Rapha's Women's 100 And What You Need To Know

27 August, 2018

Once again, the Rapha Women’s 100 will be back for another round this year. A display of collective spirit amongst female cyclists, the Women’s 100 continues to inspire hundreds around the world to come together to ride 100km all on the same day, September 15, 2018. For those who have never ridden the distance before, the Women’s 100 is a chance to expand your horizons. For seasoned riders it offers an opportunity to share riding experience, encourage others and break boundaries. So what are you waiting for? Gather some friends and get involved. You can find out more on joining a ride on Rapha's website here.

When preparing for an event or ride, it's best not to wait last minute to check off the basics of caring for your bike, yourself, and knowing the who, what, where and rules of the group ride. To help you prep for the Women's 100, here are just a few things to know to help you get ready and confident for the ride.

Bike Check
First step to preparing for a group ride is to prepare your bike: clean and lubed chain/drivetrain, check air pressure in tubes, and ensure your brakes are working. Make sure your actual tires are are not balding, or wearing apart. In the summer we put a lot of mileage on our rides and don't often check our tires for replacement. On our a ride last year, one of our girls got 2 flats because of thinning tires. If you're not sure how to prep your bike, you can watch this video on how to prepare your bike for a ride. You can also take your bike in to get tuned, just be sure to take it in days before the event or ride.

Pack
Most club or group rides do not provide items for a ride so it's best to kit your bike up with water bottle cages, bike lights, and pack some snacks in your jersey or a bike bag. Consider carrying snacks to refuel like energy bars, gels, nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate. My favorite bags to carry items in are handlebar bags such as the Road Runner's Burrito handlbar bag and Po Campo's Kinga Handle Bar Bags, perfect for all my snacks and personal items such as sunscreen, a credit-card, insurance card, ID, cash, and phone (these you always want to carry on your body too).

Other things to bring on a ride are: tire levers, spare inner tube, patch kit, mini-bike pump, and folding multi-tool carefully packed up in a saddle bag. If you're not familiar with fixing a flat or making basic fixes, it's probably a good idea to learn how, see Rapha's post on Fixing A Flat.

Kit Up
Wearing the right kit is crucial to feeling confident and comfortable on your ride. I highly recommend investing in a pair of highly quality cycling shorts like Machines For Freedoms Endurance Bibs, a sweat wicking jersey, and good pair of gloves. You can read more on kits I highly trust here. Depending on your weather - a water/windproof jacket, cap, and overshoes may help you go a long way in prepping for your ride.
Train
If you are new to cycling or long distance cycling, give yourself 6-12 weeks of training before an event. This would allow you to ease in without risking injury from riding hard and far too soon. Each week, plan your sessions and weekly long ride ride with an increase in mileage. For example, I do 2 indoor cycling sessions of 60 mins, 1 day of yoga, 2 days of recovery, and 1 day of outdoor road cycling with mileage (no more than 15% increased mileage each week). For a session (indoor/outdoor), write out your warm up time, specific exercises for strength building, sprint time, interval training, climbing time, recovery time and tape it to your bike, or join a indoor cycling class that will give you the proper sessions you need.

Rapha suggests that you can train for the Women's 100 in just five weeks. Here is the weekly training plan they outline for success!
Schedule
Ideally, you should plan to put the miles on your bike, however, when you're starting out, it's key to map out your training sessions and mile goals weekly. By planning your weekly training sessions, you can prioritize your schedule around training so you're not skipping out. Not everyone has the time for a regimented training schedule, however, when you're training for an event, it's key to not fall off the training wheels.

Ride With Friends
Riding or training with a group of friends is a lot more fun than going alone. I highly recommend riding with other cyclist that are at a similar level of your riding speed. There is nothing worse than being dropped and feeling as if you don't know what you're doing. If you're not confident riding with a group, you can try joining a local bike club or ride. You can also learn how to ride in groups here.

Hydration
Staying hydrated on and off your bike is key to keeping your muscles from cramping. Before, during, and after training, be sure to hydrate and follow up on replacing lost salts and minerals with a sports drink or electrolyte tablets like Nuun's Hydration Tablets. During a training session or ride, keep water close by to keep hydrating so your replacing what you sweat out but don't consume too much or else you'll feel sick, trust me I'm guilty of this.

Nutrition
Before training, eat properly two hours before a session or ride. Certain foods will provide you with the fuel you'll need for a long distance ride like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, quinoa, fruits, and vegetables. Personally, I look forward to my pre-ride meal of oatmeal, almonds, banana and coffee. Two hours before a training session, I have a slice of gluten-free bread with peanut butter and apple so that I have enough to burn and hold onto before eating a full meal.

During a ride, keeping sufficiently fueled is critical to avoid bonking. That feeling of fuzzy head and legs giving up is no fun. Consider carrying snacks to refuel like energy bars, gels, nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate (what snacks to carry blog post in que).

Remember to have fun on this ride though. It's not a competition but rather a great experience and opportunity to meet new friends and riding buddies!

Images: Marnie Hawson/Rapha

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