Wiggle CX Century – Preparing the Body

Wiggle CX Century – Preparing the Body


Core/Upper Body Strength:
As we have just discussed, the ideal preparation is to get your body as used as possible to the stresses and workloads involved. Cycling is predominantly a leg based exercise. That may be the general thinking, especially for those people who maybe just sit on a static bike or do the odd bit of leisure cycling. But looking at the bigger picture whatever else you can do to help support those spinning legs, can help massively.


In general having a strong core will help support the rest of the body. The stronger the core, the more stable and supported the rest of the body and limbs are. So the ‘stiller’ you can sit on the bike, the less energy you are wasting and the more energy you have to fire the legs round.


So simple core exercises can help massively. Now, this does not mean that you have to join a gym, start adding in a weights programme or move a Personal Trainer into your spare room. Working out a short, simple routine of 3 or 4 exercises, that you can do at home and need only take 20-30 minutes. Add this in 2 or 3 times a week and you will quickly see the benefits.


Again, speak to a coach or a PT to work out some good exercises, but in general simple things like, a plank or side plank, press ups, sit ups, seated twists, squats, burpees etc. are all good.

My advice would be to find 4 or 5 that you get on with and can stomach doing and work out a couple of short routines that you can rotate between. Then do, as an example:
Sit Ups x 20
Press Ups x 10
Lunges – with an abdominal twist- x 10 per leg
and repeat that 3 times (with a short break between each set of 3) and that is it done.


Simplicity will help you keep it up; make it too difficult and you will find excuses not to do it. The same goes for upper body strength. Riding a bike uses a lot of shoulder and arm strength (unless you have a very upright position!), so making sure the arms, back, shoulders, etc are strong enough to support you is very important. Again as with the core work, simple exercises can help and we are not looking for Mr Universe type bulging muscles here, just toning and simple strengthening. So go for lots of reps (12-15) and sets (2-3) rather than short, massive overloading, where you only do 2 or 3 reps or to exhaustion.


Fuel for the ride:
This area is often overlooked and rarely worked upon in training. People will see ‘feed stations’ are provided and will chuck a bottle on the bike, a banana in the back pocket and think, after their bowl of porridge, that they are good to go! They will quickly find it is a long way between those refuelling points and that once the energy levels drop and the needle on the gauge is pointing toward ‘EMPTY’, then there is no quick way back!


There are many energy drinks on the market, make sure you use your regular one on the CX Century.
There are many energy drinks on the market – make sure you use your regular one on the CX Century.


Start to load up on the carbs over the days leading up to the event, don’t wait for the evening before to hit a bathtub full of pasta. Also, stock up on snacks to take with you as it is important to eat regularly during the event. Little and often is the trick in these kind of events.
Take a good source of energy drink as well. There are many out there to choose from, so my advice is to try some out (your local bike shop might offer samples) and get used to it beforehand. Use it in training, on your longer rides and make sure that you can stomach it (some won’t always agree with you or you may simply prefer the taste of a particular brand).


Ride Your Bike:
Now, it goes without saying that a proper cyclist has a shed load of bikes at home. You will have one for training, one for sunny days, one for going out with kids, one for Wednesday rides to the café… However, try and ride the bike that you will ride on your event, get used to it and make sure you are comfortable with it for that length of time.


Winter miles have been put in on the road, time to switch to the rough stuff
Winter miles have been put in on the road, time to switch to the rough stuff


In general, my advice would be to try and make your regular bike, so the one you will train on the most, slower than your ‘event’ bike. This could be due to heavier tyres, heavier bike in general or by weighing it down (which could be the case if you just have the one bike). This way, when you hit your event, your ‘A bike’ should feel and ride like a dream, and make you feel faster!
Continued overleaf…

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Paul Horta-Hopkins

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