The Rapha’s Women’s 100 is Sunday and in our anticipation here are a few things to consider in the run up to the event:
1. Find some friends to ride with
I have ridden the Rapha Women’s Ride 100 a number of times in the UK but this will be my first on Canadian soil. In my experience, women have encouraged as many other female riders as possible to join them and as such, large community groups were formed for newcomers to choose from, often with one or two ride leaders. I am not aware of any bigger groups doing the event here in Ontario, although I am sure there are some, but I do recommend joining others for the ride if you can, or perhaps pulling a few friends together and forming your own group; the more, the merrier, so they say. I reached out to a few friends and I am excited to join one that I haven’t had the chance to ride with to date. Having both signed up to the Women’s 100 we have taken the opportunity to ride together.
2. Route Planning
This is definitely not my strong point! All too often I am met with a large amount of unpredicted underbiking and am faced with the decision to grin and bear it or make a forced detour and pile on the kilometers. As mentioned, I plan to ride with one of my friends this year and I have agreed to show her around the area in which I live. As such I am reverting to a former route to avoid any surprises. Not the most exciting approach but it does provide a foolproof advantage. For the more tech savvy or brave, I suggest planning a route and uploading it on to your bike computer in advance. Otherwise, try to hop onto a planned group ride, as this is a great way to discover new roads and perhaps a few quaint coffee stops along the way.
3. Bike check
Run through a simple bike check at least a day or two before the ride. I say this because the last thing you want is to need a part the evening before. Brakes, tires, lube, etc; most of you will have ridden at least a few times over the summer period and so have the advantage of seeing it simple. If not, then I would recommend a more thorough check and perhaps calling on the local bike shop depending on your mechanical knowledge and the condition of the bike. As part of the check, make sure any electronic devices, such as your bike computer, are charged up and in working order; and don’t forget your gears…I’ve been caught out with that before!
4. Know your limits
So the bike is working. Are you? The Rapha Women’s 100 is a fabulous way to come together to celebrate women on bikes but slamming into your first 100km this summer might not be the best tribute. Tailor the day to suit your riding level and those who may be joining you. Leading a group? Consider breaking into smaller groups to accommodate the speed and distance of all those riding with you. Joining a group? Take some time to assess the pace of those you will be riding with; this is usually posted with the ride information. Injured or haven’t ridden for a while? Plan some extra stops into the route, pause of photos, and make a deal with yourself not to let your ego get the better of you. You get the idea …in summary, make sure you enjoy it!
5. Plan your outfit
Shoes, helmet, socks, etc. In my experience it’s best to get your kit ready the night before a ride like this, too. Of course, this might mean preparing a few weather dependent items such as rain/wind proof or arm warmers and the like as fall is upon us now. Rather excited about taking part, I treated myself to the Women’s 100 Pro team jersey and paired them with the women’s detachable bib shorts I had in the closet. These are great for slightly longer ‘century’ rides as they better accommodate any pit stops along the way.
6. Food and drink
This leads me seamlessly onto hydration and nutrition. Despite the somewhat chillier starts, it’s still pretty warm out there and really, no matter the temperature, it’s important to stay hydrated, especially for these 100 km+ rides. This is where the detachable bibs come in handy! Aside from being proven to increase performance, getting the hydration right will also help with concentration levels and will help stave off a fuzzy Sunday morning head.
Personally I’m not big on sports nutrition and prefer to head out with a coconut water/water mix in my bottles and a ham sandwich stuffed into my back pocket. I find this gives me all I need for a ride of this size without the added risk or distraction of stomach cramps and the like. Positioned firmly in the ‘real food’ camp, I find cherries and nuts are perfect tidbits as you ride, too.
For more about the big day, check out RaphaWomen’s100.com