It's critical that you put in 3-4 months of solid training for your organized century ride. But the preparation doesn't stop there.
After all, your day could be spoiled—and your PR hopes dashed—by any number of mistakes you make in the course of the 100-mile journey.
John Hughes is a cycling coach and the author of Distance Cycling: Your Complete Guide to Endurance Cycling. Recently, he presented a Human Kinetics webinar on training for a long-distance event like a century ride. In it, he touches on four things you need to do during the course of the ride to make sure you are able to pedal strong across the finish line.
Here they are:
Hughes sums it up quite well.
"The first thing is to eat," he says. "The second thing is to keep eating."
Century rides can be derailed by a lack of nutrition. You are on the bike for too long. Your body needs fuel. This, Hughes says, is the number one thing you must do during a ride.
Hughes recommends 240-360 calories of mixed carbohydrates per hour. You can use your training rides to figure out what works for you as far as eating goes.
As for drinking? "Drink to satisfy your thirst, but not more," Hughes said.
What's nice about an organized century rides as that there are groups going at different paces throughout the course. One of those groups is a great fit for you.
"Don't get caught up in the excitement," Hughes said. "You'll see people going really fast. Listen to your body or pay attention to your heart rate monitor.
"If you're struggling to hang with a group, it's probably not the right group. Just back off a little. The right group is probably behind you."
Keeping a good pace will pay off at the end of the ride, no matter what your adrenaline is telling you early on.