Thinking about attempting your first 100k (plug in any number that looks daunting to you) is probably an exciting but scary thought. The first ride is always challenging but becomes not that big of a deal a few rides later once you’ve learned the art of riding longer distances.
To help you accelerate this journey, here are a few things to keep in mind and practice before you attempt your long-distance bike ride.
OUR TOP 4 TIPS
1. SET A GOAL
You may never have even completed a ride close to as long as a 100k but you have to start somewhere, and it’s okay and probably preferable to start small. Set small weekly goals to gradually increase distances and reduce the time taken for beginners. You’ll be surprised as to how many other riders you will find out on the road.
Don’t be overly ambitious or restrictive in terms of setting a goal. Set a goal of something that is actually achievable. Always remember to plan for the worst, mechanical failures, flats, bad weather or a mishap, plan for it all. You must know what to expect and more importantly know how to deal with it.
As you begin to work towards your goal remember that consistency is key. Set a target for how much progress you want to make, over a period of time. Make sure you complete it within the desired timeframe. You have to be ready to push yourself beyond your comfort zone to achieve something great.
Now let’s talk about the more technical riding aspects of a first-timers ride.
2. KNOW YOUR ROUTE
Chalk out a route in advance so you know what kind of terrain to anticipate and what gradients the route has to offer. Knowing landmarks on the way to stay on track is also essential. It’s worth knowing how much traffic to expect on the way in and on the return journey. Doing this is basically going to keep you mentally prepared so when you’re actually on the ride you know where to ride more, or less aggressively.
3. CARRY YOUR TOOLS
When you’re out riding mishaps and mechanical failures are your worst nightmare. However, it helps to always be prepared. Carry the following items whenever you’re out on a long ride (especially remote areas)-
- Spare inner tubes
- Portable pump
- CO2 cartridge
- Tire lever
- Plenty of water
Now it’s important you know how to work on your bicycle. Having the equipment is pointless if you can’t work with it.
Bike maintenance is essential and gives you a certain peace of mind. Always make sure your tires are properly inflated and your drivetrain is clean and well lubricated. Your brakes should also be in good condition for every ride.
Hydration is the most essential aspect here. It cannot be stressed enough as to how important hydration is, always carry sufficient amounts of water with you, in the case of a 100k carry two bottles and mix in some electrolytes or hydration solution. A failure in doing so can lead to extreme fatigue and exhaustion. Cramps and other injuries can also be expected.
Sip small quantities of water every 20 minutes or so during a 100k ride especially when it’s sunny out.
Your meals before your ride are again very important as it is essential to fuel for the upcoming hours of riding. Make sure you ingest healthy amounts of protein and carbs the night before the ride.
Most importantly enjoy the ride and have fun during it. Stay focused but also make friends and socialize during the ride. It’s a great time to get to know people as riding together creates bonds that last a long long time.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I’m an avid mountain biker and I like riding fast and flowy singletrack. As I keep riding, I continuously work on honing my riding skills. I like to ride whenever possible, especially with friends. I also like to influence folk into getting to ride more often.
Working on bicycles has also been a keen interest of mine for quite some time.
DISCIPLINE: Mountain biking and Road biking
CURRENT BIKE: Merida One Twenty 9.600 & Specialized Allez Elite DSW
DREAM BIKE: Santa Cruz 5010