I just signed up for BRAN (Bike Ride Across Nebraska.) I am going with a friend who almost always does two week long bike tours a year. I have never done anything like this before, in fact its been a few years since I last did a century. The ride is in a month and I am starting to freak out a bit. I guess the best strategy for me would be to get in as many longer rides as I can between now and then. So far this year I've been doing lots of 20s, 30s and several 40s, but a typical tour day is going to 80 miles.
What have I gotten myself into.
Sounds as though you got yourself into a fun organized ride.
Ride as much as you can daily between now and then, without hurting yourself, nor hating it. Try to get at least 1 equivalent (80 mile) ride in too. Ease up, but don't completely stop riding the week before.
As far as I know, most organized rides these days require helmets, you might want to look into that.
Mad bike riding scientist
Of course, YMMV, but, for me, there is no such thing as a "fun" organized ride! Someone else picks the agenda, someone else decides the mileage, someone else decides on the route, someone else...well you get the picture. Organized rides kill any sense of adventure or spontanity involved in touring. You can't stop or take an inviting side road or change your mind in midstream. You must start "here", end "there" and not miss any of the planned stops in between. If you want to visit the Abbey at Iona... tough luck. If you want to visit the Isle of Staffa...sorry, it's off the route. If you want to spend a day fishing a nice stream...hey, we have mileage to cover. Can't let you be skooging off to do other stuff! Must stay on schedule!
Originally Posted by Camel
As for doing the organized ride, Camel's advice is solid. Go look at the Bicycling Magazine website for advice on training for centuries. They have a good schedule for working your way up to higher mileages. Who knows, you might even have fun. It's just not my cup of tea.
Camel: BY GOD MAN don't be go diggin up dirt on me LOL. I bought a helmet at a second hand store last year. I have yet to ware it though. I figured I would need it for a tour so I got one cheap.
Cyccocommute: I agree with you. I have the whole summer off and want to do something more adventureous, but I thought I might start on something a littel safer. Even though I am not sure if 80 miles a day is safe.
If you can go out and ride 30-40 miles you can ride 80, so don't worry. The first time I did a tour on my own to get ready my longest ride was 34 miles. The first day of the tour was 65 the second day was 85 and on and on.... And the thing I learned is that when I do a ride on the weekend, its always 'well I have to do this when I'm done, and do that...'. Then I did my tour and there was nothing else, it was today from point A to point B, that was my only job for the entire day, so no problems. Have a good trip.
I still think an organized ride is great starter. You'll meet a whole bunch of similar minded folks (and spend some good time with a friend you allready know). This will give you an excellent base for any future tours you would like to set up yourself, or with folks that you meet.
80 miles daily seems like a lot, but not so much at all if its a fully supported (ie your bags are carried for you) ride. Plus you can draft (very handy). On a fully loaded tour I can average that daily, after about my first week (and I'm an evil cigarrette smoker). My body just gets used to it.
Don't get put off by the numbers-you'll be suprised what you'll be able to do when its done (and still have fun!).