Get Ready for Your Century Ride

This article is presented by the Harvest Century, a huge ride that celebrates an awesome season of cycling in Oregon. This beloved ride is every September in Hillsboro.

So you’ve signed up for Survival Century, Harvest Century or some other awesome distance ride. Now what? How will you conquer that long road ahead?

If you’re an experienced century rider and your legs are already loose for the summer, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Get your bike checked out, get your friends to sign up and you’re good to go.


If you’re new to it all, don’t worry – YOU CAN DO IT.

The beauty of biking on a supported ride is that there are regular stops with food, water and support. You don’t have to carry your own gear and the routes are planned for low-traffic roads and the best riding. All you have to do it relax in your saddle and crank away at the miles. With good nutrition before and during the ride, you’ll be surprised how well your body checks off those miles.


Everyone is different, so find what works best for you, but here are some universal truths:

  • Spend the next few weeks paying attention to how foods make you feel. What’s good when you’re tired? What makes you feel stronger? See if you can pack treats that might help you get those same results.
  • Avoid too much sugar on the morning of the ride.
  • Eat a nourishing, big dinner the night before.
  • In the morning, eat a thorough, protein-rich breakfast that you know to be your personal power breakfast. Eggs, good Greek yogurt (look for the kind with plenty of protein per serving, like Chobani), and nutty granola are all good choices. Get your meal in at least an hour before you plan to hit the course.
  • Pack snacks. The ride will have treats along the way, but pack the favorites that help you meet your dietary needs so you’ll be satisfied at every mile.
  • Don’t be afraid to eat. You’re cranking out miles, you’re earning it and your body craves the calories for power.
  • When it’s hot out, you may not feel hungry. Be sure to eat regularly anyway, even just a little. The heat, exhaustion and lack of calories can catch up with you later. A little nibble at each rest stop is a good program to follow.
  • Drink plenty of water. See our Hydration Guide.


This is a recommended training schedule geared toward people who have not been on their bike much in the few months prior to the ride. If you ride 50+ miles a week, you probably do not need to train for the ride. This is only a recommendation. Pay attention to your body’s needs and do not push yourself in a way that is uncomfortable.

If your ride is a century, you can usually get away with training for 70 miles and you’ll do just fine on the full century since it likely includes rest stops, lunch and plenty of relaxation time.

Week one: 1/2 the total miles of your chosen course (and reward yourself afterward!).

Week two: Add 5 miles (and reward yourself afterward!).

Week three: Add 10 miles and be sure that includes increased elevation (and reward yourself afterward!).

Week three: Add 10 miles and be sure that includes increased elevation (and reward yourself afterward!).

Week four: If you are not yet at your total mileage, ride 90% of the mileage of your course or more if you’re feeling really good (and reward yourself afterward!).

Week before the ride: Unless you’re a regular, experienced distance rider, avoid going on a ride longer than 25 miles in this crucial week. Instead, pedal for around 15 miles on the weekend and ride your bike 2-8 miles at a time leading up to the ride. Keep your legs moving, stretch and relax. Stay on the bike, but keep it very light.


What do you do to prepare for a century ride?

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