Congratulations Randy On Your First Century Ride!

02 Sep

A few weeks ago a friend of mine, Randy, asked if I would like to join with him for his first Century bike ride (100 miles; 161km) and of course I said “yes.” Today (Labor Day in the United States) seemed like a good time to go so we headed out early into a rather strong headwind (gusting at 20 MPH). Randy has only been riding for a little over a year, but he has already more miles on his bike this year than many experienced cyclists will get before Christmas.

Randy Celebrating His First Century Bike Ride

Randy Celebrating His First Century Bike Ride

If you haven’t gone on your first Century ride yet, here are a few suggestions to help you along the way.

Work Your Way Up To It. In my opinion, anyone who can ride their bike 20 miles can be ready to do a Century within eight weeks—you just need to add 10 or 15 miles to your longest ride every week. Once you can comfortably ride 70 miles you are probably ready for a Century. If possible, plan it for a day when the wind is not too high. I don’t like riding Centuries in hot weather, so most of mine are either in the spring or fall of the year.

Get Some Rest. Everyone is different, but I prefer to not ride on the day before I do a Century. I also like to get a full night’s rest before a big ride (if you start a Century when you are tired it will feel like the Bataan Death March before the ride is over).

Fuel Up Before You Start. Most of the cyclists I know start their long rides within an hour or so of when they get out of bed—which means their body’s fuel supply is running on empty. On the morning of a long ride I try to consume about 80 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein.

Keep Consuming Carbs. On a normal Century ride I burn at least 6,000 calories and try to consume about 2,000 calories during the ride. This morning I left home with about 1,500 calories worth of carbohydrate gels and planned to buy a few bananas or fig bars at a convenience store to supplement what I brought. Unfortunately, the one store that usually carries bananas was sold out! However, at the 75 mile mark I found a convenience store that had a ham, turkey and cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread (300 calories with 28 grams of carbs and 25 grams of protein).

Recovery Properly. The first thing I do when I get home from a long ride is to drink a can or two of pineapple juice, followed by a quart of low-fat chocolate milk (or some other recovery drink with protein). My goal is to consume 100 grams of carbs within 30 minutes of the time I get off the bike.

Take A Few Photos. On your first Century ride you really need to take a few photos—at least have someone take a photo of you and your bike when you get home! Let’s face, you can finally tell people that you are a real cyclist!

If you’ve gone on a Century ride or two before, what tips would you offer to someone before they make their first attempt?


Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Life On Two Wheels


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42 responses to “Congratulations Randy On Your First Century Ride!

  1. billgncs

    September 2, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    funny how after you do one, you can really do another without so much fanfare. It’s really a matter of mind and understanding how your body reacts.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 2, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      During our ride I told Randy that from now on an 80-mile ride will seem like nothing! It’s like when you’ve gone out riding at -20F — after that anything above zero seems fantastic!

      • billgncs

        September 3, 2013 at 6:48 AM

        yikes!!!! that has me shivering, but it shows that much of endurance activity is mental.

        -20, might be mental issues 🙂

  2. Adam C. Henderson

    September 2, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Warm DOWN and stretch afterward. After my recent (first) century I was faced with an hour drive back to “home” for the evening. After chatting a few minutes, drinking some water and loading my bike in the van we headed out. About 30 minutes into the ride home I experienced excruciating cramping…total lock up. Fought it the rest of the night. I had prepared for the ride, managed the ride well, and TOTALLY forgotten about recovery… duh! Noob mistakes can be painful!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 3, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      Great advice! I use “The Stick” to roll out my leg muscles after a ride (and a foam roller as well).

  3. sedge808

    September 2, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    cool. congrats.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 3, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      It’s always cool when someone rides their first Century isn’t it?

  4. Bike around Britain

    September 3, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    Definitely agree on the chocolate milk front, it’s the best, and helped get me 5000 miles plus around the coast of Britain. That and bananas, and the odd pint for medicinal purposes.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 3, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      Best be careful with the “medicinal pint” or you might forget how to get home from the pub!

  5. Charles Huss

    September 3, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    Congrats to Randy. I’d like to do one someday soon.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 3, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      Since you live in Florida you might want to wait till winter!

      • Charles Huss

        September 4, 2013 at 5:34 AM

        It is definitely not a summer activity around here.

  6. unsportywomencanrun

    September 3, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    Wow, that’s a long way. Very impressed 🙂

  7. inviteabitegirl1

    September 3, 2013 at 5:57 AM

    Awesome, Congrats to Randy!!!
    Something I would add is Hydrate, don’t forget to hydrate 24 hours I advance of the century. I also take a warm mineral bath an hour before my long rides or races, not only does it loosen up my limbs it also allows me to absorb electrolytes. Great post!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 3, 2013 at 8:28 PM

      I’ve never thought about taking a mineral bath before a ride — thanks for the suggestion.

      • inviteabitegirl1

        September 3, 2013 at 8:51 PM

        It really helps before and after with electrolytes.

  8. Joboo

    September 3, 2013 at 7:14 AM

    Nice job Randy!!
    Pedal On!!

  9. TdF

    September 3, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    yeah! now randy is ready for the maratona dles dolomites 😉

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 3, 2013 at 8:29 PM

      Are you trying to kill the poor guy? A ride in the Dolomites is not for the faint of heart!

      • TdF

        September 4, 2013 at 2:39 AM

        what do you mean with faint of heart? is randy a playboy? then he should come here to prague 😉

  10. bamboogirl

    September 3, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Congrats to Randy and for you going with him to help him motivate! It’s so helpful to have a friend like you that can help a new cyclist get over that initial century ride. I felt badly that I didn’t motivate myself enough to do a century last month because I psyched myself out of it. 10K feet of elevation on some of our worst paved roads didn’t sound enticing enough, I guess.. I think I’ll try a more flat one, though, but maybe if I ask you to join me, I’ll end up doing it! 😛

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 3, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      10K feet of elevation? I would be gasping for air like a fish out of water!

  11. drainbamms

    September 3, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    Congratulations to Randy, great effort. I completed my first Century ride earlier this year, on a fully laden touring bike with camping gear, and it was tough to say the least! I’ll never forget the feeling of having completed my first Century though. I’m taking a friend out for his first one tomorrow, on a beautiful route through rural Lincolnshire, England. We’re both on nice light road bikes this time thankfully…

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 3, 2013 at 8:31 PM

      I’ve got to ask how long the ride took with a fully loaded bike! I think your ride tomorrow will be a lot quicker!

      • drainbamms

        September 5, 2013 at 4:32 PM

        It took quite a while on the fully loaded bike! As well as all my gear, it was crazily hilly and very hot, and I did it in 10 hours of cycling. Yesterday’s Century ride (see latest blog entry) was done in 7 hours 47 mins of cycling. So I’m clearly no racer, and I’m sure plenty of you guys ride a century far more quickly than me 🙂

  12. Randy

    September 3, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Thanks all, this was a big accomplishment. When I start riding last June I was in terrible shape form working 3rd shift for 3 years, riding 15 miles a day and could barely make it up the stairs to shower. I meet David on the road last July and he started me in the right direction to become a cylist. Thanks David for you tips and motivation.

  13. isaac976

    September 3, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Good Tip for all out there as always, May I add

    1. please do hydrate out there or take in Salt pills along the journey to ensure you don’t get cramps. otherwise you pretty covered much of it.

    2. for such long journey, either bring one or two tubes as you will never want to be stuck on mile 80 with 2 puncture.

    3. You can fill up your tube with those anti-puncture as well.

    Otherwise, have fun, century ride are just so fun.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 3, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      Great advice! Since Randy and I both have GatorSkin tires we made it without a single flat!

      • isaac976

        September 3, 2013 at 8:39 PM

        Can never be too confident Sir, but yes I agree those gatorskins are made pretty tough, I went a Year without any puncture.

        I am trying Vittoria now.

  14. Dante

    September 4, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    Congrats indeed Randy!

    “What does not kill me makes me stronger.” —Friedrich Nietzsche, TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS

    Yup, the more you do, the stronger you become. When you’ve done 120+ miles of sporting rides, the 70-80 mile rides will turn into a “piece of cake” recreational ride.

    As for me, I need to do a round trip from South San Francisco to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (as my “RITE OF PASSAGE” as a cyclist), then hang at the Santa Cruz beach for 2 hours before heading back for another 70 miles….about a total of 140 miles. But I hear those cliffs in Highway 1 are dangerous…there are no bike lanes and when a big rig passes, you may have to stop and pull over…so be it.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 5, 2013 at 9:20 PM

      140 is mighty impressive! The furthest I’ve gone on a ride was only about 120 miles.

      • Dante

        September 6, 2013 at 6:54 AM

        I have not done it yet. The most I’ve done in one day so far is 105 miles. But I want to set a record for myself. I’ll probably start the ride before sunrise and wish to finish it before sunset—which is not gonna happen. I’ll probably make it home in the evening around 7PM or 8PM especially if I end up spending 2 hours rest break at the beach.

        I’ve spoken to some advanced cyclists and some have done 130-135 miles. But now that you say that 140 miles is “mighty impressive”, maybe I am just dreaming and will not be able to pull it off. I guess it all depends on my preparation, rest, pacing, and the weather temperature during the ride. Thanks for the very helpful suggestions by the way. Your blog is very useful for cyclists. I am lucky to be following it.

  15. st sahm

    September 4, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    You should have a bike license plate that reads, “Captain Centurion”. What an adventure and the burning of 6,000 no less…

  16. Nancy L. Seibel

    September 4, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    I swear by The Stick and a foam roller too. My first century is coming up this October. Did my second metric in August and was surprised and pleased that I wasn’t especially sore the next day. We’ll see if I can say that after the century.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 5, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      The longer the ride the more I appreciate the foam roller and the stick (especially the next day).

  17. happynapkinface

    September 6, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Great advice!! I just got a bike this year and have been really enjoying it when I can go ride. It’s a huge difference between the “standard” bike that I’ve always ridden. I’m actually fast! 🙂 I’ve had a lot of questions, and now I know where to look for answers! Thank you.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 7, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      First, congratulations on getting a better bike! Second, please be careful — cycling is highly addictive — you might end up with a garage full of bikes, bike parts and tools (however, my wife says she can live with my addiction).


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