Express tips for a successful 100 plus mile ride (or any long distance event)
by Katie Lindquist, Tour de Steamboat Ride Director, competitive cyclist and Nordic skier, coach and instructor
- Get your bike checked over by a mechanic, including the tires, rim tape, drivetrain, spokes, rims, brake pads and tighten all bolts! Prevention is cheaper than a costly repair, especially if you are riding and need a rescue!
- If you haven’t already made the switch to a bit bigger tire, now is the time! A 25-28 c tire is more durable, more comfortable and is typically faster due to better control and contact patch.
- Join AAA! Not only do they assist you with auto roadside emergencies, but they will also come get you if you are riding your bike and are stranded. What a deal!
- Think time not miles… Anyone can ride a sub 6-hour century in the Midwest, but with a ride covering over 7,000 feet of climbing at elevation, one needs to pace, eat, drink and enjoy! Be prepared to spend 7-10 hours on your bike by spending 7 or more hours on your bike! A prepared body starts with a prepared mindset!
- Get a good night’s sleep TWO nights before the actual event. Yup, do not worry about the night before and the restless sleep you will most likely have. That is nature’s way of making sure that you are prepared, wake up and have all you need! Let that bad night of sleep roll off your shoulders. You are prepared because you focused on a good night’s sleep earlier in the week!
- Eat food, real food. Rice balls, mini burritos, cheese sticks, fruit and good old PB and J sandwiches power me much better than a commercial bar typically held together with raisin paste and apple pectin. Both are hard on the gut and get old quickly. I still use commercial bars when I need to, but real food is so much better and cheaper!
- Chamois butter is your friend, once its on! Like sunscreen, it always seems like too much trouble to put on, but your skin and you will appreciate both applications, maybe even during the ride, too!
- Bonking is NOT certain death. In fact, you can typically rally from that dizzy, fatigued feeling within 5-10 minutes just by eating. Yup, eat, drink, eat some more, and soon your mood and body will feel better. A cyclist can burn up to 600 calories per hour of riding, and we typically eat a gel an hour or maybe ½ a bar, that equals about 100 calories. It’s easy to do the math on how quickly a cyclist can get into a deficit. During a long ride is not the time to diet. The key is to enjoy riding, not feel like crap and avoid riding all together. Cut the calories at other times in your day, not while riding!
- Keep track of your rides by fun factor: folks you rode with, how you felt, goals reached. Objective measures are more interesting and keep you motivated and hopefully enjoying the ride. Mileage, body weight and speed can motivate some, but not everyone. If it’s not working, try something different!
- Equipment check: Make sure you have a working bike, tool kit (with spare tubes, patch kit, tire irons, wrench set and $20) a helmet, good sunglasses, gloves (I prefer full finger, no padding), cycling clothes, high-visibility socks, sunscreen and chamois butter. Leave your day to day life at home and enjoy the ride!