TeamCBC Cycling Tip – How to Prepare for a Century Ride

Many years ago a co-worker told me about riding 100 miles at an MS150 event. My response was, “100 miles in a row?” Riding that far or that long seemed crazy to me. I’ve since learned that it is not only possible, but a realistic goal, especially riding on flat roads. Here are some tips that will help you get there:
Before you try a solo ride around the Triangle, try something flat like BikeMS New Bern. Not only is it easier, but you also have plenty of people to ride with you, and rest stops every 10-15 miles.
In the words of Italian rider Fausto Coppi, “RIDE YOUR BIKE, RIDE YOUR BIKE, RIDE YOUR BIKE”. It’s not that simple, but there isn’t a substitute for putting in the miles every week. If you are riding in a big event like BikeMS, get used to riding in groups. The rule of thumb is that if you can ride 75 miles, you can ride 100. However, since New Bern is so flat, if you can ride 50-60 miles around the Triangle, you can ride 100 miles in New Bern. Try to plan your longest ride about 10 days to 2 weeks before the event.
Assuming you’ve been training (you have been training, right?), start tapering with about a week to go. This is not like cramming for an exam. Riding like mad the week before will only make it harder on the big day. In the last week, do some easy rides to keep loose and take a couple of days off.
Make sure your bike is in good shape a week before the ride. This will give you time to make adjustments. The only thing you want to do before the ride is pumping up the tires, make sure the chain is lubricated and your bike is clean. Eat a normal meal with a few more carbs and pack everything up the night before.
On the Day
A common mistake is to go out too fast. It’s a long ride and, if anything, ride a little slower than normal. Consistency is the key. Also, in all the excitement, don’t forget to eat and drink. Drink a bottle per hour and eat small amounts often. Eat real food. You can’t live on packets of GU.
Finally, enjoy it! If you ride at a pace you’re comfortable with and surrounded by your friends, it will be fun.
Here is a video that describes the approach in a little more detail:
Stay safe!
Rick Bunnell
President, TeamCBC