Archive for Training for a Half-Century


The long-term plan is to do a century bike ride. That’s a 100-mile ride. There. I said it.

This isn’t going to happen this year, or next. Possibly not for several years. But it will happen, or at least that is what my biking seasons are going to be keeping an eye on.

There are two things that need to happen before I can do a century: I need to get faster and 35-mile rides need to become my norm.

  • 35-mile rides

    The general wisdom is that you can train for a ride that is about 3-times your comfortable long-ride. That means that if you can comfortably do 10 miles, then you should be able to train, in about 12 weeks, for a 30-mile ride. So, to do a century ride, I need to first be comfortable with a 33.3-mile ride.

    This one I’ve almost got down. Last year we became very comfortable with 30 miles. 33-miles? Not so much. Anything above 30 was a lot of work. But I have hope, because in 2009 even a 30 mile ride was a lot of work, so we can bring up our comfortable long ride to 33, or even 35 this year.

  • faster rides

    This one is harder, but absolutely necessary. If I were to do a century ride at the same speed I did our half-century, it would take 14 hours. Now, that would make me a total badass for pedaling for 14 hours, but it’s just not practical. So, I must get faster.

    My one worry about this is that I am already pushing my body and heart about as much as it should be pushed (possibly a bit more). So, how do I pedal faster or harder? My husband and I have been looking into this, and found several resources. We’ll be setting up a training schedule this month for the year, with the goal of a half-century ride mid-summer, done faster than last year’s ride (I don’t care how much faster.).

    Of course, one thing that would make this whole thing easier would be if I were carrying around less weight. That is certainly a goal of mine. On the other hand, I would like to make progress without putting all of my success on the scale – that always fails miserably for me. So, we’ll be trying the sprinting and interval training on the one side, and I’ll be working on my nutrition and continued exercise on the other side.

    I won’t consider doing a century ride until my average biking speed is at least 15 mph.

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Bike DC

[Cross-posted on My Silly Life]


This was the first time I’ve done an organized ride. We tried to do the WABA ride several years ago, but it was cancelled by damage from Hurricane Isabel. Each year since then we have had some conflict with the ride. I was excited that this year’s ride worked out for us…excited and a little nervous. I’m not exactly the fastest rider on the planet, so one of my biggest fears was that we’d get “swept up” before finishing the ride. I knew I could do the 19 miles – that’s actually a couple miles short of what our long ride should be this weekend for our training schedule…I’m just not as fast as many other riders.

I wasn’t certain about the weather, since I’d woken up a couple times in the night to hear downpours and thunder. We got up at 5:30 and checked the weather reports – one said 10% chance of rain until about 11AM when it would go up to 40-50%; another site said 90% chance for rain going up to 100% at 11AM. Hmmmm….they could not have been more different. We decided to at least head downtown, and if it was raining hard, we could always bail.

We had to be on the first Metro train out of the station in the morning so we could check in at registration. I’d been hoping to be one of the first riders out, but the 7AM train didn’t get us into DC until about 7:40. We checked in at the Registration at Freedom Plaza downtown and got going on the ride a bit before 8AM.

Andrew at the Bike DC registration

The route brought us right by the White House.

We rode past the White House

Then we went into Georgetown along the Whitehurst Freeway. It’s a little sad that this freeway is usually occupied by cars with drivers who probably don’t enjoy the view, because it was quite lovely. From there we crossed the Key Bridge and hopped onto the GW parkway. Part of the Parkway was closed off for the ride. It started drizzling a bit on this stretch of the ride, but it wasn’t bad. The route was a bit of a bear, though, because it was uphill, it seemed, for about 1.5 miles. Coming back down? Fun!

Biking on the GW Parkway

The next stop was a trip around the Iwo Jima memorial.

Iwo Jima Memorial

Then it was on to the Air Force Memorial. It was a huge uphill trip from the main road up, but worth it for the view. It was also my first time at this memorial.

We also biked up to the Air Force Memorial   View from Air Force Memorial

From there it was just a few miles to the finish in Crystal City. And I didn’t get “swept up”! We arrived around 10:30AM, so 2.5 hours for 19 miles, photos, and a pit stop. Mostly I had fun – the only questionable part was that uphill on the GW Parkway, but hey, it’s in the bank, right?

You can see the rest of my pics from the ride here: Bike DC

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Training Schedule

Okay, I’m making it public so everyone can keep me honest. Here’s my first stab at a training schedule for our training for a half-century ride in September. This is based on a much shorter schedule for a century. The Wednesday ride should push our speed/pace faster than the target for our final ride. The other rides should be at our target speed/pace.

Week Dates Mon Wed Fri Sat Total Miles
1 4/5-4/11 5 6 5 15 31
2 4/12-4/18 5 6 5 16 32
3 4/19-4/25 6 7 6 17 36
4 4/26-5/2 6 7 6 18 37
5 5/3-5/9 7 8 7 19 41
6 5/10-5/16 7 8 7 20 42
7 5/17-5/23 7 9 7 21 44
8 5/25-5/30 7 9 7 23 46
9 5/31-6/6 8 10 8 24 50
10 6/7-6/13 8 10 8 26 52
11 6/14-6/20 8 11 8 27 54
12 6/21-6/27 8 12 8 28 56
13 6/28-7/4 9 14 9 30 62
14 7/5-7/11 9 14 9 32 64
15 7/12-7/18 9 14 9 33 65
16 7/19-7/25 10 15 10 34 69
17 7/26-8/1 10 15 10 35 70
18 8/2-8/8 10 17 10 37 74
19 8/9-8/15 11 18 11 40 80
20 8/16-8/22 11 18 11 40 80
21 8/23-8/29 11 18 11 34 74
22 8/30-9/5 11 18 5 50 84

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