Do you have what it takes to ride 100 miles? That’s a question most people as themselves before they register for their first century ride. (Though, some of us are more impulsive and only ask the question after we’ve registered.)
Higher Gear has teamed up with Coach Craig of Precision Multisport to prepare you for the 2013 Wrigley Field Road Tour. Follow either our Beginner or Intermediate Century Training Plan this summer and know that you’ve put in the work to make your century ride as comfortable as possible. In the meantime, below are some tips to get you mentally and physically prepared for the road ahead.
Ease into the ride pace. This isn’t a race, and if it’s your first century, the goal is to finish comfortably. Here are some more tips for an enjoyable ride:
- Change your position often. Move your hand position, get up off the saddle, stretch your arms, shoulders and neck, arch your back and stretch out. Avoid staying in one position too long.
- Take short rest breaks off the bike. An organized century ride will offer regular water and food stops. Take advantage of this time to get off the bike and refill your water bottles, stretch, and use the restroom. Keep these stops to 10 minutes or less or you may risk getting stiff.
- Find a companion or two. The ride will go faster and feel easier with a friend or two. Also, skilled riders can take advantage of drafting and save some energy in the wind.
Attitude is everything. If you have prepared yourself well, there isn’t much more to be done on ride day than to sit back and enjoy the scenery (and maybe start thinking about your next century).
The core of your training should be endurance training. If you start your training at least 12 weeks before the ride, you will have ample time to prepare for the century. If you already ride more than 7 hours a week, you will need far less time to prepare.
Coach Craig‘s training plans for the 2013 WFRT include one long ride per week and several shorter rides during the week for interval training and recovery. You’ll spend most of your time in Zone 2 (or 65-72% of your maximum heart rate or your functional threshold power, if you have a power meter device on your bike). Our training plans also build in days for recovery and optional cross-training.
Here are more training tips to make the most out of your century training:
- Try to maintain a cadence of 90 revolutions per minute while pedaling.
- Gradually increase your mileage as you get closer to the century. Our plans allow for a gradual increase over several weeks and a couple shorter recovery weeks.
- Plan to do your longest ride two weeks before the century.
- Taper your mileage the week before the century. Also try to get plenty of sleep.
- Use a foam roller to warm up and to recover from cycling workouts.
Use this link to follow our Beginner or Intermediate Century Training Plan.
As the ride day approaches, nutrition becomes the critical component for a successful century. Event day hydration and nutrition begins well before event day. Beginning a few days before, cut back or eliminate caffeine and alcohol and drink water frequently. Also begin increasing your percentage of carbohydrates in your diet.
On ride day, eat a breakfast high in both simple and complex carbohydrate foods and drink lots of water. On the ride, drink before you’re thirsty. Aim to consume at least 20-onces of water per hour while using a combination of sports drinks (for the added electrolytes) and water. Sports drinks such as Gatorade serve a dual purpose for the century cyclist: both the hydration and carbohydrate intake keep your body in motion. Eat easily digestible, carbohydrate rich-food such as energy bars, bagels, fruit or granola. Don’t try something new on the ride. You should eat things you know agree with you.
Key: eat and drink early and often. What you drink during hours 2 and 3 will dictate how you perform in hours 4, 5, 6 and beyond. It is much easier to keep the fire going by being attentive to your fuel intake than it is to try to recharge an extinguished flame.
Stay tuned as we’ll have more nutrition and hydration tips for your century ride!
The right equipment for a century allows for comfort. Your bike should fit you well and should be familiar to you. If you aren’t sure about your fit, have a fit-assessment. Don’t plan to ride a new or a borrowed bike on your first century.
Have a Tune-Up or Race Check before your ride to make sure your bike is riding safely and efficiently. Carry a flat kit complete with spare tire and patch kit, tools and pump (or CO2) and know how to use them. Other essential equipment includes:
- A properly fitting helmet
- Water bottles and cages
- Cycling clothing, including shoes, shorts, gloves and rain gear
- Sunglasses – for a long ride like a century, we favor sunglasses with transition lenses
Check out all of our recommendations for your Century Ride Essentials.
Higher Gear Will See You Through to 100 Miles
You put in the discipline and training, but we’re here to help you along the way. Our training plans give you all the guidance you need, week by week, to build up to 100 miles. Our weekly rides will keep you riding in good company. Check back with us weekly as we share expert advice on nutrition and gear for your big day.
UPDATE: 4th annual WFRT post-ride entertainment announced. Stay tuned to our website and to Higher Gear’s Facebook page for more updates. Sign up to stay connected with Higher Gear’s weekly newsletter. We’ll keep you updated and on track to ride 100 miles. Sign up here to receive updates on the 2013 Wrigley Field Road Tour as they become available.