I've just learned of a local century ride that is only 2 weeks away. I'd like to join, but not sure if I'm ready. I've been commuting by bike for the last five years. The last year of my commuting has been 18 miles/day that I do at least 4 days/week. Over the last 2 months, I've done several weekend rides of 40-50 miles, but I haven't gone over 50. I usually take one 10-minute break at about the 75% mark during these longer rides. After these longer rides, I'm tired and hungry, but feel like I could keep going at a leisurely pace after eating. Am I ready to leap to 100 miles? I don't have any days between now and the event where I'll be able to go for more than about a 30-mile ride.

The terrain for the century is flat, just like my normal biking.

  • How much organisation is there behind the ride? If there are feed stations along the way and importantly a broom wagon then it makes a big difference compared to being given a route card and sent riding off. The route will presumably be pubished beforehand, and will most likely start and end at the same place, so you could plan some 'bail out' points where you could either return home by a much shorter route, or take the train or something (if possible). Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 13:28
  • The support level is minor. I'll need to bring some food, which is fine. There is a shorter return route if things get ugly, but no public transport in the area. I'd rather not have to call someone to pick me up though.
    – Jake
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 13:32
  • What does the shorter return route cut the mileage down to?
    – Ealhmund
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 16:36
  • It would cut it back to about 75 mi total. I'm confident I can do that at a reasonable pace.
    – Jake
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 18:19
  • 1
    I would say that you could do it, if the weather cooperates, etc. You will of course be near death (figuratively speaking) at the end, but if you accept that then I wouldn't try to stop you. It is unfortunate (and a little worrisome) that there's no sag support, however. Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 23:23

3 Answers 3


Its not the distance, its the time on the bike.

Assuming this is not a solo ride, you'll be riding with other people either in a proper rotating bunch ride, or just on the same road/direction as them. This alone will increase your overall speed by as much as 20%.

If you can be seated on a bike for 6 hours in a day, you can do this ride.

You will need to eat regularly. For me thats "something" every hour, a gel or chocolate or a bar or some sort. Or bananas, some people like them.

Water is also big - One plain water bottle and one with electrolyte mix added. You will be able to top-up water bottle at the filling stations, for 161 km I'd expect 3-5 total stations along the route. Check the map, but plan for one to be missing - its happened to me.

Filling stations are a rest point - you can get off the saddle while doing bottles, drink and eat, and go again. Personally, 5 mins is plenty, but on a really long ride I like a 15 minute at somewhere over 50%.

  • 4
    I did it yesterday. "Time on the bike" was completely correct. My legs were fine, but my hands started getting tired and numb around 80 miles. The group riding also made a huge difference, maybe more than 20%. I rode much faster than my normal speed for the first 65 miles and still felt great at that point. I followed your water suggestion and it worked great. Thanks for the tips!
    – Jake
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 14:24

I say go for it. If you can do a 50 mile ride, you can do a century.

I will agree with @andy56 and say that this ride will be much different from any of your weekend rides. You're going to need to eat more and drink a ton, your backside will hate you, and it could be torture, but you can finish the ride.

My first century I rode after a previous long ride of 55 miles. This century was fully supported, with stops every 10 miles. My plan, which worked out well, was to stop at every other station, and just long enough to fill up on water, shove a few bites in my mouth, and visit the facilities.

If you decided on taking part in the ride, let us know how it went.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Gary.Ray
    Commented Jun 21, 2016 at 1:45

NO, you're not ready.

I'm usually very encouraging for people to go for challenges, for example Training involved to ride 175 miles (281 km) in a day

But your situation is more like 1/3 Century or Metric Century?

Often, if you have to ask, the answer in no.

You can think about it like this: for a given fitness level, each time you ride 50% further than your normal distance, it's about twice as hard. The century ride is three to four times as hard as your current rides.

Two weeks gives you no time to train. If you were training for this, you would be having your final training ride, a recovery ride, and then taper before the event.

Another key thing that you haven't mastered is your food and drink regime for the ride. You need to have that really under control. A 50 mile ride can be done with a bottle of water and a banana. 100 miles does not mean two bottles of water and two bananas.

But some heroic types could do it. It would be painful. Maybe they would have to call an ambulance, or someone else would have to.

Now, lets look at it another way. You can test this. Go for an 80 mile ride tomorrow, and see how you feel. If you feel great at the end, and on the next day after, then you might be OK. If that works, do 90 miles at the weekend.

But, I don't think that will work out. Sorry.

  • You did say you can't do a ride longer than 30 miles before the day, so you can't do the test rides. Without at least one of them, you won't know any more about being physically ready than you do now.
    – andy256
    Commented Jun 20, 2016 at 22:59
  • Downvoted for being counter-factual if my own experience is any indicator. I rode my first MS-150 in 2018, age 52 years. Up until that point I had not ridden more than 40 miles (64 km) in a single day. I topped that before lunch on the first day of the ride, and had no difficulty with the hills between Houston, TX, and Austin. The hard part (as Criggie says) was sitting on the saddle for the 7.5 hours it took.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Apr 20, 2023 at 20:07
  • @EvilSnack This kind of BS is why I left this "community".
    – andy256
    Commented Jun 11, 2023 at 8:14

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