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A Guide For New Sportive Riders GUEST POST

by Andrew Montgomery

So you've signed up to ride a bike for 100 miles. In one day. How do you feel?

Excited?
Unsure where to start?
Glad you're wearing brown underpants?

When I received word that I had a place to participate in the first RideLondon-Surrey 100, I went through all those stages (and more.)

It would have been great to read a detailed guide, aimed at novices, giving realistic advice about what was important (and what was not) when preparing for my first imperial century - the cycling term for a ride of over 100 miles. 

Having been through the process, and after successfully completed the RideLondon event, I thought I would write that guide. You can download it for free from my blog (the link is at the bottom of this article.) 

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Climbing in the Surrey Hills during the RideLondon event

4 Steps To Your First Imperial Century Ride

The guide covers what I considered were the four key steps to successfully completing my first imperial century: 

* Training
* Nutrition and hydration 
* Preparation (including equipment and logistics)
* Enjoyment on the day 

As far as training goes, my advice to novice road cyclists would be to try not to be overwhelmed by the vast amount of information available on the interwebs and in magazines. Some of it is useful; some of it ain't. 

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Jubilant riders crossing the finish line on The Mall

The key principles that I followed were:

(i) To make my training specific - I trained over terrain similar to that which I would be riding in the event itself; I worked on increasing my endurance rather than my top-end speed.

(ii) To make it realistic and achievable - like most people, I didn't have the time to train as a pro-cyclist, so I didn't develop a programme that had me riding 25+ hours a week.

(iii) To start training early - since I was starting from a low fitness base, I gave myself plenty of time to work up to cycling distances that my training programme required. 

(iv) to ENJOY my training - otherwise, what's the point? 

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Buckingham Palace greeted finishers at the RideLondon 100

So How Was It?

Since you ask, it was fantastic. RideLondon was probably my best day on the bike (even despite suffering from the after effects of a virus bestowed upon me by my kids.)

The sense of achievement from riding that distance, and raising over £1,200 for charity, was immense. Cycling through closed London streets with thousands of other cyclists is an experience I'll never forget.

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The reward for all the hard work and training 

And since, as my guide outlines, I trained with the sole purpose of getting round the course whilst still enjoying the experience, I'm desperate to go back next year to push myself further. With the lessons learnt from my training and preparation for the 2013 event, I think that's eminently achievable. 

At his blog, the Grimpeur Heureux, Andrew provides tips and entertainment for amateur road cyclists and sportive participants. 

Click here to download his free guide, '4 Steps To Your First Imperial Century Ride'.