✓ Unless stated elsewhere in the descriptions, workouts can and should be completed at a comfortable intensity – one step above easy; aerobic, and conversational. This intensity builds endurance while keeping the need for a lot of recovery low. Try to maintain this intensity most of the time – even on days when the weather or winds are not cooperating.
✓ As the weeks progress, feel free to add some hills or higher intensity work during the shorter workouts mid-week. Also, you’ll see that each training week starts with a weekend. If you’re planning to do your longer rides on the weekends, you’ll want to plan your longest rides for the beginning part of each training week.
Week 1 – This is the week to get reacquainted with your bicycle saddle. The best way to do that is to get in some saddle time! Your goal is three or four rides of an hour each
this week. If you’re not ready for that quite yet, it’s okay – do what you can, but challenge yourself to get at least one ride of a full 60 minutes. Spread them out over the week as much as possible.
Training Tip #1 – Quality shorts with a good chamois (pad) make a good deal of difference in how comfortable you are on the bike saddle. With cycling shorts, the general rule is that you get what you pay for. Invest in one or two good-quality cycling shorts if you don’t already have some. As the miles start to add up, you may also wish to have some anti-chafing cream to apply to areas that rub or directly to the chamois (pad) of your shorts.
Week 2 – Let’s start this training week out right – with a solid ride this weekend! On the first day of this weekend, go for a two-hour ride, followed the next day with another 60-minute ride. Spread out two or three more rides of 45-60 minutes each throughout the coming week. If two hours feels overwhelming, you can ride for an hour, then take a good rest at your turnaround point before heading back home.
Training Tip #2 – Longer rides mean more energy consumed. A bottle or two of water is usually sufficient for an hour-long ride, but as the miles click by, you’ll need more in the way of hydration and calories during your rides. Look for easily digestible foods that are easy to carry on the bike. Ready-made sports nutrition products like gels and chews are great, but you may want to try other “real food” ideas like peanut butter sandwiches or bananas. Trial and error will expose which foods work best for your body. The time to start testing is now!
Week 3 – Building endurance doesn’t have to mean increasing the long ride each week.
Instead, work on getting two 2-hour rides – plus two or three 60-minute rides – this
week. Doing the longer rides back-to-back is best, but if you’re really wiped out
from the first ride, give yourself a shorter ride (or a day off) between the two longer
Training Tip #3 – Efficiency is key when you’re faced with 100 miles of riding. Pedaling cadence (how many revolutions per minute you turn your pedals) is a great place to start becoming more efficient. A good goal is 85-90+ rpms. If you have a cadence sensor on your bike, you’ll be able to see where your cadence naturally falls. To manually count your cadence, count how many times your right foot comes to the top of your pedal stroke in 15 seconds, then multiply by four. Increasing your cadence takes time and patience (and miles!). To pedal at a higher cadence, you may have to move to an
easier gear (and that’s okay!). Remember better cadence = improved efficiency. Over 100 miles, you’ll be thankful for efficiency.
Week 4 – This week’s goal is eight to nine hours of ride time. A three-hour ride is a long-ride goal this week, plus a two-hour ride, a couple of 90-minute rides and an easy hour. Three hours on the bike may feel a little overwhelming just four weeks into training but remember why you chose to participate in this challenge and use that as
motivation during the toughest parts of the training.
Training Tip #4 – It can be so tempting to stay home on windy days, on rainy days, on days that are colder/hotter than you like. But, these are the character-building days! These are the hard days that make 100-mile days fun. These are the days you’ll look back and be glad you rode when you did. Whatever weather you face during training could be the weather you’ll face on your 100-mile day. Slow down to keep your intensity conversational when the wind is in your face, then embrace the tailwind on the way back! Unless the rain has thunder and lightning with it, go play bikes in the rain! (Just be sure to clean your bike and lube your chain when you get home.)
Week 5 – This week’s long ride should be three to four hours, plus six more hours of saddle time spread throughout the week as you make your way to the halfway point of the training!
Training Tip #5 – Want a mantra to help prepare you for 100 miles? Try “Nothing new on race day.” While the 100-mile ride is not a race, this maxim still holds true. Use your training time to try out all the things you may want to wear/use/eat when you go for 100. The only thing that should be new on the day you ride 100 miles is the date on the calendar. You should know, through practice and previous training rides, exactly how your body will react to certain foods, how many bottles of water you need, what you want to wear, how well those sunglasses stay on your face, what breakfast works
best for your body, and how it feels to head out for a ride at 6am. Practice everything beforehand, so that nothing will be new.
Week 6 – Two long rides this weekend should total 80 miles, divided up however works best for you. Two or three easy rides of 60-90 minutes during the week will help with
Training Tip #6 – What you eat AFTER your rides is just as important as what you eat BEFORE your rides. Three things to remember about post-ride nutrition: 1. Eat something within 15-20 minutes of getting off your bike. Some carbs with a
little protein (ideally a 4:1 or 3:1 ratio, but eating something is more important than getting the ratios exactly right). Shoot for a total of 150-250 calories. 2. Eat again within 2-3 hours of the post-ride snack. This can be a bigger snack or even a meal. 3. Replacing water lost through training is hugely important, too. Weigh yourself before/after a long training ride, and drink 16oz for every pound lost.
Week 7 – This week is a chance to recover a little bit before the final push towards 100 miles. Do one ride of 60 miles, plus three or four (based on how you feel) other rides of
60-75 minutes each.
Training Tip #7 – Got a flat? While flatting during a ride is a bummer, it doesn’t need to end your day. If you don’t already have a flat kit on your bike, make this a priority this week! If you’ve already got all the necessary items, take this week to learn and practice how to change your tube at home. You’ll need an extra tube (or two), a couple of tire levers, and some way to inflate your new tube (for the fastest/lightest set-up, go with CO2 cartridge and an inflater). Even if you flat without the know-how to use all your equipment, you can always ask for help from other riders – just make sure you’re
prepared with all the needed supplies!
Week 8 – The goal for this weekend’s long rides is to spread 100 miles (50/50, 40/60 or 60/40) over two consecutive days. It is especially important to pay close attention to your hydration and recovery nutrition on those two days and one day before and after. Squeeze in one more 2-hour ride mid-week, plus an easy hour on another day.
Training Tip #8 – You’re eight weeks into your training. This is when the fatigue (physical AND mental) of all the accumulated miles starts to show up. Here are a few ideas you can use to power through: 1. Grab a training partner or two! Maybe no one wants to join you for the whole ride, but having a friendly face next to you even for a few miles can help. 2. Head out for a new destination. Try out a new trail or just go exploring! Make your ride more exciting, and you’ll be more excited to ride!
Week 9 – This weekend should include a ride of 80 miles or 4.5 hours, whichever comes first. This is the last really long ride before 100! Complete this ride with as few breaks as
possible. Make this a dress rehearsal for the 100-mile Challenge ride. Eat the same breakfast, wear the same kit, ride the same pace. Combine this long ride with a shorter 90-minute ride the following day. Two or three 60-minute rides should round out your week.
Training Tip #9 – With just a couple of weeks before you ride 100 miles, it is time to make sure that your bike is ready for the adventure. If you need to get it into the bike shop for a tune-up, do that now. This is also the time to take stock of anything else that you’ll need for the Challenge, and order or shop for that now.
Week 10 – Do a three-hour ride on one day this weekend. The rest of the week should be spent doing a few easy rides of around 60 minutes. Spend some time gathering
whatever you’ll need for the ride, paying close attention to your flat kit, making sure your cleats are tight on your shoes, and ensuring all parts of your bike are in good operating order. Get great sleep this week!