The Yearly Century Challenge is just that – a test of how many 100 mile rides you can ride in a calendar year.
The Blue Dot Riders have organised the Yearly Century Challenge (YCC) for the first time in over a century, in homage to the original competition run by Cycling Weekly in 1911.
Running for 366 days, a century is tallied for every day where one hundred miles or more are ridden in the 24 hour period. For the more ambitious riders, this means you can even notch up two in one day by riding a double century. Rides must be totally human-powered and in the great outdoors – no virtual or turbo rides allowed.
So, what about the original? Cycling Weekly, then known as Cycling, was overwhelmed with a total of 650 riders sending in route cards, signed both by the rider and by multiple witnesses along the claimed route to provide adequate evidence. Thankfully Strava makes that job a little easier today.
A gold medal was awarded to the winner, 21 year old Londoner Marcel Planes, who totalled a staggering 332 centuries. Bronze medals were also awarded, and the only woman to enter was awarded a silver medal, Mrs Olive Elliot, who rode an impressive 60 hundred mile rides. Anyone who completed 20 or more received a certificate of recognition.
In keeping with the first competition, 20 rides gains a certificate and the fight for top place will be as fierce as ever. In addition, a number of riders have opted for the additional challenge the Ton of Tons – riding 100 centuries.
To date, eight riders have achieved the Ton of Tons already, including long-distance enthusiast Jack Peterson who completed the demanding challenge first by mid-August. 191 riders have entered the competition, having clocked at least one century so far.
There’s an additional prize this year, with a copy of The Year by Dave Barter for the person who totals the most century rides each month. The book delves into the history of the annual mileage record with stories to amaze and inspire from cyclists such as Tommy Goodwin and Billie Dovey.
A few familiar names are in the running this year for the YCC, including Steve Abraham who embarked on his One Year Time Trial challenge in 2015 – an attempt to beat the world annual mileage record and Kasja Tylen, currently riding A Year in the Saddle aiming to claim the women’s record.
There’s no denying it, to me there’s something magical about notching up the golden 100 miles. Having ridden my first century in 2015 whilst training for the London100, I was hooked on the achievement of riding so far in a single day.
Whilst brainstorming ideas for 2016 goals last Christmas, I thought that 12 century rides in 2016 was a good target – one for every month of the year. However, when I found out about the YCC challenge from Jack and the promise of a certificate at 20, it simply had to become my aim.
Isn’t it funny what motivates us? In my darker moments on a bike, sore legs, bonking and totally worn out, I can hardly believe that it’s just having that piece of paper that keeps me going. But having that goal set in stone, or rather concreted in my own mind drives me to achieve so much more.
With the clocks changing and only two more rides to complete, I am confident that I will reach my goal of 20 centuries. It’s been a fantastic year on the bike, with most of my qualifying rides tallied up on various adventures, from a club holiday in Spain to touring along the South coast of the UK and Brittany, and events like the London100 and the Rapha Women’s Prestige. There’s also been some exploring rides too, having moved back to the South-West, and over the bridge into Wales in search of greater climbs always seems to be a winner.
Fancy a go at this true test of endurance? It’s not too late to join this year’s challenge, and who knows, it may even be back in 2017. Whether you are looking at completing your first century or keen to tally as many as you can, this challenge is for you.
For more information and inspiration, visit:
Twitter – @100mileriders
With thanks to the Blue Dot Riders for not only organising, but also inspiring more of us to aim for the golden 100.