Friday, 18 April 2014

Preparing for a multi-day cycling event

So many people are doing so much for good causes right now and with the growth in cycling, inevitably more and more multi-day events are cropping up.  Common questions I get asked via the comments section of the blog relate to the preparation, kit and training required so thought it high time to get a post up with some pointers.  Here's 10 tips and links to other related posts: -

  1. If you're BMI is over 25 lose some weight.  The lighter you are, the better your power to weight ratio which will make you ride faster and climb quicker.  Give yourself plenty of time to do this, losing 1-2 pounds a week as your goal.
  2. Put 25MM tyres on your bike.  They are more comfortable, better for grip and more puncture resistant.  I ride Continental GP4000 tyres.
  3. Get fitted on your bike.  If you're multi-day event involves long distances of 80M or more, you need to get your fit spot-on.  By doing this you will avoid niggles, aches and pains or injury.
  4. Ride appropriate route profiles.  If you're doing a Lands End to John O' Groats for example, you need to be able to climb hills.  Work hills into your training, don't just ride flat routes.  Read this blog about ride ascent ratio to see what I mean.
  5. Understand your route in advance.  On a multi-day event, each day can bring a different profile or challenge. Think about the requirements of each day in advance in terms of your clothing, nutrition and effort.  When you are going to stop and re-fuel.  What your weather contingencies might be and sunrise/sunset, all to be taken into account.  Key thing is to know which are the easy and hard days.
  6. Learn how to ride efficiently as a group.  If a group of you are doing the event, then learning to ride efficiently as a group will reduce your energy requirements and get you there with less effort.  You should be able to ride 2x2, riding in a tightly formed group with three or four inches between you and the rider in front (wheel distance).  This will save you around 20-25% of effort if you deploy correctly and share the load amongst the group.  Watch cycling on the TV and see how the professionals do it and pratice.
  7. Get your bike serviced.  Your bike should be in tip top condition in readiness for the challenge. Seen so many times riders arrive on bikes they've borrowed or bikes in poor mechanical condition.  The bottom line is you will slow the whole group down if you experience mechanical problems en route which could be avoided. 
  8. Invest in good quality clothing and equipment.  Nipping into Decathlon for some cheap shorts won't cut it if you're doing a 10 day x 100 mile event.  Invest in the best you can afford, particularly for contact points like your backside, hands and feet!  Read 10 items of cycling clothing you should own.  Blog here.
  9. Build up your miles and aerobic engine.  Multi-day events require a large aerobic and stamina base.  If you're doing a multi-day event of 100 miles per day over three or ten days, you must build your engine on the bike through long miles.  At least three to four months away from the event you need to be putting in 80M-100M per week in the saddle to build up your base.
  10. Work on your core strength off the bike.  Working on your core strength will help you cope with the demands on your body the event will bring. A strong core gives the stable base you'll need for climbing and long days of pedalling.  Blog on developing your core strength here.
You may also benefit from reading the blogposts below, the key thing is to not underestimate what you have signed up for.  Treat it seriously, plan, train and arrive on the line ready to fulfill the ambitions of the people you are doing it for.  Good luck!

  • 50 tips for a new road cyclist.  Blog here.
  • Getting the right saddle position.  Blog here.
  • Getting the right saddle height.  Blog here.
  • Tips for saddle comfort.  Blog here
  • 10 tips for replacing an inner tube.  Blog here.
  • 10 things to carry on your bike in your saddle bag.  Blog here.
  • Gear ratios for new road cyclists.  Blog here.
  • 10 foods to boost energy.  Blog here.
  • Choosing the right saddle.  Blog here.

No comments:

Post a Comment