Many rides make light work

A big ride is a great incentive to keep riding during winter.If you’ve ever thought you’d like to take on one of the big rides later in the year, now is the time to start work. The Fruit Loop Ride, Round the Bay in a Day and the Great Vic Bike Ride seem to be scheduled in September, October and November simply to give us the perfect incentive to keep training during winter.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re aiming for your first 50 km or your first 200 km, the same approach will help get you there.

It’s so important to find a way to structure your training so that you enjoy it and it doesn’t take over your life. When preparing for big rides, shorter regular rides all week are better than one big one on the weekend.

If you’re aiming to do a 100 km option, try to do at least that every week in a number of shorter rides. Ride to work, ride to the supermarket, ride to school with the kids, ride an exercise bike. Keep a diary of how far you go each week to help you keep track of your training.

A diary also helps you make sure you get some rest too! Recovery time is just as important as time on the bike when you’re training for a big event.

As you get closer to the day, you can schedule longer rides on the weekend. Even if they’re not as long as the distance you’re aiming for, time in the saddle is the key to building the endurance you need.

What happens when it rains, as it inevitably does in winter? That’s when it’s good to do something else you enjoy. Visit the gym, take a walk, go for a swim. It all builds strength and fitness that you don’t necessarily build on the bike, but which benefits your cycling anyway. It also adds a bit of variety – always a good thing.

But the real secret to training for a big event is to find other people aiming for the same thing to share the pain and the joys, and their experience.

The social side of training is nearly as important as the actual exercise. Riding 150 km is much easier when you have other people to chat to and keep your mind off the distance. And no matter how experienced we are, we all learn a lot from more experienced riders.

So, choose your goal, hop on your bike and see you on the road soon, God willing.

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