Monday, February 22, 2016

#10weeksto100 - Preparing for Your First Long Ride or Century

After learning to ride in comfort and at a reasonable pace, riding farther becomes the next goal for many new riders. Where the focus on power, speed and bike handling of competitive cycling can be intimidating, distance or endurance cycling events are both personally rewarding and fun experiences for riders at any age or skill level.

There are many different ways to be introduced to endurance riding:

  • As part of a health goal to improve overall fitness or to lose weight.
  • Participating in a charity ride like the Tour De Cure or MS150, that may include daily distances up to 100 miles.
  • Vacationing on a multi-day bicycle tour like Ohio's GOBA, Iowa's RAGBRAI or Michigan's DALMAC.
  • A more ambitious goal, like the160 mile RAIN (Ride Across Indiana In One Day).
  • Or just for the fun it!

Ohio's TOSRV, held every May
What ever your interest or goal, over the next 10 installments, this series will help you prepare for a fun and comfortable ride through a progressive, weekly riding plan. While this series is focused on a 100-mile ride, (also referred to as a century), this program can be used for preparing for rides of 50 miles (roughly 3 hours of saddle time) or more. In general, riding for 3-4 hours or more can be considered endurance riding. This series can also help you prepare for a multi-day bicycle tour.

It is important to understand that Endurance training is preparing your body in three different ways:

  • Cardio Conditioning: Training your heart and lungs for long, steady workouts
  • Muscular Conditioning: Legs, back, shoulders, neck and arms all play a role in endurance riding
  • Mental Conditioning: This is developing the habits of training, nutrition, pacing and most of all, confidence. Your mental conditioning may also be in making the shift from shorter running or gym workouts to an “all-day” activity like a century or multi-day tour.


During the course of the series, I will also share advice on bike maintenance, clothing, gear and nutrition. I am going to assume you have the bicycle basics covered; a bike you are comfortable riding, a basic understanding of riding safely, and basic cycling skills like shifting. It is also important that you have a bike computer for tracking your speed and miles. You will learn more as you progress, and I am available to answer questions and give advice on all the related aspects.

Week 1:  Three Questions to Ask
Week 2:  The Training Plan
Week 3:  Faster is as Important as Farther
Week 4: Your Bike is Your Training Partner
Week 5: Getting Your Bike Gear in Order
Week 6: Training Aches and Pains
Week 7: How To Find the Time
Week 8: Drink, Eat, Repeat
Week 9: Be Visible, Be Predictable, Be Aware
Week 10: Ten Tips from Experience


Jay on RAIN, 2012
About Jay Hardcastle:  I rode my first century in 1974, riding in cut-off jeans and a t-shirt on a steel-wheeled bike.  Since that first ride, I have ridden over 145 100+ mile events, including the Tour of the Scioto River Valley (2 days 210 miles), the Cascades Bicycle Club Seattle To Portland (1-day, 210 miles), The RAIN Ride (160 miles), the Apple Cider Century and dozens of smaller and ad-hoc centuries.  This experience also includes over 40 events on tandems, and over a half dozen done on a loaded touring bike.

Since 2005, I have taken a special interest in offering guidance to first time century riders, often accompanying them on spring and summer rides here in Indiana.  This series grew from that experience, and was also presented as a special clinic sessions for Bicycle Garage Indy in 2013 and 2014

Coaching vs. Mentoring: This series is intended as mentoring, rather than athlete specific coaching. That being the case, these are broad, general guidelines of a riding style and philosophy.

Medical Advisory: PLEASE consult your physician if you have a chronic condition requiring medication. Endurance riding and training, and the hydration and nutrition changes they bring about, may all have an impact on your medication’s effectiveness and daily needs.

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