AIR CANADA VACATIONS 401 BIKE CHALLENGE FAQs
I have always wanted
to do a multi-day ride, or long distance ride. How do I know I am ready to take
on a challenge of this nature?
A: We highly recommend that riders have group riding experience, and have at least 2500 to 3000 kms of cycling before the event. Also, it is highly recommended that a rider has at least three 140-160 kms rides under their belt.
What are the distances for the 3 days?
A: Wednesday: Toronto to Belleville 190 kms
Thursday: Belleville to Cornwall 260 kms
Friday: Cornwall to Montreal 130 kms
Why is it from Toronto to Montreal, and not Montreal to Toronto?
A: The 401 was conceived to take advantage of the prevailing northwesterly winds. Most days, the riders enjoy gentle tailwinds that allow a greater enjoyment of the experience.
How will I know if I can find a peloton with my ideal average speed?
A: The 401 typically has 3 or 4 different pelotons that cover the complete range of average speeds. Every rider will find a group that they can ride comfortably within.
I have never ridden
260 kms in one day, how will I know if I am ready for this?
A: This by far is our most commonly asked question. The key lies in the two Ps: Preparation and Pacing. Preparation is the training leading up to the event; at least 2500 kms in your legs and at least three 140+ kms rides under your belt. That is 75% of the battle!
The other critical component is pacing. Proper pacing will be the difference between this being the most epic bike tour of your life, or not. The most common mistake we see with new riders is riding too hard at the beginning. Whatever your 3-4 hour weekend pace is with your club, we HIGHLY recommend that you dial that down for the first part of the day. On Day 2, expect to be in the saddle for approximately 8-10 hours. Some riders enjoy pushing hard during a ride, however, you will be far better off saving it for the end of the day.
What about nutrition and hydration on the ride?
What you eat and drink on a long ride is a completely personal and unique dimension of your cycling experience. The only way to discover what works best for you is through experience on the road over time. There is lots of good advice out there, and lots of good hydration and nutrition products available on the market, as well as makable in your kitchen. One thing is certain: how and what you eat and drink on the long days of the 401 will be a huge factor in your success and enjoyment on those days.
A few simple tips:
1. Develop your routine in training and stick to it on the big ride. Wednesday morning of the 401 is not the time to decide to try new things.
2. A good endurance athlete’s motto to live by is this: Drink before you’re thirsty and eat before you’re hungry. With respect to hydration this is particularly true on hot sunny days.
3. On long days such as ours, simply water and cheap sugars is not the way to go.
Here is a good article from Carmicheal Training Systems with
advice on how to fuel your rides; whether they be short or medium length
training rides, or big days in the saddle: