6 Tips for Tackling Your First Century Ride

Pack Only the Essentials

There are four items to consider when packing for race day:

  • Fluids
  • Food
  • Tools
  • Extra clothing

Packing more than this will leave you bogged down and restricted in your movements. When out on a long ride, you don't want to be toting around gear that you aren't going to use. Listed below are the essentials.

Fluids: It is recommended to drink at least one bottle of fluid per hour, but that doesn't mean you have to bring them all with you. Take two bottles and fill up frequently at aid stations. Carrying more than this will weigh you down more than it's worth.

More: 9 Post-Ride Recovery Rituals

Food: Check before the race to see if the aid stations will be providing food. If not, pack one piece of food for every hour you plan to be on the bike. Try to bring a mix of fruit and energy bars. Only eating processed food can mess up your stomach during the late hours of a race. A banana or orange can be a lot easier to digest.

Tools: Don't go overboard here. There is no need to bring the whole toolbox. The most critical items are:

  • Chain tool
  • One multi-tool
  • Mini pump
  • Tire levers
  • Two tubes

Bring anything in addition to those items and you're weighing yourself down.

Clothing: Wear gear that you can remove and stow as the weather changes. If it's brisk in the morning but warm in the afternoon, wear a light vest over your jersey and arm warmers that can be taken off later and stowed in your jersey pockets. It's better to be safe than sorry, so if you think there's a chance for rain, bring the rain jacket. Just remember there is a fine line between being prepared and carrying a suitcase.

More: 10 Things I Learned From Being Hit by a Car

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About the Author

Marc Lindsay

Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.
Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.

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