In today's blog post, I want to talk about some tips and tricks for your first metric century.
Tip # 1: Nutrition and Hydration
These are probably the two most critical points in your preparation. Hydration will depend greatly upon climate. I would say that anything over 75 Degrees Fahrenheit you should be drinking one water bottle per hour. And also, make sure to drink one water bottle before leaving the house. The key here is to drink just before you're thirsty. If you're drinking in response to feeling dehydrated, it's already too late. I would recommend a very light 50/50 Gatorade blend in your favorite flavor. Your body excretes and uses electrolytes during endurance exercise and you must replace those.
For food before the ride, I typically eat a small meal consisting of 60% carbohydrate, 20% protein and 20% fat. While you're on the ride, it's best to consume 50-100 calories per hour. Your body will use simple carbs the easiest.
Tip #2: Pacing
Pacing is probably the most critical component of a great metric century. For a seasoned rider, it takes right around 3 hours to do a solid solo metric century. Your results WILL vary and if it is your first time, I would say anything around the 4-hour mark is fantastic. If you're curious about how hard you should go, I would recommend to find a pace where you can carry on a conversation, and then go a little slower. The purpose of this ride is to build cardiovascular endurance, not to build strength or power. It is difficult to build those two simultaneously.
Tip #3: Don't change anything the night before
This might be a tempting rule to break but it's something that can ruin your ride. I would recommend against trying some new fad like chugging pickle juice or testing some new supplement the day or morning before this ride. You should treat it like any other ride and be sure that what you plan on doing you've tested out thoroughly and won't be hit with any surprises.
Tip #4: Chamois cream is definitely your friend
Any sort of saddle friction or rear end discomfort is a serious way to ruin your ride and the days to come. Chamois cream has been magical for me in the passt in so many different ways, let me tell you. Lube up that chamois lightly before your ride and you'll hopefully have a better time.
Tip #5: Did I mention pacing?
Oh yes, I think I did. Going too hard even for a short period of time can leave you in trouble for the rest of the ride.
Tip #6: Build up to the distance
Your first metric century should not be your first ride near 60 miles. Before this ride, you should have done a number of 25,30,40,50 mile rides in the weeks leading up. Keep in mind that many "Good" amateur riders are riding 15 hours a week of hardish training. There is nothing magical about you. We are all biological creatures with certain limitation.