A 60-mile ride can be done right from the couch. Sort of. Almost anyone can get out and ride 60 miles but they might not be able to climb the stairs the following day. By putting in some good training miles for Climate Ride you’ll make sure you are able to get back on the bike and ride another 60 miles day after day.
It can be difficult to find the time to ride the distances on Climate Ride especially with our busy schedules, but riding consecutive days either at moderate distance or intensity will greatly prepare you for a 320-mile ride. Here is just one way you can train for the ride and easily get in 100-150 miles in a weekend.
Get off work at 4. Your excuse is that you are making the world a better place by participating in Climate Ride. If anyone asks why you are leaving early, respond in an accusatory tone with “What are you doing about misappropriated federal transportation funding and the inverse relationship between our global carbon sinks and sources?” (Note: this may have mixed results…) Bring your bike and your biking clothes to work if possible. Riding right from work will help add an extra 10 miles to your ride. Ride to a sizable hill and climb up it. When you get to the top, descend back down and ride to the top again. See if you can repeat this until you have been slogging up the same hill, and whizzing to the bottom for 60 minutes. Once you are done, take the long route to your favorite pub for sweet potato fries or head to your local burrito shop. Beans in your burrito provide good carbohydrates and fiber, and sweet potatoes do the same while adding in some potassium to your diet. Foods high in carbohydrates will give you sustained energy on longer rides. Regarding the pub, there is a lot of discussion as to whether beer helps or inhibits as a recovery fuel, but there is definitely consensus that it will inhibit your ability to ride a bike – so drink and ride responsibly. That being said, Climate Ride is not a race so you shouldn’t feel compelled to train like it is. Remember that this is your Friday night, and you should be enjoying yourself!
Wake up, eat some whole grains like steel-cut oats with a banana. The potassium found in the banana is a key electrolyte that will help you stay hydrated and the oats will fuel you for another ride. Relax with a nice cup of coffee or two. It’s Saturday morning so enjoy it. Get out for a 4-hour ride and try and keep a moderate pace. If you feel up to it, intermittently hammer a few of the flat sections. These short sprints will reveal the sore muscles from last night’s hill climb but power through. It will pay off on Climate Ride. Wrap up your ride around noon and have a nice big lunch. You just went for a training ride so indulge! Call a friend or a Climate Ride teammate and arrange to go for a training ride with them tomorrow. It is only noon, so get on with your weekend and have some fun!
Eat some tart cherries with your breakfast, they help ease sore muscles through their natural anti-inflammatory properties. Pure cherry juice is becoming a popular additive to protein smoothies in the endurance community but eating them by the handful is beneficial as well. While you are eating, consider not going on another long training ride today. Since you felt pretty good on your rides on Friday night and Saturday morning, those were probably enough. Now, remember that you already made plans to ride with that friend or teammate and that it is too late to bail. Get psyched that it is a beautiful day and you are about to go for an amazing bike ride! If it isn’t a beautiful day, know that you can stay inside and waste your Sunday, or go out for a ride anyway and make the best of it! Ride conservatively in adverse weather, especially rain, and dress appropriately. The Climate Ride logistics crew called the weather people months ago to schedule nothing but blue skies and tailwinds during the ride but due to overlapping jurisdictions and some postponed weather events, they can’t guarantee our request until the day of.
Now, go out for another 4-hour ride. Make sure to stay hydrated and do your best to power through the sore muscles as this will help strengthen them and build endurance for 5 consecutive days of riding. Instead of intermittent sprints, try and find some hills on your route. Take a mid-ride break for an espresso, a snack, or whatever else might motivate you to ride for another 2 hours. Planning an out and back route with an awesome coffee shop at the terminus will keep you from shortcutting back home, and you get to reward yourself at the turnaround point.
Once back home, drink some more water and reflect on how you feel. You will probably feel great as you just spent the weekend riding that beautiful bicycle of yours. You likely just rode between 100-150 miles in the span of 3 days. Congratulations! Think about how your body held up and whether or not you are ready for a 300-mile ride. If you feel ready, keep up the training —it is good for you. If you aren’t feeling ready, know that you are well on your way and there are still plenty of weekends to get more miles in. Plus, we’ll be there all week to support you!
Patrick Colleran is Climate Ride’s Logistics and Rider Coordinator. In addition to Climate Ride, he is currently and perpetually training for his next big bike tour, mountain bike season, a double century and his local cyclocross series.