Double-Century-Prep 'M' Ride Advice

Mark Abrahams
<dma at abriz dot net>
Last updated 2012-01-05

For several years (2004-2009), I organized an informal series of GPC double-century prep rides which took place each January, February, and March. Although this series is no longer happening as such, much of the advice written about those rides is still useful. Indeed, the comments below apply to most M-pace 100+ mile rides on the GPC ride calendar, no matter how they are billed or what month of the year.

See the main double-prep page for the current state of GPC double-century-prep rides.

The remainder of this page is adapted from my double-prep writeup of past years. It describes how I led M-pace prep rides and the advice I gave for them. Other ride leaders may take a different approach, and other double century riders may well have different advice.

Contents

Audience and Goal
Format
Expectations and Style
What to Carry
More Gear and Clothing Pointers
Weather
General Advice
Background Info
Links and References
Ride Reports, 2006
Ride Reports, 2005

Audience and Goal

Format

Expectations and Style

The goals noted above are ambitious. To meet them, these will be ambitious rides. I have the following expectations of riders:

What to Carry

Carry the same items you would for an actual double, including:

More Gear and Clothing Pointers

It's important to regulate your body temperature — especially on all-day rides when air temperatures can vary by 40 degrees or more (e.g. 50's to 90's). But it's just as important not to hold up the group while doing so.

Weather

General Advice (!)

I have been asked for recommendations for the rest of the week: Number of days to ride? Which days? Mileage? For an answer, I would not presume to prescribe a detailed regimen. All sorts of coaches and coaching programs are available both locally and over the internet to do exactly that. If you don't want to pay a coach, the links and references given below contain great advice, including many specifics.

That said, here is my advice on the essentials for preparing to ride a fast double. Every one of the points below will help:

Background Info

I started riding double centuries in 2000; as of this writing (end of 2011) I have completed 69. 61 of these are Cal Triple Crown finishes; The rest were self-supported or some other form of 200+ mile ride. 9 were ridden on a tandem. I've also had a few near-misses and DNF's — each with its own cause — so I've seen it from both sides. The Terrible Two was my first double century (not sure I would recommend that!) I have completed it every year since 2000 . . . some years with more success than others. Over those years I've formed some definite views on riding doubles and preparing for them.

On "training":  Notice I never say training for a double, because to me that is simply the wrong word — it flatly fails to convey all that is needed. You can train soldiers. You can train seals. You can toilet-train small children. Some people can train submissive mates! And, I'm told, in the Bay Area people train a lot more submissives than that.

But, as a bicyclist, I prefer to prepare. Successfully riding a double, especially a reasonably fast one, has three aspects: mental, physical, and logistical. Shortchanging any one of them is asking for problems. Proper preparation of all three requires more than mere training. That's why these are 'prep' rides. Any further commentary is for when I see you on the road!

Links and References

GPC Home Page | GPC Ride Series Overview | GPC Ride Guidelines | GPC Ride Rating System | GPC Double-Prep Main Page