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Help! Pre-Century nervous wreck!!!!!!!!!

BittenByTheBugBittenByTheBug Posts: 3
edited August 2010 in Road beginners
Well lads,

Entered for my first century (167km) this coming Sunday. Lot of climbing involved, including an early killer hairpin hill (only 1.4km, but 36% gradient at one point!), followed by several long drags and two very tough climbs along dead mountain roads, before a 10km downhill finish (if I get that far!).

Basically I don't know if I can do it. I'm 37, started cycling 14 months ago, and this time last year I did the 100km version of this tour and it went fairly well - though I started off too quickly (never again!). Since then I've done a few 100km rides, mostly 30-70km spins, and managed a 125km solo ride (in 5hrs) about 5 weeks ago along much of this century route, after which I reckon I could have done another 20k (max).

However, over the last 4 weeks I've struggled for form and motivation, which seems strange what with the big century day looming. A little bit of that is connected to a concern about an old knee injury (ACL reconstruction in 2003, tweaked it playing my first soccer match in 13 years three weeks ago and it's paining me a bit but not too bad).

In saying that, I think it's more a mental thing. I'm not a member of a cycling club and most of my spins are solo or with one other person at most. A month back I joined in with a fast group to see what it would be like and got burned off after only 10k. My confidence really took a nosedive that day and I've found it hard to stick at it, wondering what the hell am I doing even riding a bike?!

Sunday's century is regarded as a definite toughie, but achievable. My plan was to start off slow, maybe ride for spells alongside a few small mid-paced groups to break the boredom (there'll be c.1500 on the route), take 4 proper food/water stops and hope my knee (and the weather!) holds.

Any advice from someone who has rode centuries solo about how to handle the psychological side of things (or any other tips - the obvious often escapes me!) would be greatly appreciated. :roll:

Posts

  • Weejie54Weejie54 Posts: 750
    What's the worst thing that can happen? That you fail to complete the ride and (as this appears to be a well attended ride with lots of riders it will, presumably, have support) you ride back on the support vehicle. Hardly the end of the world.
    My first century was never intended as such. I happened to ride out one morning through Glencoe and only late on in the ride did I realise that I was likely to hit the century (it was actually a 96 mile round trip so I rode three miles beyond the start/finish point and rode back again). It was just a long ride - the hundred miles really didn't mean that much to anyone but me - that I had to ride that extra bit just to clock a century brought home, on reflection, how much of it was in the mind.
    Just go for it. Enjoy the tough climbs, the descents, the views. If you don't complete it this tiem, there's always another day.
  • ishmaelishmael Posts: 35
    Break it down into sections and mentally equate those bits to other rides you have done.
    I did the London to Paris 24hour ride in July and on my stages I just visualised one of my regular 35 mile rides etc. It's a bit different for you because you're doing the 100 in one go, but the same trick might help.

    It's a challenge - accept it as such. It might be tough but it's achievable and if you've done 100km rides then you can go further. Only your head will hold you back. Plus, imagine the unbelievable sense of pride you are going to enjoy at the end!

    Relatively speaking, how many people in the country can (or would) ride a 100 miles on a bike? Not very many. You're already doing something outstanding and you should be proud of that.

    Enjoy it. Riding a bike is supposed to be fun. Look around, enjoy the view - even if it's pissing down. RELAAAAX!
  • danowatdanowat Posts: 2,877
    Ride your own ride, don't worry about others, pick up a group, if they are too fast, drop off to the next one, and so on.

    Take it steady, run it in stages, make good use of the stops, if you need them, and enjoy it.

    It will all be fine.
  • Thanks a million for the encouragement lads... let yee know how it goes!! :?
  • fnegronifnegroni Posts: 794
    Any advice from someone who has rode <snip> solo about how to handle the psychological side of things (or any other tips - the obvious often escapes me!) would be greatly appreciated. :roll:

    I found some excellent advice for you...
    Sunday's century is regarded as a definite toughie, but achievable. My plan was to start off slow, maybe ride for spells alongside a few small mid-paced groups to break the boredom (there'll be c.1500 on the route), take 4 proper food/water stops and hope my knee (and the weather!) holds.

    What more can we say? You have given yourself the right advice.

    Go for it and enjoy it.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    With about 1500 riders there really will be a vast range of abilities, so you'll find groups that you feel comfortable in. After a while you'll probably feel ike moving up and hopping over to the next group.

    It's mentally a big challenge the first 100 but physically nowhere near as bad you build it up to be, so store at the back of your mind the fact that just about everyone who wants to do a century does actually manage it - this place isn't littered with posts wittering about how I failed at 88 miles, or got to 94 and just gave up.

    Anyone with a bit of fitness and ability can do 100 miles. The only real question is how long it takes. Is there a time limit? Gaurantee it won't take more than 8 hours.
  • SchobiedooSchobiedoo Posts: 121
    Caffine gels work for me! I can be totally flagging and 5mins after one of those beauties I've already forgotten the xx miles I've ridden and I feel I can sprint like a pro.
    Neil Pryde Bura SL
    Cannondale CAAD8
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,272 Lives Here
    For a one off one day thing, you can push your body far beyond what it's used to.

    In your case, since you've already done efforts which are getting to the same ballpark as a century, I really wouldn't worry.

    If it was 10 days in a row of centuries....
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    BBTB

    I guess its the Kelly Tour you are riding As others have pointed out, you seem to have done the work and the 100 miles should be well within your capabilities. A few pointers specific to this years event

    1) The 160 and 100km routes are entirely different this year, which should reduce the size of the main field at the start.

    2) Consider heading out earlier than the 08:30 mass start and at your own pace - a lot of riders already do that. The bunch pace gets very fast between Lemybrien and Carrick and you can end up overcooking yourself .

    3) If you are concerned about your ACL, consider skipping the short loop up Seskin Hill. You'll only lose out on 1.5 km, but you'll keep something in the tank for later in the day - and save your knee. You won't be the only one!

    4) If you look at the route map, there are a number of bail-out points (Ballymacarbry, Mahon Bridge, Mama Gap) - from your training and your event plan, you're not going to need them but just know that you can deal with each climb as you reach it, rather than trying to deal with the three of them in one big bite

    5) Its a great route and the forecast looks good - enjoy it!
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    If you can do 125 solo you can do it no problem. The only thing you need to make sure you do is eat regularly and drink enough.

    +1 on the caffine gels too. There's nothing quite like them when you're flagging with 10 miles to go.
  • I'm building up slowly so I can make a century too. Never joined a club either, so I'm in a similar position.

    Lots of aches and pains myself, but it's about knowing your body and pushing where you can but laying off where you know you have to save yourself.

    I think LangerDan is spot on with all his points there. I myself don't doubt you'll do it. CONFIDENCE...!! But I am interested in the journey and the experience. Could you please come back and give us an update once you've completed it?

    Cheers and best of luck, though you don't need it! ;-)
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Keep eating and eat from early on. If you have a timer on your watch set it to beep every 20 mins so you have some energy drink or a bite to eat.

    100m isnt that hard - you will do it.
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