Your First 100-Mile Event
Njinga Cycling's Top Five Tips
We recently introduced Njinga Cycling as our official training partner, and now we're delighted to share their knowledge on a series of engaging topics. In this article, the Kingston based cycling and performance experts detail their top five tips for riding your first 100-mile sportive. This handy guide is perfect for those new to longer rides, and acts as a great refresher for more experienced cyclists.
Top Five Training Tips for Riding Your First 100 Miles
At Njinga we base all our training on our philosophy of TrainSmart, FuelSmart, ThinkSmart so you can RideSmart. With that in mind, here are our top five training tips for your first 100 miles.
1. Learn to Ride in a Group
Whatever event you’re participating in, it’s important to get experience riding with other cyclists. There are so many options for joining a group ride in the local area; look no further than the Sigma Sports Rides or the Njinga Collective – together they offer a wide range of groups to help you build up your training at a speed you're comfortable with.
When you’re new to riding in a group it’s a common mistake at an event to tear off like a maniac to get away from the bunch or to sit at the back. Riding in a supervised group will help you build confidence and make for a more comfortable experience when you get round to riding your first century.
Alongside riding in a group, consider developing your key cycling skills, for example climbing, descending, and cornering, to improve your confidence and in turn speed.
You can find the Sigma Sports guide to riding in a group here.
2. Increase your Mileage Steadily
Build up your training bit by bit. Don’t jump into longer distances too quickly, and by that we mean don’t start at 10 miles, jump to 60 and then 90. It’s too much of a leap. Steady incremental increases will help the body learn to adapt to being out on the bike and in the saddle. Think about increasing your mileage by 10% each week – although obviously, this depends on when you start your training.
There is a debate within the cycling world about whether to do a 100-mile ride before your first 100-mile event. Cycling is quite different to running. We’d recommend that you ride at least 70-80 miles before the event. What we can say from experience is that adrenaline can have a powerful effect, and for many, the last 20 miles can be the fastest.
You’re going to need to understand how to fuel well for riding 100 miles. That means not only what you eat before you ride but also what you eat on the ride. You’ll need to work out what products work best for you and trial them as you train. What works for one rider won’t necessarily work for another. There are so many products out there, but it’s worth spending time looking at the ingredients as not all are created equal.
Try to avoid those that are laden with preservatives and colourants as it puts undue stress on the digestive system. What you need to think about is energy and electrolytes, both of which will keep you fuelled and hydrated as you ride. Fuel smarter and you’ll ride faster.
4. Don't Do Anything New On Event Day
It’s an age-old adage but one that often in the excitement of the day can get forgotten.
Don't make the basic mistake of trying something new on event day, that you haven't done in training.
5. Have Fun -
While training, and also at the event.
You entered this event because you wanted to do it, be it for a charity or for yourself. Don’t fear training and don’t fear the event. Many of our riders have said their worst seasons and rides were those when they ‘weren’t having fun’. For us at Njinga we want our riders to be passionate about their cycling and enjoy their time out on the bike. Make your training interesting, mix up your rides with locations and distances and on the day, when it feels tough, remember why you entered the event and dig deep.
Ultimately when you train smart and follow a structured training plan, you will start to see improvements and in turn, your confidence will soar and you will begin to have more fun on the bike. The hard work is done in training, so you can enjoy the event more and not feel like it’s so painful.