14 days to go!
This blog marks our 12th week in the VIPeloton, and my final piece of wisdom for your United Energy Around the Bay preparation. Thank you for tuning in, and I hope you’ve found some nuggets of gold to help you on your cycling journey!
The toughest part of being a coach and an athlete is in the doing. As a coach, I aim to create an environment that motivates and inspires people to be and do their best. At this stage of planning I always ask my clients to start reviewing their goals, which is exactly what I’ll be focusing on with you today.
Goal setting review
Revisit your initial thoughts about what you wanted to achieve, and what motivated you to set these goals. Often life gets in the way, and just five minutes of reflection can help reignite our purpose when we need it most. Review. Remind. Re-engage.
Keep up your training
Keep moving forward towards your goal. Remember when I said, “something is better than nothing”? Well, it still is! In the final week (before the taper) it is a good idea to schedule in one more long ride of 100+ kilometres, to help fine tune your bike, body, mindset and confidence in your ability.
Deploy ‘The Mantra’
It really does help to have a one-liner or two that represent your own personal mantra. Something as simple but as powerful as “you’ve got this!” can help significantly. Have it plastered on your handlebars or top tube so that whenever you start to doubt yourself or feel tired, it’s there to keep you going. You can even get stem caps with slogans on them – though perhaps it’s a bit late to order these now!
Give yourself an honest appraisal
What does your overall investment into training/fitness look like? Are you feeling good about it, or did you under invest? Spend the time now to be honest with yourself – if you haven’t done the work yet, then now is the time to do something about it. The ride might take an hour longer because you need to pace yourself, but your goal is still within reach, the approach may just need tweaking.
Keep doing the 1%ers
1%ers will get you further than you can imagine in your preparation and on the day. Keep stretching and doing your core exercises with two weeks to go. Get a little bit more sleep each night if you can – bank it up for the early start on Sunday (don’t forget day light saving is stealing an hour from us as well).
On the day, instead of worrying about a certain speed or how long the ride is, break it down into individual processes – “1%ers”. These are the small but important things that many people overlook, such as focusing on consistent eating and drinking throughout the day, and maintaining a smooth, consistent speed instead of starting fast and slowing up over the final 50km. Developing an on bike stretch routine, taking a bum-breather, and varying your hand positions will also help you to ride longer in a happier state. Mental preparation on how you will manage your day with your toolbox of 1%ers starts now!
The 1 week cram
What can you do to make a difference? Keep up your core and stretch exercises, and make time to set off on one more long ride (at least 100km – up to 160km). Get this done now, so you have a good 6 days to taper before the event. One of the biggest advantages you can give yourself is to boost your confidence in bike skills, bike fitness, and how the body feels on the bike.
Review and plan bike set-up
Have you done a test run yet? Get your bike and gear ready for event day and plan what you will need to use. Being prepared with gear and knowing how it works will ensure you have a fun and rewarding experience, and keep time-wasting and frustration to a minimum. For your own good, it is worthwhile testing your set-up on a long ride over the weekend.
If you are looking forward to this, then you’ve been doing it right! To taper can mean a total week off the bike, or just a reduction in workload to freshen up mind and body in preparation for the big ride. The most important element of the taper, in my opinion, is not just the physical recovery that the body needs, but the mental easing that creates space to think, plan, prepare and get excited about your ride.
Don’t skimp on your taper, you will enjoy the event so much more after a refreshing rest week. I like to taper about 6-7 days out and go for a lighter load and reduced duration on the bike. Lots of stretching too, and a massage early in the week!
Jess’s top tips for enjoying your United Energy Around the Bay
1. Be prepared
Ride with the food and drink you have trained with, have spares handy, and get your bike in the best condition possible before the ride.
2. Ride with at least one friend
Having moral support is important for such a long distance, and if something does go wrong they are there to help you.
3. Make friends
With so many people involved, you should aim to learn the names of at least 20 people. I myself am a massive introvert, but I find the energy of these large rides to be amazing – it’s like a rave party on wheels!
4. Thank the volunteers
Many people are helping on this ride and have given up their time to do so. Without them, the event couldn’t go ahead. They want you to smile and have a fun day, and it’s always nice to return the favour.
5. Be courteous & ride safely
Treat others as you wish to be treated. Ride safely and predictably. This ride is not a race. Yes, PBs are awesome, but it’s still important to be mindful of the other riders around you
6. Bunch-riding etiquette still applies
Talk, point, communicate, share the load, no half wheeling, no crossing wheels etc…
7. Be aware of vehicles
Remember other vehicles are still on the road. Approach this event as an opportunity to show them how great cycling is, instead of creating more of the US and THEM mentality.
8. Eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty
Eat and drink all day long. Refuel. Re-hydrate.
9. Make sure you are having fun
If you are hating it, or in pain and suffering, ask yourself why? How can you get out of the funk? Talking to someone often helps as you ride along – just start chatting and before you know it 20km has disappeared!
10. Meet 1 new person, learn 1 new thing, push yourself 1% further
Open up your mind to what is possible when you push yourself. Start dreaming big! Maybe it’s the Peaks Challenge Falls Creek 2019?
Easy reading before you ride…
Now sit back on your lunch break and get excited to learn from those who have done it before. Whenever I do a new event I love to search the internet for blog posts and reviews from everyday people sharing their thoughts and tips from their experience. Below are three different blog posts I want to share with you.
Some common trends are:
- Avoid punctures (if possible)
- Keep eating and drinking
- Have good support
- Make use of tailwinds and bunches
- Get your ferry sticker as soon as you arrive – then eat and rest
- Have fun!