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Keep moving forward with your riding and you’ll be prepared for a great week during the Empire State Ride.

The Empire State Ride is around the corner. And, while for months and months, it probably seemed like you had all the time in the world to prepare for it, all of a sudden there are only 30 days left before you kick off the ride from New York City to Niagara Falls. So what should you do and think about in these last 30 days?

For starters, remove any thoughts that lead you to believe you haven’t trained enough. If fellow riders are touting how many miles they have ridden or how many feet they have climbed, and your numbers don’t match, don’t worry about it. It’s not a race or a contest. You are doing the ride to raise funds for a great cause.

Continue with your training as you have been. Don’t be tempted to add more and more miles as the ride nears. Doing so will only fatigue you and create the potential for injury. Although it sounds counterintuitive, you will be much better prepared heading into the Empire State Ride feeling less prepared than you will be if you’ve over-trained.

Make sure you have tried a variety of food during your rides. The ride has rest stops and while all of the treats will be tempting, eating something new may wreak havoc on your stomach. The general rule is that the lower your heart rate zone, the more “real food” you’ll be able to digest; if you are in zone 3-4 the whole ride, however, your body will want sugar (carbs) in the form of bars, gels or gummies. Furthermore, your system cannot digest as many calories as you burn an hour while riding so aim to get in about 150-250 calories per hour.

If the heat has you cramping, there are a few salt-like products that you should try before you begin the ride, from the Salt Stick to good old pickle juice. (I have it on good authority that there will be pickle juice at the ride.) And while the scientific explanation for the effectiveness of pickle juice is still not sound, it is believed that that the natural electrolytes and salt (almost 20 times that of a sports drink) combined with the vinegar activates nerve receptors in the throat or stomach that send out nerve signals that stop the malfunctioning in the muscle that causes cramping. You don’t need much, just a few ounces for it to be effective.

Remember, as the summer heats up and your training is finishing its final build, drink plenty and drink often. You’ll want to consume at least one large water bottle per hour, more if it is hot. Alternate the sports drink and water, reserving the water for after you have had a gel or gummy. These products need water to digest and taking them with sports drink can cause stomach anxiety.

More than anything, try to keep a positive mental state of mind in this month before the ride. Now is not the time to doubt yourself, it is the time to practice that positive self-talk mentioned a few times over the course of the past 8 months. Smile at how far you have come with your riding and bike handling skills and know that you are doing a ride that not everyone could do, and it’s for a great cause!


About the Author

Dena Eaton is a former cyclist and ironman triathlete. In a short 5 year span, (2003-2008) she raced over 60 triathlons including 12 Ironman. She was an All-American in 2004. Of the three disciplines, cycling is her specialty and in 2008, she switched gears to track cycling. She is a multi-time National Championship Medalist, and Five Time Masters World Champion. She has advanced coursework in physiology and has coached several athletes. She makes her home in San Diego where she writes, photographs and teaches at Palomar College.
Post Category: Fundraising