By Jake Morse, MapMyFitness Community Brand Ambassador
Cycling is a sport rich with tradition. Where running has the marathon in all its ancient glory, cycling has the epic Century. A Century is a 100-mile road ride that takes cyclists to the edge of their physical capacity and to the core of cycling culture and community. The exact origin of the century ride is vague but it more than likely started around 1900 with a group of adventurous souls striking out upon steel single speed bikes to conquer 100 miles in one day. In today’s cycling culture the Century maintains a spirit of adventure and continues to reward riders for their perseverance.
To help you get the wheels rolling, I sat down with the fine folks at El Tour de Tucson to talk about important steps before you attempt your next Century.
1. Choose your Ride: While not the unsanctioned death march of the 1900’s, organized Centuries are fairly common on the annual cycling event calendar. When choosing your next Century, El Tour de Tucson staffer Elaine Mariolle says, “Choose a ride that has a long history. Chances are if the event has been around for more than five years the organizers know their stuff which translates to a better ride experience.” Another thing to consider is landscape of the area you will be riding. “You are going to be on the bike for a long time so choose a ride that offers a variety of natural beauty. El Tour de Tucson takes you through the iconic Sonoran Desert and the bicycle friendly city of Tucson. We continue to draw participants year after year for these reasons,” says Mariolle .
2. Choose a training plan: 100 miles is a long way! No matter what your experience level is you will need to spend at least 12 weeks progressing towards 100 miles. Following a detailed and credible training plan is key to getting you through the later stages of the ride. “A century requires a substantial amount of training to ensure you are fully prepared on ride day,” says Elaine. “Your body is an amazing machine and with smart, consistent training you can achieve great things.” Check out MapMyRide Century training plans here.
3. Join a weekend group ride: The most important day during your Century training is the long ride. As you get closer to the big day your long ride will increase in distance and intensity. To stay motivated join a group ride in your local community. Group rides not only help you get out of bed Saturday morning but will also help to hone your bike-handling skills in large packs.
*El Tour de Tucson is one of the longest-running events in America. With ride distances of 42, 60, 85 and 111 miles and a downtown fiesta, El Tour de Tucson has something for everyone. Join 9,000 fellow cyclists for a ride through the beautiful Sonoran Desert and the happening city of Tucson this November 23.