1) The bike - Someone once said, "it's not the bike, it's the engine". Whoever said that probably rode a recumbent. Sure, you could do a century on a mountain bike with slicks, but secretly all real cyclists laugh at those people. Everyone knows that you should do it on a road bike, and unless you have the top model of components you will never impress the hot bike chicks. So go for the best, the lemming recommends Trek's 6.9 Pro Madone at $9,129,99. To not complete your first century on this bike would be like not being able to complete a trip to the grocery store in a Top Fuel dragster.
2) The Louis Garneu dimpled Supperleggera aero helmet - You need a helmet anyway right, and after the century you'll more than likely move on to age-grouper triathlons. So save yourself some money and go with some bling right out of the gate! Dimples work for golf balls, so it only makes sense they'll work on biker's heads! Besides, the goal is to look good and be good, and nothing says you mean business like a dimpled aero helmet! At $179.99, this gem is a steal for the aero-ness it will give you in your century.
3) Aero bars - Aero bars just imply that you are fast, and you'll look good rocking them. For your first century, location of the aero bars is not important. Put them way out on the bar ends like this bike above, or even better, take a lesson from the motorcycle guys and get a second set and locate them on the downtube as a set of highway bars for your feet. Wherever you put them you'll reap the benefits of having them.
4) Zipp dimpled wheels - You've got the Louis Garneu dimpled Supperleggera aero helmet, now go for the dimpled wheels. Dimples work for golf balls so it's only a matter of time until we see dimples in Formula One, on airplanes, and anything else that goes fast. For the rear I must recommend a disc. On a century you are going to be riding a lot of miles and possible fighting a lot of wind, you want to slice through as well as only a disc wheel can do.
5) A coach - Anyone can ride a century if they eat enough food and ride their bike beforehand consistently, but a coach can get you there faster. Without a coach you can't do fun stuff like one-legged pedaling, sprinting past someone on the bike trail and then going ridiculously slow so that you look like a jackass, nearly running over a family out biking because you're on an interval and can't let your heart rate fall, and never ever stopping to help someone with a flat tire again. A coach is a crucial part to completing your first century!
6) Full Discovery kit - It's your first century and you want to win it. You need the inspiration of the Grand Poobah of cycling, Lance Armstrong. Go for the full Discovery kit though, not just a jersey and black shorts or someone may call you "Fred". Bonus points if you can find a yellow Discovery jersey.
7) Helmet mirror - You need to see, and that Louis Garneu dimpled Supperleggera aero helmet needs to be accessorized.
8) Handlebar mirror - You've got the helmet mirror sporting on your Louis Garneu dimpled Supperleggera aero helmet, but what are you going to do while you are down on your aero bars? You can't adjust the mirror just when you need to drop in to the aero bars and join a big paceline. The Lemming recommends a handlebar mirror, adjusted just for use while in the aero bars.
9) A dimpled paint job for your bike - You've got the Louis Garneu dimpled Supperleggera aero helmet, you've got the Zipp dimpled wheels, but what about your Trek 6.9 Pro Madone? It has no dimples, and that is most assuredly slowing you down. Get that bike upgraded with a sleek and aerodynamic dimpled paint job.
10) PowerCranks - PowerCranks are the arch nemesis of fun on your bike and for a century you MUST rock them! The fixie craze took America's urban venues by storm, the next rage is PowerCranks. PowerCranks will force each leg to work independently and push you through the century much faster. I recommend not riding your PowerCranks at all until the day of the century, that way you will get the utmost benefit from them!
11) Bento box - You're going to need fuel on your century. Sure, there will be lots of crappy tasting Accelerade free at the rest stops, but the Lemming recommends a little trick from the triathletes, a bento box. Make sure to test fitment ahead of time so that it doesn't interfere with your most aero position while in the aero bars.
So there you have it. These 11 items are all you really need to complete your first century. What about a PowerTap you might ask? A PowerTap is not required to complete your first century and may even be considered wasteful by some, stick to the 11 items I have above and you'll have no problems! When you roll across that finish line in first place, drop the Lemming a line and let him know how it went!