A cycling tips-fest

Fail to Plan and you Plan to Fail

Training for any endurance event gives me plenty of time to think and work things through.  During my 27 week Ironman training schedule I will train for 280 hours, or put another way, the equivalent of seven 40 hour working weeks.  And don’t forget the working, sleeping and eating still have to take place so anyone contemplating doing any endurance event must appreciate the commitment they are about to make.  One of the friends I have made through work reminded me of an old but true phrase (thanks Bob B) ‘if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’.  Endurance sport isn’t just about putting the training hours in, you have to plan it pretty meticulously and then stick to it almost with obsession.  Failure to do this will result in the obvious: not realising your goals and maybe even suffering big-time during the event.

Tips for eating whilst cycling

On a bike you have to ride and eat quite a lot when it is a lengthy session.  On Saturday Zac, who incidentally did his first ride in excess of 100 miles (well done Zac) had trouble with his nutrition bars sticking together and if one isn’t careful it can end up with an incident.  So Nick’s top tip to stop the bars sticking together is to wrap them in rice paper and they should pull apart more easily, and as the wrapping is edible you can pop it straight in your mouth and end up having no wobbles due to trying to remove the wrappers.    Some people use gel packs and they tape these to the crossbar.  If you are to do this use a coloured tape so it is easy to see whilst riding and make sure both ends are doubled over to give you a tab which you can grab hold of.  Both of the above are simple but effective.

Calculating your optimum kcal per hour

The 120 mile route we completed on Saturday which Alastair from Team Bedford put together was a great ride and took us from Bedfordshire to Cambridgeshire and then in to Suffolk and finally Hertfordshire.  He was trying to get Essex in as well to make it five counties but it just didn’t pan out on the map and mileage parameters.  We were lucky with the weather as apart from a couple of spells of drizzle it was dry although I did have to put my spare layer on as I was chilly for quite a bit of the ride.  In the preceding paragraphs I mention briefly hydration and nutrition and the need to calculate your requirements.  My stats for the ride were that we covered 120 miles at an average speed of 18mph and I burnt 5,633kcals with an average heart rate of 114bpm.  That all filters down to needing to take in 51kcals per mile of riding, or put another way 900kcals per hour.  Although here’s the but, it is not possible to consume this as your stomach couldn’t cope with this amount whilst exercising.  So, this is the starting point for the calculation of what you will try out during training and you should aim to take in between 35% and 60% of this kcal content and through trial during your training you will find the optimum kcal per hour.  As I said earlier, it’s not just about the hours training, it’s about planning not to fail.

Choose one gear lower
Another very quick tip for anyone planning a long ride, choose one gear lower than you think you should be in and you won’t suffer a lactic acid build up and will get off the bike much fresher.

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