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Thread: 1st Century

  1. #1

    1st Century

    I've decided I want to ride in my first century this year. I'm new to road biking and know little about the finer details. So, I would like to know if any of you out there have any advice for me. Anything from favorite meals before long rides, to best riding gear, to favorite places to ride. I'm still trying to choose which century I want to do, considering the Tour de St. George, and the Frontrunner Century. I'm also in the market for a good bike, so any advice there would be good too.

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  3. #2

  4. #3
    First off, peruse here to find plenty of events to choose from:

    Now some more advice. You are going to need to figure out your nutrition for the long rides. Find out what you can tolerate eating while riding to replenish the carbs. Same for fluids. I alternate water and a weak gatorade solution on my long rides. Supplement with power bars and bananas. I can tolerate a lot of different carbs but have found peanuts and peanut butter to be a no-no for me.

    On my weekly long ride of 40-70 miles I like to have a large bowl of steel cut oatmeal with pecans, apples, raisins and a touch of maple syrup. I also add flax seed and wheat germ to it. This gives me a boost of power for the rides. Then it's just a matter of keeping the fluids going and eating about every 30 minutes.

    Finding the right saddle that works for you will be very important for riding a century. Unfortunately this is a trial and error process. Link up with a local bike shop for loaner saddles and keep trying them out until you find what works for you. Also getting someone knowledgeable to help you set up you bike fit can go along ways towards your comfort and being efficient.

    Bike specific clothing is a plus also. It should fit well and breathe well so you stay dry and comfortable. I use wool in the winter but standard technical clothes in the summer.

    As to a bike, hmmm... I started in 2010 with a brand new CF Trek. Did not have a clue what I was doing or what was important to me. Over the past 2 years I have acquired a few other used bikes and have developed a wealth of knowledge on what I want in a bike. If starting over again I would go used until I knew I wanted to really do it and I knew what I wanted in a bike. To be honest, my 2000 LeMond Zurich is an old steel bike with good components and I can turn in times over long distances just a tad under what I do with my modern CF bike. Where the modern CF shines is climbing in the mountains do to it's lighter weight and the fact that it is a compact double.

    This brings up another point, gearing choices... See there's a whole lot to figure in and it's hard to address everything. I now have 4 different bikes with 4 different purposes. Rode over 8000 miles last year and and all the bikes contributed to those miles.

    Best advice is to just get riding and putting in those base miles. Once you build up for a year of so then worry about all the finer points of biking. Oh and most importantly, have fun!!
    Exercise is the elixir of life!

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Sombeech View Post
    What time of year do you want to ride?
    I want to do my first one in the spring, mid to late April. Then if I like it another in the fall.

  6. #5
    Thanks @jamesdak for all the info, sounds like you've got plenty of experience. I did my longest ride yet today, 32 miles, and enjoyed it except for my sore bottom. I'm currently riding a wal-mart special (GMC Denali), so I'm sure any upgrade will be a good one. I had a tiger's blood (generic power bar) at the 1/2 way mark and by the end my stomach was churning, so I think I'll try something else next time. Again, thanks for the advice.

  7. #6
    32 miles is a good ride. Just keep working on finding something to eat that works for you.

    Not sure what your budget is but keep an eye on Like I mentioned, I have picked up several good bikes off of there. For a few hundred you should be able to find an older well equipped bike with STI brifters and a 9 speed cassette.

    Oh, and your butt will toughen up. Are you using bikeshorts with a chamois? Using bike shorts with some decent chamois lube can make a big difference. It also helps to stand up on the pedals for a minute now and then to get a bit of relief. Same for just sliding back or up on the saddle to change the point of contact just a bit. Also the tilt of you saddle may matter. Might want to check that it is perfectly level to begin with. My first year was spent on Brooks leather saddles which are very comfortable. But once I got conditioned and riding "properly" I just could not find a Brooks saddle with longer enough rails to get the position I needed on my Trek. So I went to a Fizik Alliante and all is fine.

    Good luck and keep at it!
    Exercise is the elixir of life!

  8. #7
    I am using a mid-grade pair of shorts, Canari Velo II, but I have never tried any kind of lube, in fact I'd never heard of it before. I'll have to grab some and try it out.

    I have been watching KSL, but since I'm new to the sport I don't really know what a good deal is. I've researched shimano components and know which are better than which, but don't know what I should get for myself. I know I want a carbon fork, and I'm thinking I want a carbon stay, but don't know how much it helps.

    I'll try adjusting the position of my saddle, I think it's actually tilted back slightly right now.

    Do you wear padded gloves when you ride? If so, what kind do you like?

    Thanks again for the help!

  9. #8
    I did use padded gloves for the first year or so. Was trying to combat numb hands on long rides. This is not much of a problem now due to many factors. For one thing getting your fit right will help with this by taking weight off your hands. Also learn to ride with a relaxed grip. A good cushy bar tape helps with comfort. I also switched out my road bike tires from 700 x 23c to 700 x 25c. This allows me to run less air pressure in the tires which gives a more comfortable ride. This has not seemed to cost me any speed at all. Another important thing about gloves is that they well protect your hands some in a wreck. Imagine going down on pavement without gloves and the effect if you try to catch yourself with bare hands, ouch!!

    I have both Shimano 105 and Ultgegra components on my various bikes. The Ultegra seems to shift a tad better but that may just mean the tune up is more spot on. Basically I find both setups to work just fine. I'd say keeping the bike tuned up in more important. On the few organized events I did last year it was amazing hearing all the poorly tuned drive trains clacking and missing shifts on the climbs.

    The right bike is such a subjective thing. Most important isthat if fits your right and that you can get comfortable on it. For centuries comfort is paramount.

    Oh, the chamois lube is available at any bike store. Some have stuff in them that tingle/burns so you might want to ask. I use a brand that lubricates only. Helps to keep chafing at bay when you are spinning those highs cadences for miles upon miles.

    On the nutrition, one thing I had to learn the hard way was to stay on schedule with the food and water. This means keeping the carbs and fluids going on a regular schedule and not when you "feel" like you need them. Stay up on the carbs and fluids and you'll be amazed at how easy the miles go by.

    Oh, and this is one of my long distance rides. Cheap used purchase with a really comfortable ride. Steel frame with long chain stays that provide lots of comfort. The fork is an alloy/carbon mix that helps take out road buzz on the chip sealed roads I mainly ride on.

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    Exercise is the elixir of life!

  10. #9

  11. #10
    Just thought I'd throw out an update.

    I ended up purchasing a used Fuji Team Pro full carbon bike off KSL. I've put over 1K miles on it and like it a lot!

    I did the frontrunner (metric) century in the spring, and posted a trip report on that.

    I'm planning on doing the tour de st. george in a few weeks. I've been training pretty regular but just recently started adding some real elevation to my rides. I did the loop around the wellsvilles yesterday. It's definately more work to go up hill than flat . Has anybody done the Tour De St. George? I'm just wondering with that huge climb in the begining what I'm in for!

  12. #11
    Have not rode down there but my 1st marathon ever was the St George Marathon way back in the early 90s. That hill climb doesn't look to bad. Only thing that sucks is it comes right at the beginning. You might want to put in a mile or two before starting to make sure the muscles are warmed up so you can climb more comfortably. Remember spinning up the hills will take less toll than mashing. And don't break yourself on the climb, that would make the rest of the ride miserable. All and all, looks like fun. Good luck!
    Exercise is the elixir of life!

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