Arbuckle23 wrote:I suppose my main query is whether I need to ensure I have completed a ride at or about that distance prior to the ATB.
Or just increase my century rides up to the mid 100's several times to get me the fitness required?
No, you don't have to do the full distance in training, but if you can get yourself up to about 85% of The Target beforehand, the psychological boost you get from being in an event will take care of the rest.
The year I did ATB, I took it a step further; I set myself the challeng of riding from home, up to the start, doing The Lap (the standard 210 - the 250 didn't come in until the following year), then riding home again. Home happens to be in the outer south-east suburbs, so that made for a 320km day!
The key I found was to get onto it as far out from the event as possible; I set myself the challenge virtually a year out. With other non-cycling sporting commitments over the summer, I spent those months building a base level of cycling fitness aiming to do a 100km ride every Sunday regardless of how buggered I was from sailing the day before, on top of my weekly 75km commute, so that when the serious stuff kicked in after the sailing season finished, 100km was a short ride.
I then plotted out a training plan, initially on a four week cycle, then stretching out to six weeks as the weekly big ride got bigger. I worked on a two steps forward, one step back sort of principle; starting from the 100km benchmark, the following week would be 120km. Then I'd step back to 110km, then the next week up to 130km, then back to 100km as an "easy" ride to begin the next monthly cycle, but with bigger steps to push the distance up. Running to a relatively long-term training plan allowed some flexibility, so it wasn't a major drama if I missed a week for whatever reason. Ultimately it mapped out so I did my longest training ride - 280km - a month out from ATB, with those intervening weeks "only" doing a 120-150km ride. All this was on top of my 75km weekly commuting.
So to put things back into the perspective of the 210km target, yes you can do it on 150-200km riding per week, but you want at least half of that to be in a single ride. You should aim to do a 180km ride 3-4 weeks out from the event.
And when you're out on the road, don't think about the distance or the time; if you concentrate too much on them, you can perceive them as barriers, and psychology can work against you. Just enjoy the ride, stay fuelled and hydrated, and before you know it you will have done some big miles.