Bicycle Network: RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride
Training and Preparation
Training and Preparation Advice from David Heatley
David is the Director of Cycling-Inform and is an Accredited Cycling Australia Cycling Coach under the Australian National Coach Accreditation Scheme (NCAS).
His company, cycling inform, provides cycle coaching services, runs training camps and has a website full of excellent advice to help you get the best out of your cycling.
For more information please visit their website.
Getting ready for the Ride
While the RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride is designed for all levels of cycling participation it is still recommended that you build up to being comfortable riding 40-80 km rides in the lead up to the event. As you will be riding each day during the event it’s important to get used to riding several days in a row. Consistency is the key. Training is not like cramming for an exam as it takes time for the body to adapt and get fit. So it’s important to build your fitness up gradually.
I recommend that you start training at a minimum of eight weeks out from the RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride. If you are new to riding then start your training earlier than the eight weeks to give you more time to build your fitness. I also recommend that you focus on getting into a riding routine so that you are able to complete four to six regular rides each week.
If you are new to riding then keep the rides short until you build up the fitness then once you are comfortable riding four to six times a week start increasing the length of your rides so that by the end of the eight weeks you are comfortable riding a 80 km ride. When doing this training, try to focus on developing a good pedalling technique by keeping your cadence around 90-100 rpm.
Map out your eight weeks of preparation with a training plan that builds up to the event. This will help you arrange your training around everything else going on in your life. Identify possible periods that might conflict with the time that you have set aside to train. Also let your family and workplace know what you are doing so that they understand that for a short time you’ll be also focusing on your training as well as your normal activities. That way your get their buy in and support. While you are mapping out your training schedule pop into a reputable bike shop and check that you bike has been set up and adjusted to fit you correctly. That way when you start your training there is less chance of injury.
This year’s RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride has a few challenging hilly days later on in the event so be sure to include training rides that have hills in them. Weekends are a great time for doing longer rides while the week days are good for shorter rides. Commuting to and from work is an excellent way to get into a regular riding routine. So build this into your training plan.
Remember that during these eight weeks you’ll want to develop skills for riding, cornering and braking in all sorts of conditions and road surfaces if you are not used to these conditions. Practice taking your bike out on wet and windy days and ride on the occasional gravel road. When it’s dry, practice descending down hills. Also get used to riding in groups and learn how to recognise and avoid dangerous behaviour from other riders.
If the weather is bad then consider training on an indoor trainer or attending an indoor cycle training class at your local gym to keep your riding consistent. Also, it’s easier to keep motivated if you get your cycling buddies involved and you train together. Look for other events leading up to the RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride that you can take part in to help you build your fitness.
Also during this eight weeks take a little time to develop good eating habits and watch your hydration. As you build your fitness your body will need good quality food to fuel and build firm lean muscle. Stay away from overly fried, fatty and fast food. Focus on eating salads and lightly cooked veggies, lean meats, fish, nuts, eggs, fruit and low GI carbohydrates with plenty of whole grains.
I have created a Basic 12 week training program that you can download for free from my website.
I wish you all the best with your training, and have a great RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride