Maximize Your Long Rides
Are you planning some long rides for this summer? Maybe even your very first century, or double century? Here's some tips to help you have a successful long ride.
1. Plan Ahead
Know the route you plan to take, and what that route will be like. Will there be lots of traffic, and are you comfortable with that? Will it be long back roads with few places to stop if you needed to? What you plan to pack for nutrition and hydration will depend on your route and stops along the way, if there are any. Once you have a route planned, you can use apps like Kamoot, Ride with GPS, or Strava to map it out and export it to a GPS. If you don't own a GPS equipped bike computer, Google Maps on a phone may suffice, or like old days, paper maps. However this will add an element of start and stop riding. If you don't feel comfortable going alone in some new areas, considering finding a group ride in your local area to get comfortable with some new routes. Our favorite GPS bike computers are the Garmin Edge, the Wahoo Elemnt, or the CatEye Padrone.
2. Nutrition & Hydration
As was covered in our previous blog post, Summer Nutrition Tips, nutrition and hydration is key to having an enjoyable and successful ride. Keep in mind, every body is different, so what works for someone else may not always work for you, and that's okay. It's important to experiment with what foods work best for you, and don't cause any GI upset. Try lots of different foods, gels, bars, etc. before your long day until you find something that works perfect for you. This is why planning your route is also important; are you packing all your food and nutrition on your bike, or do you plan to stop at cafes and/or gas stations? This ties hand in hand with hydration as well. Are you carrying all your hydration, are there refill stations on your route, etc. You can see some of what we have in stock for nutrition here. Feel free to also stop in either store to see our selection.
3. Bike Set Up
The most important thing for your bike set up, is to be comfortable on your bike. While a drop bar, aerodynamic, top of the line carbon framed TT bike may be the fastest option, don't let this be a barrier between you and enjoying a long ride if you don't have a bike like this. Having a properly fitted bike will make the biggest difference for your own personal comfort. And just like nutrition, a bike fit is different for every person. What works for someone else, may not be comfortable for you.
Weather will play a big part in your long ride, so be sure to dress accordingly. Will it be cold and rainy, or hot and humid? We can't control the weather, but we can prepare for it. If it's cool and windy, a light wind breaker jacket may be helpful. If it's sunny, be sure to use sunscreen and bring extra incase you sweat it off, and bring a pair of sunglasses. We have a variety of attire to help you bike in all sorts of weather. See our selection here, or stop in either store to view our selection in person.
5. If it hurts, stop.
Of course, it's completely normal to have a sore behind and stiff muscles after a long ride, but long rides shouldn't be incapacitating you in any way and causing injuries. Cycling in general is a fairly low-impact sport, and most injuries come from an improperly fitted bike. Riding should be fun, not an event that causes you pain. If you think your bike may not be fitted properly, or you're not quite physically ready to go the mileage you're aiming for, take no shame in ending early and going home. It's best to prevent injuries before they happen, and the roads will always be there tomorrow.
Get out there, go the distance, and have fun! We're here to help and support you in whatever way we can for your riding and cycling adventures.
Questions? Comments? Feel free to contact us.
St. Paul: 651-644-2354
Arden Hills: 651-490-7709