Ride

You might think this is obvious, and it might be, but you should be laying down some serious miles. Plan on riding 2-3 times during the week for an hour or more. Save the big miles for the weekend and make sure that you have done a couple of 4-hour rides prior to your century. Not only do you need the physical endurance to pedal 100 miles, it’s a good idea to understand what it’s like to spend several hours on your bike pedaling. Make sure that you are comfortable. Those slight annoyances on your short rides can turn into ride enders somewhere around mile 84.

If you aren’t doing the century, plan your long rides to reach close to your distance a couple of weeks prior to your ride. This will get you ready to pedal and be in the saddle for the duration.

Eat

Your fuel is essential to your ride. Make sure to dial in what you are using, how much you will need and when during your rides. Do all your experimenting several weeks in advance. The last thing you want to do is try something new on your ride. Certain nutritionals can work for one person and give another a serious gut bomb.

Timing is also important. Your body can only absorb so many calories at once. Find out how soon you need to eat and how often on your training rides. Then plan out what you will consume and when and stick to it.

Maintain

For you to make it to the finish line, your bike has to make it to the finish line, too. Two weeks before your gran fondo, take it to a bike shop and have them perform a tune up. Make sure they check your chain, brake pads and tires for wear. Replace any items that are toward the end of their useful lifespan. These wear and tear items are relatively inexpensive but can quickly ruin a ride of they happen to fail during your event.

The timing of this tune-up is important. Two weeks will give you time to get a few more training rides on your bike to make sure everything is settled. If you notice anything that isn’t quite right, take it back and have them fix it. If you have a tune-up right before your ride, you run the risk of having something settle or stretch and will have to deal with it during your ride. On the flip side, if you have it done too early, you can put enough miles on your bike preparing for your ride that a 2nd tune-up could be necessary.

Written by Lukas Brinkerhoff