If you are that way inclined, there is no greater feeling than watching your bike’s computer click over into triple digits – 100 Miles… (although 100 Kilometres is a fair bit easier).That’s one of the great things about endurance / long distance road riding, there’s always the next challenge to chase, whether that’s 50 miles, 100 kilometres, 100 miles or 200 miles. Set your own challenge…
Here are our tips and mistakes to avoid when planning to go for a long one.
Depending on how much of a challenge you are after, pick your route carefully. 100 miles on flat roads is far easier, and less time-consuming, than 100 miles over mountain passes. As well as the route, check the weather too. A long stretch with a tailwind near the end of the ride will be very welcome, a block headwind would not. Crafty planning could make it much easier. If you are heading out alone into remote areas without mobile phone reception, it’s a good idea to tell somebody where you are heading.
Steady as she Go’s
Unless you are trying to cover the distance in a set time, take it easy. If you are aiming to cover a long distance endurance ride, don’t start fast because you will probably regret it in a few hours – “don’t go looking for the pain, it will come to find you”, as somebody once said. Going steady and not trying too hard when you start out, should maximise your chances of completing your target distance.
Feed the Beast
Eating plenty of food the day before and taking food in the form of bars and gels should ensure you get around your intended route. Planning a mid ride stop or two will boost moral as well as your energy levels. Remember to keep drinking regularly too, particularly if the weather is warm.
Riding a long way on your own takes a lot of will power and determination. Invite a ride mate to tag along with you, but pick wisely: Will their witty banter wear a bit thin after several hours? Also, are they big enough to give you a bit of shelter when the going gets tough? So ideally someone big and not too annoying…
The night before your big ride, get everything ready. Check your bike is up to the task in hand and get your clothing shoes helmet out and ready to roll, including your spare tube / emergency tools/cash/phone. Having everything ready makes it far easier to get going in the early morning and gives you less reasons to turn over and go back to sleep!
Train for it
If you are planning a 100 mile ride, be realistic. Don’t rely on just your cast iron will and determination to get you through. Completing a long ride requires training. Not last-minute panic training either. Set your goal ride a few weeks in advance and build up mileages weekly. As a rough guide if you have completed a 70 miles ride in the weeks before your 100 mile effort, you should get around your 100 miler, providing it’s over a similar terrain. If you haven’t touched your bike for 6 months, you might not! If you can only manage 50 miles rides in the weeks before, try to include some efforts in the shorter rides to increase fitness.
Make sure you are comfy on your bike for several hours at a time. You will get to know this through your training in the rides leading up to your big ride. Aim to banish any niggles ASAP so you don’t cause further issues, you don’t get extra points for being uncomfortable! Changing your riding position on the bars will reduce aches and pains. Riding on the hoods or drops will improve aerodynamics and reduce how power you need to produce at any given speed.
Don’t Eat too much
As well as making sure you eat on your ride. Make sure you don’t over indulge in your cafe stop. Just because they have some amazing looking meals on offer don’t overdo it – you’ve still got many miles to go – a three coarse meal could slow you right down.
Break it Down
If the thought of riding a long endurance ride is a little scary, try to break the ride into more manageable sections. Aim to get the end of each section feeling as fresh as possible by pacing your effort and keeping gears low with a good cadence (around 80 – 90 RPM on the flat).
As well as making sure your bike works properly, fits you and is comfy, take a close look at your clothing too. Would new shorts with a fresh chamois pad offer more comfort? Are the pads on your mitts wearing flat? It is worth remembering that all the padding which makes riding comfier, does wear flat over time and become less effective at soaking up vibrations and small impacts. Replacing older, worn handlebar tape, with new padded tape can offer a much more pleasant ride feel and reduce wrist aches and pains on longer rides.
Buzz Through the last bit
Take a caffeine gel or stop for a double espresso to keep you alert and focussed on the last few miles. After a few hours on the bike you are bound to feel a little jaded, spaced-out or just plain tired. A caffeine hit could be just what you need. If you can’t find caffiene but need something to get you home, the classic emergency can of coke from a garage should do the trick.
Equipment for going the Distance
The Orro Gold series bikes pack-in the features to keep you enjoying your ride. The geometry offers the perfect balance between performance and comfort for endurance riding. The Sigmatex engineered spread tow carbon frame tubes offer ride dampening qualities for unrivalled comfort. The Orro Gold is available with a range of build specifications to suit most riders.
Mid-range Fulcrum Racing aluminium wheelsets, such as the Racing 5 often get over-looked. However, they offer a compelling mix of relatively light weight, reliability and a great value price point. They are light enough to offer a noticeable difference over entry level wheels, providing better all-round ride qualities, ideal for long comfortable endurance rides when set up with the latest 25 – 28mm road tyres.
Keep track of exactly where you are with a GPS computer. The Garmin Edge 1040 features advanced tracking even under dense tree cover and over remote gravel and mountain bike trails. The huge battery life of up to 35 hours should cover your longest ride, however there is also a battery saver mode which will run for up to 70 hours from a single charge. This feature rich GPS is so packed with features, its worth checking out the full detailed specification here.
Endurance road rides are much more ‘doable’ with comfortable, yet still fast-rolling tyres. The Vittoria Corsa G2.0 tyres have a 320 TPI casing for a supple, comfortable ride, while still retaining puncture protection through Kevlar reinforcement and sidewall protection. The addition of a Graphene layer also reduces rolling resistance and further aids puncture protection.
Bar tape can be taken for granted, however it does wear flat in time and offer less protection from vibrations. More padded tape, such as the Lizard Skin DSP 3.2 adds comfort and can alleviate achy hands and wrists on longer endurance rides. The ‘3.2’ refers to the thickness of the tape in millimetres, the tap is available in a wide range of colours to match your bike and kit.