Preparing for your WOMBAT ride
We are glad you have decided to join WOMBAT and we want you to have the best WOMBAT trip possible.
That starts with a great training plan. You need not train to win the Tour de France, but neither can you just hop on the bike on day 1 of WOMBAT and hope to ride 270-300 miles during trip week without previous training. Below are several suggestions to help you train for WOMBAT week. Riders who develop a good training plan ride the trip with ease, great endurance, strong bodies, and well prepared to enjoy an awesome week of cycling with friends.
Let's start with some basic information. Training is like a 3 legged stool. Training, nutrition, and hydration are equally important to build your body for a great ride. Nutrition is super important! Building muscles takes protein, so be sure to do some research regarding what is the best way to build your individual body strength. And, of course, before starting any rigorous training program be sure you are in good health and consult your physician.
Equally important is hydration on and off the bike. Our body needs water! Often, cyclists do not notice dehydration. Bike jerseys are made to wick away sweat and the breeze from riding cools us down. Vitamin water and drinks with electrolytes are excellent during a ride to replenish depleted resources, but don't neglect the rest of the day by drinking liquids throughout the day. Simply drinking water during your daily activities is a great way to maintain hydration.
No need to rush out and buy the best bike on the market. However, during a week long trip is no time to find out your bike is not in good shape. Road bikes and hybrids will do fine on this trip, but a mountain bike, although great for the mountains, is not the best choice for road riding. At the beginning of your training season, be sure your bike receives a tune up from a bike shop and is ready for a trouble free season. Then continue with good maintenance throughout the summer. Be sure to have water bottle cages for carrying sufficient water bottles for your ride. Bring an extra tire and 1 or 2 tubes in case of a flat. Our SAGs will keep your tire and tubes in the vehicles if you desire. We have many cyclists who can do minor repairs on the trip and our SAGs have a list of bike shops for more major issues. The best insurance against bike problems is to be sure your bike is always in good working condition before training begins, during training, and when you bring your bike to the WOMBAT trip.
It is easier than you think. It is more about dedication to spending the time and pushing just a few more miles with a higher level of effort each training week until the ride. Your muscles take time to build strength and time on the saddle will make for a more comfortable long ride on the trip. Surprisingly, if you are able to ride 75% of the distance of your longest day on the WOMBAT ride, and be able to do this once a week for a few weeks before the ride, you will be fine. For example, if the longest WOMBAT day ride is 60 miles, you should be able to do a 40 mile ride one day a week for about 2 or 3 weeks before the ride. Make sure to take breaks on your long day rides. Going 40 miles does not mean 40 non-stop miles. Break it up! Ride 17 miles, take a break, ride some more, take a break. You should be riding you bike about 5 days a week. Each week should have one short day, 3 medium days, and one long day. Remember, this is the goal for your final few weeks of training. Also, we highly recommend staying off you bike for the 3 days prior to WOMBAT riding week. The rest from training will refresh you and assure you will be ready to ride on Day 1.
So where do you start out with training? It depends on your present level of fitness. No matter where you start in the training mileage, remember the end is your goal. Each week of training you should increase your ride mileage by about 10%. Below is a 6 week training chart. Of course, you can develop a longer training time by starting earlier in the spring and reduce your beginning miles in the first few weeks. In those first few weeks of riding before jumping into a full training schedule, ride only a few days in the week to let your body adjust to riding and time for you to get use to being back on the saddle (name for bike seat). Remember, the key to training is to start out slow and easy, then increase miles and effort with the end goal in mind. If you rush into training and overdo, injuries and soreness may happen, then you are taking time to heal up, continually dealing with after effects, and starting over at square one. Train smart!!! A well trained rider will enjoy the challenges of WOMBAT week without exhaustion and a depleted body. Training always pays off!