The cycling equivalent to running a marathon, riding 100 miles in one day is a challenge that many cyclists aspire to.
If you want to tackle a century in 2014 and don’t know where to start, we’ve got some bite-sized advice to motivate you and help you on your way to achieve your goal.
Pick a ride
This is all about preparing your mind for the ride. Once the entry fee has been paid, the date set, you’ll instantly be more motivated to train. However, don’t rush when selecting which ride will take your century virginity, remember to consider the following:
Route: Never register for a 100-mile ride without looking at the route, the profile of each ride will vary. You don’t want to turn up to be confronted with some hellish climbs, so for your first century it would be wise to find a flattish route.
Location: Bear in mind logistics when you sign up to a 100-mile ride that isn’t on your doorstep. Driving to and from a ride needs to be taken into consideration. Think about whether you need to book a hotel room for pre and post ride, as driving, navigating and finding parking at an event can be tiring. If in doubt, aim for a local century ride.
It’s all about getting miles in your legs, so start small and don’t over complicate things. Once you’ve picked the ride, create a weekly schedule, building up the distance and intensity gradually.
Remember to incorporate the types of food and hydration you will use on the 100-miler so your body can get used to it. On top of these things, the following is worth considering:
Flexibility: Try including a regular yoga courtesy of our video series or pilates class in your training schedule as it will help with core strength and flexibility, aiding your recovery times.
Mix-it up: Although time in the saddle is important, don’t think you have to be on your bike every day. Throw in a weights session and give your arms some attention. Don’t get caught up overworking your legs and cardio, good overall body condition will lead to better endurance, perfect for a 100-miler.
Although we all know of a masochist who’s managed to cycle a century on a clunky old mountain bike, it’s much easier with a road bike. With their skinny, slick tyres and lightweight frames you’ll be able to glide over the tarmac with no problems.
Here are our top 5 pieces of kit for training to complete a 100-mile ride:
1. Bike computer: It doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles, just something that will measure distance and speed. It will help you monitor your training progress.
2. Helmet: Most of the official organised rides require you to wear a helmet, so it’s best to get used to wearing it while you train.
3. Nutrition: Try out various bars, gels, or gummies while training and find out which ones your body responds best to, this is an incredibly personal choice.
4. Water bottles: It’s time to ditch that hydration pack. Working up a sweat with one of those strapped on your back will only deter from riding.
5. ID: If you’re training on your own, it’s always wise to take some form of ID with you, just in case of emergency.
If this has got you motivated, visit one of the following sites to sign up: