Here are our top ten tips to make sure you have the ride of your life!
Tip #1 – Make sure your bike is in sound mechanical condition
Take your bike to a credible bike shop for a service. Make sure you check your shoes, cleats and bike set-up, including handlebars, seat, and tyres - and don’t forget your brakes!
Tip #2 – Start training now!
It’s important to prepare your aerobic condition, and what better time to start than now! Long steady rides are the best option. Start with lengthy rides keeping to a steady pace and a high RPM. Beginners should aim to ride 40km in one ride, or if you are more experienced you can increase this distance to at least 80km.
Tip #3 – Increase your effort
Introduce short bursts of effort into your rides. The objective of these is to increase your heart rate – 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. When you feel 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 course in advance of the big day to familiarise yourself with the start and finish location. Learn how the road feels under your tyres and think about gearing and cadence through the 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 the refreshment stations are located.
Tip #6 – Fuel up
In the week prior to the event, your diet should include at least one meal a day that contains plenty of complex carbohydrates. Carb-loading helps your body prepare for the ride by storing 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
Breakfast should contain high levels of complex carbohydrates. Foods such as pasta, rice, fruit and wholegrain breads or cereals are great. Keep your fluid levels up in the lead up to the ride. Remember to apply plenty of sunscreen before starting to keep your skin safe.
Tip #8 – During the Event
For the first 20km sip small amounts of water regularly, roughly every 15 minutes. Introduce small amounts of carb-rich food such as a banana, a sports bar or a small roll with jam or honey. It’s too early to eat chocolate, so keep this source of sugar for later in the ride. Regardless of the temperature eat and drink regularly to replace lost fluids.
Tip #9 – Completion
After completing the ride, eat and drink enough to replace lost fluids until you have cooled down. That night make sure you enjoy a nice meal and a good sleep. You did it!
Tip #10 – Have Fun
Remember to have fun; this is not a race, it’s a recreational ride! Challenge yourself but know your limits. Don’t be afraid to stop, take a breather and have some water.