Train for the conditions you’ll experience on the ride. You’ll be riding for 7 consecutive days across a variety of terrain and under a variety of conditions on the Sydney to Surfers Robbo’s Ride, so its important to train with this in mind.
Ride consecutive days
Consistency is the key. Training is not like cramming for an exam as it takes time for the body to adapt and get fit. So, it’s important to build your fitness up gradually. It is recommended that you focus on getting into a riding routine so that you can complete four to six regular rides each week. If you are new to riding then keep the rides short until you build up your fitness; once you are comfortable riding four to six times a week, then increase the length of your rides so that by the start of the event you are comfortable riding 100+ kilometres.
Ride in all weather
While we always want good weather for the ride, invariably there are occasions when the weather isn’t so ideal. Don’t avoid riding on days that are windy or wet to become familiar with how you and your bike handle these conditions. It’s also a good chance to test out your clothing and make sure it’s suitable. For wet conditions and cold and windy days, a polypropylene or merino wool base layer and a snug fitting wind vest or light rain jacket are sensible. You may also consider including shoe covers in your riding kit.
Ride the hills
If you are fortunate enough to have some hills in your area then get out on the weekend and go ride them. This will not only help you with the climbs on this year’s Sydney to Surfers Robbo’s Ride but it will also help you with your overall cycling fitness. So it’s time to start making hills your friend.
If you find hills a little daunting then build yourself into them. Pick off a few shorter climbs at around 3-4% gradient and start incorporating them into your rides. As you build up your fitness and confidence you can start to tackle longer climbs. Before you know it your “beginner” climbs will start appearing a lot easier.
If you don’t have hills in your area then the next best thing is to change into a gear or two harder and ride into a head wind along the flat. Yes, it’s great to make headwinds your friend as well.
Keep your cadence high.
Cadence (or pedalling rate) is the number of revolutions of the crank per minute; this is the rate at which a cyclist is pedalling/turning the pedals.
Aerobic fitness is built by pedalling around 90-100 rpm. On the flat try to maintain this cadence and you’ll find that over three to four weeks you’ll be riding a lot better. On the climbs try to ride at 70+ rpm. You may be limited by the gearing on your bike so on steeper gradients you many need to drop your cadence lower than this.
* David Heatley is an Accredited Cycling Australia Cycling Coach. His company, Cycling-Inform, provides cycle coaching services, runs training camps and has a website full of excellent advice to help you get the best out of your training and your cycling.