Planning Before Pedaling
Some unnamed philosopher (or bike rider) once
said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish."
Most competitive long-distance cyclists start
their events with a plan to do well, not merely a wish to
do well. Kim Freitas,
a veteran of Paris-Brest-Paris, recommends thinking through three scenarios:
---the ride you expect to do
---the ride you hope to do
---the ride you fear
You don't need to be facing the rigors of a
1,200-km (745-mile) randonnee like PBP to use her advice.
It works just as well for century rides or any distance that's a challenge for
Some riders actually prepare spreadsheets
detailing time splits, average speeds and off-bike breaks,
broken down over an event's distance. Others make it a mental exercise,
judging pace by feel and
experience. Either way, says endurance cycling coach
thinking through the possibilities
will help you make smart adjustments during the event.
Another veteran long-distance cyclist,
wrote about ride planning in a recent newsletter
published by the
Ultra Marathon Cycling Association.
Here's our paraphrase of Russ's advice, which
works for all of us interested in riding long distances better.
realistic performance goal. It should
be obtainable but still challenging.
your progress. If you're riding within
your schedule, stick to it. Remember, "If it ain't broke
don't fix it." But, "If it ain't workin' try something else."
energy. Just because you're meeting
your goal is no reason to get greedy. Stick with
your plan. There is always a chance something could go wrong and require extra
energy. If the wind
turns against you or the hills are tougher than expected, your reserves will
help you stay on track.
your plan. You spent time figuring out
how to do your best ride. When other people are
pulling ahead it's not easy to watch them ride off. If they are stronger, you
won't be able to stay with
them for long but you'll waste energy trying. If they are not stronger, you
will catch them down the
road. And you will be feeling much better than they for keeping to your plan.
Loomis stuck to his plan in the 1,200-km Boston-Montreal-Boston randonnee last
finished in 64 hours, 40 minutes. His goal was to break 65 hours.
back to home page