Get Prepared For Your Next Long Ride
One of the biggest motivators in cycling is setting a big long ride distance and just going for it.
Whether you are targeting your first 30 miler, or maybe you have your sights set on 100 or maybe even further we thought we’d pass on our top 5 tips to make your journey that bit smoother.
Because we’ve messed up plenty of times, we don’t want you to do the same! 😉
1. Prepare for the worst..!
I remember the time I went out for a long ride with a group of friends. It was the day after a rainy evening, stormy too.
But the morning was calm, dry with a hint of sunshine.
Fantastic we thought as we grabbed out our bikes and hit the roads!
80 miles was the plan that day, and within the first 20, someone had punctured.
Then it was my turn…
I then went on to have three punctures in total over 80 miles.
Admittedly I was riding a summer tyre (lesson one: match your tyres to the conditions!) but if it wasn’t for the guys I was riding with I’d have been an inner tube short too (I always carry two).
So although I was perfectly prepared, it still didn’t quite cut it. There are certain things you can’t control, but the majority of things we can. So ensure if you are riding solo, you carry plenty of spares. If you are riding in a group, make sure everyone has plenty of spares!
2. Prioritise Food and Drink.
This could mean making sure there is a coffee stop or even a pub stop en route, but at a basic level, it means packing enough in your pockets and in your bottles the survive even the biggest bonks!
Always carry more than you think you need, I’ll always carry two spare gels in a back pocket and a debit card too just in case I find a good place for coffee!
Eatin’ is not Cheatin’ when it comes to getting some real saddle time in, nor is drinking enough water or energy drink.
These days, after way too many jelly legged finishes on the bike, I’ll always stick to the same plan for my long ride.
In short, it means eating or drinking every 15 minutes without fail (I’ve got an alarm on my watch for this sole reason)
Pre ride I’ll work out what I’ll need and stuff it all away in my pockets so I am ready for anything.
3. Feel The Power.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the longer you want to ride means avoiding any kind of speed or interval work.
With all aspects of training, you need to add resistance to become stronger, whether this means stronger at climbing, stronger on the flats or just stronger over longer distances.
Whatever your goal, being stronger will aid your performance, and if you aren’t aiming for a pb, being stronger will still help you finish and feel a bit fresher too ready for that finish line photo!
Speed or intervals for safety reasons should be completed on a indoor trainer, you can do them out on the road, but from experience it just isn’t as effective.
But in this type of session we will be looking at intervals of around 3-10 minutes and ridden at a tough intensity (for those working to power this will be around 100-120% of your Functional Threshold Power).
The goal of which is to build up stronger legs, strengthen the mind too and have you ready to take on even the hardest of bike rides.
4. Don’t scrimp on comfort.
Traipsing the sales looking for a decent pair of bib shorts always seems like a good idea when the mail marketing comes through. But stop right there.
If you are planning to spend a long period of time sat on your backside, look after it.
Buy the best (not the most expensive, read the ratings and reviews) you can, this goes for your saddle too, and chamois cream.
Heck, I’d go as far to say shoes too (plus overshoes and gloves for the winter).
In short, the kit you wear can make or break your day. You don’t want to look back on a ride and be disappointed because you had some awful chafing which left you hobbling around the office for the week afterwards!
5. Pace Yourself.
We’ve all been there I am sure.
And I remember my last time VERY well!
It was a cold and foggy morning, and I’d set off in a small group at a local 80 mile sportive. Wrapped up in 100’s of layers it took the first 30 miles to even start to feel my fingers. As a result of this cold, the group I was riding with all decided we should push the pace a little more with the intention of warming up.
It had the required effect. We got warm. However by 50 miles we were all starting to tire. I was dropping off the pace too. At the aid station my legs had come to a standstill.
I’d simply worked too hard over the opening miles. The only thing I could do now was fill up on energy and caffeine and crawl to the finish line.
Instant coffee (5 teaspoons in a small cup to make some sort of espresso!), flapjack, two gels and a pocket full of fig rolls and Haribo were in order.
I only had 20 miles left to go. But even food wasn’t helping, my legs were completely tired and all this was down to riding too hard too early.
Lesson learnt (this was over 2 years ago now), know where your limits are and stick to them, even if it seems a good idea to go harder!
Long distance riding is a case of trial and error. We all make mistakes from time to time but learning from them is key and at HURTBOX we have a wide range of riders and coaches that have been there, done that and can give advice to help.
If you’d like to fast track your cycling, get stronger, climb faster and just feel more awesome on the bike, check out our £40 first month at HURTBOX which includes UNLIMITED indoor rides, social rides, plenty of education through seminars/webinars and skills/drills sessions.
Don’t stress about planning your training, let us do that for you so all you need to do is ride.