First of all: it's great
that you're looking into some longer rides!
The prep work for them basically involves gradually building up to the distance on the bike, while working on other things like core strength off the bike. The off-bike workouts can be in the gym, in yoga classes, in the pool, wherever - just mix it up to keep things balanced (as Don says: balance is the key). I mention core strength in particular because it helps in so many aspects of both cycling and skiing: it provides stability and balance, and also fights against fatigue that can cause problems with sloppy pedal technique (which can lead to injury if not careful).
Don't worry about riding a hybrid on a century. If the bike is comfortable, then use it! Even though I have two high-end road bikes, I've ridden an on-road century on my mountain bike, running fairly fat, slick tires. It was a bit slower than the road bikes, but quite doable. The one bit of bike equipment I'd invest in is "clipless" pedals and good, well-fitting cycling shoes, as you'll transfer power better on the bike, which will fatigue you less over the long run.
There's a bit of an unwritten rule that says "if you can comfortably ride 75% of the distance of a goal ride, then you can ride the goal distance on the day of the big event." I've found this to be true, more or less. You'll want to build up to that distance and probably work on increasing your pace just a little - as noted earlier, 10+ hours in a bike seat is a lot of time in a bike seat. Luckily, you have both plenty of time and
a goal - that's a perfect start!
If you are looking into riding one of the big, organized century rides in the Mid-Atlantic, such as the Sea Gull Century, the Bay Country Century or Potomac Pedalers Touring Club's (PPTC) Historic Back Roads Century, you'll want to become familiar with riding in a group setting (this is especially true for the Sea Gull, which is known for insanely large packs of riders on its almost pancake flat course). All of these rides take place later in the cycling season, so there's plenty of time to build up your skills. Going on rides with a local bike club or bike shop is the best way to do this, and there are plenty of options for that. PPTC offers a lot of great rides, as do other clubs like the Reston Bike Club, Baltimore Bike Club and Oxon Hill Bike Club. Most local shops offer group rides that'll show you the ropes, as well.
There are a lot of good guides to training for your first century available on the 'net. Here are a few for your perusal:http://www.blayleys.com/articles/firstcentury/index.htmhttp://gtinla.wordpress.com/2009/06/07/so-you-want-to-ride-your-first-century/http://mvillebikes.com/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=88
Additionally, David Bernstein has an older episode of his cycling podcast, The Fredcast
, that covers training for your first century. It is episode #5, and the podcast is listed in iTunes' podcast directory or can be accessed from the show's website
Good luck!(Full disclosure: as Comprex said, I'm a member and ride leader for PPTC [leading A-class rides - the fast ones], and also serve on its executive committee.)
Originally Posted by Pandita
SO now that skiing has been over this season for me, I am now trying to get into riding. I actually want to try and do some of the long rides, perhaps a nice flat century ride. My question is I can do 30-35 miles now primarily flat with some slight elevation gain 200-500 feet in about 3 hours 15 minutes. How does one prep for a long ride, how many miles do you need to do before you can say, oh 100 miles, no prob. Besides the actualy cycling, what are other strength training that should be done.
Thanks for any advice. I wanted to do something now in the off season and think ahead until Nov 2010 start of the ski season.
Oh I have a hybrid bike, no mountain bike yet.