10 Tips for Your Fall Century Ride

Avoid Overlapping Wheels

If your front wheel is overlapping the rear wheel of the rider in front of you and that person needs to make a quick move to avoid an obstacle in the road, more than likely you are going down. Avoid overlapping wheels for your personal safety and everyone behind you too.

Chamois Cream

If this is your longest ride to date and you have noticed some hot spots or chaffing on shorter rides, consider using a skin lubricant. There are several types and brands of lubricant, finding one you like may take some experimentation. Many bike shops have chamois butter or cr?me in the small sample sizes so you can give them a try before buying big quantities.

More: 12 Common Century Ride Mistakes

Check the Weather

There are several good online weather services. Check the hourly weather forecast for your event so you can make informed decisions about clothing. If the morning is cool and mid-ride temperatures are predicted to heat up, these are perfect conditions for removable arm and knee or leg warmers.

For cooler temperatures, consider adding a vest. For potentially wet conditions, carry a rain jacket. Some jackets have removable sleeves. With this arrangement you can have both the vest and jacket option while minimizing the stuff you have to carry.

Hope For the Best, Expect the Worst

Checking the forecasted weather is wise, but weather forecasts are not 100-percent accurate. The fall weather in some locations can be somewhat unpredictable. If the weather on your ride takes a turn for the worse, consider carrying a little extra clothing and have a contingency plan.

More: 4 Training Tips for Your Century Ride

Old-School Tricks

If you ride long enough, you'll be caught in weather worse than you expected. Most organized century rides have plans for bad weather. In some cases, they do not. If you need to be self-sufficient, keep in mind some old tricks.

If you need to descend and it is cooler than you expected, put a few layers of newspaper under the front of your jersey to block the wind. For wet conditions, I've offered convenience store attendants money for a couple of the clean trash bags used to line their under-counter waste baskets. I've poked or cut three holes in the bag to use it as a rain poncho. You can use sandwich baggies as a liner between your shoe and sock.

Achieve the Results You Want

Don't be at the mercy of other riders' actions. You might be out for a nice easy ride and your intentions are to enjoy the other riders and the scenery. Know that other people may not have that same goal. In fact, for some riders—this is a race.

More: How to Prevent the 6 Most Common Cycling Injuries

You can choose to participate in these incidental races or not. If you decide to push your speed to try to catch the person in front of you or to keep away from the person trying to catch you, it can be a good way to get more intensity out of the event. You may end up riding that hill faster than you thought possible. At the same time, don't let your ego take over your good sense. Ride the event so you can achieve the results you want.

Be an Ambassador

Organized rides are really fun and there are obvious fitness benefits as well. If you want to keep these events alive and welcome by the host city, be a good ambassador for the event. Thank police and aid station support. Do your best not to impede traffic flow and gently encourage fellow riders to do the same.

More: 7 Tips for Fueling on the Bike

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