Start with a Century Ride

A double century should not be your first organized bicycle event. It is best to first get ready and then ride a century ride (100 mils) so you get experience riding in groups with other riders you are not familiar with. However do not get discouraged at the end of the century ride thinking that you would have to repeat all that again to finish a double. That is what training is about. When you are ready you will feel a lot more fresh at the end of the first hundred miles of a double century than you do at the end of that century ride.

Build Base Miles

Having a good training program for doing a double century will greatly increase your prospects for having a safe and enjoyable ride. Part of that training program is to increase the number of miles you cycle. It is best to built up gradually, preferable no more than 15% more miles each week. Don't try to jump from 100 miles a week to 200 miles a week in one or two weeks. You body needs time to adapt. You need to get your total miles up to at least two hundred miles a week for a few weeks before riding the double century. Mileage in the range of 300 to 350 is even better, but may be difficult for most people due to the time required.

Pace Line Practice

One important aspect of doing a double century is to learn to ride safely in a pace line. Most double centuries develop some long pace lines, upwards of 20 or more riders. Drafting behind another rider can reduce your effort by as much as 30%. That will have a large impact over 200 miles. Study about the proper techniques on riding in a pace line and then practice it on group rides.

Add Speed Workouts

As you add more miles, it is important to do some of your rides in a way that requires some speed workout. You may question the need for speed workouts if you are not racing. But by doing them, you will be able to ride are your normal pace with greater ease. Also you can get the speed bursts you need, just as to hang on pace line as they leave a rest stop, or accelerate up a small incline.

There are two types of speed workouts. One is to ride faster than normal for some set distance or set time. Usually this can be done on a shorter course than you might typically bike. The other type is interval training. A good approach is to pick a route where you can ride without the need for stopping for traffic and ride as hard as you can safely do so for 5-7 minutes, then ride real easy for a rest period about half that time. Then repeat that. Work up to 3 or more repeats.

Long Training Rides

You will want to do some long group training rides 1 to 3 weeks before the double century. These should be over 100 miles, but much less than 200 miles. Rides in the range of 120-135 miles can work well. Not only do these rides help with your training, but help provide the confidence needed as well as a chance to test out eating and drinking. At least one long training ride should be completed, but not too close to the double century. Completing two or three such rides is preferable.

Watch Nutrition

Just as important as training on the bike is what you eat. You will need the proper nutrition during the weeks before the double century to make sure you have endurance on the ride. Also important is what you eat and drink while on the ride. You should not be experimenting on the double century. Try out food and drink combinations on your long riders first.


Long distance training too close to the event will not help you and will actually be detrimental. Read the article on tapering.


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