Endurance Test: There is a boom in century cycling events in 2015. Three new century rides have emerged in just the first 3 months of this year; namely, CFAL TriStat in January, Rembau Century in February & Kedah century in March. Other inaugural events debuting in the coming months are Selangor Century, Ipoh Century & Johor Century too. For first-time century riders, here are my personal tips which will help you survive your virgin century in one piece.
CENTURY RIDE TOP 10 TIPS
1. TRAIN SMART: Give yourself 2-3 months before the race to train. Choose a training route similar to the official event route. Gradually build your weekly cycling mileage from 50km, and aim to peak at 150km two weeks before the race date. Then, you can taper-down back to 50km, and give yourself total rest 3 days before race-day.
2. EAT RIGHT: For better performance and faster recovery, I recommend you eat what your body needs for nutrition rather than what tastes good to you. Eating more fruits and vegetables, and eat less oily and fatty food will give you energy when you need it most. The night before the race, eat more carbohydrates such as pasta to give you fuel to burn. Two hours before the flag-off, I suggest you eat some bread, rolled-oats, or a slice a fruit. A protein shake or a glass of fruit juice is also recommended. After the event, it is also important to keep eating natural and wholesome food to speed-up your recovery process.
3. DRINK WATER: Whether you are resting, training or racing, make sure you drink 2-5 litres of water per day. The more you workout, the more water your body needs. Furthermore, remember that it takes 2 hours for water to fully absorb into your system. So, my tip is to sip water continuously throughout the day, and never let yourself go thirsty.
4. STRETCH AND FLEX: Include a gym workout and stretching routine into your weekly training programme. Stretching will help make your muscles more flexible and supple. While a medium-to-low intensity workout using free weights or weights machines will strengthen your overall body strength which, in turn, will lighten your heavy workload and help to avoid injury due to weak muscles and joints. Swimming is also a great way to cross-train because it works-out your whole body plus it improves your stamina without stressing-out your back or knee joints.
5. HEALTH BILL: If you are suffering from a medical condition or you are on medication, please seek your doctor’s advice before participating in a gruelling century ride.
6. SERVICE BICYCLE: It is a good idea to send your bicycle to a bicycle shop for a full servicing before a century ride because it would be a shame to DNF due to mechanical failure. After all, the cost of a full bike service is only RM80, but finishing the race in one piece is priceless.
7. RIDING ESSENTIALS: Always carry a spare tube, a hand pump & 2 levers with you in case of tyre puncture. You should also carry onboard the following items:-
1) 2 water bottles or a 1.5 Litre hydration pack.
2) A few sachets of hydration salts or electrolysis tablets and drink at 50km and 100km mark to avoid cramps.
3) One banana and some dates, or a couple of energy bar or gels for when you get hungry.
4) A fully charged handphone in case of emergencies.
5) Carry RM50 cash in case of emergencies such as when the water station runs-out of water and you will need to buy your own drinks at a shop or petrol station along the way.
6) Wear sport sunglasses to avoid eye-strain from too much squinting
7) Wear Mega UV certified quality arm sleeves to prevent sunburn and keep arms cool. A pair only costs RM49.
8) Wear a Naroo UV certified face mask (RM89) which is made of fast-drying Microfibre material to protect against the sun, dust and wind.
8. NIGHT BEFORE: Put aside your race bib number, cycling outfit, shoes and everything else which you will carry along. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of water. Avoid eating oily, chillies and junk food. Read the event programme guidebook and familiarise yourself with the race instructions, schedule and route. Most importantly, sleep early and give yourself a minimum of 6 hours sleep.
9. ARRIVE SAFELY: Riders are expected to be considerate to other road users and they must follow the race safety instructions closely at all times. Please warn other riders if you see an obstruction or pothole on the road, and do not overtake on the left unless it is for avoiding a fallen rider.
10. FEELING BAD: If you are feeling dizzy, weak or ill while riding, please stop by the roadside immediately and wait for medical assistance.
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