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How to Prepare for a Century (A Bike Ride--What Do You Think I Am, a Soothsayer?)

How to Prepare for a Century (A Bike Ride--What Do You Think I Am, a Soothsayer?)


Assuming nobody reads this other than my mom and my husband (for whom English is a second language, making him a painfully slow, begrudging-but-meticulous proof-reader) I am creating this post mainly to serve my own needs. I'm kidding, every post is for my primary audience: me.

This post fulfills a pretty specific need (unlike my more universal pieces on vanity plates and procrasturbation): a checklist to help prepare for a 100 mile bike ride (a "century" for those of us in the biz--of self-harm). On those two magical nights of the year when I'm getting ready to pedal in a giant, expensive circle and wondering how many Instagram likes my "100 mile" odometer post will get (probably so many), I'll be able to rest easy knowing that I've packed the right padded shorts, butt butter, helmet, human growth hormones, etc. (I'll state the obvious: biking is a sexy sport.)

Two centuries ago (ha--so biblical sounding) I forgot to pack my butt butter and had to borrow some from a stranger/fellow-rider. (It was the Chamois kind in individual packets--I don't double dip.) Anyone who has biked long distance knows that the seams in your shorts can grow teeth and gnaw at your where-shorts-seams-are-skin, leaving it chafed and making it painful to walk for days after (unless you have a thigh gap of over 6 inches.) The Chamois worked just fine, but since I am quaint and superior, I like to make a homemade version which involves mixing unmeasured quantities of diaper rash cream, petroleum jelly, tea tree oil and baby foreskin. As you can see: I need this checklist.

1. Bike. This one is pretty non-negotiable, so while it's good I haven't forgotten it yet, it still needs to be on the list. My memory doesn't seem to get any better no matter how many Soduku games I consider learning how to do. So: better safe than sorry.

2. Shoes. I have forgotten these before so I know that when your 8 hour workday-on-two-wheels starts at 6 a.m., there's no shop open to buy a new pair. You've got to drive all the way back home, trip over your hamper trying not to wake up your husband, wake him up anyway, and then convince yourself you want to do this enough to drive another hour back to the starting line. It's a tough one to get over.

3. Butt Butter. I think I've already explained this one, and anyway, it's pretty self-explanatory. Lil' Wayne puts truffle butter on your pussy; bikers put it everywhere.

4. Helmet. Kim Kardashian says she sleeps in her workout clothes so she can't talk herself out of skipping a workout in the morning. (This is a lesson in turning your laziness into an effective tool that makes you less lazy; it's not for mortals.) I think she probably forgot to swap out her Yeezy transparent PVC boots for her Yeezy transparent PVC trainers one time and Gunnar Peterson was like, "what!?" and she doesn't need that kind of negativity in her life. So: sleep in your helmet. (Also, I think I want a transparent PVC helmet. What the fuck, Yeezus? ) 

5. Gloves. Honestly, I don't know what these do for me other than look sexy as hell. Remember Christina Aguilera in the "Dirrty" video? Velcro-strapped, fingerless, sweaty. Also, really dirty with one "r": bike grease everywhere, not always so easy to grab a tissue when your nose is running and you're going downhill at 27 mph. (Reminder 5a: wash bike gloves.)

6. Extra inner tube and CO2 cartridge. These are for changing a flat tire. I don't know how to do that, but, to my credit, I don't know how to change a flat on a car either. So there.

7. Charged Odometer. So many feats we pull off on a regular basis don't have clean metrics: feeling smarter after reading a book, not feeling like a garbage person, eating less than all of the cereal. These are hard to quantify, but achievements nonetheless. Why in God's name would you risk not measuring 100 miles? A not-yet-finished-box of Cookie Crisp won't win you more than two Instagram "likes" (one from me, one from Jerry Seinfeld), but an even 100 on a bike odometer merits hundreds. Just don't fuck it all up with an extra quarter mile to the porta potties or forgetting to charge your odometer.

8. Snacks. These are what pockets on bike jerseys were made for. I like to pack snacks that are calorie dense and easy to eat on-the-go for a quick energy fix. If you too are planning to fill one pocket with mac and cheese, make sure you use an easy-to-grab noodle like rotini and none of that slippery penne shit.

9. Music. Purists will tell you not to use music so you can stay alert for traffic, or whatever. (Definitely don't use earbuds--you will die.) But playing a little Daddy Yankee on speaker (from your phone, located in one of those handy shirt pockets, not the mac and cheese one) can be the difference between making it up a steep hill and giving up mid-pedal, rolling backwards and letting Yeezus take the wheel. (DY: In case you are reading this, I love you.)

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