Surviving a Long Ride
from High5 and Team Dimension Data’s Daniel Teklehaimanot
Are you looking to step up your distance when cycling? Five or six hours on the bike can seem like a huge physical challenge so we caught up with Team Dimension Data’s Daniel Teklehaimanot. The winner of the king of the mountains jersey at this years Criterium du Dauphine has some top tips on how to survive a long ride.
What effort is best to ride at during a long ride?
When I prepare for breakaway days I do long rides with many climbs. On these climbs I focus on trying to ride close to my threshold power or just below depending on the length of the climb.Tackling a high number of climbs in a single long ride is not only going to help you with your climbing but also help to reduce the recovery time you need in-between the hills. An easy way to gauge your effort is the talk test. If you can talk to your fellow riders without issue, your pace should be sustainable. If it starts to become difficult to keep talking, you should ease off a little.
How do you mentally prepare yourself for a tough day in the saddle?
You need to know what you will face during the day and then you plan according to the terrain you will be facing. Knowing the route is very important. This will help you to divide the route into shorter sections. Most riders find it helpful to give themselves a goal to achieve in each section. Remember to enjoy the experience, there are some fantastic views to be taken in, especially at the top of a climb.
What training sessions will help improve my endurance?
Like I mentioned before, training to the demands of the race gets you physically and mentally ready. You will need to gradually increase your distance over time during training. For example, ride 3 times a week for as long as you can, you will soon find that your time in the saddle increases as your body becomes more comfortable with the distance. I also like to do multiple climbing intervals during a day in order to prepare my body.
Is nutrition important? What do you eat and drink on the bike?
Yes. First thing is to make sure that you are already well hydrated before you start your ride. During training I like to keep it simple and have water (with a ZERO tablet) and maybe an EnergyBar. If I’m doing a long hard day I will have EnergySource and a fewEnergyBars to keep my energy levels high. It’s important to remember little and often is the key with your nutrition during a ride. You should aim to take a bite of your energy bar every 20 minutes or so. You should also be looking to drink around 500ml every hour. This should be increased in warmer weather.
What should I carry with me on the bike?
You should always plan for the worst. It is advisable to pack tools and kit to fix two punctures. I would also recommend taking a phone with you in case you need to contact someone. Some money for a coffee break is also a good idea.
What other tips do you have that will help me prepare for a big ride?
Prepare all your equipment before the ride and make sure everything is in place. Make sure you have enough energy drinks, enough energy bars and gels if need be. Keep an eye on the weather especially in winter when there is a good chance of rain. Always be prepared for the worst weather conditions.
Images: Stiehl Photography & Gruber Images