Long bike rides are not like a regular bike ride across the city. Distance cycling requires preparation and good physical strength. Just like any sport, your accomplishments are your biggest reward, and moving the limits of your body can be very motivating. The preparation has to be very neat and leave no room for mistakes. Your long bike race can include a team of people in case it lasts for a couple of days or more or it can be just you. In both cases, there are some useful tips on how to prepare for this demanding exhibition.
Train your endurance in advance
Endurance is crucial in long bike rides since without that you might get stuck in one part of your route without the strength to continue. Endurance is not something you achieve in one day, it needs to be acquired step by step by gradually adding more demanding goals to your training routine. You can add 15 minutes or half an hour more to your daily ride and enhance your endurance this way. Set realistic goals because they are more achievable. You don’t want to succumb to some injury in the first couple of training because you pushed yourself off the limit. Don’t forget to stretch well after the ride because you don’t want contracted muscles and injuries. You can have a recreational ride now and then where you will just ride relaxed and enjoy it without thinking about goals and results. It’s like a diet, one cheat day is allowed.
Don’t forget food and water intake
Hydrationis very important when it comes to any physical activity because your body doesn’t have a storage of water like it has with fats. The optimal functioning of your body implies regular water intake to maintain the temperature normal and prevent any excessive heating. The nutrients you might intake to boost your strength will be transported better if you take enough water. In the worst scenario, dehydration can lead to a stroke which can cause death. One should have a custom of drinking water before they feel thirsty. You shouldn’t be full when training either, so make sure your major water intake takes place around 2-3 hours before the long bike ride. Another intake that should be more moderate can be done right before the training/ride and then you can repeat it every 15-20 minutes. The general rule for daily water intake is usually 1ml for 1 calorie, so you can take this into account as well. During the race, you have to keep eating as well. Every 10-20 minutes you can have a bite of something you prepared like a banana or any other healthy protein food to keep you awake.
Save your energy during the ride
Endurance means you should smartly use your energy, preserving it for the sprinting part of the race. You can’t spend the whole race sprinting because you would lose all of your energy fast and would be more prone to injuries. Distance cycling is like a marathon, it’s about perseverance and not speed. You should have some energy saved for the last part of the race when it’s supposed that you should burst into fast cycling and finish the race successfully. This is something that is generally done in bike races. However, if you don’t compete but only do cycling as a hobby or challenge yourself, then still pay attention to your body signals. Don’t push yourself to the ultimate limits. Take care of your breathing and your muscles. If they hurt and are too hot, try to pace down the rhythm. Bike sprints are good for keeping in shape but they are not to be repeated many times during long bike rides. Remember, whatever you do, no harsh accelerations and sprints when it’s not necessary.
Take all the necessary bike equipment
Professional or semi-professional biking implies you should be well prepared in terms of equipment as well. Road bikes performances are great and they are more stable and give you better revenue than a regular bike. Before embarking on the long cycling session, you want to make sure everything is in order when it comes to the bike. Once you’re on the road, accidents can happen and although it is better to prevent them, you have to be prepared to react appropriately if something emerges. Problems with tires or with a mechanical glitch can happen pretty easily and make sure you bring tools to repair this. Make sure the tires of your bike are not worn or with little pressure and the pedals are bare. Chain and chainrings are the next things you should pay attention to. Bicycle accessories are available in bike stores and they include many items like bike kits, bottles, hydration, tools and maintenance kits, etc. When it comes to you, a helmet is crucial as a lifesaver in case an accident happens. Also, as we mentioned, food and water will be necessary, so make sure you have bottles and adequate food containers.
Have different cycling routes
If you always ride at the same place, you will become used to it and will know that terrain by heart. This can give you a false sense of security and in case you ride to another place you might feel lost. It is better to switch the routes from time to time. This way you won’t be bored and your attention will be increased since you won’t always be in familiar terrain. This will enhance your motivation as well. This is excellent preparation for long bike rides.
Strengthen your back along the way
When you ride a bike you’re always in the same position which is not very favorable for your back. We mentioned the importance of stretching after the training to make your muscles relaxed and not contracted. This usually works with your legs, but your back might need some more support. Make sure the position of the saddle is appropriate to your height. Include some back exercises in your training routine to make your back more resistant to long biking. Roman chair exercises are recommendable for strengthening the back muscles and making them flexed at the same time.
Biking can be thrilling and rewarding in many ways. You move the limits of your body and set some new records and goals, but in the same way, you get a mental reward for being successful in what you do. However, proper preparation is crucial to avoid any accidents that could prevent you from cycling for a long time. Practice your endurance and back muscles, have a proper diet, and drink a lot of water. Don’t forget to check everything on your bike and the equipment before the ride and listen to your body during the ride. If you feel tired, get a sip of water or grab some food.