Training Advice for New and Novice Riders
The ACV 401 Bike Challenge team generally recommends that riders try to have at least 3000 kms in their legs prior to the start of the 401. If you are able to start riding occasionally in April, and consistently in May, that is very doable. Some riders have ridden the 401 successfully with considerably less training, others with considerably more, however, if you want to do the Three Day Classic Ride successfully, feeling strong throughout, 3000 kms is a good goal to strive for. Over a 16 week period starting at the end of April that’s about an average of 188 kms per week.
At the beginning your weekly average will be less, near the end it will be more than this. A good goal to aim for is four rides a week. At first these will all be relatively short rides (30 to 60 kms). By June you will want to start adding one long ride a week (90 to 120 kms), and your three short rides not less than 40 kms. One of those short rides should incorporate some speed work, the others should be at or near tempo. Your long rides should be at a comfortable pace, but remember, you are not sightseeing.
By July you can add a couple of things if you are up to it. Put in a couple of longer rides if you can (around 120 to 150 kms), and do a couple of back-to-back longer rides. These will be great for your confidence level, and will help your body get used to the idea of long days in the saddle.
It is good to ride in a group if you can. The camaraderie will keep you going and even push you to go further, and equally important, you will begin to learn the benefits, techniques and etiquette of group riding. Our group rides, listed above, will be great for this.
Important note: All of the targets described above should be understood within a plus/minus range appropriate to your fitness level. And secondly, it is a really good idea to do some cycling specific stretching after your rides. You can easily find these on the internet.