In the cycling world, a century ride (100 miles) is the pinnacle distance to achieve – a crowning moment of pride. If you’ve never completed a century but think you’re up for the challenge, we’re here to be the tailwind that helps you cruise through those miles.
Organized rides are a great way to achieve a century. Support along the way means you don’t have to carry much of anything and rest stops will keep you well fueled. And the finish line parties most rides have are a great motivator to keep you cranking.
It’s easiest to reach your 100 mile goal with solid riding and some training. Start by riding nearly daily, even if it’s just to work and back. Head out on the weekends of for longer rides. Going the distance doesn’t require going fast, but it does require stamina. Keep riding and push yourself to go further than you have before.
Reward yourself! This means your muscles, body and your mind. Stretch gently after your ride, nourish yourself with healthy foods and reward yourself with tasty treats. Don’t be shy about taking an extra serving of pie.
Consider rides in other places. Traveling for a bike ride is a very fun way to see a new part of the country while riding your bike. You’re sure to meet all sorts of interesting people. Once you sign up for the ride and make your travel plans, you’re committed. That means you’re more likely to train and get ready for the ride.
Riding in another location can also be more interesting. If you ride a lot in your hometown, the same routes can start to become mundane. A new location gives you the opportunity to explore a new area and see new sights. This can make the 100 miles much more intriguing.
And here’s the dirty little secret no one wants to admit: 100 miles can be boring. It’s true, though not for everyone. A course that varies with hills, curves, vistas and descents helps keep things interesting. Rest stops placed frequently on course (every 20 miles or so) can make it easy to break up the ride. But sometimes you hit that 75 mile mark and start to dread the fact that you still have 25 more to go. And while we can’t tell you one magic technique for making those final 25 miles fly by, we can offer some tips.
Think through a project. What’s that kitchen remodel going to look like? How are you going to save for your grand adventure? What should your business plan look like? What should you do to celebrate your anniversary? What’s going in the garden this year? Is is time to quit your job?
Time spent on the bike is often a uniquely clear-headed time, free of the clutter of daily life. This can be a great time to brainstorm. And that brainstorming can be an incredible distraction from the miles ahead. They might just fly by!
You can also focus on the scenery. What are you seeing? How does that differ from where you usually ride? Don’t be afraid to stop and take pictures – capture those awesome scenes and settings so you can later share them with others.
Focus on the finish line. Will you enjoy an amazing smoothie, a piece of pie, a burger or a massage? How will you relax afterward? Thinking about those pleasurable moments can do wonders for keeping you motivated!
And don’t beat yourself up for struggling through the final miles. Most of us do, and that’s all part of the experience.
PHOTO CREDIT: Arthritis Bike Classic