Week 1: Why a Century Ride
June 22, 2016/ Maria Parker
This is week one of a twelve week series to help you train for and successfully complete a century ride. Check out the free 12 Week Couch to Century training plan here.
In cycling parlance, a Century is a 100 mile ride. For riders new to cycling, or new to recumbent cycling, completing a century is a challenging and worthwhile goal. At Cruzbike one of our goals is to increase cycling in the world. One way we can do that is to encourage Cruzbike owners to put the miles in to train for a century ride. When I first rode 100 miles on my Cruzbike Sofrider, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for going places on my bike. If I could ride 100 miles, I figured I could ride to a nearby city 90 miles away for my nephew’s wedding. After that I discovered that a trip up the East Coast could easily be broken down into 100 mile segments and that became possible.
We’ve put together this “Couch to Century” 12 Week Training Plan and over the next 12 weeks we’ll present the plan and some tips to help you train for and successfully complete a century ride. There are dozens of great training plans on the internet, the one we’ve created is geared toward beginners or those who are not currently putting regular miles on their Cruzbike. We encourage those of you who are already tearing up the roads to challenge yourself by setting a goal of a new personal record for a century – hire a coach or find a plan that challenges you.
We have to say this, and we hope you’ll do it: if you haven’t been physically active for a while, please get a check-up with your health care professional.
The basics of the plan are to ride 4 times per week. We usually train Tuesdays, Thursdays Saturdays and Sundays, but pick four days that work for you. It’s much better if you can ride roughly every other day, allowing your body to recover on the off days. We’ve used mileage goals rather than time goals, because it’s more fun to say “I rode 120 miles this week,” then to say “I rode 10 hours,” when you are trying to impress your non-cycling friends.
In general you’ll want to vary the effort and speed of your rides. Longer rides will be at a lower effort level with stops as needed to refuel or rest. The weekday rides will be shorter with harder efforts after a warm-up. There are no heart rate zones or power numbers in this plan, just perceived effort.
PERCEIVED EFFORT SCALE
- Easy – I could do this all day and talk while I do it
- Moderate – I could do this for a long time, but it feels like I am working out
- Hard – Takes a lot of effort and I can’t sustain it for very long, and I certainly don’t want to talk while I’m doing it.
- All Out – as fast as I can go.
One of the more intimidating aspects of the cycling is the language of cycling – seasoned cyclists throw around terms and acronyms easily and those of us new to the sport can feel embarrassed that we don’t know what’s being talked about. It’s taken me years to learn cycling and bicycle vocabulary and even though I run a bike company I still hear terms I don’t understand frequently!
Below are a few terms you’ll hear in association with riding a century:
- Century – a100 mile ride, not usually a race, but it can feel like one.
- Metric – a metric century or 100 kilometers, which is around 64 miles.
- Supported – this has various meanings, but it usually means there will be rest stops along the way and SAG (see below) to help you if you have a mechanical issue or flat tire.
- SAG – stands for Support and Gear – refers to a vehicle on the ride course that has someone with more mechanical aptitude than you who can help you either fix your bike or carry you and your bike to the finish (see Sagging in below).
- Sag in – when you can’t or decide not to finish. This is an option in fully supported races.
- DNF – Did not finish. Often used as a verb as in “I DNF’d.” Generally this is used only when the ride publishes finish times.
- Cue Sheet or route sheet – a piece of paper with turn by turn directions which you can follow to stay on course. There are usually arrows painted in the pavement as well.
- Aero – short for aerodynamic – what you are on your Cruzbike compared to those poor people on traditional bikes. It can be appended to other things like helmet, or bars. Aero bars are handlebars that the poor traditional frame riders can lean on to try to get as aero as you are on your Cruzbike.
- Blow-up or bonk – what happens if you go out to fast and don’t drink or eat enough.
- Cadence – the number of times your feet go in a circle per minute as you pedal. Common wisdom says it should be around 90 rpms (revolutions per minute).
- Pace line – a group of cyclists riding in a line or two lines, very closely, taking turns riding at the front. In a pace line the front rider will ride or “pull” until tired and then go to the left and drift to the back of the line allowing the fresh rider behind to take a turn. A pace line can move much faster than an individual rider.
- Pack – The main group of riders sticking together.
- Pull – taking a turn at the front of a pace line.
- Kit – a cycling jersey and shorts that are made to be worn together.
Next up in this series: Finding a Century ride
Congratulations on taking on your first Century ride! Maria Parker, world record-holding cyclist and Cruzbike CEO, put together this 12 week training guide and blog series to help you successfully complete your first century ride. Share your progress with the Cruzbike Community @CRUZBIKE on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’ll cheer you on through your first 100 mile ride.
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