In training

Lately, the question I’m asked most often is “how’s your training going?” It’s been two months since I began training for the RACV Great Vic bike ride and I have another two months to go. I’ve never trained for anything like this before. I’ve never trained full stop. I’ve surfed and hiked and biked but nothing has ever needed training. So this idea of having an event to aim for is quite a new thing.

Goals have a way of focusing the mind. When there’s a good plan to go with it, then even better. The Great Vic website has a lot of resources for preparing for the ride. Amongst them is a training program starting twelve weeks out from the event. The training sees me riding four days a week with rest days in between; every fourth week is a recovery week requiring fewer kilometres. Over the twelve weeks, the kilometres build gradually and then will taper off as the event nears. I’m currently in Week 5 of the twelve-week program.

As a result of this training, I’m riding longer distances more regularly. When I finished the first year of my experiment in November 2015, I was riding about 70-80 kilometres each week but over many smaller journeys. Now, I’m averaging about 140kms each week comprised of longer journeys. Given that many of my smaller journeys – the ones that take me from ‘a to b’ for shopping, going to the beach and meeting people – are still part of my everyday living, I’m mindful of the choices I’m making while I’m training.

With these extra kilometres and longer distances, my attention is going towards two things: fuel and comfort.


By fuel I mean eating the right things at the right time. A couple of friends who are keen triathletes have been giving me good advice. I’ve learnt that eating protein before or during my ride will probably slow me down because the body takes more energy to process protein. On the other hand, eating protein immediately after I finish my ride will aid my recovery. Oops, I’ve been having my Matcha Tea protein shakes during my rides! I thought they were giving me a lift. And maybe they were but perhaps they were also slowing me down later on. I’ve learnt that during my ride, I should be eating carbohydrates.

Of course, I’m not doing the intense racing that my friends do as triathletes but because I want to make my riding as easy and enjoyable as possible, being well fuelled is worth the effort.


Comfort is also front of mind at the moment. Riding longer distances means more pedal time and more time in the saddle. As the kilometres began to stretch, I found my bike seat increasingly uncomfortable. So last week, I bought a new saddle designed specifically for women. I’m still settling into it but it’s definitely better than my old saddle.

For me, comfort also extends to making pedalling easier. And with that in mind, I bought a pair of shoes that click in to my pedals. This allows me to pull up on the pedal as well as push down. It also means my feet can relax because there’s no need for my foot to grip the pedal. Making sure my bike is running well also makes pedalling easier. So three weeks ago, I had my bike serviced and it’s running like a dream.

Getting into the rhythm of training is bringing me a whole collection of new experiences. And I have to say I’m quite enjoying it.


Keeping the pedals turning…

20 Comments on “In training

  1. Ooo, so you’ve gone with ‘clipless’ pedals? (THE most ridiculous name out there as it’s the complete opposite of what it’s actually describing.)
    I’ve thought about different pedals, but while they might help make my ride more efficient, I’ll sacrifice that for the bonus of keeping my feet free. I have moments of klutziness and I don’t fancy falling over with my bike just because I couldn’t unclip my foot fast enough. But that’s not to say I couldn’t put them in if I wanted to…
    Riding IS different on a folding bike (like a Brompton) though, because you’re always folding and unfolding (at least, I am) which means – unlike a regular bike – you’re always adjusting your saddle. It’s amazing the difference even a few mm makes to your riding comfort. But it’s something that you get used to pretty quickly – with practice!
    : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I can’t imagine having the click-ins (that’s what I call them 🙂 ) on a Brompton Dayna. Much better to keep your feet free. I wore click-in shoes about 10 years ago when I rode a flat bar road bike and went regularly riding with a group of road bikers… but then gave those shoes up soon after I finished group riding because I just didn’t need click-in shoes for getting around the neighbourhood by bike. Now, though, for this latest adventure, I’m really glad to have them. It’s making my riding much more comfortable. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I ride with the right foot clicked in but not the left. the pedals on my Koga are 2 sided, best of both worlds for me. wish I could do it on my Dahon folder but I am not willing to pay a large sum of money for the special pedals that I would only use one of.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My pedals are double-sided too Brenda – one side of each pedal takes the click-in shoes and the other side for regular shoes, sandals, etc.
        Also my click-in shoes are a mountain bike style where the cleat is recessed and easier to walk in than the road cycling click-in shoes where the cleat is very prominent. I’m guessing you probably have a MTB style shoe too.


  2. Sounds like hard work to me! But good on you for having a go. I’m sure it will be a fabulous experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cleating in and 140 km per week. Good on you but like I said at the start – I have completed 10 Cycle Qlds and 1 Bike Victoria and like you before starting this training, I have never actually trained and still managed to complete them and have fun so just enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Robyn. I often think of what you said about your event rides and it’s always encouraging to remember. Maximum fun is definitely part of the goal 🙂


  4. You have definitely hit the big leagues, Gail! New seat, new shoes and new goals. (Thanks for the tip about protein.) I didn’t realize it’s better to take after exercise. Should I ever begin to exercise and should I remember the tip, I’ll send you another note of thanks. Clare

    Liked by 1 person

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