Cache Gran FondoTroy Oldham, race director, Cache Grand Fondo

The century ride in cycling is a good tool to develop a long-term cycling lifestyle. Spring is about new opportunities and setting new goals. Nathan Young, physical therapist at Intermountain Logan Regional Sports Medicine Clinic and avid local cyclist, discusses important principles and concepts to help riders of all abilities prepare to complete their first century (100-mile ride).

Do you remember your first century? “I was an avid mountain biker until my brother, Jake, challenged me to start riding road bikes more than 11 years ago,” Nathan said. “As an experienced rider, Jake spent a lot of time teaching me how to ride and helped me build up to my first 100-mile ride. I loved the challenge, and doing it with my brother made it even more enjoyable.”

How can someone prepare for such a long distance? “The key to riding 100 miles is committing to consistent time on the bike, and learning about how to fuel your body with proper food and water on the ride,” Nathan said.

Does preparing for a century require a lot of training? “Consistent training for five-to-six hours a week, for two to three months, will help you enjoy your first century,” Nathan said. “Time in the saddle is critical. Work to increase 10 percent in distance and intensity each week.”

What is the biggest challenge for new riders? “One of the biggest challenges for new riders is learning to draft off other riders, so you can conserve energy and not burn out,” Nathan said. “Drafting is when you ride just behind another rider, and get the benefit of the other rider blocking the wind.”

For people who have major surgery like a knee, hip foot/ankle, is cycling a good options and why? “Most hip, knee and ankle surgeries allow you to bike at some point after surgeries,” Nathan said. “Cycling is a great aerobic exercise, but has decreased loading on the joints.”

What are the advantages of a bike fit? “Physical therapists are experts in assessing range of motion, strength, flexibility and functional activities,” Nathan said. “A good bike fit, together with consistent training, is a powerful combination. Cycling pain can often result in strength, range of motion or flexibility issues. We look at how the bike is set up, and how the rider moves while peddling.”

Do you suggest a training plan for new riders? “Start with a good mental attitude and a simple, flat 10-mile ride,” Nathan said. “Ride two-to-three times a week and progress just 10 percent a week, and within a few months you will be amazed at your strength and enjoyment.”

For information on a bike fit, call Intermountain Logan Regional Sports Medicine at (435) 716-2882.