Three great hints to ride, not suffer.

If you put in some well-planned hours on your bike you can feel the benefit when it comes to Cycle Challenge Sunday; whether your target is racing for an impressive finish, or just having a comfortable ride.

Over the 21 years since the first edition of the Cycle Challenge, the parts of Joburg to be seen from the bike has often been tweaked, and the current option is enjoyably efficient, with a sting in the tail.

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Three hints to ride, not suffer:

1. Get moving - To prepare for a long-distance event you need to spend more hours on your bike, but it is important not to panic. Remember, efficiently improving your fitness is actually about patience as well as commitment, so riding more frequently is a good way to start, and then you can add more distance before adding some speed.

Following a training plan that gradually gets you fitter and stronger is a good idea. Here is an example of a good training plan to help beginners and even fairly experienced cyclists who need to build up their fitness again.

Apart from getting mobile for a long ride, you also need to make sure you are comfortable riding in a bunch. Joining a cycling club where you do group rides will help to get you more used to this, and also help with motivation.

Don’t be afraid to enter another event before the race that you are really focused on. This will help to check out your race preparations and fix any problems. Click here to view the Cycling South Africa calendar.

2. Let in fix out -

If you battle to find enough time to train and stay safe on the roads where you ride, indoor training can help. This kind of training offers a chance to focus on cadence, heart rate and/or pedalling intensity instead of having to pay attention to where you ride, or waste time resting on descents!

Spinning classes can sometimes be a little boring, but a well thought out music playlist will help to motivate or distract you from your heart beats and sweat drops!

Even better options are also available. If you join an indoor training facility like CycleZone you could have the benefit of an individual, carefully planned workout structure to gradually lift your performance without flattening your body.

3. Climb till you smile -

While people who live on the Highveld don’t battle with the altitude of the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge route, many parts of the city have fewer and more gentle altitude gains than the final portion of the current route.

To prepare yourself for quite a few climbs at the end of a long ride, you don’t have to ride notorious hills like Northcliff, or the climb from Houghton to Upper Houghton every day, but many riders pedal too hard at the beginning of a climb and then run out of legs towards the top.

The trick is to find a sensible pace that allows you to stay seated and pedal comfortably all the way up more than one hill, and that requires special training. Here is a good discussion about what it feels like to struggle on hills, and how to improve.

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