Many of today’s organized rides, like the Coldwell Banker Denver Century Ride, offer a multitude of different routes and distances to cater to all types of riders and ability levels. A lot of first time event riders gravitate towards the half century option to test their fitness. Once they’ve conquered the 50 mile mountain so to speak, they’re left with the somewhat daunting jump up to the full century route. So how do you prepare go the extra miles? While many of these tips would be useful to all riders, they’re especially important if you’re looking to finish a century:
Consistency is key – If you’re like the average person, you’re not getting paid to ride. So between the job, the kids, the spouse and the chores around the house you’re left with just a little bit of time to get in your rides. With the goal of finishing 100 miles, which may take upwards of 7 hours or more to complete, consistency in training is going to be key. Each day you ride you gain a little bit of fitness and each day off you lose a little, so only riding a few times a week will cause your fitness to stagnate. Aim to ride 4 or 5 days a week, even if it’s just for an hour. Something is better than nothing.
Build up the mileage – Use those precious weekend hours to build up the length of your rides. You don’t need to ride 100 miles before event day but you at least want to get close. Shoot to ride 100 miles split between consecutive days or 75 miles in one day. Just make sure to gradually ramp up the distance, increasing your mileage by more than 10% per week can lead to overuse injuries.
Increased mileage, increased recovery – Those extra miles are going to put extra strain on the body. From a training perspective this is important to see improvement but it also requires extra recovery to let the body repair and adapt. Build in a lighter week once a month where you keep the intensity low and reduce the weekend hours.
Core strength for power and comfort – You’ve probably heard the saying in many sports that your power comes from your core. This is just as true in cycling but you are also relying on your core for balance as well. As the miles tick by, and your core starts to fatigue, your form will begin to break down. This means less power transferred to the pedals and excess movement and pressure on your sensitive underside. Doing just 15 minutes of core work each day can make a considerable difference.
Invest in your equipment – Spending a little more money now can pay huge dividends later. Consider a professional bike fit to help with efficiency and comfort. Since you’ll be riding more often you’ll want to invest in multiple pairs of riding shorts. This will ensure that you’re wearing a clean pair each time, helping to prevent saddle sores. While you’re at it, make sure to pick up an array of clothing for different weather conditions. You’ll need it not only for those long training days but, more importantly, bringing your poor weather gear on event day will pretty much ensure that the weather stays perfect!