We encourage riders of all different levels to participate in this event. You do not need to be a professional rider to ride in this event. We do suggest having some riding experience (knowing road rules, knowing your bike, knowing how to ride in a group) The purpose of this ride is to raise awareness of mental health issues in first responders, this is not a race!! We encourage camaraderie, working together and getting to know one another.
We must relay a standard disclaimer: Check with your physician before beginning any fitness regimen, especially if you are over 30 years of age, have any underlying medical conditions or have not exercised in six months or more.
Since, long distance cycling is an aerobic activity, select a training program that will help you improve your cardiovascular fitness, lung capacity and develop your leg strength. One important piece of information, is get your butt in shape (I mean it) I don’t mean stand infant of the mirror admiring it, I mean get on your bike, ride! Spending enough time in the saddle can greatly reduce and even eliminate saddle discomfort (a sore butt). Also a smart idea before a long distance ride is getting fit to your bike. Find a shop near you and see if they offer bike fittings. Most places charge for this unless you buy a bike from them, but in most cases, the cost will be well worth the lack of discomfort from riding a poorly fitted bike over a long distance over multiple days.
Another benefit of getting plenty of road time is it improves your efficiency on the bike; you’ll be able to save a significant amount of energy just by knowing your bike and what gear you want to be in for a particular stretch of road. Time on the road will allow you to learn how your bike works (shifting, brakes, clip-less pedals, changing a flat tire, seat and handlebar adjustments) and how you are most comfortable riding on it.
While we realize most riders want to ride every mile of the route, and we encourage them to ride every mile they can, please set REALISTIC expectations for yourself. If you do not put in the training before the ride it is unlikely you will be able to keep up the pace the ride must maintain to cover the mileage each day. If you are unable to maintain the pace you will be asked to “sag-out” until the next rest stop. This is for the safety of all riders, including you.
To ensure you are able to ride as many miles as possible during the event please keep in mind the following tips:
- Train… a lot (3/4 days a week for several months before the event).
- Ride conservatively at the start of your training and your trip.
- Use all the gears your bike is equipped with and at the appropriate times.
- Be prepared for all kinds of weather (heat, cold, rain, snow and wind).
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat enough real food. Don’t rely solely on supplements (gu, cliff shots, Gatorade, etc.).
- Know how to do basic maintenance on your bike (change a flat, oil your chain).
- Get your bike tuned up before you start the trip.
- Find a training partner to keep you accountable and do long rides together.
- Practice riding at a pace that enables you to maintain a conversation. remember this is NOT a race!
For more suggestions or ideas on training tips for long distance cycling simply google “training for long distance cycling” or ask your local bike shop.