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I'm planning to do a century ride in the near future, does anyone have any suggestions on what to do in the week leading up to the ride (besides training - duh).

I was thinking inspecting your bike, carbo loading, etc? What to eat? How to sleep? Should I be riding at all? etc

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

What to do:

  • Eat well, but don't overdo it. A hearty meal the night before and a solid breakfast the morning of the ride are a must.
  • Stay well-hydrated.
  • Get plenty of sleep. If you've been burning the midnight oil lately, cut back on your riding and catch more z's.
  • Feel free to ride, but go for less distance and intensity than you normally would.
  • Lube your chain (and clean if needed).
  • Check your tires for any debris like glass or wire that might work it's way through during the ride.
  • Top up the air in your tires.
  • Check that your brakes still work properly.

What NOT to do:

  • any high-intensity rides or workouts
  • another century (disregard if you normally do centuries on a regular basis)
  • major mechanical changes to the bike
  • any bike fit adjustments
  • buy new shoes

(Assuming you've got the base training in already, of course)

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2  
Good advice here by darkcanuck. One other thing I do is to make sure I have 4 or 5 energy bars of my choice; whether or not the ride is supported. Last thing you want to do is bonk out between stops. –  user313 Nov 4 '10 at 20:16
1  
One other thing I do on the day before a century... I take a 1 hour pre-event ride at a moderate pace and throw in a couple of 1 minute fast tempo intervals. (Note that this is not a hard work-out by any means. Just a short ride that lets me know how I'm feeling and my bike is performing.) After that ride, I lube the chain, check adjustments, and give the tires a thorough check. –  user313 Nov 4 '10 at 20:45

Make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat about normally, and ride less -- mostly just enough to stretch your legs, with maybe one semi-hard ride to tire you out somewhat. If you do that, do it early in the week though, so the last few days before the century you can take it easy and be fully recovered by the day of the big ride. Ideally you'd have done something like a 60-70 mile ride a couple weeks before hand, but the last week is really a bit late for that.

As far as the bike goes, my advice is to inspect it, but resist the urge to "fiddle" with things -- if you see something that's really wrong, fix it, but otherwise leave it alone. In particular, do not change any adjustments in the hope of making things a bit better -- you're better off with the bike adjusted as you're accustomed to it, than deciding that maybe you'd be just a tiny bit better with the seat raised and the handlebars dropped a bit (or whatever).

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It really depends on what you're normally used to and what your aim for the century is.

If a century is a big deal for you (that isn't meant to be patronising) I would think that your training schedule will have been slowly building up the miles over the previous few months, throwing in occasional shorter and sharper rides for a bit of variety (never underestimate the importance of speed work while building up your endurance). Your last longer ride will have been 60-70 miles a couple of weeks before, probably with 40-50 the previous weekend.

Your body will adapt gradually to incremental additions and will keep hold of the new abilities for a while. Don't be afraid to do nothing in the week before if that's what you feel like, you won't lose all ability (even stopping your bike commute if you do that), but utterly resist the temptation to cram in any sessions you feel like you've missed. As others have said, it's too late to fix your training schedule now.

In many sports there's a saying that a start to a race won't win it for you, but it can surely lose it for you if it's bad enough, and this goes as well for the week before a long event.

My advice, especially if it's your first century, is to rest well, eat well, hydrate well. Try and do a short-ish ride (25-30 miles) a few days before, at the very least to make sure your bike is ok.

And never, ever, do something new and untested to your equipment on race day: that includes new shoes, new shirt, new power bars, even new bar tape. You might get away with a new bottle, that's about it.

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