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Spring is well underway, and we’re rolling gently towards summer. Soon arriving along with all the other pleasant surprises of the summer is, of course, the Women’s 100. More than 4,000 women took part last year, from seasoned riders to relative cycling newcomers.
As the weather improves and the date of the Women’s 100 approaches, I’ve put together some notes and advice on preparing for the ride.
This might seem like an obvious point, but the first thing to do is sign up for the Women’s 100 on Rapha’s dedicated page. It’s not just a case of setting yourself a goal, although that’s part of it – the Women’s 100 page will let you find a local ride with likeminded cyclists or, if there’s not one close enough, to register a ride of your own. The only thing better than a good ride is a good ride with friends.
Worries about kit and equipment can make you start to question yourself, when really we should all be out enjoying the ride. So long as you’re comfortable and safe, don’t spend too much time thinking about your bike and accessories.
Something to bear in mind – when you start riding more often, or with new shoes, you may experience a bit of knee pain. Normally, the solution is a bit of simple fine-tuning.
If you live near a bike shop or bike fitter, visit them – they’ll be able to give you specific advice. If you have a friend who has been cycling for a few years, they’ll have had their own period of trial and error, and may be able to shed light on your own predicament.
Regular rides and rides with friends
It’s not always easy to keep to a training schedule. A lot of things can cause well-oiled plans to come apart. Sometimes it’s the weather, at other times it could be one of life’s little ups and downs, like an injury.
Don’t make a restrictive or overly ambitious training plan – the goal is to ride as much as you can and to enjoy it. Finding local rides is as easy as asking at local shops and looking up local clubs. Soon you’ll be out riding with your own crew, matching leather jackets optional.
If you can’t find a local ride, it’s your chance to create your own outing and to invote others along. When you share a passion for a sport like cycling, conversations and connections are created naturally.
If there’s one activity that reduces post-ride body pain and tension to zero, it’s yoga. Recuperation classes are simply magic. No yoga courses near you? There are plenty of easily downloadable sessions online, just search for “yin yoga”. Exercise caution in your exercise, and remember that the goal is to relax your body.
Have you ever tried to change a tyre? Have you found what food works best for you before and during a ride? These are the kind of questions that you could ask yourself at this stage because there’s still time to improve all that.
Some people almost never get a flat tyre. But, just to be ready for if and when it does happen, you could practice in your garage or ask for a demonstration at the local bike shop. For the lucky ones who live in Boulder, Colorado, the Boulder Sports Bike Shop offers women-specific mechanics workshops, and many similar workshops are offered around the world.