- Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 November 2011 21:29
Long distance cycling is physically demanding and being well prepared will allow you to fully enjoy your ride. If you have any concerns over your health then discuss them with your Doctor or health professionals.
When training for a long distance event like this, there is no substitute for spending time riding your bike. You should plan to increase the time and distance ridden each week by about 10% until you can cover between 80% and 100% of your selected sportive distance. Start by riding a distance you can cover without any distress and build from there. Use a gear which on all but the steepest hills you can ride with a cadence of over 70 pedal revolutions per minute. This will give you the maximum efficiency while at the same time conserve your strength. Try and get out for a long ride once a week. You should aim to ride at the same pace you intend to complete the event.
There is no need to ride every day. In fact 1 or 2 days off the bike each week is beneficial. Ideally one of these rest days should be the days after your long ride. Commuting to work by bike is one way of fitting your preparation into your daily schedule. If you have a long daily commute, consider driving or using the train for part of the way. If you only have a short distance, then consider fitting in a longer loop on the way home especially when the lighter evenings allow this.
Joining a local cycling club is a good way of practising riding in a group, finding new routes and meeting other cyclists. You will also pick up lots of invaluable advice and support. If you live in the Torbay, Teignbridge, or South Hams areas we would recommend joining us at the Mid-Devon Cycling Club. We meet 9 am every Sunday at the Abbrook Park Sports & Social Club, Kingsteignton. Please visit the MDCC website for further information. If you would like to find a suitable club in other catchment areas please visit the British Cycling Website.
Ensure your bike is setup to provide you with the correct riding position. This will make you more efficient, less prone to injury and will make long distance cycling a lot more comfortable. An experienced coach or good bike shop is the best place to seek advice on your ride position.
Make sure that your bike is mechanically sound and properly serviced prior to the event. Check your brakes are properly adjusted - this means that when pulled hard the brake levers do not reach the handlebars. In fact there should be a clear space between. You should also check that your gears are correctly adjusted, covering the whole range without causing your chain to come off! Check your tyres are sound and correctly inflated. It is strongly recommended that you have your bike serviced by a reputable cycle shop prior to the event.
If you are using an MTB bike then you ought to consider changing from "knobbly" tyres to "slicks". Again your local cycle shop can advise on the most suitable tyre to use.
Think about your points of contact with your bike. Cycling shorts with padded insert are essential for long distance cycling. We would also recommend good quality cycle mitts. It is equally important that you have good fitting shoes and comfortable socks, your feet are going to have plenty of hard work to do! Arm warmers are easy to pull up and down or remove as the weather changes. Make sure that your clothing fits correctly, with no gaps between your top and your cycle shorts.
Energy drinks are a good way of increasing your carbohydrate and essential electrolytes intake during your ride. Supplement this with some solid food such as energy bars or fruit. Having lots of small snacks during the event is the best way to keep your energy levels up. Energy gels, available at good quality cycle shops can also be carried to give you a boost towards the end of your ride. It is recommended that when your ride extends beyond one hour that you carry your "food of choice" and use it to ensure that it fits in well with your digestive system. The evening before the event you should eat a carbohydrate rich meal and ensure that you are well hydrated by regularly drinking water. On the morning of the event, try and have your breakfast two hours before your start time and eat a further small snack or piece of fruit before you set off.
We trust that you find the above information helpful and that it will enable you to enjoy your time on the bike, especially when you join us in September.