Preparing your mind and body
The important issues to consider when preparing for a nine-day Cycle Queensland adventure are your basic fitness and your cycling specific fitness.
You may think you are very fit if you walk or run often, but when you ride for longer distances you may soon find, by increasing soreness, that you really do have other muscles you didn’t realise you had before.
The training program outlined below is a simple way to tune your body for multiple days in the saddle. As you prepare for the Ride please make sure you also maintain your general fitness and lead an active lifestyle. Regular stretching is also very useful for developing muscle flexibility. You don’t have to go overboard. Just do what you can to find time to do but make sure that when you start you keep up a regular schedule.
The most essential aim of any training program is to set your goals and targets and to try consistently to achieve them. To train for Cycle Queensland you will need to build up your general level of cycling fitness to allow you to comfortably cover the daily average of about 65km. To do this we recommend a series of training rides of varying distances building up to 100km (the longest day we expect to have on the Ride) closer to the event. This program assumes that you are starting from zero. If you already cycle regularly then simply start at the point you are comfortable with and begin to stretch yourself.
Warm up before you start. Don’t rush into strenuous riding on a cold body. Always stretch before exercising. Take it easy starting out on each ride as this gives your body a chance to settle into a comfortable rhythm and where possible save your maximum exertion for the hills. It’s the mark of an inexperienced rider to ride too hard at the start and expend the energy needed at the end of the ride.
DRINK, DRINK, DRINK! The moisture you sweat out on the road has to be replaced so you must drink lots of water as you ride. Always carry at least two large water bottles and make sure these are refilled during your ride well before you run out. Food is also important. For longer rides take some high energy snack food with you to eat along the way.
|Week||Number of riding days||Consecutive riding days||Longest distance||Other distances|
|1||3||2||20km||10 to 15km|
|Start easy with flat terrain and get your bike and body fully adjusted to each other.|
|2||4||2||30km||10 to 15km|
|Start to introduce some hills.|
|3||4||3||40km||10 to 15km|
|Try for 2 of the rides to be hilly.|
|4||5||3||50km||10 to 15km|
|Make one of the shorter rides a big hill – say a 1km climb without a break.|
|5||4||3||60km||30 to 40km|
|Keep the hills included in all your rides except one easy recovery ride. Try doing a decent hill twice early in a longer ride.|
|6||3||2||70km||30 to 50km|
|Include a 1km climb in your long ride.|
|7||3||2||60km||40 to 50km|
|Include a 1km climb twice in your long ride.|
|8||3||2||80km||40 to 50km|
|Bring it on!|
Of course you should start as soon as you can but this 8 week program should get you ready for anything the event will throw at you.
Where and when to ride
One of the best ways of fitting more kilometres into a crowded life is to combine training with your ride to work or school. Riding to work or school can be a great way of starting the working day and provided that you can find a reasonably stress free route you will feel much better for it at work and at the end of the day. If your usual trip is too short to help your fitness then simply add some extra distance, there’s sure to be an enjoyable option somewhere.
Alternatively, think laterally and ride to your weekend visits or activities and then catch a lift home with friends, family or on the train (or vice versa of course).
On a week day especially if you start early you can easily knock off 30 to 40kms before 8am and still have time for a quick bite and a shower before the day starts in earnest.