Preparing yourself is as vital as making sure your equipment is safe. The following information is intended to provide simple steps to bicycling success.
For more detailed information on training for the Bike MS ride, please review the Bike MS Guide to Training and Nutrition.
CHECK WITH YOUR BIKE STORE. The best source for bicycling information is your local bike store. Ask for training tips based on your fitness level and experience.
- Participate in an Official Bike Store training ride.
- Receive a free bike inspection at an Official Bike Store prior to the ride.
- KEEP TRACK OF YOUR MILEAGE. A key part of training is assessing how you’ve improved. Adding an inexpensive speedometer to your bike is a good step. However, finding the distance of a particular path with a car’s odometer is generally a sufficient reference. Keeping track of start and stop times will help you judge overall speed.
- START WITH SHORT RIDES. Take a week to work up to a moderate day of 15 miles. Don’t worry about time or speed on these rides. Take it easy and finish the full 15 miles. The purpose is to gain and maintain basic cardiovascular fitness.
- SOMETIMES DOUBLE UP MILES. After working up to the 15-mile moderate day, attempt an endurance day of doubling the mileage once a week. Try to maintain the same pace established during moderate days, but slow down if it is necessary to make full mileage. The purpose is to gain distance, confidence and grow cardiovascular fitness.
- DO HILLS AND INTERVALS. After mastering the basics, challenge yourself with more advanced training. After warming up with a moderate day ride, find a hill you can climb without totally exhausting yourself. After riding up the hill, recover on the way down, and then go up again. As your fitness improves, add more repeats. The power and stamina developed with hill work will assist you in tackling the larger hills on the route. Interval training works the same way. During a moderate day ride, pick a distance (i.e., a city block or the space between two telephone poles) and speed up to a sprint. Start with one each ride and then add more and longer sprints each time you ride. Sprint for one lap then slow down for a recovery lap, repeating the process as needed. Interval training and hill work will improve overall speed, endurance and ability to recover from the challenging part while still riding.
Staying hydrated before and during the ride is extremely vital. Dehydration can occur if improper amounts of fluids are being taken and can cause muscle cramps, nausea, chills, energy loss or a heat stroke. A good rule of thumb is to drink 4 to 8 ounces of water or a carbohydrate drink every 15 to 30 minutes. If you are riding hard or it is a hot and humid day, drink even more. Energy drinks will help your endurance, reduce cramps and lessen the possibility of heat stroke. Be careful to not drink an overabundance of water and overhydrate yourself. Consult with a sports nutritionist for further questions or concerns