First Century Ride: Complete! Thank you SUF and the Century Plan

Hi all. Yesterday I completed my first Century Ride and a little extra, with a total distance of 109.75 miles.

Short version: After barely completing a metric century back in early January I wanted to follow a structured plan to bring me up to an imperial Century ride. After following the intermediate Century plan SUF delivered.

Longer version: September of last year I bought a bike mostly to cruise around my neighborhood with my kids. 8-9 years prior I owned a road bike but for a number of reasons (multiple international moves, starting a family, new career, finishing school, general laziness) I only occasionally road it and after the first 6 months of owning it I never really used it again and eventually sold it. Getting a bike again last year reminded me how much I enjoyed biking.

So I after almost 8 years of basically doing no cardio I started my own training plan where I’d ride hard around my neighborhood for 20-30 minutes 3-4x a week and do at least one longer ride on the weekend. My first “longer” ride was 11 miles, took over an hour, and I could barely finish.

But I was determined to continue and set a goal of doing a century ride by summer of 2021 (a goal I obviously met a little early!).

I continued on with that general plan, eventually moving my short rides during the week indoors with a Nordictrack bike. By adding a little more to my weekend ride every weekend and buying an actual roadbike again I eventually managed a metric century early January 2021.

However, the last 15 miles were a real struggle, I started getting some knee pain, and just generally felt exhausted when I finished. I knew that with a recovery week and a week or 2 more of training I could probably go out and push myself for 8-9 hours and limp my way through a 100 mile ride.

But I wanted to be able to complete a century ride at a good pace, finishing as strong as I started, and most importantly, I wanted to feel good and be injury free at the end. So I invested in an indoor trainer so I could train better, got a power meter for my outdoor rides, and researched a number of training plans and systems before deciding on SUF and their intermediate Century plan. I followed the plan as closely as possible, missing a few days due to a move and just life in general. But I’d estimate 80-90% adherence to the plan, and I’d try to add a little with extra volume when I could for days I missed.

3 months later, I accomplished my goal and did better than I ever expected in such a short amount of time. My century ride took me from semi-rural Maryland, down to DC, and out into rural Virginia. And other than having to slow things down for some touring around DC, my power output was solid the entire ride. This is the chart I’m most proud of. It’s my average power output in 5 mile segments. And the last 40 miles are what I love. The dip in the middle is navigating DC.

It might not be a lot to some. But 6 months ago I could barely finish 11 miles at 10MPH and my estimated FTP was around 150. Now it’s 220ish (still need to do my first full frontal, those numbers are from Xert and Garmin). And the last 40 miles of my century ride I averaged 165-170W at 16.5MPH. And the most amazing part is that I felt like I could have kept chugging along.

So thank you to the coaches at The Sufferfest and thanks for the great community here on the forums.

From here I’m taking a full week off. I don’t think I’ve gone more than 2 days in a row without riding in the last 6 months, so I think my body needs a longer recovery. Then into FF Prep and FF, then just a few weeks of random rides doing whatever I want instead of sticking to a plan. Then I think I’ll jump into the time trial plan to work on my 1 hour power.

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Well done! And I know that route. Not all easy riding by any means!

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@Brian_Kraemer Wow - thanks for sharing. Congrats - very inspiring!

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Very nice. Well done!