Training Schedule for Your First Double Century

Tips to Prepare for a Grueling, 200-Mile Cycling Event

Male race cyclist on mountain road
Thomas Tolstrup

As more and more people have begun to embrace the challenge of distance cycling, the idea of a riding a Century (100 miles) has suddenly become mundane. Ever eager to expand horizons, a new breed of cyclist have risen to the challenge of the Double Century (200 miles).

The Double Century phenomenon began on the West Coast of the U.S and has steadily moved eastward to Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, and beyond.

Arguably the most famous is the Solvang Spring Double Century in California.

If you have already logged a few Centuries, you will likely ready to face the rigors of the 16-week training schedule. It requires not only the right equipment and attitude, it demands that you train at the right pace to achieve your optimal speed and endurance goals.

Training Preparations

As you've already completed your first Century, you will already be well aware of the importance of a well-fitted bike. But don't assume that riding a Century is simply "more of the same" only longer. The stress on your body will be exponentially increased, making it all the more important to get the fitting right to minimize stress on your pressure points and maximize aerodynamics. To this end, you would need to do the following:

  • Your seat would need to be adjusted so that your hips don't rock from side to side.
  • The fore and aft seat position would also need adjustment so that your forward knee is aligned directly over the pedal axle.
  • Your handlebars would be positioned so that you can comfortably bend your elbows while riding.
  • You would need to find the right saddle to relieve pressure points on soft tissue.
  • Your 20-millimeter tires would need to be replaced with more suitable 25-millimeters tires running at around 105 psi.

Beyond your bike and cycling clothes, you should also consider getting a cycling computer.

The best Double riders use these handy gadgets to record their mileage, time, and altitude. The computer will help you stay on course. Keeping track of your climbing will help you better pace yourself.

Goals of Training

The central goal of training is to get your legs ready to complete the course in the prescribed time. The schedule is based on three to four rides per week with the long miles reserved for the weekends.

To set your endurance goals, you will need to able to cycle for between 12 to 15 hours to complete a Double. What this means is that you will need to do more than a few 50-mile rides and think you'll be prepared; you won't. Instead, you will need to be able to complete a few 100-plus-mile rides two to three weeks before the race.

The midweek miles listed below should only be considered a minimum. You can well exceed this mileage and even throw in some extra rides during the week if you so choose.

Finally, it is important to eat and drink in accordance with your endurance training needs.

16-Week Double Century Training Schedule

Week #Week GoalMidweekSaturdaySunday
190305010
2110207020
3110305030
4130407020
5120208020
6140407030
7190508060
8160509020
9160408040
10180409050
111905011030
122104015020
132005010050
14150308040
15120406020
1622020200Rest

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