Americans say that a century ride is a bicycle ride of 100 miles. Americans call what we ride, 100 km, a metric century. But given that the rest of the world uses kilometers and that cycling in particular is a Europe based support, I say 100 km is a real century and what they ride is an “imperial century.” See Rule 24. Whatever. Ours is easier. It’s often a new rider’s first big distance and that’s what I’m talking about today.
There are quite a few people associated with the blog doing the 1 day version of the bike rally (you can sign up, there’s still time!). Hi Catherine! Hi Sarah! Hi also to readers Serife and Judy! Since the one day version is Toronto to Port Hope (108 km) a post on riding 100 km for the first time seemed apt.
Want to come with us? See Ride with the Fit is a Feminist Issue bloggers! Consider the 1 day
It’s been a slow start to cycling this spring and I know some people are feeling nervous about the distance.
100 km is nothing to sneeze at. But it’s totally doable if you regularly ride your bike.
Suppose you’re just starting training now. We leave in 9 weeks and 3 days. Where to begin?
Most training plans recommend riding 3+ times a week. They also recommend a longer ride on the weekend.
How much do I ride when I’m actively training? I usually commute by bike (just 10-15 km a day) and then do longer, faster rides (40 km) Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the weekend I do a longer ride at a more relaxed pace. That’s a pretty normal sort of schedule for cyclists.
But what I do doesn’t matter really. You’re just starting out. This is your first 100 km ride.
The pattern remains the same though, regular weekday riding and a longer ride once a week. Each week the longer ride gets longer.
Right now with 9 weeks to go you might want to start out with a 25 km long ride on week 1, a 30 km ride on week 2, a 35 km ride in week 3, a 45 km ride in week 4, a 55 km ride in week 5, a 65 km ride in week 6, a 75 km ride in week 7, an 85 km ride in week 8, and a 100 km ride in week 9. Most people to their long rides on Saturday and Sunday and if you’re in Toronto you’re welcome to join in on the bike rally’s official training rides. See details here and here.
- Now you don’t actually have to ridden the full distance before the actual date. Lots of people train for marathons and don’t ever run the full distance before the race. Riding a century is the same. Before I rode 100 km the most is ridden was about 60 km. But it turned out that stopping for lunch and resting made it easy to get back on the bike.
- When you’re riding each week trying to increase your mileage you need to find routes. A good resource is Ride with GPS. Local bike clubs often share their maps too. Print out a route map and/or load it on your bike computer. Vary your route to avoid boredom and to get used to riding on a variety of terrain.
- Once your rides start to get longer, don’t go it alone. Ride with friends, ride with a training group, ride with a local cycling club. You’ll need someone to talk to and it’s more fun and safer not to be out there alone.
- If you’re riding in the city you might get downhearted thinking it takes forever to ride 20 km. You’re right. It does take forever to ride 20 km in the city. But without traffic once you hit country roads you’ll find the kilometers go by a lot faster. It’s hard work stopping and starting on a bike.
- Speaking of stopping, there are rest stops on an organized century rides. The bike rally has rest stops and a lunch break. You can stop at the rest stops. Eat! Drink! It feels good to get off your bike and stretch. Don’t sit still for too long though. It can be hard to get back on the bike.
- One of the things that makes a long ride easier is maintaining a steady pace. There’s no need to speed up and slow down. Pick a pace you can maintain and maintain it. Later, when you’re sure you’re good to ride 100 km you can speed up, zoom zoom!, but for now take it easy and be consistent.
- Pack snacks and eat and drink a lot on the ride. Enjoy.
Also here’s a cute short film about training for a century. Read about it here.
“Based on a true story, a father and son set a goal to complete a 100 mile bike ride (a century ride) together. Months of rigorous training lead up to the final ride in Lake Tahoe. As the ride progresses, the viewer is immersed in the beautiful scenery of the lake, and we see how the father and son are brought closer together by the shared experience.”
Have you ridden 100 km in a day before? What advice would you give to people trying it for the first time?