Thursday, March 9, 2023

How To Pace on Long Bicycle Rides

Pacing is a crucial aspect of long-distance cycling. Whether you're planning a multi-day tour or a century ride, pacing yourself properly can mean the difference between finishing strong and hitting a wall. In this blog post, we'll discuss how to pace on long bicycle rides to ensure that you have enough energy to make it to the end.

  1. Set Realistic Goals

Before you start your long ride, set realistic goals for yourself. Consider the distance, elevation gain, and terrain you'll be riding on, and make a plan that takes into account your fitness level and riding experience. Divide the ride into manageable sections and set target speeds for each section.

  1. Start Slow

One of the most common mistakes that cyclists make is starting too fast. It's important to start your ride at a comfortable pace, even if you feel fresh and energetic at the beginning. By starting slow, you'll conserve your energy for the later stages of the ride when you'll need it the most.

  1. Maintain a Consistent Cadence

Maintaining a consistent cadence is key to pacing yourself on long bicycle rides. A cadence of around 80-90 revolutions per minute is optimal for most cyclists. Use your gears to adjust your cadence to the terrain you're riding on, and try to maintain a steady rhythm throughout the ride.

  1. Monitor Your Heart Rate

Monitoring your heart rate is a great way to ensure that you're pacing yourself properly. Aim to keep your heart rate in the aerobic zone, which is around 60-80% of your maximum heart rate. If your heart rate is too high, slow down and take a break if necessary.

  1. Take Regular Breaks

Taking regular breaks is important for pacing yourself on long rides. Plan rest stops every 30-60 minutes, depending on your fitness level and the distance you're riding. Use these breaks to stretch, hydrate, and refuel with snacks or energy bars.

  1. Stay Hydrated and Fueled

Staying hydrated and fuelled is essential for long-distance cycling. Drink water or sports drinks regularly throughout the ride, and eat small snacks or energy bars every hour or so. Avoid large meals or sugary snacks, which can cause a spike in blood sugar and lead to energy crashes later in the ride.

  1. Listen to Your Body

Finally, it's important to listen to your body when pacing yourself on long bicycle rides. Pay attention to how you're feeling and adjust your pace or rest stops accordingly. Don't push yourself too hard, and be willing to slow down or stop if you're feeling tired or experiencing pain or discomfort.

Pacing yourself properly is key to completing long bicycle rides. By setting realistic goals, starting slow, maintaining a consistent cadence, monitoring your heart rate, taking regular breaks, staying hydrated and fueled, and listening to your body, you'll be able to pace yourself effectively and finish strong. With practice and experience, you'll develop a better understanding of how to pace yourself on different types of rides, and you'll be able to tackle longer and more challenging routes with confidence.