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Getting ready for your first century?

Saturday is the first of three century rides (100 or more miles) to wrap up our Distance Training rides for 2011. If you've never cycled a century before, you're probably excited ... and probably a little nervous. The good news is that you'll be part of a group of friendly cyclists, and you'll have outstanding support from our volunteer SAG drivers.

Don't wait until Friday night to plan. Here's a small selection of links to help you prepare for that century.

  • Riding Your First Century: "For me, this part of the ride, from roughly the 60 to 80 mile points, was the most difficult. Fatigue starts to set in at this point but the realization that there is much distance yet to be covered is still in the forefront of the mind. This is pretty typical among distance riders to experience a bit of a low during this time period. It helps to be prepared for this mental low, and helps even more to ride with friends! Especially friends who have experienced this aspect of distance riding and will help you though the difficult times. At this time, it is important to remember why you are out on the bike."

  • Your First Century: "Do not latch onto some group that blows past you. Chances are good that they’re going faster than you can sustain for 5 hours. The hardest part of the ride is about 2/3rds of the way through. Push through this low spot, make sure you’ve been eating & drinking enough, and if you’ve trained well, you’ll get a second wind on the other side."

  • Nutrition for a Century or Double: "Novice riders tend to either eat too little before a big ride, fearing an upset stomach, or else eat too much, fearing that they will bonk. Today is not the day to figure out what to eat before riding! You should experiment in training, and on event day have a tried-and-true plan of familiar foods and fluids. Some cyclists prefer a light breakfast the hour before a century or brevet; some prefer food at the starting line; others have learned to wake up at 4 a.m., eat a bowl of oatmeal, and then go back to bed."

  • Another First-Century Report: A classic from 1992, this first-person report is by some fool who didn't train properly, didn't eat properly, and didn't ride properly ... but still managed to complete his first century from San Jose to Hollister and back (a solo, unsupported one at that), albeit not on the planned route.

    Our weather for Saturday is looking great. See you there.

    Photo: A scene from the 2010 South Bay Century.