Are you up for the challenge of riding a 100-mile ride or sportive? It’s an incredible feat that requires proper preparation and determination. In this guide, written with the help of David Matthews knowledge from the Ditton Velo’s Cycling Club, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to make your 100-mile ride a resounding success. From equipment preparation to body conditioning and mental fortitude, we’ll cover everything you need to know to conquer this impressive distance.
One of the most critical aspects of a successful 100-mile ride is ensuring your equipment is in top shape. Your bike is your trusty companion on this journey, so it’s vital to have it serviced before the event. This way, you can address any potential issues and have peace of mind knowing that your bike is ready for the challenge.
In addition to servicing, pay special attention to your tires. Opt for new ones to minimize the chances of a puncture. Keeping your tires correctly inflated not only prevents flats but also improves your riding efficiency by saving watts and enhancing comfort. To be fully prepared, familiarize yourself with a pre-ride checklist, which you can find on the Ditton Velo’s website.
Knowing how to change an inner tube in the case of a puncture is essential. Pack enough spare tubes, typically 2 to 3, along with the necessary tools in your saddle bag. Don’t forget to check that your pump is in good working order. Additionally, give your chain a thorough cleaning and proper lubrication. Remember, a clean bike is a faster bike!
Comfort plays a significant role during long rides, so take the time to ensure you’re comfortable on your bike. Consider getting a professional bike fit or seeking assistance from a knowledgeable club mate. Pay special attention to the contact points, such as your hands, bum, and feet. Invest in a comfortable saddle that you’ve already tested and break in your padded shorts. Don’t forget to use chamois cream for added comfort. Your shoes should be well-fitted and not too tight, as your feet may swell slightly throughout the day. Check that your cleats are in good condition and properly tightened.
When it comes to clothing, prepare for different weather conditions. If you’re starting early in the morning when it’s cold, bring a packable jacket or gilet that you can stow once you’ve warmed up. Opt for adaptable clothing like layers and arm warmers to easily regulate your body temperature. Wearing a jersey with a full-length zip provides even more control. Finally, remember to apply sun cream if you’re riding in the summer.
Before the big day, create a checklist to ensure you have everything you need. Double-check that you’ve downloaded the route and loaded it onto your Garmin or Wahoo device. Familiarize yourself with the route, noting any hills, danger points, or feed stations. Stay updated by checking the event website for any last-minute news or changes.
Preparing your body is just as important as preparing your equipment. Ideally, you should start a training program at least eight weeks before the event, assuming you’re already a regular cyclist. The training should gradually increase in intensity and mileage, with a peak 10 to 14 days before the ride. Aim to complete at least two 80-mile rides during your training period. Remember, the adrenaline and drafting in a group will carry you through the remaining 20% on the day itself.
Building endurance requires consistent training. Simply participating in Saturday club rides won’t be enough. Ride at least three times a week, incorporating a mix of shorter and faster rides, gym sessions for core strength, and one long endurance ride per week. The hours you spend on the bike will strengthen your contact points, so don’t shy away from the mileage. Experiment with raising your handlebars slightly if you find it more comfortable for long rides, as it reduces strain on your neck and weight on your arms. Change your position frequently to relieve pressure on your bum, and don’t forget to stretch during the feed stops.
Riding in a group can save energy and make the experience more enjoyable. Practice riding in close proximity to others, maintaining a distance of 15 to 30 centimeters from the wheel in front of you. Taking turns at the front of the group fosters camaraderie and ensures everyone shares the workload. Keep your time at the front relatively short, around 15 to 30 pedal turns, and pay attention to the peeling-off routine. Avoid pushing yourself beyond a comfortable pace and be willing to drop back to a slower group if needed. Chatting while riding is a good indicator that you’re maintaining an appropriate effort level.
Energy management is crucial during the ride. Your body can absorb only 60 to 90 grams of carbohydrates (sugars) per hour. This translates to approximately 2 to 3 energy gels per hour, providing around 250 calories. Considering that you’ll be burning 600 to 800 calories per hour, there will be a significant energy deficit that needs to be supplemented by your body’s stores, mainly glycogen in your muscles and liver. Building up your glycogen stores and improving your fat-burning ability through weeks of training is essential. Start consuming solid carbs from the beginning of the ride and continue to eat every 20 minutes, gradually switching to gels as the ride progresses. If your Garmin has an eat and drink reminder setting, make use of it. Consider using a bar or top tube bag for easy access to your nutrition.
Staying hydrated is also crucial, as you’ll lose fluids through sweat and respiration. Even when riding at high speeds, you may not immediately notice the sweat until you stop or encounter an uphill section. Therefore, it’s important to keep drinking throughout the ride. Practice drinking while riding in a group to improve your skills. If necessary, move to the back or edge of the group to take a drink. When it comes to drink choices, water is generally sufficient. You can add electrolytes and some energy if it doesn’t upset your stomach. Drinking a weak mixture of salt and glucose aids fluid absorption, but this is different from energy sachets in sports drinks. Unless you lose an excessive amount of salt and return from a ride with salt-caked kit, additional electrolytes are usually unnecessary. Don’t become overly concerned about electrolyte levels. Our bodies don’t require extra magnesium, chloride, calcium, or potassium during a ride.
Take advantage of feed stations to replenish your fluids and consume carbs. Avoid tempting, high-calorie foods like sausage rolls or pizza, especially those containing high amounts of fat. Your muscles need a maximum blood supply, and heavy foods can put additional strain on your digestive system. Stick to what you know works best for you in terms of energy gels, drinks, and solid foods. Energy bars and gels can be quite sweet, so consider options like fig rolls, malt loaf, homemade rice cakes, marmite sandwiches, rich fruit cake, and possibly a Nakd bar or Snickers. Refrain from intense exercise for three days before the event and focus on maintaining a high-carbohydrate diet. Avoid alcohol in the week leading up to the ride and ensure you’re well-hydrated, especially on the day before.
Your mindset plays a significant role in successfully completing a 100-mile ride. Remember, anyone can ride 100 miles—it’s just a matter of time. Although the distance may seem daunting, breaking it down into manageable chunks can make it feel much more achievable. For example, think of it as four 25-mile segments. Take note of landmarks or feed stations along the route and mentally tick them off as you pass them. You can even write them on masking tape and attach it to your stem or top tube for a visual reminder.
Distractions can help pass the time and keep your mind engaged. Strike up conversations with fellow riders to make the ride more enjoyable. If you prefer to focus inward, think about unrelated topics such as your shopping list or other upcoming events. Avoid fixating on the distance displayed on your Garmin and choose a screen that shows your heart rate, power output, and cadence instead. Appreciate the surrounding scenery, take note of interesting landmarks, and buildings along the way.
Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial when facing obstacles during the ride. Approach steep hills strategically by changing gears, maintaining a steady cadence, and avoiding overexertion. Remember, it’s not a race to the top of each hill—go at your own pace. Give yourself credit for conquering each hill by acknowledging your training efforts. Focus on the long game and the ultimate goal of completing the ride.
Relaxation is key to conserving energy during the ride. Tension and stress can deplete your resources, so make a conscious effort to relax. Avoid gripping the handlebars too tightly and periodically sit up and release tension. Relax your shoulders and neck muscles, as tightness in these areas can lead to neck pain and numbness in your arms. Extend and relax your neck, push your chest out, and swing your arms around (away from other riders). Try to pedal with relaxed legs and toes, focusing on making smooth, circular motions. Experiment with briefly pulling up on the pedals instead of constantly pushing down. Breathe through your nose and take in the natural scents of the countryside. Remind yourself of your training and how your body responds to the exercise. You’ve put in the effort, covered most of the distance during training, and have a solid base for the day. Trust your training and believe in your ability to finish strong.
Riding a 100-mile sportive or ride is a significant achievement that requires careful preparation of both your equipment and body. Ensuring your bike is in top shape, training your body for endurance, managing your energy and hydration, and cultivating a positive and relaxed mindset are all essential elements for a successful ride. With the right preparation and mindset, you can conquer the 100-mile distance and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. So, get out there, embrace the challenge, and ride your way to success!
Q: How long does it take to complete a 100-mile ride?
A: The time it takes to complete a 100-mile ride varies depending on several factors, including your fitness level, the terrain, weather conditions, and your personal riding pace. On average, it can take anywhere from 5 to 8 hours to complete a 100-mile ride.
Q: Should I eat before the ride?
A: Yes, it’s important to fuel your body before the ride. Eat a balanced meal that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats a few hours before the ride to provide your body with sustained energy. Avoid eating a heavy meal too close to the ride to prevent digestive issues.
Q: How should I pace myself during a 100-mile ride?
A: Pacing yourself is crucial for successfully completing a 100-mile ride. Start at a comfortable pace and aim to maintain a steady effort throughout the ride. Avoid going out too fast in the beginning, as it can lead to burnout later on. Listen to your body, take breaks when needed, and adjust your pace based on the terrain and your energy levels.
Q: Is drafting in a group beneficial during a 100-mile ride?
A: Yes, drafting or riding in a group can provide significant benefits during a long ride. By riding closely behind another rider, you can reduce wind resistance and save energy. It’s important to communicate and cooperate with the group, taking turns at the front and maintaining a safe distance from other riders.
Q: What should I do if I get a puncture during the ride?
A: If you get a puncture during the ride, find a safe spot to pull over and change the inner tube. Make sure you have the necessary tools and spare tubes with you. If you’re not confident in changing the tube yourself, ask for assistance from fellow riders or event support staff. Practice changing tubes before the ride to familiarize yourself with the process.