12 Tips for Riding Your First Century

6. Check the Navigation

Refer to the cue sheet frequently to make sure you don't miss a turn. Don't rely on a group to navigate correctly—double-check to make sure you stay on the course. Riding extra miles if you get lost, can make or break your race.

7. Finishing Is Mental

Yogi Berra once said, "Baseball is 90 percent mental and the other half physical." This applies to endurance cycling as well. If you feel tired or discouraged, ask yourself if you're eating enough. Low blood sugar is the most likely cause of fatigue or a bad mood.

What to Do When the Ride Isn't Fun

8. Don't Think of it as 100 Miles

One hundred miles seems like a long way to ride—and it is. Don't think about riding the whole distance at once. Instead, divide the ride into smaller sections and focus on one at a time. Give yourself smaller goals to conquer, like riding to the top of a climb or to the next aid station.

9. Get Through the Ugly Middle

Early in the ride you'll probably feel fresh and have good legs. When the middle comes around, fatigue is likely to set in and you'll start thinking about how far away the finish is. Try to persevere.

During a century, it's important to recognize when you're in the ugly middle and convince yourself that you can ride through it. Eventually, you'll get a second burst of energy and you'll be surprised at how strong you feel.

The Mental Side of Cycling

10. When Something Goes Wrong

First, take a few deep breaths and try to relax. Then ask yourself how bad it really is. Is it in your control or not? If it's a strong headwind, it'll just take you longer to finish. If it starts to rain, you'll get wet. If you have an upset stomach or sore butt—keep riding, those will be gone tomorrow. Know what you can control and what you can't, and do your best to push through these kind of obstacles.

More: How to Conquer Cramps

11. Commemorate the Ride

Take a camera or smart phone and take pictures when you stop. You'll meet new riders too, so take a small notebook to write down their contact information. You may meet a new training buddy.

12. Have Fun!

This is your first century. The only time you'll ride your first. Relax and enjoy the unique experience.

More: 8 Tips to Prepare for Your First Century

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