Ride Details: Preparing for the Ride

Getting Your Body Ready

There are several benefits of spending the spring building a mileage base. First, it’s fun; you get to ride your bike! Second, you’ll enjoy Ride Idaho more if you are fit. And finally, you’ll learn volumes about distance cycling. For example: How much and what foods and fluids do you need to ride for several hours? What clothing should you wear and carry with you? What tools do you need for roadside repairs?

Step One: We suggest that you build a calendar, based on short, medium, and long rides. Each month, increase the distances to longer versions of short, medium and long. Each length of ride should focus on a different aspect of training:
  • Short rides = recovery
  • Medium rides = getting faster
  • Long rides = endurance and long climbs

Step Two: get your bike tuned up for your training season. You might also want to find some riding partners or a local club!

Step Three: Start riding! If you start by May, there’s no need to push your training too hard. Starting slowly in May is much better than cramming all your training into June and July. From May through mid-July, raise your weekly mileage slowly. This will give your muscles the chance to gradually adjust to the increasing mileage. We recommend that you increase your total mileage by about 10% per week. By July, you should be averaging 140 – 200 miles per week. One to three weeks before the event, include a weekend with two long riding days to familiarize yourself with the feeling of going for a long ride and then getting up the next day and doing it again. The last week before the ride should be a “taper” week with less riding than the previous weeks (and no riding the last three days before the tour). This gives your body a break and allows you to start the tour fresh.

Suggested Ride Idaho Training Plan:

Below is a sample training schedule. It begins the 3rd week in April, with three rides totaling 40 miles. Here’s how to read the table:

  • The 1st column lists the number of weeks until the ride
  • The 2nd and 3rd columns describe the number of rides and the total miles for that week’s weekend rides
  • The 4th and 5th columns describe the number of rides and the total miles for that week’s weekday rides
  • The 6th column lists the total number of miles for that week
Training Schedule
60 miles Saturday; 80 miles Sunday
** Monday-Wednesday

When working with this schedule, keep a few things in mind:

  • There’s no need to try to match rides exactly to this schedule--in fact, if you’re not working a Monday-Friday day job, you may need to adjust the times accordingly. The important thing is to build a mileage base that is comparable to the one outlined here.
  • Climbing is an integral part of all Ride Idaho routes. If possible, your training should reflect this. Include hilly and mountainous terrain in training rides. This becomes more important as the tour date gets closer.
  • It’s good to vary workout intensity, but if you don’t feel good, make it an easy ride. If you feel great, and you want to, go hard.
  • Some cycling novices who don’t partake in any regular exercise may find the first week’s schedule too challenging. If this is you, consult a physician before starting any program of physical exercise. Once you’ve been given the green light, we recommend you extend this schedule by starting four to six weeks earlier, in mid-February. Begin by walking a couple days per week and riding just one or two days per week. After a few weeks, ease your bike mileage up toward the point where you can begin with this schedule.
  • If work, family, or other commitments don’t allow you to follow your planned training schedule for a few days, don’t obsess about it. Being stressed about keeping a schedule can be more detrimental than missing a few days here or there. Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that you’re doing this for fun.

A few notes on getting ready to ride in high altitude:

In an ideal world, cyclists would spend several weekend visits to high altitude locations during the spring and then
arrive in Idaho one to two weeks before Ride Idaho to acclimatize before the ride. For the rest of us working stiffs,
here’s our best advice for dealing with mountains, altitude, and high desert climates.

  • Find some of the hilliest courses in your area and ride them twice per week for several months prior to coming to Idaho.
  • Consume 60 to 70 percent of your calories in carbohydrates in the final days before the ride. This will ensure that your muscles are loaded with glycogen when you start Ride Idaho.
  • Train with someone! Enlist the company of other riders in your community through our facebook page, www.facebook.com/rideidaho! (Also, if you are training in the Treasure Valley, we recommend Community Bicycle Rides. Ride organizer Jeff Larsen hosts weekly training rides of different distances and intensities. Check out his website at www.communitybicyclerides.com for the ride schedule and sign up for his helpful email updates too.)
  • One more point, and perhaps the best piece of advice that can be imparted on this matter: relax! Hundreds of people every year travel from sea level to the mountains to do Ride Idaho. There’s never been a problem and everyone adjusts quite well!

Get Your Bike Ready

Before you begin training, and again right before the ride, we recommend that you get your bike tuned up. At a minimum, this includes having all derailleurs adjusted, checking the chain, and checking the condition of the tires and the frame. Look at all frame tube intersections for cracks, bulges, wrinkled or cracked paint, or other irregularities that could indicate frame fatigue, check the integrity of tires, wheel rims, and spokes, and check the condition of brakes and brake mounting hardware, nuts, and bolts.

There are also a few items you’ll likely want to have with you on the ride, which may mean purchasing a few things if you don’t already own them. We recommend that you carry some tools, including tire levers, a patch kit, and an extra tube. You will also want a frame air pump to make the previous items worthwhile. Some people like to carry a set of allen wrenches, a spoke wrench, and a chain tool, depending on their level of mechanical expertise. These items can be stored in a small seat bag or handlebar bag. Finally, you’ll want to be sure you have a blinking tail light for the rear of your bicycle.

Packing for the Ride

The Rules:
  • Please pack your items into 1 bag of 40-50 lbs. OR 2 bags with a combined weight of 65 lbs. or less
  • Include your camping gear in your bag(s) and baggage weight.
  • Please be considerate and adhere to these limits.
  • Please do not attach anything to the outside of your bags.
The Bare Necessities:
  • Cycling gear
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Walking shoes for off-bike activities
  • Change of clothes for off-bike activities
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito spray
  • Bath towel
  • Personal toiletries
  • Bicycle lock
The following lists include essential and non-essential items that may differ from rider to rider. These are suggested items. It will be up to you to decide what you really need to be happy and comfortable within the baggage limits.

  • Driver’s License / ID
  • Medical Insurance Card (policy number)
  • Money - CASH, debit / credit card, traveler's checks
  • Airline Tickets
  • Small First Aid Kit and Medications
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen & Lip Balm
  • Insect Repellant
  • Towel / Washcloth
  • Toiletries (in a leak-proff bag)
  • Rope / Clothes line and clothes pins
  • Camera, Extra Batteries, Cards or Film
  • Travel Alarm Clock
  • Favorite Energy Snacks
  • Pen, Stationary, Stamps
  • Small Backpack, Sack or Bag for extra outings or trips to the shower truck
  • Swimsuit
  • Ear plugs
  • Quarters for laundry mid-week
  • Eco-friendly soap for quick washes
  • Re-usable cup for coffee service
  • Bicycle - assembled and tuned
  • Helmet
  • Headlight and Rear Light
  • 2-3 Large water bottles and/or Hydration Pack
  • Frame Tire Pump
  • Pressure Gauge
  • Bike Pack – handlebar or seat pack (for tools, rain gear, snacks, money, etc)
  • Rearview Mirror
  • Lock & Cable - bring your lock!
  • Cycling Computer
  • Bungee Cords or Straps
  • Plastic bag or shower cap to use as a Seat Cover (rain or dew)
  • Spare Tube
  • Patch Kit
  • Tire levers (3)
  • Allen / Hex Wrenches
  • Small Screwdriver
  • Y-Wrench
  • Spoke Wrench
  • Pocketknife
  • Pliers
  • Tent - waterproof, with rain fly and ground cloth
  • Sleeping Bag - low temp. around 20°F or lower
  • Flat bed sheet to use as cover for hot nights
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Pillow
  • Headlamp or Small Flashlight (extra batteries)
  • Cycling gloves
  • Cycling Long Pants / Tights
  • 3 Cycling Shorts - you can rinse them at the water spigot and rotate them daily
  • 3 Cycling Jerseys / Cycling Tops
  • Long-Sleeve Shirt (Non-Cotton)
  • Lightweight Windbreaker
  • Waterproof, Breathable Jacket & Pants
  • Cycling Shoes
  • 4-5 Pairs of Socks (cotton/non-cotton)
  • Cycling Booties / Toe Covers
  • Cap / Hat to wear off-bike
  • Winter Cap & Gloves (for cold nights)
  • Casual Non-Cycling Clothes (Pants, Shorts, Tops, etc)
  • Long Sleeve Top (fleece) / Jacket
  • Comfortable Walking Shoes
  • Shower Sandals, Flip-flops
A few general notes on clothing:
  • Non-cotton fabrics can be rinsed and dried easily.
  • Anything you can wear more than once is a treasure!
  • August is usually very warm to hot, 80's to high 90's, during the day. The nights and mornings canget down to the 40's, and we do have occasional rain showers or thunderstorms. If you start your day wearing cool weather gear, we have accommodations for clothing drops throughout the day.
  • Hard-sided coolers.
  • Camp chairs, unless they are small enough to fit inside your bag (nothing can be attached to the outside of your bags!).
  • Cot, unless it is small enough to fit in your bag.
  • Flammable fuels or stoves.
  • Liquids in glass bottles--please bring your "liquids" in plastic bottles.