I ride regularly but I've only been riding just under 2 years. I've done an MS150 (2 day ride from Houston to Austin). I've done 2 Bike around the Bays (150 miles, 2 days around Galveston Bay). The last Bike around the Bay I did had non stop rain the 2nd day. Rode in pouring rain for 5 hours. It rained so hard that it stings you. I regularly sign up for rides ranging from 50-75 miles a day. My speed is only 18-21 mph. I am by no means fast. I get passed up all the time by these fat old guys, which is kind of frustrating...LOL
The most important thing about cycling is getting the right size bike and being properly fitted for it. I had a professional fit done. I got a discount on my fit and it cost me $200, regular price is $250. They have you bring in your bike and set it up on a trainer. Then they use cameras to record your position and pedaling. Plug it into a computer and it shows where your body is out of alignment. They spend about 2 hours getting you all lined up. Once your body is in in line your legs will pump like pistons. Once my fit was complete (took 2 different sessions) I could tell a huge difference in my ability to ride further, faster, and more comfortably.
The other thing I like to tell people is to find your pedaling sweet spot. Find the right gear which will allow you to pedal at a comfortable cadence to go the speed that you want to go. For instance, I ride with a group of friends. One guy has a cadence of 85-95 and my cadence is usually 70-80. I have no problem keeping up with him because I pedal in a harder gear than he does, but to me its very comfortable. Just like snowboarding everyone's feet is different and they should find shoes that fit their feet. Cycling is no different. You know your body and your ability. You should find your own pedaling sweet spot. As you progress in your cycling this should change. This is just how I pace myself for distance rides.
You should also do short rides, where you will want to do some interval training. Mix it up with pedaling fast, using harder gears, and go all out. This helps to train all the different cycling muscles in your legs. If you have lots of hills/mountains to ride then that would be some awesome training too. I live in Houston so it's really flat. We do regularly get 15-25mph winds to ride head on into. Head wind sucks ass, going from riding 18mph to 7mph is the worst.
In terms of energy supplements, nutrition, and hydration there's a few things I like. I usually bring energy gels with me on my rides, but lately as my endurance has improved I have not needed to use them. I like Hammer Gel and Cliff Bar Gels. There's another brand called GU that's very popular. These things will give you a quick shot of energy but it's like trying to down tooth paste. For drinks, I avoid Gatorade. It has way too much sugar and just isn't really a great sports drink. I keep 2 water bottles on my bike. One is just filled with water and the other is filled with Cytomax. Cytomax is an awesome sports drink and I highly recommend it. I also drink it when I'm in lifting. Last, I usually like to bring a banana or some type of snack in bar form for when I get hungry.
Just keep riding and having fun. In no time you will be knocking off Centuries.
Last edited by Danger Mouse; 12-29-2011 at 11:15 AM.