1) Prepare mentally as well as physically
Know the routes, study the maps; it’s important to have a good idea of the ride you’re about to take on. Practical route mapping also serves to remind us just how much there is to explore!
2) Functional training
Train the muscles and respiratory systems to do what you want them to do. You need to put the hours in, do the hill climbs and keep to your training plan. Kettlebell training at the gym is good as it trains all over the body as well as focusing on the large muscles group, glutes.
3) Improve your endurance and stamina
Functional training will help with this, but it should be gradual so you don’t injure yourself or pull anything that will only set you back. You can also try a drill called 20 – 40s: sprint for 20s and then rest for 40, repeat 4 x for one set. Do as many sets as you wish.
4) Eat and drink right
It might seem like an obvious one but work out what foods your body does and doesn’t agree with when you’re exercising. Make sure you take plenty of water with you and something to snack on during the ride to keep your energy levels up. Some great cycling foods include bananas, flapjacks and energy bars.
5) Stay safe
Having the right equipment is essential for every rider no matter the distance. Wearing a helmet and having lights saves lives, don’t risk riding without these two crucial things. Whilst on the road make eye contact with anyone that could potentially pull out in front of you, try and anticipate their movements, ride in tight lines.
6) Caffeine gel
This can help give you that little push you may be needing on a long distance ride, giving a kick boost to lift focus, reactions and performance.
7) Be prepared
Take a pump, inner tube, multi-tool, waterproof and a self-adhesive puncture pack. It’s a great idea to take a fully charged mobile with you too, just in case you run into some trouble and need to make an emergency call.
8) The bike
Second hand bikes are great and can save you a lot of cash. Good deals are easy to come by if you spend a bit of time browsing the web. However if you can afford to splash out and get yourself a brand new (and probably more reliable) bike then Ribble Cycle’s Genesis bikes, Rose bikes and Canyon bicycles are by far the highest spec value bikes available.
Wear tight clothes to stop you becoming a flag and making everything more effort than it’s worth! Being as streamline as possible is key. Padded shorts will also make a difference to comfort.
Go at your own pace and don’t use up all your reserves on the first couple of hills as you won’t recover for the rest of the cycle. Be careful at the start so you’re not in trouble before the end.