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Training Schedule
  Day Rides – Cycle for Independence, Bob LeBow, Blue Cruise
Weekend Ride - Bike MS: Road, Sweat & Gears
Weeklong Ride – Ride Idaho
What Gear to Bring
What to Carry on Your Bike
Safety Tips
Attitude During a Community Riding Event
Cycling Resources

Day Rides – Cycle for Independence, Bob LeBow, Blue Cruise

Whether you are looking at the metric century route or working on a century, here are some training tips to make your experience fun and safe.  

Preparation for Distance Riding 
Start slowly - Some cycling novices who don't partake in any regular exercise may find even a few miles ride to be taxing for a first outing. If this is you, consult a physician before starting any program of physical exercise. (Lawyerese for “Please don't sue us if your heart explodes like bratwurst in the microwave”) Once your doc gives you the green light, begin by walking a couple of days per week and riding just one or two days per week. After a few weeks, ease your bike time up toward the point where you can begin with this schedule.  

Hydrate - Try to drink every 5-15 minutes. While riding, you create your own wind chill that keeps you cool and evaporates perspiration. It may seem that you are not losing much water, but you are! So prevent water loss by drinking at least one bottle for every hour you're on the bike. Test out any sports drinks before you're in the middle of a long ride - while they help supply nutrients that your body needs, they can upset your stomach if you're not used to them. 

Eat - Because training takes a lot of energy, always bring food if you are going to be out more than one hour. Some riders like fruit such as bananas, while others use energy bars. Avoid snacks high in fat, which are hard to digest while exercising. 

Learn to use your gears - Learn to use your gears to climb and descend with an even effort. Your energy will last longer and your fitness will improve. You should be in smaller gears in the back while moving down a level road. As it turns upward, move into larger gears in the back. 

Group cycling is fun - Practice riding in a pack before the big event. Riding with others is motivating. Once you get used to being surrounded by other riders, you will learn while watching how others move down the road. You will notice how often others take a drink or a snack, how much distance to allow between yourself and others, when to change gears, and when to stay seated or stand. 

Part of training is learning to be prepared - familiarize yourself with flat-tire repair. Bring a pump, lube, tire levers, cell phone or change for a pay phone, water, sunscreen, and a rain jacket when needed along with any cold-weather gear you may require. Even if you don't know how to repair a flat, there may be someone on the spot who can help if you have the proper equipment and supplies. Check your tires. Be sure your tires are in good condition and properly inflated before each ride. The proper pressure to inflate your tires is on the side of the tire (around 100-110 psi for most road tires). 

Use a training journal - Use a training journal to keep track of your mileage and vital stats and to record progress towards your goal. Look at the calendar and note how many weekends you have to prepare for the ride. Starting slowly and gradually increasing the distance and level of effort will help to prevent injuries and will keep the enjoyment level up. In addition to raising money for a good cause and improving your physical fitness, these events are also fun!  

Weekend Ride – Bike MS: Road, Sweat & Gears

Cycling isn't fun if it hurts. The core of your training should be endurance training. If you start your training at least 12 weeks before a full weekend ride, you will have ample time to prepare. If you ride more than seven hours a week, you will need far less time to prepare. If you haven't ridden regularly for a while, begin with rides every other day or three days a week. Be mindful of your body's response. Give those new-to-cycling muscles 48 hours to recover and they'll be ready for their next workout. Start off easily in these first weeks to keep from pulling muscles or getting discouraged. 

Don't equate struggling at the pedals with good exercise. If you're working too hard to crest the hills or pushing too big a gear on the flats, gear down. Learn to spin those pedals at 70 rpm or faster in lower gears and gradually you'll get stronger. 

You will probably benefit from picking a regular time during the day for your ride, so that you begin to think of that time of day reserved for your cycling and a nice habit you don't have to break. 

While you make the ride time part of your routine, you can vary the view. Find a few different courses with low traffic volume that you like to ride and vary them from day to day.  

Hill Training - Many weekend tours take in more demanding terrain, from hill climbs to mountain summits. Do your homework now - it'll make your ride more enjoyable. Bogus Basin Road provides a suitable training ground to reproduce the challenge of most tours. Be certain to use an appropriate gear on the hills in order to reduce knee stress; never grind out a pedal cadence slower than 60 rpm's. Include hills at least twice each week. 

Flexibility - A complete stretching routine should be just that - complete and routine. The rules are simple: Stretch only after warming up, don't bounce, and keep breathing. Taking less than 10 minutes, a good post ride stretching routine can greatly reduce "next-day soreness." It helps to flush the metabolic waste of exercise from your muscles. While improving exercise recovery time, stretching also helps prevent injury - both of which aid your pursuit of the successful ride.  

Recovery - You know how much sleep you need, so plan it and sleep it. Balance your hard training days with easy rides or days off. We really get stronger when we rest, not when we work out. Planned recovery is important to help balance the stress in our lives. Bike training is one of those stresses, so mix it up and try not to plan the same workout on consecutive days. This will decrease the possibility of injury, prevent boredom, and increase your motivation.  

Training - Plan a 50- or 60-mile ride at least two weeks before a full weekend tour or trek. Taper your mileage a week before the ride. During that last week, you may even reduce your riding to one or two days of an easy 5-mile to 10-mile spin. Also, try to get plenty of sleep. 

Nutrition - As the ride day approaches, food becomes a critical component for a successful tour. You should start hydrating a few days prior to the ride. Drink water frequently, cut back or eliminate caffeine and alcohol, and add carbohydrates to your diet. 

On ride day, eat a light breakfast of high-carbohydrate foods and drink lots of water. When riding, drink before you are thirsty. Water or a sports drink should be your first choice. Eat easily digestible, carbohydrate-rich foods like energy bars, bagels, fruit, or granola. Don't try something new on the ride - you should eat things you know agree with you.

Weeklong Ride – Ride Idaho (leveraging the training regimen for Ride the Rockies)

A weeklong ride such as Ride Idaho is a physical event and requires condition. Structure a training schedule working backwards from the Ride Idaho date. 

The last week before the ride should be a “taper” week with less riding than the previous weeks (and none the last three days before the tour). This gives your legs and your butt a break and allows you to start the tour fresh. 

The three weeks before that you should be averaging 140 – 200 miles per week to prepare for the event. Include a weekend with two long riding days one to three weeks before the event to familiarize yourself with the feeling of going for a long ride, then getting up the next day and doing it again. 

From late April through the end of June raise your weekly mileage slowly. This will give your thighs, butt, knees, hands, etc. the chance to gradually acclimate to the increasing mileage. Trust me, you don't want to jump on a bike and start riding 150 miles per week without working up to it. 

Another benefit of spending spring building a mileage base is that you'll learn volumes about riding a bicycle. For example: How much and what foods and fluids do you need to ride for several hours? What clothing should you wear and carry with you? What tools do you need for roadside bicycle repairs? 

Below is a sample schedule for the 2010 Ride Idaho designed for this training program. It begins in mid-April with 3 rides totaling 40 miles. Here's how to read the table:
  • The first column lists the date of the week starting on Saturday (to avoid splitting each weekend into two different weeks).
  • The second column is the total number of miles for that week.
  • The third column contains the number of recommended rides for the weekend and the total number of miles for the ride(s).
  • The last column contains the number of recommended rides for weekdays and total number of miles for the rides.
(start on Mon)
Total Miles # weekend rides /
total miles for rides
# weekday rides /
total miles for rides
April 25 40 1/15 2/25
May 2 50 1/20 2/30
May 9 50 1/20 3/30
May 16 60 1/20 3/40
May 23 70 1/20 3/50
May 30 80 1/30 3/50
June 6 80 1/30 3/50
June 13 90 1/35 3/55
June 20 90 1/35 3/55
June 27 100 1/40 3/60
July 4 125 2/65 3/60
July 11 140 2/80 3/60
July 18 160 2/95 2/65
July 25
2/140 2/45
Aug 1-1 90 2/55 2/35 **
Aug 8-14 448 Ride Idaho! Enjoy!!

* 60 miles on Saturday; 80 miles on Sunday
** Monday - Wednesday

There are a few things to keep in mind about this schedule. 

It’s obviously structured for folks working a standard Monday to Friday day job. If that's not you, adapt the schedule as necessary. 

This schedule is meant to serve as a rough guideline only. Recommended mileages are approximate. There's no need to try to match rides exactly to this schedule. What is important, is to build a mileage base that is comparable to the one outlined here, which will allow you to ride 400 mountainous miles in a week in relative comfort. 

Climbing is an integral part of all Ride Idaho routes. If possible, your training should reflect this. Include hilly and mountainous terrain in training rides. This becomes more important as the tour gets closer. If it's not practical for you to include climbing in your daily rides, perhaps you can drive to the hills on weekends. If you live nowhere near any mountains, try not to worry about it. 

This schedule requires a large time commitment, but it will definitely allow you to Ride Idaho in relative comfort. Can you do it with less training? Sure, but don't come belly-aching to me during the ride about your sore bum or thighs. 

If work, family or other commitments don't allow you to follow your planned training schedule for a few days, don't obsess about it. Being stressed about keeping a schedule can be more detrimental than missing a few days here or there. Don't ever lose sight of the fact that you're doing this for fun.

What Gear to Bring
One of the things that is sometimes confusing for new and returning riders alike is trying to figure out what to bring and wear on a longer Trek. The checklist below should give you some guidelines:
  • Helmet - helmets are required; a head gaiter or balaclava will also help keep your neck and ears warm during cold mornings
  • Riding gloves - highly recommended for palm protection; heavier-weight gloves are important for the morning temperatures
  • Top under layer - polypropylene or wool shirt is ideal; cotton is okay in warm weather, but not recommended for cool mornings or wet weather
  • Top second layer - a bike jersey is great, but not required
  • Top outer layer - wind/rain jacket is important
  • Bottom - in warm weather, bicycle shorts are fine, however, for cool mornings and/or harsh weather, polypropylene, wool long underwear bottoms, or Lycra tights should be worn over your shorts; wind/rain pants can also be used
  • Socks - wool or polypropylene in wet weather; plastic bags over the socks in wet weather can help; neoprene booties over your shoes are ideal for cold/wet weather
  • Shoes - bicycle shoes are perfect, however, stiffer-sole running or tennis shoes will work; although not necessary, toe clips/straps and or clipless pedals are recommended for safety, they help prevent your feet from slipping off the pedals and improve your pedaling efficiency
  • Raingear - loose fitting, two-piece waterproof nylon (not just water-resistant) or waterproof, breathable fabric such as Gore-Tex is probably the best; ponchos also work; cheap plastic raingear is easily torn and not recommended
  • ID and money
  • Sleeping bag and tent – some rides feature indoor camping accommodations such as Cabins with mattresses and bunks, but not bedding (think Camp - like when you were a kid)
  • Other clothing - casual clothes for evening; coat, jacket, or sweater for cool evenings; large towel, hand towel, and washcloth; other toiletries that you may need
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Flashlight or headlamp for use after nightfall

What to Carry on Your Bike

The list below will help you decide what to carry with you during the trek.

Item Must Have Recommended
/ Luxury
Handlebar bag, seat bag or rear pannier   X
Water bottle X  
Tire patch kit & tire irons X  
Route maps and directions X  
ID and money X  
Tire pump X  
Raingear X  
Extra tube for your tire size   X
Basic tool kit   X
Plastic bags or neoprene booties for feet in wet/cold weather   X
Dry socks and shirt   X
Bike lock   X
Sunglasses, sun block   X
Camera   X
Comfort kit for crummy weather: 2 garbage bags   X

Safety Tips

Safety is always an important factor in a successful ride. Below are some things to keep in mind while riding during the tour:

  • Have your bike inspected at a bike shop prior to the tour. There tends to be limited mechanical support during the tour. If you have parts that need to be replaced please do so before the tour, as the tour may not have your parts available. Also bring extra tubes.
  • Ride single file. There will be traffic on the roads and sometimes this means large vehicles like motor homes.
  • Pack for cold/wet weather. There is room to take whatever you need. Mornings can be cold, so pack your gloves and footgear. When it gets warmer, a SAG vehicle can take your extra layers.
  • Pack and wear sunscreen.
  • Drink a lot of water. If you're not looking for a restroom every our, you are not drinking enough.
  • Use the buddy system. If you are not with a team, find another rider to travel with, if at all possible. As you ride, look out for each other. Your safety and theirs is the staffs' first priority. If you think someone needs help, let us know. Do not leave the tour without notifying one of the staff.
  • Eat to keep up your energy. This is not a race so take a rest if you need it. However, it is important that you reach Base Camp by the time appointed by the tour.
  • Headsets and earplugs are not allowed while riding.
  • And don't forget: Have fun! Smile, laugh, and be happy!

Attitude During a Community Riding Event

Ease into the ride pace. This isn't a race, and if it's your first tour, the goal is to finish comfortably. Here are some tips for an enjoyable ride.

  • Change your position often. Move your hand positions, get up off the saddle, stretch your arms, shoulders, and neck, arch your back and stretch out. Avoid staying in one position too long.
  • Take short rest breaks off the bike. The Trek will provide water and food stops. Take advantage of this time to get off the bike and refill your water bottles, stretch, and use the restroom. Keep these stops to 10 minutes or less or you may risk getting stiff.
  • Find a companion or two. The ride will go faster and feel easier with a friend or two. Also, skilled riders can take advantage of drafting and save some energy in the wind.

Attitude is everything. If you have prepared yourself well, there isn't much more to be done on the ride than sit back and enjoy the scenery (and maybe plan your next trek)!

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