Last year I upped my time on the bike while training for the Dirty Kanza, a 200 mile gravel bike race in Kansas. Before training for the DK200, the longest I’d ridden was 106 miles, once...several years before. I was very comfortable in the 1-2 hour bike ride range. So there was a little bit of a learning curve when I had to up my training rides. The hardest part about a long distance ride should be the actual ride, not planning that goes into it. Below I’ve outlined some of the Do’s and Don’ts of long distance bike rides.
- Friends: Try to recruit people to ride with. If you’re trying to cover a lot of distance, teamwork makes the dreamwork. Not only do conserve energy while drafting, but you can cover more ground, faster. And it’s nice to have company.
- Food and Hydration: Plan where you are going to refuel. Depending how much water and food you carry and the rate and which you consume these, your refueling stops might be ever 50 miles or maybe every 100. If you aren’t able to fill up bottles for a long time, consider wearing a hydration pack.
- Equipment: Bring extras. For the sake of safety assume that you’re going to get at least one flat. Make sure to bring tubes, extra CO2 or a hand pump for when you do.
- Chamois cream. Just use it. If your ride is going to be a multi day tour, you might want to bring extra with you.
- Route: Plan your route on Strava or MapMyRide and upload the route on your computer. I use my Wahoo Element for this and it gives me turn by turn prompts and a detailed overview of my route.
- Hydrate poorly: Not only do you need to make sure you have ample water with you, but plan ahead and mix in/bring extra hydration mix such as Skratch Labs. Plain water won’t replace the electrolytes you lose.
Long distance riding is amazing. You get to see so many different things all powered by your own strength. It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you ride or if you’re riding for fun or as a training ride. The goal should be to have an enjoyable ride. Follow the helpful tips above to set yourself up for success.
Guest Blogger - Reese Ruland
Picture Credit: @Adamjcon