Preparing for the Ride
Getting Your Bike Ready
Get your bike tuned up and adjusted to fit you before beginning to train. Efficient position and good body alignment will help you feel more comfortable. Have a professional bike technician check your position, including the points between your body and the bike: seat, shoes, pedals, and hands. Poor fit is more painful than poor training. To have your bike professionally fit, contact a bicycle shop in your area.
Schedule a pre-ride tune–up with your local bike shop a week or two before you leave on the ride. Make sure to have them check the condition and adjustment of brake pads, brake cables and gear cables as well as bearing adjustments in your hubs, headset and bottom bracket. Tires should be checked for excessive wear, cuts and nicks. Remember, old (other than the aged and cured ones that Lance Armstrong rides) tires not only mean more punctures; they may also be unsafe.
If you are in the Raleigh/Cary area, contact Cycling Spoken Here at one of their two neighborhood locations. You can stop by anytime for a free “look-over” or diagnostic check. Sometimes, the trained eye of the professional mechanic catches the otherwise unnoticed problem.
Getting Your Body Ready
Whether you’re riding Cycle North Carolina for the first time or you are a weathered CNC Veteran, getting yourself – and, especially your body – ready for the ride is really the key to making it an enjoyable experience. Putting in plenty of miles of training is definitely, important. Especially back-to-back days. However, don’t focus solely on mileage. A well rounded training program includes strength, flexibility, endurance, nutrition, hydration and rest.
Below is some valuable information that, if followed, will keep you on your bike and out of the SAG wagon.
Water is important before, during and after every ride. When cycling, be sure to drink at least one water bottle per hour. Drink even if you are not thirsty – remember, if you are thirsty, then you are already dehydrated! Once you’ve finished your ride, make sure you continue to drink water or sports electrolyte and recovery drinks. As much as one would like to argue, the beverage garden is not for replenishing electrolytes…maybe carbohydrates!
Speaking of carbohydrates, this is one area that you do not need to skip out on during the ride. Your food plan during training should be comprised of mostly carbohydrates (55 – 65%), with the remainder in equal amounts of protein and fat. You’re training hard and burning fuel faster than when you are sitting on the couch changing channels. You need immediate and stored fuel; which is primarily supplied by a diet high in carbohydrates. This is not the time to be on the Atkins or South Beach diet!
Do we have to really explain why this is so important? Stretching is essential to injury prevention and improving muscle recovery. Focus on all major muscle groups, not just the legs. Stretch after every workout, bike ride, and even if you didn’t do anything that day.