A Good HelmetRudy Project Airstorm $174 1 of 8
A helmet that's light, comfortable and visible to motorists is a must. The Rudy Project Airstorm accomplishes all of these with ease. The mesh liner inside keep the top of the head cool and comfortable, and the RSR8 Retention System allows easy on-the-bike adjustment so you won't have to stop to dial it in. It's also extremely light at 260 grams, which will keep your neck muscles from fatiguing in the later miles of a race.
A Nice KitHincapie Performer One Jersey $85; Power GT Bibshort $180 2 of 8
A good pair of bibs with a comfortable chamois pad can make a huge difference during a 100-mile race. A breathable jersey is another century essential, especially when it's hot.
The Hincapie Performer One jersey and the the Power GT bib short is a kit that's made for going long distances in hot weather. The TourTek Lite hugs the body to produce a race-inspired cut that breathes well and dries quickly. The Schoeller coldblack in the shorts reflects heat away from the body and provides SPF 50+ protection to keep you safe from UV rays. The seamless Pro Tour Chamois does a good job at preventing skin irritation, and it's made with a center relief channel that moves with the rider to prevent hot spots.
ShoesSCOTT Premium Road $400 3 of 8
If you're going to splurge on one piece of gear, it should be your cycling shoes. The difference between a higher quality pair and a cheaper option will come down to the materials used, overall weight, stiffness of the sole and adjustability of the upper—all of which play an important role in your comfort and performance on the bike.
The new Premium from SCOTT is about as good as a racing shoe is going to get. The BOA lacing system provides excellent adjustment, with two dials to customize the midfoot and upper separately. The HMX carbon is stiff and provides good power transfer to the pedals. For comfort and performance, this model is one of the better road shoes on the market for century riders.
GPSGarmin Edge 1000 $599 4 of 8
If you're new to century rides, it can be hard to know how to pace yourself. A good GPS or other cycling computer can help. You can track your heart rate, miles, cadence and power to judge how much you've got left in the tank. If you want all the bells and whistles, the Garmin Edge 1000 will give you everything you need plus some.
PumpLeyzne Pressure Drive CFH $65 5 of 8
Just because you're in a race surrounded by dozens, possibly even hundreds, of other cyclists doesn't mean you can't get stranded out in the middle of nowhere. To be safe, you need to be just as prepared as you would be if you were riding alone.
The Lezyne Pressure Drive CFH is an all-in-one pump that combines a high-pressure hand pump with a CO2 inflator that'll help you change multiple tires. And it can be used with both Presta and Schrader valves.
FuelHoney Stinger Organic Honey Waffle $22 6 of 8
You should aim to eat one energy bar or the equivalent for every hour that you ride to keep from bonking in the later stages of a century. What you eat is up to you. The better it tastes, the more likely you'll reach into your jersey pocket for a bite.
The Honey Stinger chocolate and honey waffle is a treat that's tasty , loaded with the fuel you need and easy-to-eat. The flavor will satisfy your tastebuds, and the carbs you'll gain from the waffle and honey should be enough to keep you in the race.
Good TiresVittoria Diamante Pro Radiale $59 7 of 8
An old, worn pair of tires increases your chances for a flat. It also makes cornering more difficult. If there's wear on the sidewalls, it might not hold air pressure as it should.
To be safe, get a new set of tires before the big race. The Vittoria Diamante Pro Radiale tires offer a good blend of speed and comfort over rough surfaces. They corner well and can be inflated up to 145 psi for those of you with a need for speed.