore in some places, and certain parts had started to feel like sandpaper on my "soft tissues."

    On the upside, I slept well that night. I refused to ride a bicycle the next day though...

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  49. I've done a couple of century rides at the Hotter n Hell 100 and my feeling is that the difference between 60 miles and 100 is massive. It might just be that all of my long rides (for me anything over 50 miles) have been done in extreme heat and I'm pretty slow and old!

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  50. Emma J said:

    You will certainly be able to do a century when its time comes due. I am a not-athletic woman in my 40s, carrying 25 pounds more than optimum and if I can do one . . . Planning the route is the biggest thing, as you've mentioned. Our family began cycling 80+ miles in a day when our daughters were 12-13 because we had somewhere to get to.

    I'm not one for totting up mileage just for the sake of mileage. Your organic rides are a lot more appealing than organized rides though I do have to say the only time I've done a full 100 is in an organized.

    Maybe you should ride the train to Seattle/Tacoma, Washington? There's a good long stretch of pleasant scenery from Seattle to Portland, 200 miles, not particularly hilly, good bike lanes once you get over the Longview Bridge from Rainier, Oregon, to Portland along Hwy 30 . . . I'll include a link below to maps and ride-details of a 250 mile family ride we took over several days that incorporated part of that Seattle to Portland route . . . just in case there's any interest?

    http://imaginarybicycle.wordpress.com/itineraries/itineraries-10-days-kitsap-peninsula-in-process/

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  51. If you can ride 65, you can ride a 100. It's just a question of waiting for the right opportunity to arise. I rode three NJ City to Shore MS 150s before I could finally do the 100 mile Saturday ride to Ocean City. Like Roger said, at 80 miles, your legs experience a whole new level of tiredness, but at that point you just suck it up and finish to say you did it. You've already got more than enough stamina. You just need to find a nice flat charity ride or bike club event with lots of well stocked rest stops and you'll be fine.

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  52. It is really cool experience going for a rid on your bicycle. Of course, short rides like 40-60 miles are always comfortable and you can enjoy it, also you would not require any back ups.
    But you can easily cover 100 miles if prepared and fit, you just need to relax yourself before getting exhausted very much. Continuously, that would be tough if you not very athletic.

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  53. You might want to consider the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen's "Flattest Century In The East". It's a wonderful, well supported century (and lesser routes for those who prefer) which covers a pleasant costal and inland ride through southeaster RI and MA. 2012 will be the 41st year!
    I ride on my Tout Terrain Silkroad ( 26 x 2 heavy expedition touring bike) and finish in about 7.5 hours. Last year 2 guys did it on unicycles!!
    People come from all over the country and even from abroad to take part. Last year I met two women who informed me, in no uncertain terms, that this was NOT the flattest century. Apparently that honor goes to the Seagull Century on Maryland's eastern shore.

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