Archive for April 18, 2012

Prepare for Your Tour (not just the day’s ride)   Leave a comment

On my last little ride I was reminded how it is that the little things that can make or break a cycle touring experience. As I prepare for a 3-day, 100K per day tour in June it is not just the muscles and cardio-vascular system that need to be brought into shape. As I learned a couple of years ago, while riding the Golden Triangle, it is the little, unexpected things (i.e. parts of the body) that can sink the ship.

On that tour, it was a mysterious knee pain that eventually did me in. It was fine during the first day of the ride but my knee became an issue mid-way through day 2. I never had experienced knee issues through my training, even though I had worked up to cycling comparable daily distances. What I hadn’t done in training was to string multiple 100K days together. There can be a cumulative effect to the wear and tear on your body, so keep that in mind. If you are aiming for a three day tour do not be satisfied with just doing one long ride per week.

Other potential weak spots on my body, that I just got a twinge of a reminder of, on that last ride were my Achilles tendon, my neck and my butt. My Achilles reminded me of the need to continue to work on my flexibility – something you might not think is important for an activity like cycling, but it is!

The pain in my neck came from just holding my head up while in the cycling position. This is another one of those things that can really get worse on the second or third day of a tour, so one must prepare with consecutive days of long rides. I’d also suggest that a good practice of relaxing and counter stretching the neck muscles during the day will also help. A pain in the neck may not stop you from cycling but it sure can make the ride miserable and distract you  from seeing the sights and enjoying the experience.

The final area that I was reminded of the need  to develop some multi-day endurance is the butt. A long day in the saddle you may be able to endure if you have a few days off following that strenuous day, but to get back and ride consecutive long days you must be accustomed to it. The only way to get accustomed to it is to do it – build-in to your training program multiple consecutive long rides. There is no shortcut!

With any training, keep in mind that the key is to build up slowly and steadily. This goes for your daily distance and your multiple days endurance. Above all, in your training pay attention to your body. It may get sore but don’t push it if it may cause an injury. A real injury that ends up keeping you off of your bike for weeks is not what you want! Give yourself lots of time to prepare for your goal and then work towards it slowly but steadily.


Posted April 18, 2012 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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