Monday, 7 September 2009

Ten Top Tips for a Novice Distance Rider

So, today has been a day of very stiff legs. Feel like I've been battered a thousand times, don't think I did enough stretching post-ride, only got myself to blame. Ten things I would recommend to anyone thinking about their first distance ride are:-

  1. Get a decent bike. Hybrid or road. Doing a big distance on a £100 Halfords special is hard work. The Boardman Hybrid is good value at £499 if you can stretch to it.
  2. Carb up for the week before. Eat as many carbohydrates as you can relative to your overall diet, 65% is a good percentage.
  3. Increase your fluid intake well before the ride. I've been drinking 3-4 litres a day of water for the past month. Plays havoc with your bladder, but good for hydration.
  4. Work on your aerobic capacity for at least three months before. Cycling, jogging, star jumps, spin classes, aerobics, whatever works for you. But do something.
  5. Eat a whopping carbohydrate packed breakfast at least 2 hours before setting off. Typically I would eat Porridge, a couple of bananas and two slices of toast with peanut butter plus a litre of Isotonic drink, like Lucozade or Gatorade.
  6. Cycle with friends when training, it's far easier to motivate yourself to get out.
  7. Buy some Lycra. Seriously, do it. It's much more comfortable and make sure you get some with the padding in the bum. It also helps disperse heat more quickly.
  8. Buy a decent cycle computer. Mine measures Cadence (revolution speed), Heart Rate ( to see how hard your working), Distance and Speed. It makes much more sense of understanding how your training is actually working.
  9. Take a regular break. On our 100 miler, we took 20 mins at 50 miles and again at 75 miles. It freshens up the legs.
  10. Stretch, then stretch again. The more you do post-ride, the better it will be the next day.

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