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Daily Archives: May 2, 2013

The Pre-ride Ritual – 60 Miles Plus…

When it comes to pre-ride preparedness I know what works. Of course, this doesn’t keep me from stupidly trying to mess with it either.

I start the morning off with coffee at least two hours before my ride – 2 cups, max. If I drink more, I’ll be stopping every ten miles. Food?  Big dinner night before, light breakfast day of and a banana or two.  I don’t really mess with carbohydrate loading, at least not intentionally.  Generally I just go with what ‘sounds’ good, but I never chance the pre-ride dinner to something that isn’t tried and tested to sit well in my stomach.

Pre-ride, Gatorade Prime, 15 minutes before (the stuff is amazing – gummies or fluid), Gu electrolyte tabs in the H2O.

On board food is pretty simple, Jelly Belly Energy Beans and Clif Bars.  The Energy Beans have become a necessity for anything over 40 miles, I absolutely love them.

For a sportive I like to show up an hour early so I have plenty of time to get ready at a leisurely pace.  The longer I’ve got to get ready, the slimmer my chances of forgetting something important.  I also like to use the restroom a lot so I’m emptied out when I start.  Once I’m fully prepared I usually have about ten or fifteen minutes to think my ride through and start a little visualization process to get prepared – this is a fantastic time to remember little things I may have left in the car.  With five minutes to go I make my way to the starting line and wait for the gun.

This ritual, while not perfectly executed on Sunday, had a lot to do with why I had such a great ride in some truly difficult conditions.

There was only one time that I truly departed in a noticeable way from this formula.  I had a planned solo 108 mile ride last fall.  I skipped the coffee and only had one Gu Roctane and one bag of energy beans for onboard fuel.  I ended up suffering through an epic bonk at around 75 miles and wasn’t able to get to food until around the 90 mile mark.  After I finally had something to eat, it only brought me back partially.  I was truly hit.  I was a little bit cocky to tell the truth.  First, the out and back had the wind in my face on the ride home – not wise for a solo.  Second, I’d already done a bunch of 100 milers and a solo 200k so I figured it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  I was sorely mistaken.  That was the only time I’ve ever called to get picked up from a ride.

At rest stops on the sportives I also have some do’s and don’ts…  First:  Pizza, as much as I love it, is definitely a “don’t” as is anything really heavy.  Bananas, oranges, peanut butter and jelly sammiches, those are all good.  Also, if available, I always hit the pretzels hard for the salt.  They have to be washed down of course, the worst thing in the world is trying to fire down a pretzel with a dry mouth.

That’s pretty much it for how I roll.  It took me a couple of tries to get this right and I’ve bonked hard on one ride where I didn’t follow the plan strictly.  The point is, once you find out what works, don’t mess with it.

Happy riding.