Being prepared for time in the saddle

Photo by Vanessa Barkla

Preparing for a long distance ride such as the Bay in a Day requires a base of sustained fitness that can be draw on. Time in the saddle is your preparation; most riders have the fitness but not necessarily the conditioning of the mind and body (bottom back and neck condition). 
Anybody that undertakes to ride in excess of 100Klm must be able to count the cost and know how to prepare and take account of their recovery; crossing some of these boundaries prior to a long ride gives some insights to building confidence. A simple philosophy that under pins such preparation is: If you have been doing things that work for you then be at peace and not seek too many improvements. Learn to break down the ride into achievements and celebrations of reaching each set goal.
If you have prepared right the objective of a long ride does not change much. You ride to enjoy the company of others, to increase your fitness and increase your health and achieve a sense of being an over comer of past mountains of the mind to reach set goals and to celebrate the achievement of all you share the ride with.

Some simple basics to being able to sustain your energy: Ride within your capabilities conditions can change so quickly. Hold the wheel in front and keep the anxiety levels as low as possible. Keep up the fluids be well hydrated days prior, stretch when you start and have stops and complete the ride.  Warm up with a high cadence and sustain this for as long as you feel comfortable stay off the bigger gears as you will need this energy in the last legs of the ride.

Wear clothes that you would for any other ride with a contingency for keeping warm. Your legs will sustain cold much more that your arms will. Consider three quarter leg warmers and have arm warmers they are easy to take off and roll up. Avoid getting caught over dressing for the ride you will be warm for many hours and only need to keep warm for the prolonged breaks so have a rolled up wind breaker. Don’t use this day to break in a new pair of Knicks if you chafe get hold of some shammy cream for this ride it can be money well spent.

If you eat during a 50 Klm ride then eat at the same times on a long ride. Also be aware of warning sign of the lack of eating so you don’t get past the point of needing the lift and go hunger flat. This will be the most debilitating experience for you so stay aware of what your body is telling you. If riding with a group make this commitment, “One stop all stop. Ask regularly are all together keep this coming from front to back of the group and vice versa”

Watch out for each other and be respectful of other sharing the ride. Not all riders have the background of riding in groups and chop and change at will making it very dangerous. Let people know of passing moves and do the move quickly and smoothly, go well past others to ensure all riders are past as there will be some that will take advantage of any gap that you leave open.

This I have considered to be the most crucial piece of advice that can be given. “PEACEFUL REST”.  Have good sleep patterns days prior and days after (recovery can take well into the second week if you have done it tough)
Have fun and enjoy your riding, don’t take this too serious about having to make a certain time and average speed above all respect each other and obey the road laws.

Look forward to seeing you on the road some where some time God willing.


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