When I talk to riders about a big ride I often get very different responses. For some a big ride is 300kms and others that’s just what you do before breakfast. So how do you prepare yourself for bigger days on the bike or a big multi-day tour?
Next year when we are in the US Deb and I have a 5,000km ride planned over a couple of weeks. To date Deb hasn’t done more than two days on the bike or covered more than 400km in a day. This ride will certainly be a step up from that, and will include a number of days over 500km. So how do you prepare for something like this?
Largely it’s ride fitness, and that only comes with getting out on the bike and doing the miles, and building up the distance. Bottom line – it’s time in the saddle.
So with that in mind I have set up a strict training regime. Well okay we have discussed the need to get out on the bike more, and now that the weather is getting warmer it is an ideal time to start building up her ride fitness. So the plan is to just get out and do a number of 300km rides and then start stepping up distance and then start to throw in a few over-night / weekend rides to start working on back-to-back days on the bike.
Being a pillion isn’t like sitting in a car, you need to concentrate and be alert (well except for my eldest daughter who sleeps on the back – a bit disconcerting the first few times!) as you do influence the bike’s performance. You are also out in the elements which can be taxing – it’s certainly not like sitting in your cocoon, isolated from what’s going on around you. In a car you are an observer to what’s going on – on a bike you are a participant.
Doing one 300+ km day is easy but backing up everyday is a bit tougher and if you are not ride fit then you will quickly tire and the enjoyment of the trip can wane.
So how is the training going…? To date we have been out on a few rides:
- Out to Young via Boorowa for one of the worst coffee’s I’ve had in a while. And then onto Young to have a bit of a look around where we discovered a nice little park dedicated called the Lambing Flat Chinese Tribute Gardens which was build to recognise the contribution of the Chinese in the settlement of young. Then onto the Wombat pub for lunch before returning home – 323km.
- I have been meaning to take Deb to the Long Track Pantry a lovely cafe in Jugiong just off the Hume Highway which does nice meals with a great outlook that beats sitting in a bland truck stop any day. From Jugiong we weave our way through a series of back roads to a pub in Cootamundra for lunch before returning home by another series of back roads – 342km.
- A really cruisy spin down the coast with a few friends for some salt air and brunch at a lovely little cafe I found at Mossy Point. These are great rides, no time pressure, just sitting enjoying the company. Our original plan was to just head back up the mountain to home. However, it was such a nice day that we decided to take a 150km detour and venture further north and cut back up the mountain through the Morton National Park and returning home – 467km.
- The last training ride for 2017 was to take in the goodness of the Snowy Mountains Highway in Australia’s high country. As a side excursion one of our group suggested a detour to the Yarrangobilly thermal pools (at a constant 27 degrees C) for a quick dip. Great idea. The pool was great … but the walk down and back up the VERY STEEP path to the pool certainly made us work for our lunch an hour later in Tumut! By the time we got home we had clocked up 514km.
For 2018 we will start to step up the distance further by throwing in a number of multi-day rides.
I hope Deb is enjoying the training as much as I am…