Before embarking on an event such as a century, there are two things to keep in mimd:
- Anyone can do a century. It takes determination, preparation and consistency.
- You have access to a bike in good working condition for training and riding on the day of the event.
Start with these two premises, get in the right mindset and remember to enjoy the entire journey to your first (or more-than-first) century!
Preparing for the ride
- Whether you are already able to ride 100 miles or you have a long way to go, keep a log or riding diary. This will help start your training and stay on track with your goals. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet or one of a variety of training diaries available that track info, like route, speed, temperature, moods, heart rate, etc.
- If you currently ride less than 100 miles per week, increase that mileage gradually in the weeks prior to the event, trying to ride at least 30 miles during the week, and 70 on the weekend. Commuting to work or lunch time rides can help you meet that midweek mileage goal.
- If you do not have time during the week you can do moderate length rides on weekends and still complete the tour de Steamboat. Ideally you should try to get out a couple of times during the week to keep the muscles loose and in shape. Any form of exercise, even walking is advisable, however riding is the best way to get in shape for riding! The more you ride before the century, the better your ride experience will be!
- Begin to increase the length of your longest ride toward the century mark gradually. Don’t increase your longest ride from 25 miles to 70 in one week. Do try to do at least a 70 mile ride prior to doing the actual century. Your overall pace on the 70 mile ride should be a good indication of your pace on the century.
- The Tour de Steamboat has A LOT of climbing. Find hills and ride them, especially if you hate hills!
- Get your friends involved. Its more fun to ride with others, so find people to ride with. Make plans to ride with others and stick to it. It’s harder to not go riding if someone is expecting you. The ride will go quicker if you have someone to talk to and you can help each other by drafting when it’s windy.
- Ask about group rides at the local bike shops. Many clubs have organized rides of varying lengths, for various abilities, at various paces. A bike club is a valuable resource. You will meet many like-minded people. It can also serve as a great source of information about routes, shops, equipment, fit, etc.
- Riding with a club will also prepare you for riding in crowds. If you normally ride alone, it can be rather unnerving to be passed by a large peloton doing 30+ mph, or finding yourself in a pack of riders pointing out potholes and glass and such.
- Learn to eat and drink while you are riding! It is a skill to manage intake while exercising. Figure out what foods you like and dislike while biking ahead of time. Check out our website for a list items available at each aid station.
- Recognize what it is to “bonk” and know how to come back from bonking while riding. You can recover, you simply need to eat. Just because you “bonk” does not mean your ride is over, it’s just a phase…
Remember to keep it fun, be prepared and enjoy the big event! If you have other questions about your training or the ride, email us at contact us and we’ll get right back to you.
Katie Eriksen’s Long Ride Tips
Getting ready for the Tour de Steamboat, an epic gravel ride or a long distance backcountry mountain bike adventure? Here are 10 tips to make sure you are prepared for any long ride:
- Have your bike checked by a mechanic, including the tires, rim tape, drivetrain, spokes, rims, brake pads and tighten and lubricate all bolts. Prevention is cheaper than a costly repair and/or rescue.
- Think time not miles. A ride like the Tour de Steamboat covers over 7,000 feet of climbing at elevation. You need to pace, eat, drink and enjoy. Be prepared to spend 7-10 hours on your bike by spending seven or more hours on your bike. A prepared body starts with a prepared mindset!
- Eat food, real food. Rice balls, burritos, cheese sticks, fruit and PB and J sandwiches power me much better than commercial bars. I still use commercial bars when I need to, but real food tastes better, generates enthusiasm to eat, and it’s cheaper.
- Bonking is NOT certain death. In fact, you can typically rally from that dizzy, fatigued feeling within 5-10 minutes just by eating. Yup, eat, drink, eat some more, and soon your mood and body will feel better. A rider can burn up to 600 calories per hour of riding, and we typically eat a gel or half a bar an hour, which equals about 100 calories. Easy math on how quickly a cyclist can get into a deficit. The key is to enjoy riding, not feel like crap and avoid riding altogether.
- Keeping track of your rides by fun factor¾folks you rode with, how you felt, goals reached¾will keep you motivated and enjoying the bike. Mileage, body weight and speed can motivate some, but not everyone. If it’s not working, try something different.
- Get a good night’s sleep TWO nights before the actual event. Yup, don’t worry about the night before and the restless sleep you will most likely have. That’s nature’s way of making sure you are prepared and that you wake up on time. Let that bad night of sleep roll off your shoulders. You are ready because you focused on a good night’s sleep earlier in the week.
- Try a bigger tire for your road bike. A 25-28 cm tire is more durable, more comfortable and faster due to better control and a larger contact patch.
- Join AAA. Not only do they assist you with auto roadside emergencies, they will come get you if you are stranded on your bike.
- Use Chamois cream like sunscreen. It always seems like too much trouble to put on, but your skin, sit bones and you will appreciate it. Apply it during the ride, too.
- Check your equipment. Make sure you have a working bike and a tool kit (spare tubes, patch kit, tire irons, mini-tool and $20) and know how it all works. A helmet, good sunglasses, gloves, cycling clothes, high-visibility socks, sunscreen and chamois butter are also must-haves.
Katie Lindquist is Ride Director for the Tour de Steamboat. She is also a World Champion 24 Hour Solo racer, RAAM competitor and long-time bike enthusiast.