Gear to Get You through Your Century Ride
A century ride can be one of the most rewarding accomplishments you partake in the saddle. Although it’s a long day on the bike, with appropriate training and attention to proper gear selection, every mile can be enjoyable.
A century ride can be one of the most rewarding accomplishments you partake in the saddle. Although it’s a long day on the bike, with appropriate training and attention to proper gear selection, every mile can be enjoyable. You’ve already spent the time working on the physical aspect of getting ready for your ride; now’s the time to get your gear organized for the big day. Pay attention to the following and you’ll have a comfortable and successful century.
Final bike preparation
Your body is ready for the ride; make sure your bike is as well. In the last few days before your century, bring your bike in to the local shop to have them look over the bike for any issues that might become problematic during your ride. They can check cables and housing, brake pads, and derailleur adjustments to make sure everything is working smoothly. When you get the bike back from the shop, make sure you go out and ride it to double-check everything is working; give yourself enough time so that if something is wrong, you can bring it back to the shop. The night before your ride, put some lube on your chain, check your tire pressure, and check to see that all bolts on the bike are tight.
Even under the best of circumstances, your century ride is likely going to last more than 5 hours, and weather can change quite a bit in that time period. Make sure you have appropriate clothing to manage varying weather conditions. Layering with quality clothes made from synthetic materials which wick moisture from the skin is the key to staying both warm and dry. Stay away from cotton - when it becomes wet either from rain or sweat, it loses it insulating properties and you’ll be miserable quickly. Roadcycling.com recommends Primal Wear cycling clothing.
On your upper body, start with a thin undershirt (you can skip this if it’s going to be very warm), and put your bike jersey on over that. Also carry with you a jacket or vest to protect against wind and rain. Ideally, find something that is relatively waterproof but also allows your skin to breathe; many jackets have armpit and side zippers to improve airflow. An inexpensive rain poncho will keep you dry in a pinch, although its lack of breathability can make you sweat pretty heavily, increasing the risk of dehydration and giving you a chill when the moisture has nowhere to go. Arm warmers are also a great option as you can push them down to your wrists and pull them back without having to stop.
One article of clothing that you absolutely do not want to skimp on are bike shorts. Invest in a trusted name brand with a quality chamois (such as Pearl Izumi Microsensor 3D Pro bib) and your lower region will thank you later in the ride. A quality cream (such as Brave Soldier Friction Zone or Bodyglide) applied to your skin, can keep the material supple and reduce friction, resulting in more comfortable saddle time.