Depending on your level of fitness, riding 25, 62.5 or 100 miles might be a lifelong challenge conquered or just another day on your bike. Either way, we want to make sure that you are adequately trained before you take on the Closer to Free Ride.
Each month we will be adding new training tips from our Trining Ride leaders Guido and Ed.
March Training Tips:
Tech talk - frame material
Early spring is the time for many of us to dust off the bicycle (and our legs) and maybe consider the one or the other investment to make our ride faster or more comfortable or more pleasing to the eye...the bike frame.
Winter and cycling are not mutually exclusive, on the contrary. Many competitive cyclists get their longest training rides in the winter. A few rules about adapting to the colder and darker season are listed below.
1. Bike Tune Up
February is a perfect time to get your bike to a bike shop for a tune up. Consider visiting The Devil's Gear Bike Shop at 151 Orange Street in New Haven, the Closer to Free Bike Ride's Bike Tech Sponsor.
2. Staying Warm "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing."
A) Layering (for upper body). Moisture wicking base layer + mid layer + windproof outer layer.
B) Keep your head warm. The head can contribute about 10% of your body's heat loss. Special bike gear comes either as a balaclava with face protection or a skull cap. Either way, make sure your helmet still fits.
C) Protect your hands and feet. Feet: Insulated shoe covers where available. Shorter rides you can also just put a plastic bag between feet and shoes. Important, don't tighten your shoes in the winter too much. Hands: The warmest options are arguably "lobster gloves." They are a hybrid between finger gloves and mittens. Full mittens might sacrifice too much in dexterity. Again, chemical hand warmers come in handy.
3. Be visible!
Winter rides have two implications for visibility. One, it tends to be less light out there, second, cars are not expecting cyclists out on the road in the winter. Make sure you wear bright colors. And having a flashing front and rear light doesn't hurt either. However, in our book, the best way to be visible is to ride in a group. A group of cyclists isn't easy to miss.
4. Hydration Hydration
Hydration is as important in the winter as it is in the summer. In the winter the body produces much less sweat to cool the body. But any kind of physical activity still produces a lot of water that gets released as vapor, through your skin and mainly through your lungs. This happens mostly without notice so you have to remind yourself to drink mores than in the summer. As a side note, because the loss is mostly "pure" water, electrolyte drinks are not as critical as they are during the summer when dehydration through sweat is accompanied by a loss of salt. On very cold days, I use hot water for my water bottles. If someone tells you adding salt into your water keeps it from freezing, please just smile and ignore the advice. Unless you are into eating salt by the tablespoon.
As always, thanks for reading, and for supporting Closer To Free, Guido and Ed
Closer to Free Training Rides are the best way to get your body in shape and meet lots of fellow riders before the day of the Ride. Training rides take place on various dates and times and are led by experienced local cyclists. Some training rides follow portions of the actual Closer to Free Ride routes. See our event calendar to learn about upcoming training rides. You can also learn more about training rides on our Facebook page.
If you're training to ride the Closer to Free Century, About.com Bicycling has a 10-week training schedule which might interest you.
Century Training Plan
||Length of Long Ride
Important Training Notes:
- Adjust your training to your level of fitness
- Always hydrate during training
- Practice your verbal/hand signals during your training rides
- Obey all the rules of the road
- The hills are your friends during training