Pace for century

What pace is recommended for a century ride? I’m doing the century plan and my legs are often a bit fatigued by the time I get to the weekend endurance rides. Thus the prescribed 60% is about all I’m good for. However… on event day I ought to have fresh legs so I’m thinking I can bump the pace a bit, yet I dont want to overcook the 1st half

That depends on multiple factors - the nature of the surface you are riding on (road, hills, etc.), the time in which you would like to finish the weather, the wind, etc. How the power you generate will translate into speed depends on these factors.

As for fatigue - are you hydrating and fueling properly, not only during the ride, but during the week as well? The body runs on glycogen so your muscles are not the only users of that energy source. Also, during the ride you will deplete your stores faster than you can eat. So you want to start with a full tank.

You could use something like Best Bike Split, even some of the bicycle calculators to plan out your route if you are the analytical type.

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My process usually involves examing the route and seeing where I have recovery periods.

For example, I have this upcoming century:

  • I have a massive, sustained climb in the first 15km.
  • I can sustain 105% FTP for 30+ minutes.
  • Any descents are recovery opportunities, and I plan to use all of those.

But after that first set of climbs, it’s about 100km of flats or rolling flats (or climbs but not sustained). So I know I can push 105% or maybe 110% FTP and use that 100km as recovery before that last final climb. That’s about 60-70% FTP.

I focus on power/cadence and ignore speed (to a degree). On steeper ascents, I have a target kph to hit, which often involves changing power or cadence. But they are guidelines, and in an endurance event, I do what I can do.

I’ve tested this with RGT (and Zwift) along with my fueling/calorie/hydration strategy.

[I know this is a Wahoo forum but [there’s a podcast](W/kg Myths, Specialty Training, Ultra-Endurance, and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 364 - YouTube) that covered Pacing Ultra-Endurance events that is worth a listen.]

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Are you riding this century solo or with a group? If it’s with a group, does everyone have the same goal to finish and pace the century for a particular pace/time? If so, that is ideal. I have one coming up next weekend where we the group is pacing to ride the 100 miles under 5 hours. Not impossible but much easier with a group. This is more complicated if there are any significant hills on the route.

If you are in a group, just sit in and get a feel for the pace and see how you feel. If you feel like you are burning too many matches in the first half, you will feel this in the second half.

The last 30 miles is the worst for me. All the contact points start to really feel the increased time on the bike.

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