In his latest article for Legal Life, Steve Pitts of Welsh Back Squash and Health Club looks at a subject personal to him, preparing for a long distance cycle ride
Anyone planning a gruelling cycle ride over 4 days covering hundreds of miles down to the south of France in aid of a fantastic local charity? I’m guessing the vast majority of you will say no and have no idea what I am talking about, so let me explain. For the past six years an intrepid bunch of around 60 local do-gooders, which this year includes myself, get together and cycle from Bristol to Bordeaux to raise money for a local charity called PROPS (www.propsforward.org). If you’ve not heard of them before, PROPS specialises in developing the life skills of young people with severe learning difficulties after they leave school, this is a vital service that just isn’t available elsewhere so that’s what makes this charity so important. The cycle ride is the main fundraising event for the charity, so I’ll leave the justgiving address at the end, should you wish to donate to a good cause.
So how would you prepare for something as massive as this? Well the important thing is to not get overwhelmed with the challenge and break it down in to manageable parts. Everyone will have different ways of preparing for a physical challenge like this, but something that should be fundamental to everyone is planning; work out the distance you want to be covering by the end of your training and work backwards from there. For example I will be cycling around 100 miles a day so I’ve set that as my target distance to reach by the end of my training. The ride takes place in mid June so I started my training at the end of last year.
· I started out on flat routes that covered around 20-30 miles to get myself used to being in the saddle.
· I then gradually built up the miles and difficulty of my routes
· About 4 weeks before the event I’ll aim to do a one or two 100 mile rides to simulate the actual event.
· I will then allow enough time to fully recover for the big day with a few easy maintenance rides two weeks beforehand.
A few bits of basic kit can make any ride more enjoyable and in my opinion the saddle is the first place to start. It’s worth spending a bit of time getting this right as the wrong saddle can be a real pain in the arse. The right saddle is down to the type of bike you use, how long you’ll be cycling and ultimately what you find comfortable to sit on.
Whether you’re planning a trip to Bordeaux or just to the shops, cycling is a great way of exercising, not only do you get fit but you’re out in the fresh air and get to see some of our lovely countryside. Another great thing about cycling is that it is a low impact exercise, which means almost everyone can do it. So dig that bike out of the shed, get out there and enjoy the thrills and rewards travelling on two wheels has to offer!
All donations are greatly appreciated and go to a really great cause: www.justgiving.com/b2bcycle2012
Welsh Back Squash & Health Club offers an excellent range of facilities, including squash, classes and a gym with free personalised plans. We also have discounted rates of membership for all Bristol Law Society members. You can download a free day pass from our website (www.welshback.co.uk ), why not pop down and give us a try?