There’s a grand stretch in the evening! Considering dusting off the bike and taking to the road? You may even be contemplating taking on one of the many cycling races or sportives that are on over the summer; notably the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle. A daunting task? Perhaps not. Shane Fallon from Dublin2Bike discusses how a little prep and know-how can get anyone through their first endurance event. Read his tips for success in our latest blog post…
180km is a long way to go in one day, but with a bit of belief and a good work ethic – it can be done. Even if you’ve never cycled further than down to the shops on your BMX as a kid.
Tip 1: Training
In the three months leading up to the ring of Kerry, you should be getting on the bike roughly three times per week. You need to ensure you are training the specific muscles you will use for cycling. Going to the gym for overall strength and conditioning is important, but time on the bike is vital.
However, make sure you don’t over train. It’s a common mistake that cyclists make. Spending eight hours on a Sunday in the Wicklow Mountains is great (if that’s what you enjoy) but short sharp 10/20/30km cycles two or three times per week are great training too. Another way to get the miles in may be commuting to work. This option is a also a money, time and environment saver!
Try a test run up to 100/120km. This will get the body ready for the distance and is also a good confidence booster. The “map my ride” website has some great routes for these distances.
Tip 2: Food
When it comes to nutrition, everyone will have an opinion. But remember, what works for some will not work for others. Most people opt for energy gels, tubes, sweets and protein bars to aid their training. Personally, I don’t like energy gels as they’re too sickly for me and hard on my stomach. So alternatively, I opt for Jelly Belly sport jelly beans. I also go old school and eat bananas and snickers while on the bike, but that’s just me. Fulfil bars are also good mini meals on the bike. All these options can easily be kept in the back pockets of your jersey/saddle back or in your top tube bag.
When stopping for lunch, fuel up but try not to over eat. Hydration is so important and it is what I am most conscious of when it comes to nutrition. I use two water bottles when I’m out on the bike. I also like to use High 5 Zeros (sport electrolytes) which balance the salt and sugars in the blood. You can put them in the water bottle and you get a light Mi Wadi type of taste with one and a more prominent taste with two.
Tip 3: Supplies
I constantly battle with this. I like to be a cub scout and bring as much as possible for every eventuality but this is often impractical. I have to fight with myself to strip it down. In the end, I opt for two water bottles, two spare tubes, tyre levers, mini pump, multi tool, phone, debit card/cash and my car keys.
Tip 4: Clothing
When it comes to cycle clothing, you get what you pay for. There is many different variations and it is always weather dependent.
Cycling shorts with good chamois are a must. In addition to this, I would recommend a long/short sleeve base layer (most sport brands have their own version), a cycling jersey, gloves and sunglasses if comfortable.
I personally go with long sleeve base layer, polyester cycling jersey with back pockets, a high vis jacket and a shower proof stuff jacket that folds and stores in the back pocket of your jersey.
If it’s looking bleak weather wise, I’ll change into my high vis waterproof rain jacket and keep it on for the day and I’ll wear cycling mitts with gel padding.
I use cycling glasses with a sepia lens which makes everything appear amber. This enhances my vision and it does not impede my skill level. A race bib strap is also handy to have to keep your number attached to you.
Finally, always wear a helmet – it is a safety requirement.
The great thing about cycling sportives and specially the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle is the social aspect. I can almost guarantee the first 100km of the cycle will pass quickly as a result of the company you will have along the way.
While it is mainly viewed as a physical challenge, is a mental challenge too – mind over matter. If you don’t mind it won’t matter.
There is always a great sense of camaraderie on the Ring of Kerry cycle and a helpful can-do attitude from everyone.
Good luck with the preparation!
Blog written by Shane Fallon, Manager of Dublin2Bike.