Ask The Experts

Seasoned cyclists weigh in on how to make the most of the Tour DaVita

Preparing for the ride of a lifetime
Are you a first-time rider? Have you ridden once or twice, but not sure if you were sufficiently prepared? Turn to our cycling experts who offer insight on pre-ride training and tips for making this year’s Tour DaVita the ride of a lifetime!

Start Cross Training
If you are new to riding, cross training is a great way to build stamina to a point where you can participate in an active training schedule. Great cross training activities include running, skating, swimming, rowing and weightlifting. Once you’ve established a training schedule, it’s also possible to substitute these activities one or two days a week instead of a short ride.

Set up a training schedule
Setting up a training schedule that fits your comfort level is a great way to prepare for the ride - not only will it condition you physically, it will train you mentally so you can stay in the game and keep on chugging. Begin your training (the sooner the better) with short rides of 30-60 minutes at a time, building up to three rides per week. Once you’re in the groove, try to push yourself to ride longer each week. By September, you should be able to sustain a reasonable pace for 3-4 hours.

Training tips
Who better to offer up training tips than riders who have been in your shoes! Below are some tips to help your ride be a fantastic experience - from start to finish.

Take it slow. If you're not in tip-top shape, it's important to build up your riding ability over time. Do not go out and ride all day if you are unaccustomed to long distances - you will only invite injury and exhaustion.
Be consistent. Even if you're starting with very short rides, it's important to do them on a regular basis, start with 2 days per week and build up to 4-5 by September. If you can't get out to ride, enroll in an indoor spinning class – this is a great way to simulate the cycling experience, as well as to build up stamina.
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Rest. One of the key things to remember is to not overdo it - giving your body sufficient time to rest is just as important as building strength and endurance.

Vary your rides. Your ride will be more successful if you've trained in advance to tackle both distance and hills. Alternate between shorter rides uphill and longer rides on flatter terrain, as well as a combination of both.

Pace. The good news - it does not matter! Go at a pace you’re comfortable with and don't worry about the speed of anyone else around you.
Cross Train. Any activities that help build strength and/or aerobic endurance is going to help you prepare for the ride. Running, walking, swimming, lifting weights and yoga are great examples.
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Do your time on the bike. Cross training is great, but do not short-change yourself on time in the saddle. You have some long days ahead of you, and it's important to get used to sitting on a bike seat for hours at a time.

Eat. Don’t forget to eat before you ride, and stop and snack frequently to make sure that your body gets a consistent supply of fuel ( food you eat will be used by your body in 1.5 - 2 hours). Food is just as important as liquids, even when the weather gets hot, so don't neglect this important element of your training. Good snacks include protein bars, pretzels, bagels, fruit (fresh and dried), nuts and trail mix, and complex carbohydrates will provide as a sustained energy source.

Drink. You will continuously lose fluids while riding, even if you don't feel like you're sweating, and this can run the risk dehydration. It is important to alternate water with electrolyte-replacement drinks throughout the ride. Beforehand, experiment with which electrolyte-replacement drink works best for you. Some people prefer these drinks watered down from full strength; some like mixing the powdered versions with water.
Warm up. Warm up your muscles before you start your ride. This could be easy spinning on your bike, walking, etc.
Stretch. Before, during and after each ride, be sure to spend time stretching to keep your muscles warmed-up and flexible. This will help you feel less sore the next day.
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Proper Equipment. Improper bike fit is one of the leading causes of injury among cyclists - and one of the most preventable. Stop by a good bike shop to get your bike properly fitted. You also might want to invest in some proper cycling gear - padded shorts, bike shoes with stiff soles or jerseys that wick away perspiration.

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Hang in there. It is likely that you will get distracted, tired - even frustrated. Not to worry - these feelings will pass. Remind yourself of your commitment, your reason for being there and all the individuals that will benefit from your time spent and hard work.

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