Training for a Multi Day Cycling Event
I received a message from someone this week who is planning on cycling the Blue Ridge Parkway and wanted some training suggestions and I thought it would be a perfect time to chat long distance cycling and getting your sweat on.
A bit of background: The Blue Ridge Parkway is located in Virginia and is 754.8 KM long. It is a high elevation and mountainous ride so it is certainly not for the beginner cyclist as it requires a base level cycling fitness. It is not an advanced ride as the climbs are not long or steep, but it is a rolling elevation, making for a stunning ride. You are tackling heat and motorists as this is a popular route.
Although I have never done this myself, it is exactly the type of crazy I am drawn to which is why I wanted to do a post on it. Preparing for this is half the battle.
Training: A ride like this means time on the bike. Spend 6-8 weeks building a solid base. Don’t worry about the technical skills required, just get on your bike and go. I am no expert but I would try and ride 4-5 x a week at least with at least one solid back to back session on the weekends. For instance, a long ride on Saturday followed by a long ride on Sunday to prepare your body for the multi-day event.
Technical: Work on your bike handling skills. Practice going up hills and charging down decents. The Blue Sky is not crazy, but you will need to have a basic knowledge of how to attack hills because there will be many of them.
Strength Training: There are a few key areas you want to strengthen to make sure that you are strong and fit for the ride. Do lots of core work to make sure you have stability. Do some hamstring exercises to help power your bike stroke. Strengthen your back with the superman and deadlift movements because you will be relying on it quite a bit. Work those glutes with squat and lunges.
Gear up! Make sure you have a comfortable and quality cycling kit. Chafing is no joke!! I love the Bellwether bike shorts and I do all my long rides in their kit. Bring a stick of Body Glide. You will thank me later. Bring a repair kit with you.
Fuel up! Train with sports nutrition products to make sure that they work for you when you are on the road. Make sure you have adequate hydration. I love the Aero HC System by Profile Design to make sure I am drinking enough water.
And have fun!
Whether you are doing a 750 KM ride or just a fun workout, Sports Suds, one of my partners is holding a Strava contest for January and February.