by Fred Loftin
Are you ready?
Physical and mental preparation are essential to completing a century ride. This applies to those of you who have already completed a (100Km) century and those who still aspire to such a goal. Since joining the club in 1999, I have completed several centuries of different distances, including the last (6) club centuries.
While I do not consider myself an expert in long distance riding, the completion of, (26) 100+, (6) 160+, (2) 200+ and (1) 300+ Km rides since 1999, there are a few things that I can pass along.
|Expectations:||Do not set your goal(s) too high, otherwise, it can have an adverse effect by being disappointed or “turned-off,” by not completing what you set out to accomplish. Ride within your own capabilities.|
|Fitness:||For most of us, winter training/exercise is common, however, for those of you who wait until spring and the new riding season to gain their fitness; this hampers your ability to ride longer distances earlier in the season. A good cardio/aerobic base to start the season is an advantage some riders have over some of the others.|
|Progression:||A steady progression is recommended, especially for the novice rider or those who only cycle up to 40-50Km per ride. Again, ride within your own capabilities.Try to increase your riding distances by, approximately 10%-20% after 2-3 rides at the shorter distance i.e. 2 x 40Km to 45-50Km, 2 x 50Km to 55-60Km etc.
You will be surprised how quickly your endurance and distances will improve.
|Planning:||Taking turns at being ride directors, the planning of a ride/route is a major factor in the involvement and enjoyment of our fellow riders for our various rides.Just as important as planning is for others, planning the ride for oneself is essential for the longer and more demanding rides.
Regarding your bicycle, make sure that it is in good/safe working order and that you take the necessary tools and equipment in case of emergencies.
It may be a good idea to have your local bike store or knowledgeable friend to look over your bike prior to the ride i.e. wheels, tires & pressure, brakes & derailleur cables, chain, lubrication etc.
|Ride Day:||Decide before the ride how far you are willing to cycle and how long it should take. If you plan on 80Km for instance, 18-20 KPH should take approximately, 4-4 1/2 hours. Likewise, 100Km should take approximately 5-5 1/2 hours depending on the weather conditions and terrain.This is not the time for experimenting with equipment and/or apparel. Comfort is essential for completing longer rides and the more comfort, the better the end result.
Rather than think about a 50, 75, 100, 160 or 200Km ride, try to break your ride into 25Km segments. Forget the “big picture,” and work in, “snap shots” which should take your mindset away from a lengthy, “end of the road,” distance. The only problem with this strategy is, after 2-3 segments, you reach a point of, “no return” and your 50 or 75Km becomes a 100 or 150Km ride. Remember, plan ahead.
For those riding the longer distances, patience and pacing yourself could be a factor in completion of the ride. Depending on your abilities, choose a pace (KPH) that suits you.
Taking smaller (10-15 min.) breaks rather than larger (30-40 min.) breaks has its advantages, for not only your momentum, but your body as well. Smaller breaks may prevent the “build-up” of lactic acid in your muscles, whereas longer breaks create muscle stiffness and it takes longer to get back into a “groove.”
|Hydration:||This cannot be emphasized enough. Whether it is a short or long ride, keeping your body well hydrated combined with appropriate snacking, is essential for the completion of your ride. While cold water is thirst quenching and refreshing, it is not as effective as the various sports drinks that are available. If sports drinks are not your favorite, it can be diluted with some water.Appropriate snacking is an individual choice and what works for you, however, avoid eating “fatty” foods or those that cannot be digested properly. “No fish & chips.”|
|Completion:||No matter what the distance, enjoy the day and your accomplishments. Better still, enjoy a well-deserved beer(s) as you watch the later riders arrive.|
Roman Manko, member of our club and club president passed away in a tragic cycling accident on April 5, 2015
Remembering Roman Manko
Roman was a lifelong cyclist who joined the DCC in 2009. He had an immediate impact on the club. From the beginning he made an effort to get to know everyone, host rides, was involved in all the club functions and he was always quick to help out a new club member, or anyone in need. When club members describe Roman they use words such as vibrant, visible, smiling, upbeat, positive, kind and generous. One word often used to describe Roman was loud! He could always be heard in a crowd.
Roman and the Sport of Cycling
Roman had an incredible love for the sport. He was a walking cycling encyclopedia with knowledge of all the grand tours and the participants. Roman also had what must have been the largest professional cycling clothing kit collection one person could possibly have. Roman would often let us know when he had ordered a new kit, but would never mention it when when wearing it for the first time. He would just show up with a slightly different “proud” look about him.
Roman wanted to be the best he could be at any sport or hobby he took up such as cycling, darts or woodworking, and probably many other aspects of his life. He loved to push himself.
One example of this is when he signed up for a weekly Sunday morning 2 hour spin class for the first time. Finding the first class very intense, Roman climbed off his bike declaring “I can’t do this…!”. After taking a breather, looking around at everyone else still on their bikes, he climbed back on and said “I can do this!” He attended every class for the rest of the winter, pushing himself, determined, and wanting to move forward.
On rides Roman was always a leader, never a sweeper. He had certain determination to increase his average speed over a ride or over the course of the year. If the group was going too slow, he would drift off the front protecting his own average speed. Most suspected he was sending a quiet message to the rest of us saying, “come on you guys, you’re being really pokey today!”
Roman was renowned for rarely missing a ride, showing up for Saturday, Sunday and the two weekday rides on a regular basis. He would log 10,000 km in a season. That’s like riding from here to Regina and back, twice!
Roman always made everybody feel welcome In the parking lot before every ride, Roman would make a point of going around and saying hello to everyone that pulled in, whether with a handshake, a greeting or a shout across the parking lot. It wasn’t only at rides, one time when Roman went to the bike show he knew someone who was working a booth. He made a point of looking for the booth, saying hello to the person and continuing with some conversation. Even though that meant standing in the middle of a women’s cycling clothing booth for 10 minutes!
Being a car enthusiast, Roman could recognize people by the make and model of the car they drove, honking and waving at everyone he knew.
He loved sharing a good laugh. Roman liked to find a really good joke and circulate it by e-mail. He was always quick to bring up a funny picture or joke on his phone. Sometimes it seemed like Roman must have spent every moment off his bike searching the internet for the next great laugh.
Roman’s sudden passing is a reminder never to take friendship for granted. On every club ride it will now feel like someone is missing. In spirit, however, Roman will be with us covering every mile. For many of us every time we park our bike at Tim Hortons, or at a bakery somewhere on a country road, or raise a glass of Guinness at the end of a long, hard ride, Roman will be remembered.
He wasn’t the strongest,
he wasn’t the weakest,
he wasn’t the fastest,
he wasn’t the slowest,
but you know what he was?
He was One of a Kind!