Wichita Falls will probably be somewhere in between darn hot and REALLY hot in a month or so, so plan accordingly...
Here's a few things - in no particular order.
0) Train for the event - be sure to do some rides of at least 80% of the event length in the few weeks before. But ease off and get some rest/recovery the week before. The last couple of rides should just be "easy spins" to stay loose.
1) Hydrate abundantly - before, during, and after the event.
2) Replace salt - if you sweat a lot and just drink water - and don't keep enough salt in your system, you can suffer from a (potentially fatal) malady known as hyponatremia - your blood needs a minimum amount of salt to keep everything working right. There are quite a few examples of this problem and its effect on endurance athletes. Google it if you want to know more. None of the most commonly-used "sports drinks" contains enough salt to replace what you might use on a long ride. I typically use a mixture of Gatorade (or similar beverage) with water (2/3 to 1/3 ratio) with a couple of pinches of table salt mixed in each bottle. I also carry some of those little packets of french fry salt they give away at Mickey D's so I can add salt to replacement water or beverage
3) Eat... I eat an adequate but not humongous breakfast a couple hours before an event and an energy bar a few minutes before the start, then keep eating. I try to eat a small/medium banana every 20-25 miles (for the potassium as well as the calories) plus a couple of gels or other high sugar foods along the way. The trick is to eat enough quicky digested carbs to not "bonk" but to not eat anything that will upset your stomach or anything that will not digest and "lump up" in your stomach. Also - avoid eating anything unfamiliar or really spicy in the day or two before the event.
4) Recover. Drink something with protein and carbs right after the event (chocolate milk or equivalent...??), then eat a good normal meal within a few hours. Get a good night's sleep and take it easy for a couple of days - no hard riding or other hard exercise, just rest or easy exercise.
5) Stretch. Before and after the event - also if you get off the bike for a "necessary" break in the middle. Quad and Hamstring stretches are good as well as other stretches that will open up your pelvic area and lower back. And - - don't forget to keep your shoulders and arms loose. Stretching is even more important if you have to travel a long distance to get to or home from the event.
6) Pace yourself. Go out at a sustainable pace and keep to it. If you have a computer you can keep track of average speed. A guy I know who does a lot of century and metric century events told me that his practice is to expend 40-45% of his energy in the first half and to save 55-60% for the last half. I think this is a pretty good idea!! Especially in TX in August, where the temperature will be rising steadily from the start of the event to the finish...
There's a metric century charity event I do every hear that requires 4 circuits around a very hilly 16 mile course. There are always some time trialer types who go out fast and compete with each other in the first 1-2 laps. But that's as far as most of them are able to go. The rest of us go out easy and finish all 4. The way I look at it, it's about finishing, not how fast you can do a single lap or a single mile or whatever...
at any rate, good luck getting ready for and participating in this event.
Edited by: LDJONE2 at: 7/27/2008 (16:32)