Riding a century or 100 miles can be challenging, especially if it is your first time doing so. Considered as the cycling equivalent of riding a marathon, it is a bucket list for many cyclists. It requires intense physical conditioning and mental stamina. This can push your body to the limit, making it important to come prepared.
If you are preparing for a 100 miles bike ride, keep on reading, and we’ll share some tips! While most people will be able to complete a century ride, doing it requires proper training.
What Happens to Your Body in a 100 Miles Bike Ride?
To have a better understanding of how you can prepare for an epic 100-mile ride, it is crucial to know what exactly happens to your body. Understanding this will make it easier to rise to the challenge and complete the ride successfully.
Early in the Ride
This is a tough part of the ride. Getting out of the door and getting your mountain bike or road bike will make you anxious. You might even feel the need to back out, especially when your body is not in perfect condition.
During the first part of the ride, you should not feel too excited. Stay bored. Do not breathe too heavily. Your goal is to endure the ride and not to reach the end quickly. If you give it your all, then you will end up exhausted before you are even done.
Halfway through the 100-mile Mark
By this time, you will have mixed feelings. You may be tired at this point, depending on how ready you are for the ride. At the same time, you are over the hardest part of the ride and you are already counting down to the finish line.
Your body will slowly be dehydrating. It is feeling the toll of the ride. Hydration is the best strategy to stay on the ride. If you are dehydrated, your heart will be pumping less blood volume.
Reaching the Finish Line
Once you are nearing the end of the 100 miles bike ride, this is when excitement and fulfillment will kick in. You are almost there, but you need a little more push. At this point, it is alright even if you fade a bit. Slowing down will give your body the chance to recover.
Tips to Prepare for a Century Ride
Riding 100 miles is not as easy as getting on the bike, pedaling, and reaching the finish line. It is easier said than done! It can be exhausting and frustrating. To make things easier, below are some of the things that can help you conquer a century ride.
1. Get the Right Fit
Fitting a bike is one of the most important when it comes to your preparation. When you are biking long distances, even the slightest imperfections in the bike can result in major issues. Professionally fitting the bike will help in minimizing fatigue and injury.
From the bike handlebars to the saddle, make sure that the bike is fitted with your needs in mind. You might need to make a few alterations and replace other parts. These are necessary expenses to customize the bike based on your requirements.
2. Use the Right Bike
The right choice of bike for a 100 miles bike ride will also be crucial for your success. A mountain bike with knobby tires may do the job. However, the best option would be a road bike. It is a lightweight bike that won’t require too much effort to cycle, which means that you won’t be easily tired.
Regarding the bike that you will use, it is also important to be mindful of bike tire pressure. Having a high pressure will help to make sure that the tires will roll faster.
Regardless of the bike that you will use, it should have been with you for quite a time before the ride. This means that you are already used to it. If it is new, you will have a hard time adjusting.
3. Gear Up for Your Safety
Safety should be your priority. Before leaving home, quickly inspect your bike, making sure that it is in perfect condition, and that it is ready for the ride. If there’s any problem, make sure to fix it before you leave.
Like you would in a normal ride, equip yourself with the right safety gear. From a mountain bike helmet to cycling gloves, make sure that you are properly dressed and protected from head to toe. Be proactive in minimizing the potential impact of an accident that can happen while you are on the road.
4. Invest in Physical Training
Because a 100 miles bike ride will be physically demanding, you need to invest in your training. Similar to an MTB training plan, you need to do a variety of exercises to work out different parts of your body and practice long rides.
Start your first week of training by riding up to two hours or 20 miles. Do it at a steady pace, letting your body get used to the task. On the following week, go faster and longer, depending on what your body can handle. Weeks of training should also include exercises to strengthen your legs, core, arms, and shoulders, among other muscle groups that you will be using for the ride. From bike rollers to turbo trainers, use equipment that can help build your strength.
5. Train Mentally
Physical preparation is not enough for a 100-mile bike ride. You also need to prepare mentally. Training your mind can make you tougher. This will also help lessen your anxiousness, especially if it is your first time completing such a ride. If your mind is not trained to manage the difficulty and pain, then you will most likely fail.
Your mental training will be divided into different parts, such as calming your emotions, gathering energy, managing pain, creating a positive attitude, and visualizing the outcome. Meditation, including breathing exercises, will also help, especially in building metal clarity.
6. Ride with a Group
As a part of your training, it is also a good idea to ride with a group. A group ride before biking 100 miles will make you more motivated. This is also an opportunity to learn from others, especially those who are experienced in riding long distances.
On the day of the ride itself, do not go alone. It would be best to be with a group of other people. It can reduce fatigue and help keep you going. Not to mention, someone will be immediately available when you need a helping hand.
7. Eat Right
Proper nutrition is another key ingredient for a successful 100 miles bike ride. Your diet will have a huge influence on conditioning your body. A healthy and balanced diet will make it easier for your body to handle the physical demands of the ride.
Before the ride, stock up on complex carbs. Eat around 500 calories three hours before you start the ride. During the ride, you should have something easy to eat, such as energy bars. These will help to keep you going. Once you are done, eat something to help you recover quicker. Eating lean proteins and complex carbs will help replenish what you have lost. Your muscles will also need glycogen as a part of your recovery.
8. Stay Hydrated
Cycling hydration is equally important as eating right when you are on a long-distance ride. Especially on a hot day, it is easy to be dehydrated as your pedaling becomes more intense. Lack of hydration will put you at risk and negatively impact your performance. From water to sports drinks, your body needs liquid to handle the physical demands of the ride.
Having a hydration pack on your back may seem convenient, but the added weight can affect your speed. It is better to have a cycling water bottle in a bottle cage attached to your bike. Throughout the ride, drink even before you feel thirsty. Once your bottle is empty, find a place where you can refill.
9. Prepare to Fix Your Bike
Do not be too confident that nothing will go wrong in a century ride. Truth is, things can go south, and it can be frustrating if you are unprepared. What if the bike suddenly encounters a problem on the road? You should be prepared to perform a quick fix.
You should have easy access to the tools that will let you handle basic repairs. A mini-bike pump is one of the most important, making sure that your tires will have the right pressure. You should also learn how to patch a bike tire.
10. Hire a Coach
For most beginners, training for a century ride will not be easy, especially those who are new to biking. A good solution is to find the right cycling coach, you will benefit from the guidance of an experienced and skilled cyclist. Not to mention, your coach can also be your source of motivation.
Working with a cycling coach typically starts with an assessment of your current knowledge and skills. From here, the coach will design a custom training plan to prepare you for riding 100 miles. The cost of hiring a coach will be worth it, especially when the training program is personalized based on your needs.
Q: How long does it take to cycle 100 miles?
A 100-mile bike ride will take approximately four to ten hours to cycle. However, the exact duration will vary from one person to another, depending on your skills and experience. Terrain conditions, weather, and your bike, among others, will also affect the duration.
Q: Can you bike 100 miles in a day?
Yes, you can bike 100 miles in a day. It can take up to ten hours to complete this ride. However, this is assuming that you are well-conditioned. You should be trained and well-rested since this is a physically demanding activity.
Q: Is 100 miles a week cycling good?
Yes, 100 miles of cycling a week is good. This is a great way to train for those who are preparing for a major cycling or racing event. It is also good exercise. If you are a beginner, you should spread out the ride in days so that it will be more manageable.
Q: Can I cycle 100 miles without training?
No, you cannot cycle 100 miles without training, at least, for most people. Especially if you are a beginner, proper training is crucial to prepare physically and mentally. It won’t be easy, but it is doable if you prepare.
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Completing a 100 miles ride is a fulfilling but challenging feat. Especially if you are a beginner, you need to invest in physical and mental preparation. Proper diet and hydration are also important. You also need to invest in the right safety gear and make sure that your bike perfectly fits.