Preparing for your first bike tour can be intimidating but essential for making it an experience one you’ll want to do again and again. Getting good advice is the first step, which is why we reached out to a few pros from the LUNA Chix of LA cycling team for a few tips. Jennifer, Jenny and Dorothy took the time to chat with us at our Outdoor Expo at La Canada Flintridge.
Preparing your body for a stage race, multi-day, multi-race, five-day time trial or road race requires a long-term training schedule that gets you out on the road at least two days a week for a minimum of twenty miles per session, making sure to plan your route to include a good balance between flat terrain and elevated roads. Over the weekends, planning longer routes to get you on goal for your bike tour will help prepare you physically when you add an intervall training schedule into this longer ride.
Find a Group to Ride With
The LUNA Chix of LA is a group of female riders who help motivate and push each other, with members acting as mentors to those who are new to the sport of racing or competing in cycling. Working with a team allows riders to challenge themselves and helps get them to the next level. Finding a group like the LUNA Chix, with local chapters around the country, is a great way to meet friends with a similar interest as well as learning about the many different races and events taking place where cyclists can compete against other riders, or themselves.
Invest in a Comfortable Seat
For cyclists, finding the most comfortable saddle and chamois for your ride makes a world of difference when you’re just starting out on longer rides and more time on the bike. Some riders insist on using chamois butter for the most comfortable riding experience, especially during longer bike tours and multi-day events.
Re-energize on the Road
Sleep is important for any athlete but it’s important to note that getting in a nap on days when you’re training and in between time trials, if possible, will help you feel refreshed and ready to hit the road or the bike trail. Stay energized with hydration packs, protein bars or meal replacement bars that you can pack along for the ride.
“A lot of riders keep a timer going so they know when to grab their next snack,” Jennifer pointed out, which is a smart way to refuel before running out of energy. Everybody has different nutritional needs so it may be beneficial to work with a personal trainer or nutritionist who can help guide you and provide the proper education you’ll need to maintain nutrition requirements, leading up to, during and after your cycling event.
Take Time to Recover
The days after your bike tour has ended are just as important for your body to recover and burn off the lactic acid that has built up during your events. Give yourself a pat on the back and take a break.
No matter who you ride with or how you compete, following these tips will reduce your chances of an injury and make your ride an enjoyable one.