One of the most important parts of attempting a long distance charity challenge cycling journey is to pace yourself. If you start cycling too quickly and intensely you will exhaust yourself and burn out long before the trip is over. If you do not ride fast enough, you will fall behind and not complete the journey in the allotted time. When you find the perfect pace you can keep riding to your ideal capacity and cover as much ground as possible.
Of course, finding your pace isn’t always that easy. Here are some important points to keep in mind when it comes to finding your cycling rhythm.
Research the Route
Take a look at the planned route for the charity challenge long distance cycling journey, whether it’s a ride to the next county or an epic London to Paris bike ride. The organisers will share the route with you so that you can see how many hills and elevation changes to expect. This information will help you know how to pace yourself. For example, if you know that there is a section of hills and climbs at the beginning of the route but a downhill section at the end, you will know that you can push yourself on the climbs and then recover afterward. If you see that the route is mostly the same the entire way, you can keep a steady pace.
When you start off on a long distance bike ride there is always a sense of excitement and urgency and it’s tempting to ride too quickly. However, if you are riding above your intended pace or heart rate you will be tiring yourself out for when the going really gets tough.
Instead, focus on keeping the intensity low for the first few miles so that you can avoid getting overtired. Once you have settled into a rhythm you will still have the option of pushing yourself a little further later on.
Heart Rate Pacing
One strategy for pacing yourself during a race is to use a heart-rate strap. You will need to take your average heart rate after a 30 minute maximal effort test, which will give you a good approximation of your threshold heart rate. This is the point at which the muscles will create too much lactic acid to shift. If you stay below this point throughout the ride you will be able to avoid pushing yourself too hard and burning out.
Take a Look at Your Own Data
If you use a GPS to track your cycling, take a look at some of the data from your longest distance previous ride. You will be able to see what your usual average speed is and how well you performed at different heights and elevations. This information will help you to be realistic in your expectations and mindful of what you will be able to achieve. Of course, depending on your energy levels, physical state and the wind and weather conditions on the day you might be able to achieve less or more – but the data should give you some sort of idea.
Listen to Your Body
It is very important to listen to your body when you are pacing yourself on a long bike ride. You don’t want to wait until you are paralyzed with a painful cramp before slowing down. You’ll feel a sting in your legs when lactic acid has built up, or a tightness in your back muscles that will tell you that you need to take a break and rest. Listen to the signals that your body is sending you so that you can work at the right intensity to keep yourself going.
It’s Not a Race
You are attempting a long distance ride and not a race, so don’t worry too much about whether you are surpassing the people around you. When you get competitive and you try to surge forward to beat the others, you can tire yourself out which will result in problems at the end of the race.
Remember that the only person you are racing against in this situation is yourself. Don’t worry about the others, just keep a good pace and try to perform at your best.
With these tips you will be able to pace yourself, find your cycling rhythm and make the most of your next long distance cycling journey.