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Posts Tagged ‘century’

Metric Century & Goodbye 2010

January 1st, 2011 [print] No comments

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2010 was certainly my most memorable year of cycling since I began back in 1998.  All told, I rode a personal record of 4,103.25 miles, 3,580.50 on my singlespeed road bike, and 522.75 on my mountain bike.

I also rode my first century, after a decade of telling myself that this year would be the year that I’d do it… each and every year.  My first was last May, over Memorial Day weekend, on my singlespeed.  Then I backed it up with two more on my MTB, riding on the MKT/Katy trail.  One was impulsive, the other a trip halfway across the state of Missouri.

To wrap up the year–and to make up for a pretty pathetic number of miles over November and December–I rode a somewhat impulsive metric century (100km, or 62mi+), on New Year’s Eve.  My idea was to get up to 4,100mi, just to hit a nice, round number.  But as the ride went on, I convinced myself that I might as well go a little further than the 59.5mi I needed, and do a metric century.  The day began nice, with temps in the low 60s, plenty of sunshine, and a moderate breeze.  Once the sun began to set, however, the temps dropped rapidly, the wind picked up–twice it nearly knocked me off my bike–and I had to struggle to finish.

With about 5 miles left, I was back on my end of town, and decided to stop by my house for a minute to grab a jacket and gloves.  The windchill was 32°, and my hands were so numb, I was having trouble grabbing my brakes.  I didn’t want to end the year by getting smacked by a car at a 4-way stop, so I used better judgment for once and bundled up.  By the end of the ride, my feet were numb and my legs (I was wearing shorts) were bright red, but my upper body was once again able to function.  It made for a great end to the year, so it was definitely worth the effort.

One of my resolutions from last New Year’s was to get started on brazing a steel bike frame, but I never got around to it.  Between work and wanting to ride, I didn’t have much time left as each day passed.  I also didn’t end up racing, but the weather was to blame for that; I was more than prepared, and all pumped up for it when a huge storm rolled in the night before the race, and park officials closed the trails to cyclists.

In 2011, I’m going to make time to work on a frame, even if that means a little less time spent riding.  As much as I love my singlespeed, I know that I can get faster on a geared bike, but I promised myself if I have a geared bike, I’ll be building–not buying–the frame for it.  I’d like to have it done before mid-summer, so we’ll see how that goes.  As for racing, I can take it or leave it.  I really wanted to do it last July, but I’m not particularly wanting to at this time.  Maybe I’ll change my mind when summer hits, but I’m not a very competitive rider.  If it strikes me to race, I’ll race; if not, then I just won’t bother, and I won’t feel bad about it.

I’m also not done with the Katy Trail:  once the weather is warm, my wife has agreed to drive me to the western-most end of the trail, drop me off, and let me find my way home.  It’ll be 120mi+, longer than the trip to St. Charles.

Another of last year’s resolutions was to get out of my city more, since I log most of my miles here.  I hit Jefferson City, St. Charles, and New York City (plus a little on the Jersey side).  I hope to do even more riding in new cities this year, and I already have plans to head back to NYC in the Spring.  Memphis would also be a blast, so I’ll see if I can work that in.

I wouldn’t mind beating my mileage record, but I really think quality counts over quantity, so that’ll be my focus for 2011.

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Katy Trail Century

October 10th, 2010 [print] No comments

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I wanted to ride the Katy Trail in Missouri, from Jefferson City to St. Charles in a day.  At the time, it was supposed to be my second century ride, but ended up being my third, after a 60mi training ride got out of hand and turned into 100.  Anyway, I’m happy to say everything worked out, and on the 25th of September, I did the ride.

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Categories: Missouri, MTB Tags: , ,

What Counts as a Century?

September 17th, 2010 [print] No comments

Photo Credit - fekimshura

I guess I hadn’t put too much thought into it before, but RoadBikeReview user Grumparoo brought up an interesting question in this thread:  What counts as a century?

If you don’t feel like clicking, he basically rode 100mi+ in a single day, but broke it up between three unrelated rides.  Typically, a century consists of one ride of 100 miles, with the occasional short break thrown in wherever you think you need it.  BUT, what counts as a break?  Obviously, there are no set rules, which makes categorizing a century that much more difficult.  So, let’s consider a few things:

Does a single ride mean you don’t return "home"?  Home, being wherever you’re staying, be it your actual home, a hotel, a bike shop where you and your group began, your parked car, etc.

What constitutes a break?  Is a 20-minute stop to pee and eat okay?  If so, how about 3 hours?  Maybe you have mechanical issues and have to wait for someone to bring you spare parts and/or tools, and it takes a couple hours before you’re back on your bike…

Does it all count so long as it happens on a single day/date?  And if that’s the case, what if you were to start after dark and ride into the next morning?

What if you did stop by home, even took 5 minutes to take a shower, ate a quick snack, and were back on the road in under 15 minutes?

Can you nap on your break?  If so, how long is too long?  I mean, what if you were to stop, nap on a park bench for 10 minutes, then finish the ride?

Does it count so long as it’s done within a 24-hour period, nothing else taken into consideration?  That seems fair, until you consider one could ride half the miles one afternoon, go home, eat, shower, sleep, then wake up the next day, go to the grocery store, stop by Home Depot, work on the deck/mow the lawn, and finish up before the exact hour they started the day before.  At that point, you’re within 24 hours, but it’s clearly two different days.

Can you ride half on a road bike, then swap to a trail bike and do half off-road?

So, if we say it has to be done in one ride, what constitutes a single ride?  How long can breaks be, and how many can you take?

If we say it counts so long as you don’t return "home", is that fair if you just stop home only to refill your water and grab a Clif Bar before you head out again?

Do we go by the "no sleeping" rule?  In other words, so long as you accomplish all 100 miles between waking and going back to sleep, is that good enough?  And if so, what if one were remain awake for 48 hours?

Or, do we go by the 24-hour rule, when that means you can break the ride up over two days?  That doesn’t really seem fair.

So far, I’ve ridden two centuries.  The first one, I left the house and didn’t return until I was finished.  The second, I locked my car and didn’t return until I was finished.  On both, I had minimal breaks, and I kept break times short, just long enough to eat a PowerBar or guzzle a sports drink.  To me, those were both classic examples of centuries, but because of infinite situations for every rider, at what point do we call it two (or more) decent rides, but definitely not a century?

One thing is for sure:  a "metric century" doesn’t count as anything but a cop-out.

Categories: Cycling, Miscellaneous Tags:

Impromptu Century

September 13th, 2010 [print] No comments

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In planning for my Katy Trail century across Missouri, I thought it’d be a good idea to do a 60-mile ride on Sunday.  I left for my ride equipped how I plan to be for my Jefferson City-to-St. Charles ride, just to get an idea of how my stuff would feel/perform.

My original plan was to start at the smoke stacks on MU campus in Columbia, MO, and do exactly 30 miles, then return.  Somewhere along the way, though, I decided to go ahead and ride all the way to Jefferson City.  My thinking was, it’d only be a few miles more, and as long as I’m going in that direction on a beautiful day, I might as well take it the whole way.

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Categories: Missouri, MTB Tags: , , , ,

Prepping for a Century

September 7th, 2010 [print] No comments

As far as I’m concerned, my Katy Tail Century is a go.  But, being a bike weight-obsessed dipshit, my first thought was, how do I get my bike to its lightest before the ride?  Fortunately, I have years worth of experience in this sort of dipshittery, so I’m hard at work making my wife question marrying me eliminating weight from my Fisher Wahoo before the big day.

Getting my bike under 18.5lbs is actually easier than it sounds, since many of the parts currently on it were initially bought with light weight in mind.  Still I had to swap a few things…

My SR Suntour Epicon RLD fork weighs just shy of 4lbs, so I replaced it with the Carbon Cycles eXotic rigid fork I took off last fall.  That’s a savings of roughly 1.9lbs, and I don’t really need suspension for a flat trail anyway.

Next up, and even more importantly, was to get rid of rolling weight.  I swapped to a set of Kenda Klimax Lite tires which, together, weigh about the same as just one of my more aggressive tires alone (649g/pr).  I put in some Forte LunarLite tubes, as well.

Since I already run 1×9 gears, I decided to swap the Shimano XT 11-32 cassette for a Sram PG-970 11-23 9-speed road cassette, shaving off close to another quarter-pound.  The close gear ratios will also help keep my cadence steady as I spin my cranks for 7-8 hours.

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Finally, I pulled an old Easton CT2 carbon handlebar out of my parts bin.  It’s been chopped down to 20.5" and weighs 119g with end plugs, 28g less than my Titec Ti 118 bar (I told you I was being ridiculous).  I actually prefer the narrower width of the Easton bar on the long flats I’ll be riding, so it wasn’t all about taking off weight with this piece.  I normally don’t trust carbon bars for XC riding, but on the Katy, you could just about ride a bar made out of straw and not worry about overloading it.

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I didn’t have any foam grips laying around (I swapped back to rubber grips after having the foamies come loose a couple times), so I used some Easton road bar tape instead.  I’ve been wanting to try this out to see how it feels on a trail bike, so I figured this was a good excuse.

All told, the bike is now at 18.33lbs.  I have a Selle Italia Signo T1 triathlon saddle on the way ($26 on eBay–woot!), so that’ll add 30g back on, but it’ll be worth it to have the additional padding since I never have reason to stand up while pedaling on the Katy.

I’m also re-thinking my food and water situation for the trip.  I had planned on 100oz of water in my CamelBak, plus two 33oz bottles on the bike with Gatorade in them.  Since I’m passing through 22 towns along the way, I may take a 70oz bladder of water, and stick to just one bottle, refilling them along the way when needed.

Less weight means an easier bike to push for all those miles, and I see no sense in making it anymore difficult than it needs to be.  Colin Chapman would be so proud.

Planning My 2nd Century

September 1st, 2010 [print] No comments

I started biking in ’98, then waited some 12 years to ride my first century.  This time, though, I think I’m going to keep it to around 4 months.

Last time, I kept to the road, mashing my pedals all around my hilly city on a singlespeed.  My legs hurt, but all the time out of the saddle, standing during climbs, kept my butt from feeling too much pain.  This time, though, I’m swapping my SS road bike for a geared MTB, the roads for a rail-trail, and the hills for the flattest trail around.

Katy-Trail, MO - Click for larger image

Sometime before the end of September (I hope, but it’s dependent upon the weather), I’m going to ride the Eastern section of Missouri’s Katy Trail, from Jefferson City in the middle of the state, to St. Charles in the East (map).  Total distance is about 104mi, according to this chart, so it’ll be my longest ride to date.  I’m figuring on about 8 hours, if I average 13mph, but that’s if my legs die on me.  If I can keep around 15mph, then that should drop to 7 hours.  It’s sort of a toss-up between more time seated–thus an unhappy ass, but less tired legs–or a faster, more tiring ride.

I have a few parts to swap on my bike first, namely lighter tires & tubes, my rigid carbon fork, and a smaller cassette (I don’t need 32T gearing), just so I have less weight to propel all that way.  Other than that, I think I’m in shape for it, so I won’t do any training ahead of time (what sort of pansy prepares for epic rides, anyway?).  I’ll be sure to take my camera along so I can return with plenty of boring photos of flat, straight trail, as well as the 22 small towns that I pass through on the way.

Tentative date:  September 25.

I’ll keep you posted.

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Categories: Missouri, MTB Tags: , , , ,