Tuesday, 11 December 2012

What is a Century Ride and How to Successfully Complete One

For recreational cyclists, century rides are the ultimate test for endurance. Organizing your training for these rides doesn’t have to be challenging, if you do your planning well. If you are new to cycling, then you need to understand that these century rides aren’t something just anyone can do. A lot of training is involved and you really need to be tough both physically and mentally.

A century ride is essentially a bike ride that is 100 miles long, thus the term century. Many cyclists make the mistake of thinking that 100 miles of cycling is a piece of cake, but if you really want to get a better picture of how far this distance is, it is approximately the distance between New York City and Philadelphia. It’s like biking around a running track in high school 400 times. On average, a cyclist can complete this ride in seven to eight hours. But really, completion time will depend on the skill level of the cycler. Inexperienced riders will need much more than 8 hours to complete this!

Endurance is Your Ally

Completing a century ride is a momentous event that practically all cyclists attempt to complete. The problem is finding time to prepare for such event. Since many people spend their days working and resting, freeing up time to ride is limited, if not impossible. To complete this ride successfully, you can follow the eight-week plan below for preparation.
  • Ride Long - During this first week, ride 1.5 to 2 hours and develop from there. When you are comfortable already, increase to 2.5 to 3 hours. Make these long rides steady but not too tiring. Speed isn’t important here, what counts is how much time you spend on the bike.
  • Steady Ride – When doing these rides, target 2-4 longer efforts that are 15-30 minutes in length. These types of rides are great for stimulating your goal to do the century ride by training your body to ride briskly.
  • Speed Ride – Some riders try to skip speed riding, but this type of ride is important because speed riding improves your endurance. Try to do 4-6 hard efforts extending from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Other Tips to Help With Your Ride
  • Keep moving –change your position every 5 minutes to prevent pains and aches in your body.
  • Keep your breaks short – make sure to use the rest stops by using the toilet, grabbing food, and refilling your water bottles. However, don’t stay too long. Don’t take more than ten minutes so that your legs don’t stiffen up.
  • Pace yourself when pedalling –  pace yourself so that you can last throughout the ride.
  • Consume water steadily – have at least a bottle of water each hour to keep yourself hydrated throughout the ride.
A century ride is certainly a great achievement that all cyclers want to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be as challenging as you think. If you are interested in getting this done, simply follow the tips and pointers we have here to get you through the ride of your life.

Photo Credits: Flickr Creative Commons

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