With only four weeks to go until Taupo what do you need to think about, and do to make sure you ride well?
Over this next four weeks be sure to:
- Keep practising your bunch skills. Being able to ride effectively in a good bunch can dramatically reduce your time.
- Gradually reduce your training volume. Fresh is best, and tired is, well tired is slow! Too many people make the mistake of training furiously in the final few weeks to Taupo, then feel tired on the day, only to rest up after Taupo, and be flying a week later – a week too late!
- Plan your nutrition for the day, by estimating how long it will take you, and planning to eat at least 250 calories and one bottle of fluid per hour.
- Book your bike in for a service. Don't leave this till the last week. Book it now! All bike shops are busy at this time of the year, with 12,000 people riding around Taupo.
- Get used to riding in the morning if you don't already. Also get acquainted with eating a hearty breakfast before riding early in the morning.
- If you want some swanky new shorts or cycling jersey for the day, buy them now and get used to riding in them. Do not use anything new on the day.
- In the 5-10days before Taupo it is time to taper off your training. What is a taper? This is when you gradually decrease your training volume so you freshen up for the big day and ride to your potential. Tapers come in various forms, but the general guidelines are:
- If you are older, taper for longer.
- If you are young, taper for a shorter period of time.
- Reduce training volume – up to 75%.
- Some riders benefit from decreasing training intensity, while some benefit from decreasing training volume, AND intensity. If in doubt as to which you will benefit from the most, decrease both volume, and intensity. Remember fresh is best.
For the Taupo weekend, and on the big day:
- Take your breakfast for the day with you. There is nothing worse than eating something you aren't used to riding on, and having stomach cramps. Not fun.
- If you will ride well into the day, be sure to put sun screen on.
- Warm up well, especially if you have asthma. While this may seem silly given you maybe riding for 160kms, a warm up helps you cope with the intensity in the first part – and also the hardest part of the event, with the most climbing. Our engines need to be warm to stay with a bunch and handle this intensity. A twenty minute warm up before you line up can make a huge difference. If you have asthma this is absolutely essential because the cold dry air at Taupo in spring increases the likelihood of an attack.
- Use removable clothes, such as arm warmers instead of a long sleeved top. It will be cold when you start, but could warm up 5 to 10 degrees throughout the day, and you do not want to drown in your own sweat!
- You will go through many moments when your legs are on fire, and your breathing is laboured. Just remember everyone else is hurting to, and "the body surprises those with the strength of mind." Keep pushing through, and you will get to the finish line faster.
Good luck for Taupo. Enjoy the challenge, and be sure to come say hello at the Expo!
By Amy Taylor - Copyright Kinetic Edge Ltd 2008
Amy Taylor is the New Zealand cycling coach of the year. She is the author of the "Lake Taupo cycle challenge guide" due out in November through Awapress, and full time cycling coach with Kinetic Edge (www.kecycling.com) training beginner to elite cyclists. She can be contacted on 09 3687819 or email@example.com