Hello and welcome to Prep for Rides.  Here you’ll be able to see what I do before an event and how I get set for the ride ahead. I hope you enjoy this section along with How to Climb Hill’s.

Hello and welcome to Prep for an Event, I thought I’d share with you the process of how I get ready for a cycling event. Everybody has a different routine and after looking at a number of different way’s to train and after a while you’ll get your own pattern and habits.

One thing I can tell you is the final result is down to you, there’s that saying “ fail to prepare, prepare to fail” well that’s as simple as it gets so it’s down to you and how well you want to accomplish your goal.

There’s a number of different things I’ll be going through and they are all key elements to getting you ready for the longer rides I have learnt for myself.  These may help you, or you may want to try your own style of things but time in the saddle and what you eat is a large part of the training.

I’ll go through the general method of how to train and then I’ll provide a section highlighting key elements of the training.  I’ll be looking at Climbing Hill’s, Riding the Flat, Group riding, What to Eat and How to Recover.

Ok let me get on with how I start off.

The first thing I’ll do is look at the event I am going to be taking part in, with the use of the internet and the information most events are now able to offer is the easiest part of the training. When you know which event you’re wanting to take part in have a good look at the event details.  On here you’ll be able to see route information along with the GPX files for your required GPS device.

It’s the GPX file that you want to have a look at along with Google Maps.  When you open the GPX file you’ll be able to see the route and all the other information from distance to elevation, along with a graph of the actual route. Its here that you can see where the hills are and how flat the ride will be.

One thing I would say is don’t be put off by what may look like steep hills and what could look like loads of them.  This is just how the graph looks and when you ride it you’ll be surprised how easy it really is.

When you know how many hills your going to encounter and how steep they are you can then look at planning your training.   Now this may not apply to everyone as some of you might not want to know what lies ahead of you on your ride.  This is fine but not knowing what to train for could end up ruining a potentially good ride.

Once I know roughly what the events going to throw at me I’ll then look at who I’m going to be riding with.  This may sound a bit weird but when you think about it it’ll have a huge effect on the way your going to ride.  Some of you will be doing it with members of a club or even a few mates you ride with all the time.   In this case you should be ok as you’ll all have your own style and know who are the stronger riders within your group.

If however your looking to do it on your own or with one other rider it’s quite important to get them riding with you as much as possible so you know your not going to be waiting to much.  It’s a harsh fact but nobody likes to be dropped but it happens and it usually happens on the slightest sign of a hill.

longleat ride

Once you know who your riding with its a simple case of getting the bike ready and then getting out on the road.  If you’re thinking of getting a new bike for an event, I would say go careful with this.   I’m all for a new bike but if you’re getting one to do the event on,  you need to make sure you get a good amount of time on the new bike before you use it for the event.  I’d also recommend getting a proper bike fit so you know you have the bike set up correctly, restricting any possibilities of injury.

Please Please don’t think a bike fit is a waste of time, I can confirm personally that it makes every bit of difference and has improved my cycling loads, also reducing the amount of cramp I was getting whilst on my bike.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is what kind of event are you looking to take part in, if its a 60 / 100 mile event the only thing you need to look at is if your doing a large amount of miles over a consecutive number of days.   A one day event is alway a tough little number but when you look at multiple days on the saddle.   There’s one bit of advice I would give you thats invaluable.   Wear a different brand of bib shorts every day, don’t wear the same brand if you can help it over the course of your event.   The reason for this is because what ever the weather or distance your traveling the stitching on the shorts will be in the same place over the course of your ride and this can cause a potential sore or rash.  This will reduce your enjoyment and I can guarantee will last a while after you have finished your ride.  So always make sure you have a good cream for and after the ride.

dragon ride

I have all the kit and my bike’s ready I’m ready to begin training.   If your doing a one day event or even a multi day event this process will help you get ready for the ride ahead. Some people will tell you the best way to train is to get out there and hit the flats and hit them fast, well good luck to them but this won’t get you anywhere.  I’ve always had a theory and I’ve put it to the test on a number of rides and I can confirm it works fine.  Well it work’s well for me that is, not everyone will like it but there’s method to my madness.

Some of you may disagree with this but as I explained earlier this won’t be everyones ideal method but its worked for me and it works for those I ride with.

“HILL’S” I know, I know but rather than get out there and ride for miles and miles on the flat, you need to get the one thing under control to start with.  Don’t be afraid of the hill’s they are what makes cycling fun and the satisfaction after completing one is huge, so stick with me on this.

When you’ve got used to your bike and the set up I would suggest finding a few hills and then score them from 1-10 (10 being the hardest).   Then over the next few rides look at completing them in order of easiest first.  So start with the smaller and once you have been able to get up there without coughing your lungs up try and move onto the next hill with a little bit of level work and then try the next hill, this way your combining the two together.

Once you’ve managed to get up the hill’s you’ve set out do you can then look at extending your distance.  What you have to remember is if you’re riding with a few others you’ll be able to ride faster and longer.  This is because you can take it in turns taking the lead on the ride, this way your not having to do all the hard work on your own.  If you find yourself riding on your own the difference is incredible, this however will have an effect on your pace and energy levels.

  • del
  • del

With everything in place and your training getting to a level where you can ride a hill and not feel like you need an ambulance to take you home your almost there.   Training for an event can be hard if you don’t have a great deal of personal time.  I mean in the ideal world we do a few hours work, see the family for a bit and the rest of your time is for cycling.  Unfortunately this is just a myth, so juggling the time is just as important as anything else but you need to give your family the time they want, as they are your biggest supporters.

Once you agree when’s good for you to get out on the bike or on the trainer, you can build up your planner.   I’d say the perfect training plan is a few small sessions in the week followed by a bigger ride on the weekend.   I ride three time’s during the week around 10 / 20 miles and then lift it up to 50+ at the weekend.   Don’t try and go out and do really big miles straight away build up to it, then you’ll be able to comfortably ride the bigger miles and the smaller training miles in the week will be easy.

One thing you have to remember though the longer the rides the longer you’ll be out for, I know it’s obvious but when you go out and your riding 50+ miles a coffee and cake stop is required.  There has to be an element of fun in there and to have a coffee break makes the ride that much more enjoyable.  In all honesty it’s what I look forward to when I go out for a ride.

When you start to get out and cover the bigger miles you’ll find you meet a load more cyclists doing the same as you and you’ll generally meet them at a cafe on your coffee stop.  After all the cycling community is growing all the time, joining a local club might also be an option.  I can’t really comment on this though as I’m not in any club.

Always remember to carry some money on you incase of emergencies, this can be used for a coffee stop or a taxi if you get into a real emergency.  You could carry a card but not all cafe’s will take a card payment and I don’t know many taxis that will take it either, so cash is king.With everything in place and your training getting to a level where you can ride a hill and not feel like you need an ambulance to take you home your almost there.   Training for an event can be hard if you don’t have a great deal of personal time.  I mean in the ideal world we do a few hours work, see the family for a bit and the rest of your time is for cycling.  Unfortunately this is just a myth, so juggling the time is just as important as anything else but you need to give your family the time they want, as they are your biggest supporters.

Once you agree when’s good for you to get out on the bike or on the trainer, you can build up your planner.   I’d say the perfect training plan is a few small sessions in the week followed by a bigger ride on the weekend.   I ride three time’s during the week around 10 / 20 miles and then lift it up to 50+ at the weekend.   Don’t try and go out and do really big miles straight away build up to it, then you’ll be able to comfortably ride the bigger miles and the smaller training miles in the week will be easy.

One thing you have to remember though the longer the rides the longer you’ll be out for, I know it’s obvious but when you go out and your riding 50+ miles a coffee and cake stop is required.  There has to be an element of fun in there and to have a coffee break makes the ride that much more enjoyable.  In all honesty it’s what I look forward to when I go out for a ride. 

When you start to get out and cover the bigger miles you’ll find you meet a load more cyclists doing the same as you and you’ll generally meet them at a cafe on your coffee stop.  After all the cycling community is growing all the time, joining a local club might also be an option.  I can’t really comment on this though as I’m not in any club.

Always remember to carry some money on you incase of emergencies, this can be used for a coffee stop or a taxi if you get into a real emergency.  You could carry a card but not all cafe’s will take a card payment and I don’t know many taxis that will take it either, so cash is king.

With everything in place and your training getting to a level where you can ride a hill and not feel like you need an ambulance to take you home your almost there.   Training for an event can be hard if you don’t have a great deal of personal time.  I mean in the ideal world we do a few hours work, see the family for a bit and the rest of your time is for cycling.  Unfortunately this is just a myth, so juggling the time is just as important as anything else but you need to give your family the time they want, as they are your biggest supporters.

Once you agree when’s good for you to get out on the bike or on the trainer, you can build up your planner.   I’d say the perfect training plan is a few small sessions in the week followed by a bigger ride on the weekend.   I ride three time’s during the week around 10 / 20 miles and then lift it up to 50+ at the weekend.   Don’t try and go out and do really big miles straight away build up to it, then you’ll be able to comfortably ride the bigger miles and the smaller training miles in the week will be easy.

One thing you have to remember though the longer the rides the longer you’ll be out for, I know it’s obvious but when you go out and your riding 50+ miles a coffee and cake stop is required.  There has to be an element of fun in there and to have a coffee break makes the ride that much more enjoyable.  In all honesty it’s what I look forward to when I go out for a ride.

When you start to get out and cover the bigger miles you’ll find you meet a load more cyclists doing the same as you and you’ll generally meet them at a cafe on your coffee stop.  After all the cycling community is growing all the time, joining a local club might also be an option.  I can’t really comment on this though as I’m not in any club.

Always remember to carry some money on you incase of emergencies, this can be used for a coffee stop or a taxi if you get into a real emergency.  You could carry a card but not all cafe’s will take a card payment and I don’t know many taxis that will take it either, so cash is king.

To complete your build up you need to look at just two other bits to your training.  Rest is just as important as getting out on the bike.  What will sound odd and you may hear a few other riders mention this, The recovery Ride.  This is exactly what it says, but instead of going out and pushing yourself covering loads of miles you just go out and do a shorter ride but more relaxed.  This is to keep your legs spinning and let your muscles keep moving, some riders don’t actually do recovery rides, this is completely down to you.  I’d like to say I do them but it’s a time thing, so I’ll try and do an easier ride to start the week and build it up.

The other main thing that has a huge impact on your riding is the food you eat.  This is such a huge part of your cycling and to be honest it is something only you can work on. When it comes to the food you need to eat this is down to what you like and how you want it, there are certain food groups that if you eat well your body will have enough energy you’ll be able to sustain a good level of riding.

What you might not realise the food you have three days before your ride and the food you eat during your ride and after will have an effect.  There is such a wide variety of foods you’ll be able to eat really well and not suffer to much.  I’ll go through what I eat and when I eat it in the “What I eat” section but as long as you try and follow your own menu after a while you’ll know what and when to eat certain foods.  Do not and this is a big DO NOT think that because your now doing some exercise you can eat what ever you want.  This is the quickest way to putting on weight resulting in becoming lethargic and not having the energy you work so hard to build.

Eating the right foods is harder than you think but the worst thing about all this is the alcohol content you have.  This is my area of weakness and I admit I push the boundaries with this but I will confirm it has a negative affect if you consume to much.  I’ll explain more about this in the what I eat section but its really down to the rider, we all know what we like and what our bodies can tolerate.

All of this information above is from what I have discovered myself, it’s only a guide to help you develop your own plan.  Try not to get to strict with all your training, after all its supposed to be fun and your meant to enjoy getting out on the bike, as soon as you start over doing it you’ll end up loosing the enjoyment of cycling and thats the whole point of it.

Remember you want to enjoy the ride and feel like you’ve accomplished something you never thought was possible, once you’ve completed your first big event you’ll look for the next goal and that’ll be your first 100 mile ride.  This is easy once you get into the routine of going out on your bike, then after a while you can do  a 100 mile event every weekend ( if you wanted to that is ).

I hope this helps you develop your own training program and if you have a look at the more in depth areas you’ll get more of an idea on how I’m able to ride the way I do.  I’m no pro and I’ll never claim to be one but I love cycling and love the longer distances.  Good luck and if you have any questions please send me an e-mail.

  • London 2 Paris
  • London to Paris