Be Prepared for Flats
Have an extra tube and a CO2 cartridge with you at the very least, and learn how to fix a flat. You'll never realize how important it is until you get one.
Lohr and Highfield thought they were ready for flat tires, but Lohr was only partially prepared.
"I had a spare. I was taught how to do it but not hands-on," Lohr said. "So the only thing I knew was to look pathetic on the side on the road."
Lohr was fortunate--her tires held up. But she won't risk it going forward, and neither should you.
Take Care of Your Backside
You will pay if you don't plan for chaffing. Highfield did nothing to prepare for it before his first century.
"I looked like a baboon," he deadpanned.
Bike shops have chamois butter. Buy it and apply it, definitely before the ride and probably during the ride, too.
Another thing that will help combat saddle soreness is a good pair of bike shorts. Highfield was visiting family in Albuquerque, New Mexico when he stopped at a bike shop and chatted with the owner.
"He said he just rode from Seattle to San Francisco," Highfield said. "I said, 'I only have one question: What shorts did you wear?'"
He plopped down the cash for a quality pair of bike shorts that were "four times thicker" than what he rode his first century in. And it paid off.
"Buy the best shorts you can buy," he insists.
Eat and Drink
In the hour leading up to the start of the ride, Lohr got caught up making sure everything was in order. She forgot something important--breakfast.
"Next thing I know, I hear 'five minutes to start time' and I hadn't eaten," Lohr said. "I grabbed what I could, stuffed my face with a bagel and held it in there like a chipmunk. I had bananas in my back. I didn't even drink coffee, so my coffee was gels that had caffeine."
A pre-ride breakfast is essential, as is plenty of eating and drinking throughout the ride. Don't forget about it.
You Are Not Alone
While many endurance events are on a closed course, many century rides aren't. Always be aware that you're probably sharing the road with vehicles, and that comes with responsibility.
"Just because it's an organized ride doesn't mean that cars see you," Lohr said. "Obey all traffic laws."
Ready to go? Sign up for a century ride.