I was waiting for the bike shop to fix my flat. As a new rider, I wasn’t very adept at that, yet.
There was a flyer for the MS150 bike ride. It was this little flyer that first introduced me to 100-mile charity rides. It blew my mind that riders could easily pedal 100 miles in a day. (We call this a century.)
This distance is a milestone that every cyclist wants to ride at least once. We want the fitness level, and we want the experience and memories of accomplishing the ride. But, more importantly, we want the bragging rights.
Training for a ride requires time. However, if you train smart, you can change your body, increase your stamina, and reduce the amount of time it is going to take you to get in shape for this mission.
Minimal Fitness Required
I’ve watched many cyclists train for the event, and quite a few accomplish the ride while being underprepared. They pedaled more slowly and took longer at the rest stops, but they got the ride accomplished.
The minimum fitness level that I’ve ever seen anyone completes their century ride at is the ability to consistently complete 3 hours of cardiovascular activity every week.
This might be a 1 hour week during the week and a 2-hour ride on the weekend.
I even know a couple of people who just did 30 minutes per day and reached a sufficient level of fitness through this consistent daily effort. They completed their century with a smile on their face.
One of the first things to focus on is weight control. Every pound of unnecessary fat that you carry slows you down. It makes it harder for your system to work and incapacitates your ability to complete the ride.
Diet is the most important aspect of this. Start by figuring out your daily metabolic rate, and then use a calculator to keep track of the calories you eat and the energy you burn. Even a 10% reduction of caloric intake, combined with this workout plan can allow you to lose a pound to a pound and a half a week.
Dropping 10 pounds will make all the difference in accomplishing your ride.
There is a mental discipline to staying in a saddle. The butt hurts, the legs hurt and the lungs feel like they are on fire.
You have to possess a certain level of toughness to be able to push through.
Incorporating long rides are essential to having an enjoyable century. I like to encourage riders to get to where they can easily finish a 20-mile ride once a week. It may take a couple of hours to do this, but I think it is an essential skill to acquire the mental skill.
Additionally, I like to see riders accomplish at least one 60 mile ride in anticipation of the event. The best way to do this is in conjunction with a charity event so you can take advantage of the ride support and rest stops while training.
Once you’ve finished a 60-mile ride, a Century is only 2-4 hours more of suffering.
One area that I have always seen make these century rides more challenging on the riders than they should be are the hills. Hills are challenging. Hills are endless. They keep coming. And it ‘s hard to quit, even if your legs give out.
The trick is to take one day a week and practice climbing hills. This is brutal, but take a shorter period — maybe only 15 or 20 minutes — pedal to the tallest hill in your area and practice climbing it a few times.
This practice will make you more efficient at climbing hills while staying seated (essential for conserving power) and build the muscles that will make all of the difference in how your body performs.
Crushing a century is a life-changing event. Step up to the plate. You can do it.
Best Bike For A Century
There are a lot of great bikes you can use to do your first century. The key is to get a road bike as they are lightweight and fast and they will make this task infinitely easier.
Secondly, you need to get a bike that fits you. It is better to get a bike of slightly less quality to get one that offers a better fit. So if it comes down to flashiness or fit, choose fit every time. You can create lasting damage by getting the wrong size.
Now, as you shop for a bike, you may want to choose from a list of the top brands. From there, you want a beginner road bike (www.davescheapbikes.com/cheap-road-bikes/road-bikes-for-beginners)that offers Shimano Claris, Tiagra or better. When you look at the Shifters on the handle or the rear derailleur, it should tell you what type of shifting system it is using.
Buying used can be a good way to go for your first bike. This lets you buy a bike that is only a couple of years old for 50% off. Shop on Craigslist and at your local pawn shops until you find the right deal. Patience can go a long way, here.