Daylight is growing and we’re left in the dark less hours each and everyday. With a few weeks of nice weather mixed into the winter months everyone was feeling Spring fever and many treated that fever with a day or two outside. I even witnessed a few ladies out for an early morning walk at 5:30 a.m. during one of my weekday commutes to work in February!! However, Winter stepped up and reminded us that spring isn’t here just yet, but it did give us the kick needed to start planning our warmer weather adventures. March is a great month to research events or rides and start planning for them.
You’ll want to consider getting your equipment checked over and adjusted before the mad rush hits. Nothing is worse than having a week of great weather and dragging that bike off the hooks in the garage only to discover it needs some maintenance and the bike shop is backlogged for a week or two. Brakes, chains, bearings, tubes and tires are easy things to have repaired ahead of time. Look it over now and get it taken in for adjustments, upgrades or even new equipment. While you’re there you may want to splurge a little on some comfort items such as new shorts or shoes. Remember things wear out. Spring apparel has arrived in most shops and the services centers are already getting busy so don’t procrastinate.
Now that you have the equipment cared for, replaced or upgraded you can focus on an event or particular ride. Maybe this is the year you sign up for one of those charity rides? Call your friends and get a group of them to commit to one. Or contact a local bike shop to ask if you can join their group/team for an event. Many of them welcome new people to their teams and it gives you motivation to train and people to ride with. In addition to the bike shop many businesses have teams and sometimes relatives or friends of employees are welcome there also.
Once you have an idea on the event you need to set some goals for the mileage and formulate a training plan. Give yourself 8 to 12 weeks to prepare. It’s not necessary to be riding 50 miles if you’ve signed up for a 50 mile route. We’ve finished many one day 100 to 150 mile events without training rides of the same miles; it’s more important to prepare your body for being on the bike, being comfortable and understanding how to hydrate and pace yourself. So get weekly rides in at shorter distances at first then start adding some miles to one or two days each week so that you’re not feeling uncomfortable on the bike. If you get the comfort dialed in then the event is simply a couple shorter rides put together for one long ride. Breaks and stops are always plentiful at these events and many follow a 12 to 15 mile distance between them.