Riding 100 miles on your bike is a major achievement, whichever way you look at it. Century ride’ – one that covers a distance of 100 miles (160.9km) – remains the ultimate desire for many weekend warriors. You’ve completed every training ride and double-checked every piece of gear in preparation for your first century. You've even followed a nutrient-rich diet in the months before your event. Just one final challenge remains: finishing on race day. Be prepared to experience a total combo of fun, pain and epic pub tale fodder on the side.
What are the best trips for the ride of your life?
Zone in on the race
“To build up your endurance before a long bike ride, without taking up all your free time, the best thing to do is find out your maximum heart rate and then do regular training rides for one hour in what we call ‘zone 3’ (typically 75-82% of your maximum heart rate). Working at that level – not too fast and not too slow – is a really good way to make gains in your base fitness so you can last the distance”, told to Telegraph, British national road race champion, Laura Trott.
Survive three minutes of pain
“Another good drill for improving your endurance involves doing three-minute flat-out efforts, followed by 15 minutes of recovery. If you do that three times during an hour-long ride you will really notice the difference in your fitness”, said also our cyclist, Laura Trott.
Speed up with 20-40s
Laura Trott advice to progress and try to improve your speed, you can try a drill called ‘20-40s’: sprint for 20 seconds and then rest for 40 seconds, and repeat that sequence four times for one set. You can do as many sets as you want. It’s a good way to improve your speed and fitness in quite a short amount of time.
Eat every hour
If you pace yourself and eat enough food, you'll finish your century without difficulty. Set a goal to eat 200 calories of carbohydrates every hour during the race, including the first hour. If you wait to eat until the second half of your race, it's already too late. If you're a smaller rider, you can eat a little less that the recommended 200 calories. If you're a bigger rider, you'll need to eat a little more. Be prepared to take enough food with you that you don't have to rely on the food at the aid stations.
Drink something with electrolytes in it, ideally make your own sports drink and eat some salty food. However, you choose to do it, feed your muscles and replace the salt lost through sweat.
Stick to familiar nutrition
Try to find out before the race what will be available at the aid stations. If this is what you've been eating and drinking during your training rides, you won't have anything to worry about. Be careful not to try new food or drink and risk an upset stomach.
Don’t fight the hills
Don’t be stressed about the hills. Keep a steady rhythm and alternate between sitting down and riding up out of the saddle so you use all your different muscle groups.
Be careful riding in a group
Riding in a group, sharing the workload and chatting are part of the fun of an organized ride. However, if you aren't familiar with your companions' bike handling skills, be careful and don't risk a crash.
Don’t wear anything new
Contact points (hands, feet, and butt) are critical areas for a cyclist, and they need familiar surroundings on century day. Don’t take any chances with untested equipment. The urge to showboat new gear can be strong—especially if you’re cycling with buddies—but a 100-mile ride is not the time to do it. New shoes, in particular, should stay at home. Similarly, your saddle should be like an old friend—comforting and supportive. And same goes for your kit.
If at all possible, tackle your first century with at least one friend. A riding partner (or two or three) makes the day much more enjoyable, allowing you to not only pass the time with conversation, but also draft off of one another.