The Subaru Elephant Rock was my first official Century Ride three years ago and I have been participating in it since. My training isn’t as rigid as when I first started training for ERock in 2014. In 2014, I never owned a road bike, until I bought Bullseye from Giant. My training started January 2014. At that point, I could barely squeak out 30 miles in a day. When my friend, Jared, suggested riding the Century option at Elephant Rock, I first asked, “What’s a ‘century’?” I had a very hard time wrapping my head around the idea of cycling 100 miles. I asked, “People do this for fun?”
I knew I had to get miles in prior to the ride, otherwise, I’d be taking the SAG back and I couldn’t let that happen. We came up with the plan of increasing mileage by 10 every weekend. I had 7 weeks to be able to ride 100 miles for Elephant Rock.
I visited Ireland for two weeks during this training right after making it up to 70 miles. Those 80 miles after a 2-week cycling break were killer. At one point, I had to sit on a bench and seriously convince myself to keep going. I had about 15 miles left and I told Jared, “I need a minute.” I could feel the tears welling up in the corners of my eyes. My legs were screaming at me. My rear end was raw and making as much noise as my legs. I wasn’t happy and at one point questioned my ability to complete this. You know, maybe I wasn’t cut out for long-distance cycling. Maybe I’m just meant to work out 30 minutes at the gym every day and call it good.
But my pride wouldn’t let me do that. I kept going.
Then two weeks later, I accidentally rode 100 miles. I wanted to save it for Elephant Rock, but apparently, I mapped out the cycling path wrong or Mapmyride didn’t add correctly. I got to my house at 99.90. My friend told me to make it to 100. I had to. I was just too close not to. I rode to the end of my block and came back. 100 miles completed. My legs felt like 100 miles, but I felt like one million bucks.
Training throughout the week helped me reach those 100 miles. I was taking spin classes Monday and Wednesday nights. I’ve been lucky to have spin instructors who are cyclists themselves, so they always taught the class with practicality (we weren’t pedaling backyards, for example). I was also riding every chance I got. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays were spent spinning, mixed with weight training to strengthen my legs and the weekends were a mixture of distance and fun.
I watched what I ate, for the most part. I mean, I watched it as it entered my mouth. My diet is much better now: whole, real food. If it can sit on the counter for a week without going bad, it doesn’t go in my body.
I think it’s incredibly important to have some sort of plan. I mean, by all means, have fun and cycle aimlessly if that rings your bell. But if your goal is to complete a Century ride, still smiling at the end, set an intention and work at it every day.