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Preparing For a Double Century (Dry Run / Pre-Test)
Even having completed half a dozen double centuries in a few years time, the start of the season raises the same questions:
- Am I fit enough to complete the course without (undue) discomfort?
- Are there any problem areas? (feet, arms, hands, etc). This is especially important if riding with a new bike and/or new shoes or orthotics and even a new pair of shorts.
The general rule on gear for a double century: never ride a double century with untested gear!
But the same rule applies to training: never ride a double century without pre-testing fitness and comfort on at least half the distance.
I did this 6-hour ride in late February (shown below), having signed up for an early March double century with a similar amount of climbing, but twice the distance. I also wanted a “shock to the body”, in order to force a bump up in fitness, and also to force body fat down by the better part of a pound.
Psychologically, completing a century early in the season is important also.
- Can steady power be maintained over the 100 miles (yes).
- Any feeding problems or other oddball physical issues? (no)
- Were there any physical issues (yes, toes, feet became somewhat uncomfortable, wrong sunscreen made eyes sting).
- Bike issues (gear): water bottle cage bolt rattled loose (carry an allen wrench).
The test was successful: fitness is sufficient. How the feet hold up is the main concern, and there is probably nothing specific to be done other than to continue training (adjusting to new shoes and orthotics takes time).
The distance and power levels and feel of the legs post-ride suggest a likely 5-day recovery period which should result in a bump up in fitness.