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You’d be surprised, or perhaps not, that we haven’t gone for many long rides in preparation for the tour. When we ask anyone that has toured before about training, they all say the same thing: the best preparation for a bike tour is to do one. Of course, getting accustomed to longer rides is better than never getting out on your bike at all. And like we were told by Frank and Eileen, a retired couple that we met on a long ride that have been touring since the 90s, doing some saddle training helps to “show your butt who’s boss.”
Many touring cyclists that we’ve either spoken to or read about share that you will gain so much strength biking everyday that training is not really necessary. Plus, it’s not a race and we are somewhat flexible with time. Many folks make the crossing in about two months but we are allowing ourselves three, which is also common, and we are shooting to ride about 50 miles a day. There will be days where we’ll be completely off the bike, say dedicating a day for Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons. Then there will be days where we go for 70-100 miles, like in flat Kansas or on our long, gradual downhill in Idaho.
Austin has done a couple more long rides than I have. He would often go for a long ride out to Golden from Denver on the weekends when I would have too much homework to join. Together, we’ve done a 35 mile trip to Golden, a 50 mile trip to Red Rocks, and a 60 mile trip to Cherry Creek and Chatfield State Park. Austin has commuted to work and school year round, and I, like the fair weather cyclist I am, started commuting to work and school again after winter subsided.
I am definitely nervous about preparation, or lack thereof, but I am excited about the new challenge ahead and I know we’ll build strength, power and speed as we go along. It also seems that we await a very warm summer, and we’ll have to be very intentional about eating enough and hydrating. Every time I’ve gone for a long ride, my commute to work the following week feels that much easier and the hills much less menacing. Let’s hope every day gets easier on tour, too. Can’t wait to see our quads come September!