How hard will it be? Can I do it?

Schoie81 Posts: 749
edited September 2013 in Road beginners
Right, so i've been cycling for about 2years. Originally on a MTB and I was overweight and very unfit when I started - my first ride was a pretty flat 3miles and I was knackered afterwards. I'm now about 'normal' weight and a lot fitter, but no athlete my any stretch of the imagaination. I've had a road bike a couple of months now and I now cycle between 75 and 125 miles a week, most weeks. The longest ride i've done was a pretty hilly 27miles which took me a fraction over 2hours on the MTB. The longest on the road bike was 22 in about 1hr25mins, again pretty hilly (I don't have much choice around here...). The furthest i've riden in one day was about 46miles (21miles in the morning, 7 at lunchtime, 18 in the evening).

Now, the missus is taking the kids to York next week, and I wondered about cycling up there on the road bike at the end of the week to join them for a couple of days. That'll be about 100miles. I'm not wanting to break any speed records, i'm happy to take my time, if it takes all day, so be it. And i'm happy to take as many breaks as I need to for drinks, food and rest.

Given my history - is this distance feasible, or am in dreamland? Am I grossly underestimating how hard that distance will be?
"I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"


  • mikeabanks
    mikeabanks Posts: 116
    I think you are underestimating how hard it will be. At an average of 15 mph you are going to be in the saddle for nearly 7 hours, that alone is going to be a shock. If you had done some 40+ mile rides you may have a better chance. If you do go for it let us know how you do.
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    edited July 2013
    Normally I'd say yeah, go for it. But, no.

    The furthest you've done in one day is 46 miles, less than half the distance you are looking at.
    Round it up to say 50 miles, but even then 50 miles is an entirely different ballpark to 100 miles. Mostly because when doing 50 miles for the first half you've be running on your stored glucose, but 100 miles you'll need to be eating on the way, and your body needs to be used to that too.

    If you're going to be doing 100 miles in one go I'd say you would need to have completed at least 70 miles in one go beforehand.

    I don't know where you're starting from but I reckon your best bet in this situation is to get a train to somewhere like Leeds or Thirsk and cycle into York from there.

    Save the century ride for another time. If you want to set a milestone, try planning out a 100km ride, - 62 miles. You should be able to manage that :)

    (I've done 65 miles before, so probably in a better situation, but I wouldn't contemplate 100 miles without more experience and training under my belt)
  • dannyharris
    dannyharris Posts: 217
    I agree with the above.
    I've been riding a year.
    Done 100 miles on flat terrain a few moths back.
    It was a shock to the system even worse was doing it solo.
    It's a killer mentally. And with hills in York I would want to try.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    I'm pretty firmly of the opinion that anyone of reasonable fitness can ride 100 miles if they really want to.

    It might hurt like hell, and does come with the risk of injury - but if you have enough mental fortitude, 100 miles isn't impossible.

    A doubling of distance is quite a leap - but, again, if you want it, you can do it.

    Your weekly mileage is a decent amount, so hopefully you're comfortable on the bike and have it setup well for you.

    You've said you're happy to take your time - remember that and pace yourself, eat and drink well and 100 miles is a great achievement.

    As I said, it comes with risks, you might damage something - but life is about living, not thinking about what might be - go for it.

    (I know all of this is easy for me to say as a long-distance cyclist - but I remember what it was like to ride 50 miles and feel like your world has caved in).
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Ok, I think you've confirmed what I knew deep inside. I was thinking that when I have done 19miles in a morning and then done another 19miles in the evening, when i set out at night, I don't feel like i've already done 19miles that day, so maybe if I did 40miles, then had a wander around somewhere for an hour or so, then another 40miles and another break then the last 20miles, it might not be too bad, rather than setting out to do 100miles in a single ride.

    I think the reason I feel I might have a chance is that I've never been on a ride and got back and thought I couldn't have carried on. I've never got to the point of being absolutely knackered, so I don't know where my limit is. My rides are usually limited by the time i've got, rather than my energy levels. My head doesn't know if my 22mile ride was only 2miles short of leaving me wiped out, or if I could have set off and done another 22miles...

    The other thing is, if I didn't make it, the missus could always come and collect me. But then if I only make 40, 50 or 60miles, she probably wont be best pleased with the 80-120mile round trip!!!

    Might look into the part train, part cycle idea though. Or my sister lives in Leeds - I could maybe drive there, leave my car at hers and cycle Leeds - York.... Maybe a bit more realistic!
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • racingcondor
    racingcondor Posts: 1,434
    I think your biggest problem is that with the comparatively short rides you've done so far you haven't had to worry about fueling etc. Get it very wrong on a 100 mile ride and you'll grind to a halt at 60.

    I'd recommend riding a few 60 mile rides first before you attempt something like that. If you can ride 60 in reasonable comfort then you can do 100.
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    As above, I think 100 miles is a leap too far and you certainly won't enjoy it. I think a challenge of 50-60 miles (100km) would be a much better option - still a challenge but a much more achievable one. Once you've done that, you'll know how ready you are for the 100 miler.
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  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Schoie81 wrote:
    Ok, I think you've confirmed what I knew deep inside. I was thinking that when I have done 19miles in a morning and then done another 19miles in the evening, when i set out at night, I don't feel like i've already done 19miles that day, so maybe if I did 40miles, then had a wander around somewhere for an hour or so, then another 40miles and another break then the last 20miles, it might not be too bad, rather than setting out to do 100miles in a single ride.

    But again; 40 miles is more than double 19miles. The main issue with 100 miles is that to fit it into the day you have to be on the bike pretty much all day. You don't really have the luxury of taking multi-hour breaks in between. And even if you did it can often be counter productive as your body goes into recovery mode and it can make the following distance more difficult.

    Whenever I've done a 60 mile ride, say on a Sunday morning, I can still feel it in my legs all through Monday.
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    I'd agree with the others about it being a little too far given your background. What you should also factor in is how fatigued you'll probably be when you get there. Are you planning on cycling back as well?
  • djm501
    djm501 Posts: 378
    I also would agree with the consensus above - I didn't attempt 100 miles until I knew I could do 70 odd miles with comfort. I had to learn quite a few things on the way about how my body deals with loss of electrolytes and need for fuel and how to pace myself (some on the audax circuit might say I've still to learn that ;-))
    You probably could do it - but it will be risky.

    The other thing of course is how well set you are up on the bike itself for on road repairs. It is OK (but still a PITA) to get a mechanical 10 miles from home - but if you run out of patches or inner tubes, or something else 50 miles from home then you are in a world of hurt.
  • Calpol
    Calpol Posts: 1,039
    At the risk of repetition and I think you have already got the message - attempting to do 100 miles at present would not be sensible. 100km would be a good next goal (c62 miles) and then as others have said, build on that. I did my first solo 100 miles on Saturday but I have been riding quite a lot and find 40, 50 and 60 pretty comfortable at a reasonable pace. finding the time to ride 100 miles is a challenge in itself as it does require c 6-7 hours.

    I can still remember back to last year and my first 40+ ride where I ground out the last 10 miles at some pathetic pace. Last night I did 40 miles in just over 2 hours so if you stick at it big improvements are possible but to avoid injury its much safer to build up gradually. Good luck
  • grim168
    grim168 Posts: 482
    You could do it. Drink loads eat well take vitamin I (ibuprofen if needed). It will hurt but the sense of achievment will be great. Failing that could she come and get you if it fails or use train for some of the way? Oh and minty arse cream as well
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    Are you planning on cycling back as well?

    Er.. no. I'm mad, but not quite that mad!! She'd take the bike rack with her and bring me and the bike home. I think i'll leave it for another day in the future!

    Just been and done 11miles on my lunch hour and something else that's crossed my mind - if its as hot as it is today I don't think i'd stand a glimmer of a chance.
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    And with hills in York I would want to try.

    The vale of York is a flat as flat thing. Headwinds might be a problem though, depending on direction obv.

    that said doesn't sound like the OP is quite upto a 100 miler yet - needs to get some non stop 40-50 milers under his belt first and a 60+ with the odd break
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  • springtide9
    springtide9 Posts: 1,731
    You can leave the house at 7am and it's dark at 9pm... so you have 14 hrs.

    If you say you'll stop for 2 hrs over the day, you have 12hrs.. so just need to average just over 8mph.
    If you can average 14mph for 40 miles then 100 miles at 12mph should be possible.

    You are doing decent mileage and as long as you don't try riding like you stole it, 100 miles if possible IMO.

    If it helps, as a former MTBer who used to do no more than 4 hr rides, my second ride on a road bike was for a 100mile Sportive. Now I'm not saying it was easy, but it was more than possible and hopefully you'll have decent weather.

    Even if you find 100 miles too much, you'll easily manage 70-75 miles.. so will only be 25-30 miles short. Personally I'd have a go as the weather is pretty warm (so it's not like you are going to freeze to death). If you are worried, I'd just jump on the train for the first 30-40 miles and ride the rest.

    The key will be pacing. Just set off slower than your normal pace and avoid pushing yourself on the hills. Obviously you also want to plan to eat and drink regularly throughout the day (and all the other advice that goes with this topic - electrolytes in your drinks etc)

    BUT, you know how you felt after 50 miles... if this was really challenging then obviously don't attempt 100.
  • dee4life2005
    dee4life2005 Posts: 773
    Last year I'd worked my way up to 70 mile rides, and they felt okay. My first 100 miler was a bit of a shock to the system and despite what I thought was enough fuelling and drinking it got to be a real chore to turn the pedals over towards the end. I also ended up with a niggling pain in my knee which lasted a couple of weeks and it was painful to ride even 1 mile on the bike in that time. It was just too big a jump in miles for me. If your bike isn't 100% set up right for you then a 100 mile will find it out and you`ll find pain somewhere.

    That said, it should be feasible to achieve if you force yourself to stick to a slower pace than what you're used to. If you do decide to go for it then it may be a good plan to meet up with the mrs after 40-50 miles at a cafe somewhere so you can get some cake etc. and to gauge how you're feeling. If you're still feeling good then meet up again in another 20-30 miles. As you say she's taking the car with bike rack, then this at least gives you a possible bail out should you find it's too much.

    Don't forget the weather as well. 100 miles into a headwind, or rain, is not fun.
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    BUT, you know how you felt after 50 miles... if this was really challenging then obviously don't attempt 100.

    I've never ridden 50miles!! The longest i've ridden in a single non-stop ride was 27miles, 1800ft of climb at just under 13mph. That was back in February and i've not ridden that far since in a single ride, but do ride more often now - 5-8 rides a week that are between 15 and 22miles at between 15mph and 19mph (depending how much climbing there is).

    Gonna look at the train idea. The best train station for the direction i'm heading is about 25miles from home. So it'd be a 25miler to the station. Then i guess a half an hour rest and refuel on the train and maybe 50miles onwards to York. That might be a better idea this time around. I was thinking 10-12mph would be a reasonable pace, but i'm useless at pacing, I'll have to be very strict to stop myself going too fast too soon.
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • markos1963
    markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    I say go for it. Take your time and refuel regulary and it will be fine. A positive attitude will get you a long way.
    I never ride more than 50 miles in training and yet I have done 100m TT with no problems. It's all about the quality of your riding.
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    Doing the Dunwich Dynamo last weekend there were plenty of people riding Bromptons, a guy on a penny farthing & another guy on a cargo bike with two alsations. This was 120 miles (more for most getting to the start) into a headwind (ok plenty of people to draft).

    Point is, if you are not in a rush or trying to achieve a certain time, you'll be able to do it. As long as you don't flog yourself the biggest barriers are the mental ones. Don't spend the ride thinking about the finish but the here and now.

    Enjoy the ride and pick out some nice cake stops.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,243
    Plan a route which on the second half includes train stations linked to York via local trains and you'll have a bail out in case you can't make it.
    Start early... I'd say 6 AM... budget for 9-10 hours. stop every 1.5-2 hours for a good snack and a cup of coffee. Make sure you don't run out of liquids and food, what's the worst that can happen? It's not that you'll be in the desert with no mobile phone signal...
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  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    iPete wrote:
    Enjoy the ride and pick out some nice cake stops.

    See... you mention 'cake' and you've got me thinking its possible again.... :) And even if its not, I get to eat cake, so why not...

    Its not unusual to see me setting off on a ride at 6.30am, so a 6am start is fine to give me the maximum amount of time. And I ride through the winter, so I'm not too worried about riding as it goes dark if necessary (the dark i'm not worried about, its legs and bottom that concerns me!!). I've got lights and hi-viz clothing etc... I'm thinking I could leave my car at work now, and that'd knock about 10miles off, which can only help....
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • Just take it easy and avoid big hills if you are not used to them or have no granny gears! i made both these schoolboy errors on the cheshire cat a couple of weeks back and the 76 miles nearly saw me off! Just take it easy and brace yourself for up to 7-10 hours on a saddle! :shock:

    or..... plan the route round the train stations that go to york and if it is to much bail out- there is no shame cause at least you fronted up and tried! :twisted:
  • markhewitt1978
    markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    Where are you starting from?
  • madtam
    madtam Posts: 141
    Interesting and relevant question.

    I would suggest that you should be able to do it. I have spoken to my parents and their peers in the past and they talk of weekend trips to the coast and back by bike in the 50's. This would be on either single speed or maybe 3 speed sit up and beg style heavy steel bikes of the time, and it's about 90miles either way to the coast from here. I would hope a modern bike would make things a bit easier to cover the miles these days although relaxed geometry and fat tyres of old bikes might have been more comfortable.

    My 14yr old son got his road bike last December and has become quite keen on cycling. He will often nip pit at the weekend and come back an hour or two later having clocked up 25 miles around the area with 1 couple of thousand feet of climbing. His longest ride is about 35miles but he has spotted the King of the Pennines sportive on 8th September and fancies a go. It's listed as 99 miles including over 11000 feet of climbing through the dales so should be interesting. It's free for under 16's accompanied by a paying adult which of course is where I come in.
    I cover maybe 30-40 miles a week on some 4-5 mile commuting and a 20-30 mile weekend run with a longest ride of 50 miles. I am aware I might want to try a couple of longer rides of 50 plus and would need to try and up the weekly mileage. But am of the (possibly incorrect) opinion that I could manage it as on the 50 mile run I pushed it and was out for about 3 hours with just water so started to flag just at the end. With regular nutrition and a steadier pace I think I could keep going a lot longer. I am a bit more concerned about my son but he reckons he has the next 6 weeks summer holidays to get some longer runs for training, so we will probably go for it.

    Either try the train to knock a section out or go for the full trip anyway. After all whats the worst that could happen ?
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    I really don't agree with the "you can have a rest for 2 hours and take your time theory", that only makes it harder imo. A few weeks ago I did a club ride to the coast and then back (138 miles in total), we stopped for 30 minutes and I can assure you those last 30 miles were mental torture. Legs were fine, but its rare they fail first. Mentally being out the bike for 12 hours would be even harder imo.
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    I'd like to think i'm up to it mentally. I do some long distance running (well, medium distance I think, technically) and I have encountered 'the wall' doing that when I just suddenly got it in my head that there's no way I can get to the end. But I did get through it and carry on - I'd hope that would kick in again. I hate having to give in.

    I'd be starting from north-west Derbyshire - Buxton.

    Well at least no-one has been able to quote Rule #5 at me! I think however I might need to realise that I'm probably not ready for that distance just yet and that even for me, its a bit of a mad idea.

    I have a friend who cycled to Norfolk from here earlier this year - 155miles - see what advice I can get from him.
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • I have only been cycling 5 months and my longest ride was a flat 50 miles but 3 weeks ago i did 106 miles with 8000ft of climbing in 7 hours, it was not as bad as i thought and i did it by myself,all i did was make sure i had plenty of food drinks and gels,if you put your mind to it its possible i just broke it down into 25 miles then stopped had a drink some food and i was ok at the end.
  • stueys
    stueys Posts: 1,332
    Yep, do it. You've got all day so why not? Pace yourself, go easy on the hills for the first. 50 miles and it would be a nice day out. Keep fuelling throughout and stop for lunch so you're body gets a chance to refuel.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Can't believe all of these "nooooh don't even think about till you can do 60" suggestions.

    100 miles. 7 hours at a nice easy 15mph, or 6 at a harder 17mph. So call it 8. Factor in a 20 minute stop at about 30-40 miles, another at about 70, and that's still well under 9 hours end to end.

    Have a big breakfast of weetabix and ideally uncooked porridge oats lavishly layered on top, then a coffee, then another bowl of breakfast, all with plenty of milk & sugar. This isn't diet food, it's slow-burn energy. Drink plenty of squash or water before you set off, have another coffee and that's you sorted for the first 40 odd miles.

    Take some cash, a few energy gel bars in your back pocket, some Nuun tablets or similar and some easy to eat food to nibble on, and two drinks bottles filled with good strength squash. When you stop, stop at a shop [there are loads all over the place, no need to carry the day's provisions in your pockets] and stock up on energy - chocolate bars are good (Yorkies esp so), a sandwich, milk either plain of flavoured, a couple of bottles of water to swig down your neck and another couple to refill the bottles with the Nuun tabs chucked in. Then set off again and repeat as necessary at about at 70 miles, ideally 80 so that when you kick off for the last leg it's only 20, and anyone can ride 20 miles.

    It won't be easy, the last few miles will drag and you'll be knackered when you arrive but you'll make it, and if you don't you're only 15 miles from the end so OH can come & get you anyway, not that you'll let that happen when you're that close to doing it.

    First 100s are always a bit special and this is the ideal way to do it with a good reason, no early bail-out option to get home so you have to go for it and a you get to show your kids [and wife] what an Ironman you are.
  • ugo.santalucia
    ugo.santalucia Posts: 28,243
    I really don't agree with the "you can have a rest for 2 hours and take your time theory", that only makes it harder imo. A few weeks ago I did a club ride to the coast and then back (138 miles in total), we stopped for 30 minutes and I can assure you those last 30 miles were mental torture. Legs were fine, but its rare they fail first. Mentally being out the bike for 12 hours would be even harder imo.

    So your advice is flat out and never stop... carry a bunch of gels and keep sucking them?
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