I’ve hit the peak in my training and am now on the taper for my Half Ironman Racine & Venus de Miles rides! Cycling has been my biggest challenge since I didn’t really have a good handle on it until about 2 or 3 years ago. I’ve done a lot of experimenting on how to get my ride on and share the different types of rides I’ve done this year:
1. Easy Ride with Friends on a Cook County Forest Preserve Trail
- Pros: You know your friend, and you go at a leisurely pace
- Cons: You have to find a friend who rides
2. Do an Riding Event like Venus de Miles (or pictured below, the Udder Century):
- Pros: there is a marked route, lots of people on the same course, aid stations. Most rides will have multiple distance options (e.g. Venus Illinois offers a 25 & 61 mile option). There is often mechanical support and a SAG wagon if you truly get into a bind.
- Cons: These usually have a nominal cost.
3. Take a Computrainer Class. This is an indoor cycling class that uses your own bicycle and has a coached interval workout or course ride.
- Pros: You can see measurable progress as your FTP increases. Indoors, so you can do it all winter.
- Cons: Cost (although I think they’re worth it)
4. Join a Group Ride from a Store or Club. For my longer rides this summer, when there isn’t a sponsored ride like #2, I’ve been meeting up with groups for my longer rides. I’ve joined a few rides through the Chicago Tri Club, and joined Running Away Multisport‘s ride on Sunday.
With this Sunday’s ride, I learned that there are multiple focuses to group rides – they are not all training ride focused! I got 90 minutes in at a nice social pace, got to know some new people, but then had to head out for more time & speed on my own afterward ( I knew I’d need more time since they advertise a 90 minute ride). So while I ended up with a more leisurely ride for my Sunday “longest ride ever,” I do think I’ll be back for more relaxing rides outdoors with the RAM group!
- Pros: Free. There is a Group Leader to show the way. Ride with other people (Safety in numbers)
- Cons: Ride purpose may or may not coincide with your goals for the ride (social v/s training, level of training/speed)
Another big thing that has helped me when riding is to make sure I’m fueling properly. While many bike jerseys have pockets in the back, I like having my fuel in front of me
so I remember to eat it. I’ve tried two different bento boxes before settling on the Fuel Belt Bento Box! I like that it zips closed, so it’s secure over bumps, and slightly more water resistant than some that just have flaps.
So onto the giveaway! I’m giving away an entry to the Venus de Miles Illinois Ride, taking place on July 28 in Lake Forest, IL, and also a Fuel Belt Bento Box. To win, complete entries on the Rafflecopter below! This contest closes at 12 AM on Friday. I’ll use Random.org to pick a winner and announce it the next morning. There will be one winner for each prize!