The Century is often the benchmark for amateur and recreational cyclists. Often taking the form of fund-raising charity rides or hosted club-run rides, they often feature food, music and expo-like activities at the end. These full day events are, as they say, all about the bike. You are surrounded by fellow cyclists (or sympathetic family supporters of fellow cyclists) and the camaraderie is palpable.
However, there is a ton of benefit – both training and mental – in doing longer rides such as this on your own. For me personally riding with other cyclists definitely improves my performance. I find myself pushing myself just a tiny bit more when the guy in front of me starts to gap me, or when fellow riders are on my wheel. I have the opportunity to slip onto someone else’s wheel for a bit of respite while still maintaining pace.
When you’re out on the road on your own, however, those options don’t exist. It is you, your bike, and the thoughts in your head.