Prior to VetRide:
Check that your bike is roadworthy, in good repair and suitable for the event being undertaken.
Make sure that your bike is properly fitted to you, by having it checked by someone who is trained. These steps can help in both the prevention of injury and an improvement in your comfort level and performance.
Bike fit basics
- Primary rule be comfortable
- Personal assessment – ie predetermine handlebar height according to style of riding ie racing- handlebars lower than saddle, touring-handlebars higher
- Requirements – bicycle trainer and plumb bob
- Warm up ie comfortable in saddle
A sequential process for ensuring basic bike fit:
Step 1 – Adjust saddle height
Start with hips parallel to ground, crank arms in line with the seat tube the downward facing leg is slight bent ie allow 10 to 20 degrees with no hip rock and only make small changes at a time ie 1cm can be significant.
Step 2 – Adjust fore and aft saddle position
Crank arms parallel with the ground.
Drop plumb line from bottom of knee cap down through the pedal line to bisect pedal axle adjust accordingly.
Step 3 – Horizontal body position (most important for comfort and performance)
Sit on adjusted saddle hands on top of brake hoods.
Sight front hub relative to handlebars.
Handlebars should obscure the front hub.
Adjust angle according to style of riding if in front a shorter stem if handlebars behind hub longer stem aim at having back at 45 degree angle.
NOTE: for this step adjustments are subject to the maximum allowance available in stem height.
Step 4 – Further considerations
Handlebar width – general rule shoulder width.
Crank arm length – longer more torque shorter if prefer high cadence.
Saddle angle – begin level although some prefer slightly nose up or nose down.
Cleat position – directly under centre of ball of foot.
- Plan every ride you take and set goals that increase the time you spend on the bike, how often you ride and the distance you travel. Build up to one long ride a week, if training for a long distance multi day event.
- Ride with others who can challenge your level of fitness and endurance; and practice bunch riding skills.
- Take account of the effects of training and allow for recovery, including allowing for rest, regular hours of sleep and a good diet.
Training and Diet for riding a distance event or for an extended period
Cycling events are a very good way to show off your skills. Going to one unprepared, however, can result in total disaster. The most important thing is to stay fit. Read on to find out how to prepare for a major cycling event.
Steps to take while training:
- Ingest complex carbohydrates and amino acids regularly. These replenish your supply of blood glucose and muscle glycogen levels as they are used up and help you stay energized for the ride. Without complex carbohydrates, you will find yourself tiring fast and struggling to finish the ride.
Three Months Before the Event
- Begin using an electrolyte drink during training rides. Choose one that contains sodium and complex carbohydrates (maltrin, maltodextrin, glucose polymers).
- Incorporate an energy gel into your training regime. Energy gels are particularly effective at providing regular, even bursts of energy without sitting “heavy” in the stomach.
- Increase your use of electrolyte drinks and energy gel as you add more miles to your rides. Combined, they will keep your body properly fueled and help you recover faster.
- If possible, train with products you will ride with to minimize the chance of any unpleasant surprises the day of the race.
Two Months Before the Event
- Watch for physical and mental fatigue during training to determine when it is most likely to occur. At these points, an energy gel and an electrolyte drink will help stabilize blood sugar levels and provide needed amino acids.
- Figure out how often you’ll need an energy gel to stay strong during your ride. Take into account the intensity of your anticipated ride and weather conditions.
One Month Before the Event
- Take a balance vitamin supplement to prevent nutritional deficiencies as your training levels increase or get more intense.
- Eat well-balanced meals that include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
The Day Before the Event
- Do everything in moderation! Don’t try any new foods and eat a meal with plenty of carbohydrates and moderate fat and protein.
- Watch your protein and fiber intake. Foods that contain protein and fiber can “bulk you up” and mean extra pit stops during the ride.
- Drink plenty of fluids, but don’t go overboard since it could hold you up early in the ride.
The Day of the Event
- Eat a breakfast that’s not too bulky. A bagel, toast or pancakes are good choices. If possible allow two hours for digestion.
- If you choose not to eat breakfast, pre-load with energy gels at specific intervals – one packet an hour and a half before start time, again at 45 minutes prior, and a third right before the ride begins.
- Watch your caffeine intake. Coffee and tea are diuretics and will increase pit stops during the ride..
- Follow your established routine with gels and an electrolyte drink – making slight alterations depending on how you feel.
- Stay hydrated – consume at least one liter of water or electrolyte drink every hour, especially during hot weather.
- Replenish complex carbohydrates and amino acids – by consuming one energy gel pack every 35 – 40 minutes of the ride.
- Avoid food high in dietary fat, fiber, and protein, if you choose to eat solid food during the ride.
The preceding information on diet is taken from ‘wikiHow’ and their citation for the content is: Dirtworld.com – http://www.dirtworld.com/TipsAndTricks/TipsStory.asp?id=377. The information is not intended to replace medical or other professional advice regarding dietary intake. Any person who chooses to implement the advice offered does so at their own risk and the VVAA, VetRide, the authors and all those organizations associated with the website shall not be liable for any loss or damage howsoever occasioned and whenever it may arise.