So, you have made up your mind: you are going to complete that century ride. All your planning, training, and macro counting have prepared you for your longest ride yet; you have your route mapped on Strava, a cycling jersey filled with gels, and enough water to make a camel jealous. You know the journey won't be easy, but you are determined to see how far you can push yourself. Your bike is clean, your legs are loose, and your power meter is set to 0.0. There is nothing but pavé for the next 100 miles.
Whether it is the result of meticulous planning or a case of overambition, long bike rides are no easy undertaking. For many cyclists, a century ride is seen as a major benchmark in their cycling journey and is quite doable if met with the right amount of planning, prepping, and riding conditions. With advancements in bicycle technology, cycling apparel, and rider nutrition, more riders than ever can achieve distances that were previously only reserved for the elite.
Still, achieving triple-digits takes a considerable amount of time and effort. For many riders, a century means an entire day on the saddle. With that much time, a lot can go through a rider's mind - 10 Things That Go Through Your Mind On A Long Ride.
1. "If this goes well, I wonder if I could go Pro?..."
Ohhhhh to be a professional - getting paid to ride, having the newest stuff, and being famous! It doesn't seem that hard, I just need a team, a trainer, and a fancy new bike! I wonder how much food they eat? Well, actually I like food. I'm not sure professional bike riders eat that much. They look like the don't. I wonder how fast they ride? It's probably like, a few miles faster but I'm not at the weight I want to be and I would be much faster at my goal weight. Who am I kidding, I don't want to be a professional. I just want to ride. Yeah, feel the wind.
2."I wonder what my dog is doing right now?"
I can picture him on the couch. I left the TV on for him- He loves the Discovery Channel. That lucky dog, it is shark week too! Oh no... I might have left it on the Food Network instead... What if he learns how to cook? He might burn the place down! Or, even worse... he might make a lasagna that is better than mine! I just hope he doesn't overcook the pasta, that's a classic rookie mistake.
3."Are my tires still inflated?"
Did I inflate them to the correct PSI? Based on my weight, I should be about a 95psi - or BAR? Not BAR - 95 BAR would blow me past the moon. PSI is Pounds per square inch - wouldn't that be PPSI? - anyway, a BAR is equal to the atmospheric pressure, so pretty much 1 BAR = the atmosphere. Who uses that measurement anyway? Bar, maybe I should hit the bar after this ride.
4. "Should I have a protein shake or beer after my ride - there is protein in beer right?"
I wonder what beer has the most nutritional value? Definitely not stouts and porters, but maybe IPA's? IPA's have a ton of hops and hops are green so I am probably eating my vegetables for the day. Should I stop at the microbrewery I always pass to pick up a cold one and calm my legs? It always seems like such a good idea to get a mid-ride beer but I always regret it on my ride back. Screw it! - Microbrewery here I come!
5. "I am so glad I picked out the right chamois"
After all my research and talking with the right people, I am so glad I picked up a proper chamois. Antimicrobial, multi-density, and made in Italy? Where have you been all my life, I am 4 hours and my butt is not barking at me. I wonder how people ever rode their bikes without these. If anyone asks I'll tell them to buy cycling bibs and cycling shorts online at primawear.com. Is that going to sound too markety?
6. "If I was a superhero, what powers would I have?"
I could use a little super strength right now because I am super slow on this climb, but what superpower would I really want? Maybe laser vision? Maybe Invisibility? Maybe mind reading? I just want the ability to talk to my dog, I would like to get his input on current events. This entire multiverse thing has me fascinated. If I exist in another verse, do I have superpowers there? Maybe everyone has super powers so it's not really super. or powers. it would just be normal. So are normal people in a world of super powers, the real super heroes? I am so normal right now.
7."Is that a headwind?"
The cyclist's worst enemy the dreaded headwind. Well, every superhero needs a villain. We meet again headwind, what makes you think you can spoil my plans today? Because you are evil? Because you hate fun? Oh, you are just a result of changes in atmospheric pressure, and you have no control over which direction you flow! Ratches! I know this wind is going to change. Just got, to, keep, pushing.
8."I forgot to shave my legs... again!?"
They are getting worse. I am almost afraid to look down and see Chewbacca yelling back up to me. I can feel my stray leg hairs flowing in the wind and slowing me down like little wind sails. When I get home, I can take of them, it is only making me a stronger rider at the moment. Maybe I should try those ultra-gentle razors that I see on advertisements, they might be the key to adding a few watts. I wonder if self-waxing would work better? I just want something quick and easy. I'm not really worried about the pain. I mean, Jens said it, "It's Just Pain." I wonder if I could shave my legs like a mullet and if that would be more aero. Like business in the front, all smooth, and party in the back. There is an idea for GCN.
9. "Shut up legs!"
Honing in my inner Jensie. Listen left leg, I know you are not the stronger leg, but what you have is heart! - and listen up right leg, I hear you barking at me, I know I put too much pressure on you but that is only because I know what you are capable of. I need both of you to get us through this so that we can give you a much-needed soak in the tub when we get home. I might even give you guys a little Theragun action if we make it one home in one piece. Maybe I am giving them too much slack, Shut up legs and do what I tell you!
10. "I should have brought more water on this ride..."
I drank my two bottles in three hours. That was over two hours ago. Definitely should have made some stops for water. Precious water. I need to drink more water in general. How do people drink water all day? Are they just that thirsty all day? If I had water, oh what would I do to you water. One mile to go. I got this. If I just had one tiny rain drop on my mouth. I can tell my lips are chapped like an over cooked pizza. Why am I really craving lasagna right now? What if lasagna were made out of water? That would be really good right now.