I'm Worried About the Hills in the Course, What If They are Too Much for Me?
With today's technology, it's possible for you to take a look at the route profile and compare the hills of the century route to those close to your home. It's great if you live close to the course and you can ride some of the hills in your training; but, if you can't ride the course you can use similar hills to build your climbing fitness.
If you live in Flat City and the century ride is very hilly, you can use strength training to help build climbing power. You can also intentionally ride into head winds or use a bigger gear with low cadence with more pedal force to simulate climbing hills during training.
Putting hill work into your training plan gives you the strength and confidence you'll need to be successful on event day.
More: Preparing for a Hilly Century
How Many Weeks Do I Need to Train Before Riding the Century?
The answer to this question depends on your current physical fitness. If you are currently riding two or three days per week, you can be ready to ride a century at the end of 12 weeks. This assumes you will average some 12 to 15 mph for the event.
If you have more fitness and can ride faster, your training time can be less -- or -- you can use the extra training time to gain more speed.
What is the Least Amount of Training I Can Do to Successfully Complete a 100-Mile Ride?
The answer to this question depends on your current fitness, event day goal speed and how much you want to suffer during the ride. A huge amount of suffering with low preparation risks injury and illness after the event. The last thing you want is a nagging knee problem or saddle sores the size of Mount Everest as your reward for completing the ride.
Some riders will suffer due to pushing personal limits of performance. This is the good kind of suffering or discomfort.
For the majority of recreational athletes, training for some eight to 12 weeks is usually sufficient preparation time. For the person that is currently riding two to three days per week, a weekly training load of some three to nine hours per week, strategically planned over 12 weeks does the job. Strategic placement means long rides, intervals and the appropriate amount of recovery days so you can increase your fitness.
What If the Weather is Horrible on Event Day?
There is no bad weather, just bad clothing. There is a wide range of cycling clothing to help riders feel comfortable in nearly all types of weather.
That written, some cyclists are into the adventure of dealing with whatever Mother Nature has to dish out, while others would prefer to stay home on a bad weather day and aim for a different event. Everyone has their personal bailing point, where not starting or not completing event is the best decision.
More: 12 Common Century Ride Mistakes
This Will Be My First Really Long Ride, How Do I Know That I Can Make the Distance on Event Day?
For century riding I've found that if cyclists complete a ride during training that takes 50 percent of their predicted event ride time, it is enough to get by. In other words, if you expect that your century ride time will be seven hours, then completing a long ride of three-and-a-half hours will allow you to complete the century.
If you combine that 50-percent ride rule of thumb with an 80-percent rule of thumb over two days, I can almost guarantee that you will successfully complete the century ride. Using the example ride time in the last paragraph, combine your long ride of three-and-a-half hours with a second ride the next day that is around two hours long and you will be in good shape to complete the event.
Faster riders and those with more endurance can, of course, rest assured that a successful event completion is in their future.
There are a number of fantastic century rides around the country. If you complete your first event near home, then set about making your century ride a destination event. That is, plan to do a century ride in another state (or country) and also plan sightseeing time after the event.
Detailed century ride training plans can be found in Training Plans for Cyclists and online plans can be found here.
More: 4 Nutrition Secrets for Your First Century Ride
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