Over 4000km in just 2 weeks! There’s very little like it on this planet of ours, unlike events like The Race Across America, the Transcontinental is unsupported, meaning that riders have to take care of themselves, exercising self-sufficiency in all things, across 10 different European countries, with 5 different currencies!
So how do you prepare? where do you get started?
First off, some maths
Each day has 24 hours, each hour has 60 minutes, therefore we each have 1440 minutes to use each and every day.
This is key, crucial in fact, because how we use those minutes can define how successful we may be on a race such as TCR, or indeed any event we may be training for!
Get rid of the TV
….or at the very least limit how much time you spend watching TV, films or browsing (wasting time) on the internet.
Get to bed early
The old adage of early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, happy and wise, wasn’t said in jest. Sleep aids recovery, both body and mind, allowing for better performance and more focussed efforts (this is good for work as well).
Set the alarm for an early start. During the Transcontinental, time is miles; the more time sleeping you have, the less time there is for riding. Every four minutes of time not riding equates to a mile that someone else has ridden, the aim is to get to the finish line, you won’t do that if you are spending too much time asleep, or relaxing.
I aim for a 6am ride start during normal days, as TCR gets closer I will set the alarm gradually earlier as well, going all the way down to 4am. This allows for a 100km ride in before breakfast. If you have an accommodating workplace speak to them. Can you shower there? Can you start at 10 perhaps, and get in a 100miles before you start?
Recovery is vital, eat well, rest well, live appropriately
If your sole goal is to finish a 4000km race in July, then it’s not wise to be moving furniture the week before. Do your best to remain injury and illness free.
I broke a collarbone and rib just at the peak of my base training this year, which meant no riding for 10 weeks. The damage it did to me physically and psychologically was tremendous. I lost huge amounts of fitness and strength. To make matters worse, I hadn’t recovered my descending confidence by the race time. Descending the Finestre in Italy, I lost over an hour over some of my competitors due to my timidness. Staying healthy is super important.
Ride your bike
Ride as much as you can. This year’s winner took time off work for 3 months to ride around Asia. Whilst it’s not officially training, it certainly gave him a massive amount of base mileage.
Commute, in all weathers!
Go early, go long. Mix up base work with power. There will be hills – over 40,000metres of climbing this year, be strong, the stronger you are the easier you will find it to get over them.
Practise being tired, how do you cope?
It’s not a good idea to practise sleep deprivation to the point of hallucination, but ride tired, work on a strategy to keep focused. How will you keep your speed up? Music? What works best?
This is awesome, as the days get longer and the race gets closer, take a day off work, and make for a long weekend of riding. I rode from Nottingham down towards Lands-end and back to test my bike and kit, find out what worked and what didn’t. Don’t be afraid to make changes, and test them out.
The bike is a tool, you are the engine
I rode a custom WyndyMilla this year, complete with Shimano hydraulics and tubeless tires – it worked superbly well for me. Others rode steel, some rode aluminium. It doesn’t matter. Ride what works for you, it’s far more important to be fit and comfortable on the bike.
Comfort comes from practise, practise takes time, you’ve got 1440 minutes each day to spend. Spend them wisely.
This post originally appeared on the Bikmo Plus website. I’m very grateful for their support over the last year – and can thoroughly recommend the insurance, having used it myself after crashing!
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