Cycling is fun, plain and simple. Explore your surroundings at your own pace, try a new route, stop for coffee on the way and get fitter and healthier too.
“Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride” – Eddy Merckx
Start your training now
Get out and ride your bike …….. Just ride.
Use some easy rides to practise your bike handling and to just get out and look around. Remember how much fun a bike was when you were kids. You don’t have to train like mad every day – sometimes just enjoy the views and notice how much more aware you are of your surroundings. We live in a beautiful country – so go out and explore. When you finish, your mind and body will feel so much better than when you started. Remember our event is not about winning – it’s about getting out and trying. It’s just too easy to make excuses and not get out on your bike. So just ride.
Well this might be obvious – but go for a long ride
You don’t have to be fast – just focus on building your time on the bike and developing your aerobic capacity. Start off riding at an easy conversational pace. Gradually you can begin to practice periods of fast pace riding. These rides improve your muscular endurance and condition your body to become used to longer periods in the saddle. They also prepare you physically and mentally for the task ahead. If your goal is to complete the 100km don’t expect to necessarily get this far in your training, but the goal should be to achieve between 65-80% of the distance before the event day.
Want to get really fit? Try some threshold rides
The golden zone of training for endurance sports, this anaerobic threshold training should form a key element to your training mix. Ridden at a 80–85% effort, you’ll only be capable of uttering a couple of words to your training partners. These high tempo rides or shorter riding intervals improve your lactate threshold, and will help with your riding efficiency and aerobic capacity (how your body utilises oxygen). All this helps to improve your endurance performance. Your goal could be to build up to 3 x 15 minutes with 5 minutes of recovery between hard efforts; however, this is not set in stone. You can build up to 2 x 20 minutes with 5 minutes of recovery. Threshold sounds like too much? Really in simplest terms – just ride faster than is comfortable for you!
Go up some hills
Adding a few hills in your training obviously help prepare you for the hills in our event. Our course is not too hilly 🙂 – but it does undulate and it does have a timed hill climb near the beginning that may be a bit tough if you don’t like riding up hills. Hill climbing can teach you how to control your cadence (how many times you turn the pedals in a minute) and measure your effort. Try and remain seated and spin in your easiest gears. Heavy gears and grinding up a hill are best left for more experienced riders. Hills provide fantastic aerobic and strength gains and finding different types of hills from short and sweet to longer 15min efforts can really help develop your fitness. If you really want to improve, try and include lots of short climbs at ‘threshold’ effort. This can be an excellent way of developing your anaerobic threshold. Shorter, harder, faster climbing between 45 seconds and 5 minutes can be used to develop power and strength and can be included in shorter, dedicated sessions. Oh, and by the way, Spin classes can also be a really useful addition to your training.
Get some Rest
Some of you will love this. Rest is going to be as important a part of your training schedule as the cycling. Listen to your body and take heed of any warning signs. Start your training early and progress slowly and build up your workload. Taking enough rest in between cycling days allows physical and mental recovery and gives your body the time to adapt to any training workload.
Join a Cycling Club
Clubs are the backbone of the cycling scene and community, and an invaluable source of knowledge and advice that can help you improve as a bike rider.
Meet like-minded riders, learn to ride on new roads and routes, discover great local cafes that you never knew existed, find some real riding companionship and benefit from learning new riding skills and local knowledge. And of course, when you cycle with other people, you can be more committed to getting off your bum and getting out and training. A well-run club training run will usually have a ‘no rider left behind’ policy. Fitter riders might go faster up hills, but they’ll wait for the group to reassemble at the top. And all clubs have different groups for new riders of all abilities to join – from newbies to seasoned riders as well as women specific groups.