Do you have a good summer of cycling under your belt? For most of us, summer presents the perfect opportunity to get out and about much more often on two wheels. We hope, like us, you’ve been racking up the miles and making the most of this New Zealand weather whilst it lasts. If you have been hitting the road or trails more often your fitness has probably increased too – but what’s the use of that if you don’t make the most of it with a big end of summer blowout?
The holy grail of amateur cyclists is riding your first 100-mile ride (That’s 160 km for those that don’t know). If you’ve been hammering the miles this season, why not get ready to add yourself to that club? Now, you know what works with your schedule, so we’ll stay out of it. Just try to increase your training by an extra ride or two a week and add a half-hour onto every ride from here on out. Instead, we’ll concentrate on what you need during the ride.
Taking enough liquid on board is one of the most important aspects of long-distance rides. Depending on how hot the weather is or how fast you’re cycling will determine how much you need to drink. A good rule of thumb is a bottle of water per hour that you are out. That usually means a few gulps of water every 15 minutes.
Food is similar. Take a bite or two of food every half hour. This could be an energy bar, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a banana or some oat cookies. All good options! The trick with food and drink is consistency. Nutrition and hydration can be the difference between charging through the ride or getting the dreaded bonk and having your legs turn to jelly.
You might have noticed that most pro-cyclists seem to have a higher cadence than your average rider. Is that a sign we should all drop a gear and increase our cadence? Well think of it like this: if you are spinning a low gear you’re using your aerobic fitness more, whereas if you’re pushing a big gear, you’re putting more strain on your muscles. So, if you’re really out of breath but your legs aren’t sore; go up a gear. If your legs are sore but you aren’t breathing heavy, go down a gear and increase your cadence.
Break Up Your Ride:
100 miles is overwhelming if you haven’t done it before. Break the ride up into 3 or 4 sections to make it more manageable. The first section should feel easy and you can roll out easing into the ride. In the middle section(s) you can expect to start feeling your muscles getting worked and you can expect some mild fatigue. The end section will be more difficult. You should now be well into your ride and have hit your rhythm. You can expect your legs to start burning – but you can start dreaming about the finish.
Things change quickly on a long ride. Take a stow-away rain jacket, some arm and leg warmers in case it gets cold and a puncture repair kit for those dreaded times. For all the equipment you need, check out your local bike shop.