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Preparation is Key

This Post from Michael Baker has some great insights from a man who has been there and done that; Michael is the owner and operator of Custom Bike Fit, an 8 time Ironman finisher and veteran of over 100 century rides, the longest being a solo one day ride of 310km from Sydney to Canberra. Michael bike fits using the Retul 3D motion capture system, the same technology used by teams Sky & Garmin as well as world champion triathletes Craig Alexander and Mirinda Carfrae. you can contact Michael at Custom Bike Fit on 5479 3091 or visit www.custombikefit.com

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‘Century Ride’ – a bicycle ride of 100 miles (160.9km) or more within 12hrs, usually as a cycling club sponsored event.

I tackled my first century ride in January of 1994, cycling from Ballarat to Horsham (190km) solo. I made just about every mistake in the book. I rode an ill-fitting bike on the wrong saddle in new bike pants. I had no nutritional plan, carried just the one water bottle, didn’t check the weather forecast and hadn’t followed a formal training plan – the distance was almost twice that of my previous longest ride.

As I stood outside the train station in Ararat (the half-way point) can of coke and rapidly melting chocolate bar in hand, I checked the time table as the temperature rose into the high 30’s. No trains today.

The sun was setting as I pulled in to Horsham, I was exhausted, I hadn’t been able to sit for the last hour, I virtually rode the final 20km standing up, so bad was the chaffing from my saddle and knicks. Blood ran down my legs. My first shower was torture; I couldn’t walk properly for 3 days and didn’t ride for weeks after. The experience was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Too Moo 220 was conceived by Dave Fellows out of a personal desire to complete something challenging, riding 220km is certainly that, and for anyone contemplating the journey I suggest it should also be considered fun. I’d liken it to doing an Ironman, which is as much about the preparation as the event itself. A challenge by definition isn’t supposed to be easy, but it needn’t be as hard as my escapade in ‘94. Below are some tips to assist you with your preparation and to help you avoid the many mistakes I made on my first century ride.

  1. Consider a professional bike fit – a proper bike fit can correct poor posture, increase power, minimize the risk of injury and greatly improve rider comfort. At an average cadence of 90rpm your hips, knees and ankles rotate 5,400 times per hour, if you’re position on the bike is compromised you could do yourself some serious long term damage. If you’d like to learn more pop in the studio and say hi, I’d be happy to assess your current position and take you through the bike fit process.
  2. Make sure you’re comfortable on your saddle – the saddle is a major contact point and the foundation of your fit. Soft tissue pain, chaffing and saddle sores are amongst the most common issues I see when bike fitting. You don’t have to put up with this discomfort. I have a large range of test saddles which I can fit to your bike and trial before you buy. If your saddle is causing discomfort drop by the studio or give me a call.
  3. Practice and perfect your nutrition strategy – your long training rides provide the perfect opportunity to form a nutrition strategy. You should have this bedded down 3-4 weeks prior to the event. Don’t try anything different on the big day and always carry a little more nutrition than you think you’ll need. Drinking water alone will flush essential minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium from the body so add electrolyte tablets such as Nuun to your water bottles. Depending upon your weight, you could easily burn 300-600 calories per hour on an endurance ride and whilst it can be difficult to digest this amount it is important that you replace a significant percentage of these calories during exercise. Fluids are far easier to digest than solids and Infinit Nutrition contains all you need to get you through both your long training rides and the event itself. For your FREE sample of Nuun and Infinit simply drop by the Custom Bike Fit studio. To order product visit www.infinitnutrition.com.au, use the discount code CBF10 for 10% off.
  4. Take it easy – a ride of 220km should be executed in the endurance zone, that’s 56-75% of your Functional Threshold Power or 69-83% of your Functional Threshold Heart Rate. You can establish these and other personal training zones by undertaking a Functional Threshold Power Test. A one-on-one FTP test is priced at $75, group tests (4-8 riders) are available at $50 per head.
  5. Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly – over the course of your training rides establish the clothing that offers the highest degree of comfort and wear this kit on May 3rd. 220km will likely take you anywhere from 7-10hrs and in that time conditions could change so wear layers that can easily be removed and replaced if and when necessary. Arm warmers are useful not only in cool conditions but also as an added layer of protection against the harsh Australian sun.