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Spring Training: Tips for Long Rides
Posted by shawny mack on May 14 2013 06:28
An excerpt from Road Bike Rider newsletter:

HYDRATE. Hydrate the day before the ride but donít overdo it. The recommendation used to be to drink at least 8 large glasses of water the day before a long ride. But now authorities tell us to drink based on feelings of thirst. Also, cut down on your caffeine and alcohol intake. These are mild diuretics. You donít want to urinate away the fluid you need to store.

OPEN YOUR LEGS. Most riders go short and easy to rest and conserve energy the day before a long ride. Thatís fine, but take a tip from the pros and throw in 3 or 4 short sprints. These efforts ďopen the legs,Ē making them feel ready the next day. Donít sprint all-out, just accelerate briskly.

PLAN A VARIED ROUTE. Are you growing weary of riding the same roads? Use long-ride opportunities to explore new areas. Ask other riders for their favorite jaunts. Check with your local bike club or shop for cycling maps or route books. Or tap your favorite app or online resources for help with new routes. There are lots of options these days for creating a cue sheet for whatever new route you pick.

If you always ride on paved roads, donít be afraid to include some that arenít. A beater bike with beefy training tires can handle dirt and gravel. In fact, some pros ride dirt roads and even singletrack trails on their regular road bikes. Itís a fun change of pace and sharpens bike-handling skills.

TAKE BREAKS. Itís a British cycling tradition to stop at a cafť for tea and a snack during long training rides. This stop is usually about 15 miles from the end so riders can meet their training objectives first, then socialize and spin easily home. A stop can be earlier, too, or there can be more than one. A long ride accommodates such breaks, and they neednít detract from training benefits.

EXAMPLE! My favorite long route of about 100 miles traverses a rural area with few services. But the small town at the halfway point has a great little coffee shop with killer muffins. I ride pretty hard up the gradual climb into town and enjoy my snack on the sunny deck. The easy spin back down the hill helps the food digest. I still have 35 miles to resume my training pace before cooling down near home.

MAKE THE TIME. It can be hard to do a long ride during the week if you work full time. One way is go in earlier so you can get off earlier, then ride till sunset. Or, ride 90 minutes before work and 90 minutes after. If you commute by bike, take your regular route to the office, then a longer one home. If these rides have you on the road at dawn or dusk, be sure thereís plenty of reflective material on your bike and clothes. Use a headlight and taillight for extra safety.

INCLUDE THE FAMILY. Weekends are the usual time for long rides, but you also donít want to abandon your spouse and kids. So, plan your ride around family activities. For instance, get up early to ride to the lake, beach or park while your family leaves later to drive there. You meet up, spend the afternoon together, and your bike goes on the rack for the trip home. Youíve gotten your long ride with minimal sacrifice of family time.

EAT AND DRINK. On long rides, your endurance is often more affected by what you eat and drink than by your fitness. No matter how many training miles youíve done, failing to keep fuel in your tank will doom your ride. Drink to satisfy your thirst and eat about 20 grams of carbohydrate (about half an energy bar) every 30 minutes. If youíre not good at remembering to eat, as a reminder to stay on schedule, set your watchís countdown timer to beep every quarter hour.

TIP! Some energy bars have wrappers that are nearly impossible to open while riding. Tear the wrapper before the ride so itís easy to rip open. Or, cut the bar (still in the wrapper) into 3 bite-sized pieces.

TIP! If youíre fading near the end of a long ride, stop for a soft drink with caffeine. The caffeine/sugar combo can provide a noticeable lift, especially if you arenít a regular caffeine user.
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Vitornis
08-20-2017 08:49
Boo!

Larry G
09-06-2016 03:34
2016 Larry's LIVESTRONG Loop details posted in Weekend Rides section. Join us on Sept 24!

shawny mack
02-23-2016 03:15
Hmmmmmm

Larry G
08-26-2014 06:34
Larry's LiveStrong Loop details are up in Weekend Rides section. See you on September 27!

Larry G
08-21-2014 01:55
Larkin Memorial Ride will now be 41 miles (was 50) with less climbing.