Tackling a 100 miles can be a daunting task on your first attempt. What most cyclists new to the sport don't realize is that showing up to the event fit and with the proper amount of training miles behind you is only half the battle. Preparing and knowing what to expect on the day of the ride can be just as challenging.
Here are six tips that will help you show up to the start line prepared and free of worry.
It's normal to be nervous the day before a century ride. If it's your first, you can likely times that by two. Not knowing what to expect can lead to a good bit of anxiety. Instead of worrying that you aren't getting a good night's sleep the night before, get plenty of sleep during the entire week leading up to the big event.
Getting at least eight hours of sleep for three or four consecutive nights will make one restless night not as big of a deal.
A century is a long way to go. Since you likely won't be eating meals during your five-plus hour ride, breakfast is the meal you'll have to rely on to keep you going. Loading up on fats won't do much for your energy stores this late in the game, so stick with oats and grains that will stay with you for the duration of your race.
My favorite pre-race breakfast is oatmeal. Stir with equal parts water and milk, top with blueberries and bananas, and mix in some chia seeds. Finish the breakfast off with two scrambled eggs for protein and you'll be just about set to tackle anything in front of you.
Tune Your Bike
If you don't feel comfortable with simple maintenance checks, it might be a good idea to take your bike in for a tune up. It's one less thing to worry about. You don't want to be stuck on the side of the road with a mechanical issue during the middle of the race.
The main areas of concern are:
Tires: Check the tires for cuts or small holes that you might not have noticed. If there are signs of wear, buy a new pair for race day.
More: 10 Fall Century Rides