9 Top Tips on How to Prepare for a Double Century
A Double Century is a true test of endurance and skill. Riding for 10-16 hours is a demanding task, even for Pro Cyclists
You've probably ridden some centuries, so have far do you think you could ride?
A Double Metric is 124 miles and a Double Century 200 miles, could you push your limits and go "Ultra Distance" ?
Trained endurance athletes who train regularly can finish a 100 mile ride quite easily, but a 200 mile ride is a different story, both physically and mentally.
Here are some tips to follow in the lead up to this challenging event:
Ramp Up Correctly
You should train up to a ride of 2/3 to 3/4 the duration of the planned event.
Your speed for a double century will be slower than for 100 miles because of the cumulative fatigue and loss of power over time.
If you can ride a comparably hilly century in seven hours, then your first double century will probably take 16 hours or more.
So you should build up to a peak training ride of 11 to 12 hours.
Train by Time
Train by time rather than miles because how far you ride in X hours will depend on how hilly the course is, whether it's windy, if you are riding with a good group and other factors.
The Bonking aka "Hypoglycemia"
Every endurance athlete will have "bonked " or "hit the wall" - and it's not pleasant.
One minute your fine and the next your dragging your ass along at 10 miles an hour, feeling hot or cold, shivering and possible feeling dizzy.
Stop and eat and drink until the symptoms pass. Your body is amazing, within 30 minutes of refueling you can start to feel better.
Recognise the warnings signs and take action. If you don't start feeling better after replenishing then stop riding and call for assistance.
Include Some Intensity
Every week, include an intensity ride during the week to build power and threshold.
Warm up, do a mixed intensity workout and then cool down.
The mixed intensity portion should include very hard riding and easier recovery spinning.
You can do structured intervals, hill repeats or just sprint with friends to different points on the ride.
During the weeks with the shorter weekend rides, you can add a second intensity ride.
Going anaerobic (over your threshold) can help increase your threshold.
With a higher threshold you should find your average speed will rise.
For both physical conditioning and mental preparation, you need to have put in the distances ahead of time, but don’t train excessively before the event as over-training can be counter-productive.
Stick to a Routine
Familiarise yourself with a routine of exercise, rest and feeding – and stick to it.
Don’t be tempted to try out new training methods or new foodstuffs just before race day – you won’t know how your body will react to it and you could end up in trouble.
Stick to what you know and what’s worked for you in the past, especially nutrition wise.
Stretch it Out
Do some basic stretches to reduce to risk of injury to your muscles and joints.
Sitting in the saddle for long periods requires stabilizing muscles like your back and neck to work much harder than normal.
Stretch these out. If you feel really tight then a professional massage will definately make a huge difference.
It's very easy to mistake thrist for hunger. On longer training rides you need to hydrate during and afterwards.
Afterwards you need to drink more than normally accustomed to. You should try and drink 3 quarts of plain or sparkling water.
You pee should go from beer to clear. If not drink more. You might feel full, but your body craves water just like a car engine craves oil.
You wouldn't run your car with the oil light on would you?
Eat a well balanced diet and keep yourself healthy and stress-free.
If you are unwell before the race, check with your doctor if you can safely ride and trust that decision.
If you are unable to control your heart rate rise, it is unlikely that you will be able to finish the race and trying to do so could result in a metabolic or heat-related injury.