Important issues to consider if you are riding in the C.ex McDonald’s Cycle Challenge
- Your basic fitness
- Your cycling specific fitness and
- The way you set up your bike.
A fit person should be able to ride and enjoy the Cycle Challenge. However, cycling like all other aerobic activities uses different muscles which need to be exercised and trained to work in specific ranges of activity.You may think you are very fit if you walk or run often, but when you ride for longer distances you may soon find, by increasing soreness, that you really do have other muscles you didn’t realise you had before.
As you prepare for the event please make sure you also maintain your general fitness and lead an active lifestyle. Regular stretching and yoga exercises are also very useful for developing muscle flexibility, fitness and strength.
Information below will help you train for, compete and enjoy the C.ex McDonald’s Cycle Challenge. Some important things to remember are:
- Increase your training progressively and follow the basic programme guidelines for training
- You should be aiming for at least 3 training rides a week
- Include some hills in your training programme and be prepared for the hills on event day
- If you’ve not been on a bike for a while, just take it easy and go around the block a few times and ride within your limits. Progressively increase to a few kilometres each day.
- Any well-maintained bike will do – selecting a bike is like choosing a pair of shoes, it has to feel comfortable.
- Make sure your seat and handlebars are adjusted to your size and shape – it makes training much more comfortable.
- You don’t need any specific clothing the most important thing is to be warm and comfortable.
- We recommend a high-visibility vest at all times.
- Sunglasses are great for blocking out the UV rays and protecting your eyes from insects and wind.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen lotion
- Don’t forget your helmet! Wearing of a helmet is compulsory under New South Wales road rules. Riders must obey the New South Wales traffic laws and regulations.
The police have requested single file on the ascents and no cutting corners on the wrong side on the descents. Ride within your capabilities, especially on the descents.
Nutrition is about 3 main elements, energy (gels, bars and snacks), hydration (hydration formula) and recovery from exercise (recovery formula)
Energy, when exercising for over 30 minutes you need to be replacing your muscle glycogen (basically sugars) on the go, the gels are ideal for this. You need to start taking them after 30 min or so and use at least 1 tube of gel every 90 minutes, the flip top lid meaning you can just snack away every 20 min or so. Add in the odd bar for something solid if over 2 hours.
Hydration, use the formula at the correct rate (1 Shot Sachet per bottle is easiest), or from the bulk 500g jar. You should be drinking at least a bottle (500/800ml) per hour. Feel free to have straight water as well if you like but you definitely need the formula to replace the salts, a critical element of hydration.
Recovery, after a ride or run or general exercise it is essential that you recharge the muscles; it means the difference between being able to train the next day or not! Use your recovery product within 20 – 30 min of stopping then follow up with carb and protein rich meal within the next 2 hours, the longer the training the more you need.
These are general rules; the actual amounts vary a bit with your weight, intensity of exercise and time.
Your training program
The most essential aim of any training program is to set your goals and targets and to train consistently to achieve them. To train for Cycle Challenge you should build up your general level of fitness to allow you to comfortably cover event you enter. To do this we recommend a series of training rides of varying distances closer to the event.
For the 30km event, ride 15-20km 2 – 3 times per week for several weeks leading up to the event
For the 60km event, ride 25-40km 2 – 3 times per week for several weeks leading up to the event
For the 100km event, ride 50-60km 2 – 3 times per week for several weeks leading up to the event
For the 165km event, ride 90-100km 2 -3 times per week for several weeks leading up to the event
Finding the time
The training program outlined above is a minimum schedule which should be easily slotted into a busy lifestyle. To keep track of your efforts it’s best to keep a training log where you can record your rides, their distances and comments about your ability.
You may think it unnecessary at first but this type of information may be of great benefit to you at a later date. It’s also good for morale building too!
One of the best ways of fitting more kilometres into a crowded life is to combine training with your ride to work or to school.
Riding to work or school can be a great way of starting the working day and provided that you can find a reasonably stress free route you will feel much better for it at work and at the end of the