The early days of January are a perfect time for setting cycling goals for the upcoming cycling season. Goals are based on events you wish to participate in and what you plan to accomplish. The training from here forward should be catered to the specific goals/ events and the unique skills required for each. There are three major factors that determine which events you want to do: style of event/race (Road Racing, Granfondo/Charity Ride or Bike Touring), location and cost.
This style of event is the most competitive, aggressive and potentially hazardous type of event. Road Races as a term captures multiple styles of timed competition. This could include riding in a peloton for road races or criteriums and also individually for time trials. If you are looking for high intensity riding and eager for competition, this is the style of racing for you. Some benefits include improved bike handling, total cycling power (endurance and high end power) and the ability to attend multiple races each year.
Road Racing can be inexpensive. Once you have equipment (bike, helmet, shoes) and a race license, race entries are relatively low cost. Costs increase depending on destination races or number of races in a season. Most people begin by racing locally before venturing further out to exotic destinations to race.
Granfondo or Charity event
These are one or two-day endurance events varying in distances from 60-200+ km . These are typically fully supported rides that include food, bathrooms and controlled routes. A Granfondo can be approached as a race, a supported long ride, or a test to see if the distance is manageable. There is the versatility to ride in a peloton, ride with a group of training partners or ride solo. It’s an event that truly can be as competitive or relaxed as you wish.
The cost for a Granfondo or Charity Ride often has a fee -or a fundraising minimum- that is greater than for a Road Race ($100+), but the rest of the cost is dictated by travel and accommodation. The location of this style of event could be anything from a local Charity Event or a Granfondo to exotic destinations all over the globe.
This is the most encompassing experience of the three choices and can be done in large groups or solo. Typically, bike touring is about the overall experience of riding and being in a spectacular locale over a series of days or weeks. Bike tours with operators are fully supported rides that include meals, hotels, maps and guides. Taking a bike tour –like what In Situ Travel offers– is a little like preparing for a Granfondo or Charity Ride. The consideration is heavily weighted on riding multiple days in a row, and preparing yourself for multiple miles, mountains, altitude and rolling terrain. The bonus of a bike tour is the vacation part: having guided routes, pre-planned meals, seeing incredible scenery and the sense of a vacation (as well as accomplishment!).
The cost of bike touring varies but is typically the most expensive of the three choices. Choosing a location is almost limitless- you can ride many corners of the earth.
When deciding what goals to strive for this year, carefully consider the style of event, cost and location as factors to influence your choices. Be realistic about your budget, the equipment you need (not only for the event but for the preparation of the event) and your ability. Choosing a location for an event is also about contemplating where you wish to go, and what makes you excited. Consider the season as well, some places that are gorgeous in fall are painfully hot in the summer. Ask yourself how you handle heat, cold, rain, varying terrain and pick a place where you will be comfortable and make sure you bring the proper gear. Finally, take a look at your ability level. Choosing an event early will give you time to prepare and train for whatever you choose. Be realistic with your abilities and consult a professional if you need help training. Whatever you choose, you want to enjoy it!
Cycling is a beautiful sport and events make the training worthwhile. Take yourself wherever you wish to go and enjoy the journey.
This guest post was written by Grant Burwash, BSc. Kinesiology.
photo credit: Mike Baird href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/2282418707/”>mikebaird</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>