Are you a century fanatic?

This heat wave won’t last forever. I’m looking ahead to more reasonable weather, with lots of long rides. In fact, I’m toying with the idea of riding another century.

It seems that many cyclists set riding a century (100 miles) as a long-term goal. They put in the hours and the miles training for it, then it comes. They manage to get through it, and have a rush of exhilaration that comes from reaching their goal.

When I finished my century, I had the “been there, done that” feeling. It wasn’t something I expected to do anytime soon again. I trained for the MS 150, which if it went off as scheduled, would have involved a 99.6-mile first day. As you know, that was rained out, and we only did the second day, about 77 miles. It took me longer to ride the 77 miles because of the huge field and a longish lunch stop than it did to finish the century.

So I haven’t been piling on the miles since then. My long rides are in the 30-35 mile range, and that’s just fine with me. That’s still over two hours in the saddle. Besides, my mileage is picking up, and so is my strength. I can ride faster for longer distances than I could two months ago. So what the heck — should I plan on doing another century?

Luckily, because summers are so hot in Texas, we’re in a lull in organized rides. I’ll have time to boost my mileage to do the hundred miles, and I  have several choices. There’s the Waco Wild West in September, the Outlaw Trail 100 in October, and the holy grail of Texas centuries, the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred in August. That’s up in Wichita Falls. It’s a Texas happening, with over 11,000 riders, and several days of bike-related activities. Problem is, the hotel rooms are all booked. I’d have to find some other accommodation.

So I haven’t decided for sure yet. I haven’t even decided if I am going to ride 100 miles again.

But there are lots of riders out there who are crazy about centuries. They do one, and can’t wait to ride another. Some set a target of a century a month. A couple in my club are heading west to do a double century (200 miles) this weekend.

What camp are you in? Do you like riding centuries, and try to ride in a lot of them? Is it something you would like to try once, just to say you’ve done it? Or are you among those who think riding that far is crazy, and there’s no point to it?

And if you’re targeting a century, which one is it, when will it be, and how’s your training going?

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8 thoughts on “Are you a century fanatic?

  1. I’m not doing any specific long distance training for a century, right now I have enough base miles in that I can do a century at any time. A typical long weekend ride are in the 70-80 mile length. I have been trying to do an unsupported century a month as part of my training. My plan is to try to get a sub 5 hour century at the Outlaw Trail, that will probably be my only organized event century that I do. If the stars align I’d like to do the Texas Time Trial 12 hour challenge for at least 200 miles.

  2. I’m doing the Livestrong Challenge 100 mile ride in Philadelphia. I haven’t made centuries a goal — my typical weekend ride is 70-80 miles, so I expect I can handle it — but the fund raising rides seem like a socially useful and fun way to spend some time on the bike.

  3. As best as I can remember, I’ve ridden at least one century a year since I started cycling, but it’s gotten to the point where I don’t go looking for them. I’m pretty selective about which rides I’ll pay to participate in, and that causes me to pass on a lot of opportunities. Perhaps the most fun century I’ve done was a self-supported 100 miles with my wife on the tandem. I guess I’ve actually done enough that adding another “notch” to my belt doesn’t mean a lot or bring that much more satisfaction than just a nice Saturday or Sunday ride with my wife and friends.

    With that said, however, the HHH100 is a spectacle every cyclist should see once in his life. The year we did it, the weather was cold and kind of rainy, so my Pam and I decided that we had better quit while we were ahead!

  4. 50-ish miles around the veloway is as far as I’ve ever gone on a regular basis, but I’d love to do a century at one of the big events. My promise to myself was that when I could consistently turn out 60+ mile rides I’d break down and buy a road bike. I was hoping to reach that goal by mid July, but last week caused me to really start doubting that. This week has been a WHOLE LOT BETTER with the noticeable absence of our usual south wind. Nice. How many base miles does it take to squeak out a century?

  5. I enjoy long rides, so I guess you can put me into the century camp. Before the year is out I will likely add 4 or 5 of those to my riding. Some of the rides are supported, others are not. The one that I am really looking forward to is the Eastern Sierra Fall Century. The high alpine setting is spectacular, and except the start on HWY 395 you couldn’t be on mountain roads less traveled. Most of my rides are between 40 to 70 miles, so doing a 100 doesn’t seem that bad.

  6. I did my first century this month – the 100 Grand in Grand Rapids, MI on June 6, 2009. It was going to be one of those things that I wanted to be able to say I had done. But I did it (with much less training than I thought I needed), and it was easier and more fun than I expected. Now I want to do another one! I’m planning on riding the Holland Hundred in Holland, MI on July 18. Maybe I’ll feel crappy that day and decide that centuries aren’t for me. But I doubt that will happen. I think I’m hooked!

    The only down side is the time committed to trainig for these things. But so far, I have ridden a long ride (usually around 45-55 miles) on the weekend and a shorter ride (25-30) once or twice during the week. That seemed to be enough for me do the first century and feel good. I can handle that level of time committment.

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