Entered for my first century (167km) this coming Sunday. Lot of climbing involved, including an early killer hairpin hill (only 1.4km, but 36% gradient at one point!), followed by several long drags and two very tough climbs along dead mountain roads, before a 10km downhill finish (if I get that far!).
Basically I don't know if I can do it. I'm 37, started cycling 14 months ago, and this time last year I did the 100km version of this tour and it went fairly well - though I started off too quickly (never again!). Since then I've done a few 100km rides, mostly 30-70km spins, and managed a 125km solo ride (in 5hrs) about 5 weeks ago along much of this century route, after which I reckon I could have done another 20k (max).
However, over the last 4 weeks I've struggled for form and motivation, which seems strange what with the big century day looming. A little bit of that is connected to a concern about an old knee injury (ACL reconstruction in 2003, tweaked it playing my first soccer match in 13 years three weeks ago and it's paining me a bit but not too bad).
In saying that, I think it's more a mental thing. I'm not a member of a cycling club and most of my spins are solo or with one other person at most. A month back I joined in with a fast group to see what it would be like and got burned off after only 10k. My confidence really took a nosedive that day and I've found it hard to stick at it, wondering what the hell am I doing even riding a bike?!
Sunday's century is regarded as a definite toughie, but achievable. My plan was to start off slow, maybe ride for spells alongside a few small mid-paced groups to break the boredom (there'll be c.1500 on the route), take 4 proper food/water stops and hope my knee (and the weather!) holds.
Any advice from someone who has rode centuries solo about how to handle the psychological side of things (or any other tips - the obvious often escapes me!) would be greatly appreciated.