Cycle Touring 101

For the past three days I have been out on the bike, to see how ready I will be for multi-day touring.  The first two days had to be fitted in around work. On Monday I did 60 miles in the morning, and felt good.

I had planned my other two routes, and on Tuesday duly did the second 60 mile route. For the first 30 miles I thought that I was invincible, such was my speed and efficiency of movement. It was only after a couple of left turns and the start of the return journey that I realised that I had been propelled by a strong tailwind, which would now become a strong headwind for the remainder of the ride. At 40 miles I ‘bonked’, which means that I had no energy at all. I stopped and ate a muesli bar, and at the next village, bought a packet of jelly beans. I revived somewhat after that, but the rest of the ride was still hard going. I followed this with an afternoon rehearsal and an evening concert that lasted over three hours!

I didn’t know how I was going to get up and back on the bike this morning, so tired was I feeling after a not particularly good night’s sleep. Get up I did anyway, and having checked the wind direction, set off on my third proposed route. I was careful to start eating sooner in the ride than I would for a ‘one off’ ride, and fared considerably better, although I did again have a low spot at around 40 miles. I stopped for a bite of lunch at 50 miles, and when I did get home, with the odometer all but showing 80 miles, I felt I could have carried on for hours.

With just over a month to go, I am happy enough with the way things went. I will have to cycle further than I did the first two days, but will not have to play the viola for five hours afterwards.

So, what have I learnt? When touring, eat often when on the bike, and copiously when off it, to keep the body fuelled.  Also, just because I have a bad day, it doesn’t mean that all subsequent days will be as bad or worse.  And that recovery tights are worth every penny!

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