Number one piece of advice: The more you train for The Classic, the more fun you’ll have.
A well-rounded training program that includes strength, flexibility, endurance, nutrition, hydration and rest will have you cruising on course and relaxed in camp. Ignore one of these important elements and your ride might not be the fulfilling experience you have in mind.
Make a plan that fits your life, follow your plan and be ready for the adventure of The Classic!
Water and Fuel
Water is important before, during and after every workout. When cycling, be sure to have 16-24 oz. of water before you ride. During your ride, drink liquids every 15-20 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty – if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated! After your ride, make sure to keep drinking water or recovery drinks. (Although the beer garden is a great place to quench your thirst on Cycle Oregon, beer is not technically a recovery drink; try a water chaser.)
Your food plan during training should be comprised of mostly carbohydrates (55-65%), with the remainder in equal amounts of protein and fat. You’re training hard; this is not the time for a high-protein diet. You need immediate and stored fuel, which is primarily supplied by a diet high in carbohydrates.
In order to be strong in the saddle, you need to have strength not only in your legs and heart, but in the rest of your body as well. A strong core is essential to good riding posture (think 7 days in a row in the saddle) and climbing ability. You should include two days a week of a full-body strength training program targeting your major muscle groups, with an emphasis on abdominal and back muscles.
Stretching is essential to injury prevention and improving muscle recovery. Focus on all your major muscle groups, not just your legs. Stretch after every workout, whether it’s on or off the bike.
Consider installing a triple-ring crank set, using floating pedals or having your cleats fit-checked. Standing when climbing hills is tougher cardiovascularly, but easier on the knees. Try this too!
Ride, ride, ride! Training correctly will ensure that after each day’s ride you’ll be ready for the evening’s festivities and not just your pillow. Plan on increasing your mileage 10-15% a week over the course of your training. By mid-summer you should be riding 100 miles per week. If you start training early, you’ll have no problem hitting this mileage. Begin with shorter rides back-to-back, and increase to longer days in the saddle. Work on your climbing by doing hills and rollers. At first, choose shorter hills and repeat them, then build up to longer hills with no rest. Practice spinning at 80-100 rpm on the flats and 60-80 rpm on the hills. If possible, ride with other cyclists to get prepared for the days when you’ll be riding with 2,200 of your closest friends!
Adequate rest will allow your body to recover and repair itself more efficiently. Too often, we train too much while not allowing our body and mind to recover, which can lead to interrupted sleep patterns, injury, decreased performance and burnout. The Classic is NOT the place to experience these symptoms. Take at least one day a week off from training. If you must do something, do something different! Begin tapering your training two weeks prior to the event. Continue your eating and flexibility programs, and decrease your time in the saddle. Go out for an easy neighborhood ride and relax. You’ve done the work; now get ready to reap the rewards!