Preparation and pushing your limits

Preparing for an Endurance Event and Pushing Your Limits - as written by Cassie Dodd. 

Cassie is one of our amazing women's ambassadors, who has years of experience on the bike, racing competitively and riding socially. Here is her insight into preparation for a long distance charity ride. 

The most challenging factor of personally preparing for an endurance event is committing to doing one. I find that the hardest part and once done the rest is easy. I’ll admit some persistent nagging from a girlfriend and fellow ambassador Letty tipped me over the edge of commitment and this charity event allowed me to push my limits. 225km with 2250m of vertical climbing is a long tough day in the saddle for any cyclist – yes even the Pro’s. Here are my thoughts on charity rides, choosing one, pushing your limits and preparation.

Charity rides are a great way to push your limits. Often you are riding for a great cause, and you have recruited a good group of mates to do it with. I choose my charity rides on difficulty and route – I will usually choose one which is riding a course I would not normally train on, or ride myself. For me this adds more motivation to commit and complete, it’s a new challenge and a new adventure on new roads. Riding from Toowoomba to Mooloolaba is something I certainly would never have done unsupported with my riding buddies or alone. Add to this, the gorgeous scenery, fun descents and a couple of good climbs and you have a ride that has been on my bucket list for years.

Preparation is key and comes in many forms. Firstly, recruit a good group of friends to join you, a long day in the saddle is much more fun when you are joined with friends. Banter makes the tough kilometers so much more enjoyable and a good dad joke makes you forget the pain.

Fitness is the one thing most people worry about. Choose and event that is three or more months away, this gives you time to prepare and gives room for life to interrupt your training plans, which is at timesinevitable. For events between 100-150km ensure you have at least one 100-120km ride under your belt before the event and for rides 150km or longer ensure you have multiple 100km rides and at least one 150km ride. I’ll admit that my preparation for this year’s TooMoo was less than satisfactory and I relied upon last minute miles and years of kilometers in the legs and banter to get me through.

Nutrition on the day and during training is key! This is a point I cannot stress enough. Experiment with different nutritional products during your training rides, and pack the ones you know work for you on the day. This may be bananas or certain brands of gels or bars. You do not want to be trying something new on the day only to find out it makes you ill. This is particularly pertinent to those with sensitive stomachs. No-one likes a spewer – trust I know from experience. The Australian Institute of Sport recommends 50g of carbohydrate per hour for every hour after the first hour for endurance events greater than 3 hours in duration.”Carbo-loading” is a great way to prepare and ensure you have enough fuel on board. Preferably start two days before and stick to good quality carbs.

Finally, look at the forecast and pack accordingly. Invest in layers. A good quality undershirt will keep you warm when it’s cold at the start but will breathe so you won’t overheat for the rest of the day. Pack a bag of wet weather gear in the support car (if available) so you can put a rain jacket on if the weather turns, and if you start in long fingered gloves, pack your short fingered gloves in your pocket to change into when it warms up. Nothing hinders a good day in the saddle like inappropriate clothing choices can.

Lastly, remember that you are doing this for fun, to challenge yourself and support a charity. Enjoy yourself and encourage you fellow riders. No-one is winning a grand-tour today.

Follow Cassie on Instagram and learn more about Cassie here.