In 2000, a few of us training for Ironman Utah, and one guy training for the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike, race decided to do a spring century ride. Unlike this year, the spring weather in Colorado is often snowy, wet and chilly. Since misery loves company, the small group of about half dozen of us rode a torturous, windy 100 miles.
The result of the torture was we all achieved the fitness bonus we were looking for.
In the years since, that spring century ride turned into the annual tradition of the VE100 – or Vernal Equinox 100-mile ride. This spring century is both a training goal and a training boost. What does that mean?
The first goal is to have at least one 50- to 60-mile ride under our collective belts in February. In some winters, this is not an easy accomplishment. This accomplishment is best done in a single ride, though it can be split between two days.
If you’ve accomplished 50- to 100-percent of the estimated ride distance (in this case a century) or estimated ride time (best used for mountain bike events), within a single ride or two consecutive days, in the two to four weeks prior to your “event” then you will have the endurance to complete your event. Generally, the higher the percentage you’re able to complete before the event, the faster, more comfortable or both you’ll be during the event.
The previous paragraph is important. I use the 50- to 100-percent rule for much of the endurance training I design for athletes.
Aiming for the VE100 gives all of us a spring target or goal event.
Everyone finds that a few weeks after the VE100, overall endurance fitness is boosted. This boost can then be used to the athlete’s advantage.
Out of the twelve people that successfully completed the VE100, none of them have identical race schedules. But, all of them will benefit from the ride.
It doesn’t matter whether you target a sponsored event or if you design your own, training for a century ride can, and will, make a positive impact on your fitness.
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