Here are our top ten tips to make sure you have the ride of your life!
Tip #1 – Make sure your bike is working well
Take your bike to the experts at your local bike shop for a service. Be sure to check your shoes, cleats and bike set-up, including handlebars, seat, and tyres – and don’t forget your brakes!
Tip #2 – Start training now!
Our Challenge Tour route features three big climbs and more than 2.4 kilometres of vertical ascent – enough to test even the toughest legs. Boost your fitness with long, steady training rides. Maintain a consistent pace and high RPP. Beginners should aim to cover 40km in one ride, while more experienced cyclists can tackle at least 80km over each session.
Tip #3 – Increase your effort
Introduce short bursts of effort into your rides. The aim of these is to increase your heart rate and get more blood pumping to your muscles. Select a bigger gear and really test yourself for at least five minutes. Aim to do this every second day. Try and introduce some climbs into your rides to get those leg muscles working. Ready for a bigger test? Increase your five-minute efforts to two per ride.
Tip #4 – Familiarise yourself with the start and finish lines
Try to ride the start and finish of the Challenge Tour route ahead of the big day. Learn how the road feels under your tyres and think about gearing and cadence through corners.
Tip #5 – Familiarise yourself with the event route
Make sure you have all the information you need the week before the ride. Familiarise yourself with the event route, get to know the towns the event passes through, facilities along the route, how far each town is from the last and where hydration stations are located.
Tip #6 – Fuel up
It’s time to carbo-load! Your diet in the week ahead of the event should include at least one meal each day containing plenty of complex carbohydrates – think pasta, rice, fruit and wholegrain breads or cereals. This allows your body to store glycogen, helping to reduce possible dehydration and fatigue on the day. But don’t overdo it the night before!
Tip #7 – Event day breakfast and preparation
Your event-day breakfast should also contain high levels of complex carbohydrates. Keep your fluid levels up in the hours before the ride. Remember to apply plenty of sunscreen before starting.
Tip #8 – During the ride
You’re officially on the move – nice one. Sip small amounts of water every 15 minutes or so. Introduce small amounts of carb-rich food such as a banana, a sports bar or a small roll with jam or honey. Save chocolate-based snacks for later in the ride when they’ll be of more use. Be sure to eat and drink regularly to replace lost fluids – even if the weather isn’t particularly warm.
Tip #9 – Completion
The finish line is in sight – you did it! Have a snack and drink enough to replace lost fluids as you cool down. Enjoy a hearty meal and a good sleep that night. You’ve earned it.
Tip #10 – Have fun
We know many Challenge Tour athletes will be eager to set a great time – but it’s not a race. Challenge yourself but know your limits too. Don’t be afraid to stop, take a breather or have some water.