So you want to ride a century? Well let me tell you I have no idea what I'm doing so don’t ask me for advice!
I'm a runner first and foremost, but due to an injury I suffered over a year ago (and still not quite healed), I decided I needed a goal...and what better goal than a century ride?
I'm a bike commuter but nothing crazy. I'll go maybe 5-7 miles at a time at most. When I decided I was going to do this my longest bike ride was 25 miles. Not bad, but still 75 miles more to go, oy!
I'm fortunate to work part-time at Edge Athlete Lounge where I have access to not only Wahoo KICKRs for long bike rides and "ftp" (functional threshold power)-based workouts, as well as a plethora of knowledgeable cyclists to pick the brains of.
There are triathlon coaches and groups, avid cyclists, and elite cyclists that are all willing to give me advice and guidance on what I need to do, and what I should be doing to build my mileage and strength.
Based on their guidance, I've started doing a couple "strength/speed" workouts weekly at Edge and then a longer ride once a week. As I said, I'm a runner first so I still do runs to keep up my endurance. Hoping this will help carry me to the finish of a 100 mile bike.
My bike was originally bought to do a sprint triathlon, which I did and then retired it! I pulled it out of retirement to get it road ready. I've recently taken it in to Fleet Feet Sports in Deerfield to get it properly fit and tuned up. I had no idea a proper fit could take so long. I seriously thought they would just measure my legs and torso, wrench a little and then send me on my way. Oh no!
That did happen plus sitting on other seats while my bike was on what I would equate to bike treadmill (I’m sure someone here knows the proper terminology for this). I had to pedal away while adjustments were made up and down and back and forth, this was a workout in itself. I’m looking forward to longer rides to get used to the new fit and make sure it works for me.
Next up has been finding the proper ride gear. One thing I've learned is that cycling gear is like running gear: so many brands, so much variety, so many fits, and so little money to get it all!
I've been mostly going off of recommendations from others to start. Extremely helpful to get one's clothing situation started. I wish there was a clothing swap somewhere, you know similar to Goodwill but with the "I only wore this once" requirement. I do have my Chainlink Kit and OMG it’s like a second skin. I love it and I was told I look pretty legit in it so I don’t think I need to ride. I’ll just walk around in my kit and pretend I’m a cyclist and say things like top tube, derailleur, cog, etc...just to fit in, you know! I will say I think my sock game is already on. I'm a big fan of Stance Socks, so at least one thing looks right while I'm riding awkwardly!
The final piece to my mismatched puzzle is choosing the right Century to do. I’ve been told the North Shore Century and the Apple Cider Century are both equally great. I’ve also been told by a few fellow riders that they’d be happy to just go ride with me, an “unofficial century” but 100 miles for sure.
I like the idea of both because my schedule is really crazy and the first two fall around the time I’m trying to run an Ultra-marathon so probably not best to follow up the next day with a 100 mile back ride?
As you can see I probably only have a halfway decent game plan. I think it’s better than no plan and just winging it. If you’re reading this and want to share some advice I will gladly take it:
Feel free to share in the comments below!