Going the Distance
Tips for pushing from 100km to 160km
By Cycling photographer and Cancer Council’s The March Charge ambassador: Marcus Enno – Aka Beardy McBeard
Most people get stuck on the kilometers when riding but what really takes its toll in terms of comfort is the hours in the saddle.Let’s say you are averaging 25kmph on your first 100km ride doing that extra 60 is going to push you into the 6 hour bracket. That’s a long time to do anything let alone sitting on a bike spinning away.
Good quality gear. Make sure you have comfortable cycling kit with a good chamois and plenty of chamois cream. On very long days it’s a good idea to take some extra chamois cream in a zip lock bag or tube so you can reapply. This may sound excessive but a second application can improve your comfort and helps keep the dreaded saddle sores from developing.
Keep hydrated. On rider longer that 100kms I will always take two larger size bidions (700ml ea). If you stop to fill up finish what you have in your bottle so you can have a good idea how much water you have taken on. On hot days I’d drink at least one 700ml bottle an hour. If you can take some electrolyte tablets pop one in your bottle and keep the second one with water only in case you get too hot and want to spray water over your head.
Eat well. Have breakfast. I always eat before a ride which usually consists of a couple of weetbix and a coffee. Some people struggle to eat early in the morning and I would suggest something easy on the stomach like a banana or apple just to get some calories in. On the bike I try to combine real food i.e. banana, muesli bars, dried fruit with sports nutrition such as energy bars and gels. This works for me and having some variety keeps you eating. If you know it’s the same gel one after another you may be less likely to eat as much. It’s also important to have a good meal the night before you ride. I always feel good later in the day if I have fueled up with some carbohydrates and some protein.
Change position. Road bikes give you the luxury of three different ways to hold the bars, so use them. Changing from the drops to the hoods to the flat section of the handle bars will help change to pressure points and help keep you comfortable. It’s also a good idea to get out of the saddle in regular intervals.
Start early. Getting out on the road early is a great way to start a long ride. Not only will there be less traffic but you can miss the hottest part of the day.
Stop but not too much. It’s important to keep momentum when riding long distance. I’d suggest stopping at 50km for more water and maybe a sports drink, at 100km for lunch, a sandwich more water a banana and a coffee and last stop at 140km let’s call it the special treat stop, chocolate bar, ice cream, soft drink just a good sugar hit to get you the last 20km.
Good company. Ride with friends that are the same level or stronger. If you are going the distance for the first time you need to look after yourself. If you are with competent riders they can help give you a push if the going gets tough or give you a reprieve from the wind when your legs get tired. Make sure you let them know if you feel they are riding too fast it’s better to back off a small amount early on than blow up and have to creep home at a snail’s pace.
Have fun. Riding is supposed to be fun so enjoy it. If you are uncomfortable riding 100kms maybe you should stay at that distance until it becomes enjoyable then tackle a longer ride.
This March, Marcus—a cancer survivor himself, is on board as an ambassador for Cancer Council’s The March Charge; a national movement calling upon people to run, ride or swim all the kilometers they can throughout the month of March, to help combat the 1/3 cancers that can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle and to raise funds for cancer research, prevention, advocacy and support.Join Marcus in pushing yourself 1/3 more on your bike this March and help obliterate cancer once and for all. To enlist visit: www.themarchcharge.com.au.