Update per my blogger/cycling pal Mark:
The times you listed for a century and metric are pretty insane - 4.5 hours for a century is 22+ mph, 3 hours for metric is almost 21 mph. I have never broken the 20-mph threshold on a century ... closest was 5 hours and 10 minutes on a pancake-flat course. I have broken 3 hours on a metric only once. If there is such a thing as a "typical" cyclist, expect 12-15 mph to be that range. Casual riders will be in the 10-12 mph range, faster/experienced/younger in the 15-18 mph range, and 18+ mph for the racers.
So don't worry, Helen! And thank God! I'm going to believe Mark's testimonial over BicycleSource.com's glossary of biking terms and slang because I like Mark's version better.
"The basis of successful century riding is training. Here are our proven 10-week training schedules. Schedule 1, designed for cyclists attempting their first century, is geared for those who've been riding an average of 45-50 miles a week. If you've been riding a bit more, increase the distances slightly. Use Schedule 2 if you've been cycling more than 75 miles a week. It will help you finish a century comfortably, or set a new personal best. In both charts, 'easy' means taking a leisurely ride, 'pace' means matching the speed you plan to maintain for the century, and 'brisk' means cycling faster than your century pace."
- America by Bicycle's Century Challenge & Endurance Cycling Training Guide, reproduced with permission by Rodale Press
My initial - and probably overly ambitious - plan was to begin my training using Schedule 2: A Century with Strength to Spare. I've regularly attended spinning classes for years; however, given my demanding, hectic schedule (between job #1 and job #2) and further reading in the AbyB Tour Kit literature, the more realistic choice is Schedule 1: Ride 100 Miles.
According to additional notes in the training guide: "No matter what schedule you follow, you'll need to find time to train during the week. Try commuting to work (an easy cruise down the West Side Highway, but not altogether convenient with corporate attire), riding at lunch (when you're an assistant to senior-level executives, you eat lunch at your desk), or using an indoor resistance trainer (can't afford to add superfluous equipment to my budget at this time). Though it's possible to prepare for a century riding just 4 days a week, a 6-day schedule works best. Remember that easy riding facilitates recovery better than inactivity."
Other things to remember as I move forward into my first week of training:
"Resist the temptation to drastically boost your weekly mileage, especially as the ride approaches. Overdoing it can lead to staleness, fatigue and injury. Watch for such over-training warning signs as restless sleep, fluctuations in the morning pulse rate, a sudden drop in weight, and fatigue or listlessness during workouts."
The guide also has a list of 15 dos and don'ts that I need to remember to reference frequently. And I should remain cognizant of the fact that Saturday is crucial since "doing progressively longer distances each weekend is the key to a successful century. It's wise to schedule your long ride for this day so Sunday will be available in case of bad weather or other interruptions."
There is also a third schedule (Schedule 3: Century Time Goals) in the guide, which I will ignore since I currently have no desire to become a competitive cyclist.
Here we go, Katie. Week 1.
Mon: Lower Body Strength Routine #1; 6 miles (easy)
Tues: Upper Body Strength Routine #1; 10 miles (pace)
Wed: Lower Body Strength Routine #2; 12 miles (brisk)
Thurs: Upper Body Strength Routine #2; Off
Fri: Lower Body Strength Routine #3; 10 miles (pace)
Sat: Upper Body Strength Routine #3; 30 miles (pace)
Sun: 9 miles (pace)
Week 1 Scheduled Mileage: 77
Strength training routines at the gym: M-F, 6am; Sat, 9am
Century training rides: M-W, F, 7pm; Sat, 11am; Sun, 7:30am