‘Joining the Century Club’ – Training, by Aaron Madrid

If you are just starting to ride don’t worry about anything besides getting on that saddle and going.  The more you ride, the faster and farther you will go.  I remember thinking that 10 miles was incredible, and for a 320 pound nerd who spent most of his life on a couch in front of a television… it was.  Eventually you reach a point where you just feel comfortable on your bike.

It get’s easier and easier, and that is when it’s time to start Googling some of the serious stuff.  Once I felt really good on my bike I decided it was time to take it up a notch.  I started asking more questions in #Bikeschool about technique and form.  I watched videos on YouTube about proper pedaling, and breathing and I got even faster and stronger.  I subscribed to Bicycling magazine, which, while informative, has really just caused me to have bike envy for every bike I see. Don’t get me wrong, I love my bike, but the rides in that magazine are frequently way out of my price range…and beautiful.  At this point I still didn’t have anyone really to ride with and I was too afraid to join our local club for fear of looking like a newbie (sorry, that’s a geek term for someone who is often inexperienced to the point of being laughable).

You have an event chosen, you have a great support group to ask questions and learn from, and you are riding your bike every day.  What else can you do to prepare?  Truthfully… not a lot.  Of course, there are specific things you can do on your rides, like interval training and hill repeats (climbing a steep hill over and over again) but the most important thing for incredibly busy people like us, is to just ride.  A couple of rules of thumb, if you can go out and ride ¾ of the distance you are aiming for, you can do it all.  That extra quarter will come easy from the endorphins and adrenaline on the day of the event.  Another rule of thumb is, make sure you are at least riding your goal distance over the course of the week.  Meaning, if you want to ride a century, make sure you are at least riding 100 miles in a week.  Right now because of my commute to and from work, I ride about 150- 200 miles a week, depending on my weekend ride.  I usually rest on Sunday (it’s important to take a break from hard riding if you can).

Thanks to Aaron for a great 2nd edition,


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  • Brennan

    I’ve been wanting to do a century for a couple years now but have yet to commit. Any suggestions on how to overcome my fear?

    • http://www.reasons2ride.com/ Joel Phillips

      Brennan, turn and face your fear head on, commit & take it public. Blog about what you’re doing, tweet about your training rides. You’ve tapped into an amazing network and I promise you will receive feedback and support. Heck you have your first fan right here. I want you to do a century ride too, and can’t wait to read your story here…Rock On my friend!

    • http://about.me/Aaronthestrong Aaronthestrong

      Just do it my friend! Signing up is half the battle. If you can physically ride 3/4 of the distance in a week, then your adrenaline will get you through the rest. Just remember, it’s not a race, it’s just a distance goal. Take your time, fuel right, and enjoy the ride!

  • S Jansen

    I’m not doing a century but i am getting ready for a 75 mile ride in August. These are good tips and will use them in my training. I was told before that 3/4 is a good distance to do and am working myself up to that right now.

  • http://www.reasons2ride.com/ Joel Phillips

    Sweet post my friend. I couldn’t be more proud of you. The century ride is nice and all, but dude…look at how you changed your life, 100 miles on a bike is nothing compared to how you transformed yourself. Pure AWESOMENESS!!!

    • http://about.me/Aaronthestrong Aaronthestrong

      Thanks Joel! I appreciate it! I know you know what it feels like, congrats to you as well!