Okay, so how does one train for a bike journey that will have 59 days of riding an average of 130 ks a day over 70 days? By riding lots and lots.
When I did my solo unsupported multi day rides I figured that I needed at least a thousand k into my legs before I set off. The Tour du Canada recommends at least two thousand. I’ve been riding longer than they have been in business so I decided to combine our experiences. I will add my thousand to their two thousand and see how that works.
Some of the riders on this edition of the ride across Canada were urging fellow participants to get out and start their training as soon as they made the decision to go. I decided to go to S.E. Asia for a couple of months. That took December 2011 and January 2012 out of the equation. Then we came back home for a month before heading off to Mexico for the month of March. You see where this is going. My training schedule has become very compressed. I’m cool with that.
My job will be my training. Unlike other participants on the ride, I have no job to interfere with my training. Only the weather will derail me or debike me but hey this is my job so I gotta ride. I will ride when and where I want to. So once I got back from Mexico I started in with gusto to my training schedule.
My training schedule sees me out on my bike six days a week. In those six days there are three short rides, two longer rides and one long ride. Each week the length of those rides go up. By the time it is show time I will have some serious riding put behind me.
My first couple of weeks were to have only five rides. The first week had three rides of 20k, one ride of 30k and one ride of 40k. Yeah I know, it looks pretty wimpy against riding 130 k in a day, day after day after day. I am now into week five and my rides are one at 25k, three at 35k, one at 45k and one at 70k. Still kinda wimpy.
Fast forward to week ten and the schedule has me doing one ride of 35k, one ride of 45k, two rides of 55k, and two rides of 160k. And those 160k rides involve the Highwood Pass. Stayed tuned for the stories on those rides.
After week ten, the day is June 10; there are only 10 days to go before show time. But in those ten days there will be some more hair brained rides that I want to put on my resume. Stay tuned for the stories about those rides.
So if all these rides come to fruition, I will have added over 3000k to my cycle computer and have added about four rides that exceed 160k. Well above the recommendation of Tour du Canada and way above what I have previously done in training for a multiday ride. I’ll be ready. And it is also my experience that the journey itself is the best trainer.
A person might be ready for the multiday ride and the first day goes wonderful. Maybe even have a religious experience of being on the open road, at one with the horizon. At the end of the day, the exhaustion is like a warm fuzzy bear. Then day two comes along. It is not like day one because this day hurts. Then day three comes along and it doesn’t hurt as much. And day four and five and six and suddenly you’re fit for the road.
What is nice about this Tour du Canada ride is that they have a rest day after three days of riding. That will make day four like day one. Kinda renew the joy de vie of doing this.
Getting the riding miles into one’s legs is only part of the story. There is still the upper body to strengthen so that when one is hunched over the handle bars, head down into the wind, the arms don’t give out. And it’s nice to have strong hands to keep a grip on the handle bars as one hits a pot holes or a bunch of divots that the idiots at the provincial transport level think are needed on the highway. These divots are to wake up the weary as they fall asleep and wander off to the ditch. The noise and vibration wakes the driver up and saves him to drive another day.
Try riding on those divots on a bicycle going at thirty kph. It is like plugging into an electrical socket, with a finger from each hand. Hold on and hope you come out on the proper side of the exposure. Sorry, I digress; a peeve of mine is those divots.
The training should also encompass a strong core. It helps to sit up straight and perch on the bicycle seat. Oh yeah, the seat is not a resting place, it is a perch. From this perch you power your way down the highway. Sit on it and you’ll develop saddle sores.
To help with my training I do a daily routine that mixes stretches with yoga poses with pilates routines. It takes about 45 minutes in the morning. It works all parts of my body. It is my secret weapon. Then I’m good to go for the day.