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How to add the Empire State Ride route to your Garmin

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. 

ESR Riders, 

The Empire State Ride GPS course files were recently sent to us, so I thought I’d share my method for importing them to my Garmin Edge 1030. I’m fairly certain this method will work with all Garmin Edge models. I’m not what you’d call “super techie,” so I still use the old school USB cable transfer protocol. There are ways to do this wirelessly, but I’ve never used that method. So, here’s a quick step-by-step for USB transfer of your Empire State Ride route GPS course files.

1. Download the course files provided by ESR to your personal computer. Make sure you know where you’re downloading them to so you can access them later. 

2. Connect your Garmin to your computer using a USB cable. Wait a couple of minutes until you see the image below on your Garmin screen. If you don’t see this image after two to three minutes, disconnect the cable from your computer, shut down your Garmin and re-connect.

Click to enlarge

3. Now using the Finder, My Computer or other tool on your computer, open the drive associated with Garmin, usually labeled Garmin. Open the folder located inside the Garmin drive.

Click to enlarge

4. Click or drag the exported files from your computer and drop them into the New Files folder.

5. Safely disconnect or eject the Garmin and unplug it from the computer.

6. After powering your Garmin back on, click the Navigation icon on the main screen, then the Courses icon and finally the Saved Courses icon. There, you’ll see your ESR GPS files.

Easy enough! See you all soon,

 Coach Charlie

Charlie’s tips for safe paceline riding

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. 

A paceline is a formation used by cyclists to maintain a higher average speed in a group while expending the least amount of energy. By “drafting,” or sitting in the slipstream of a rider in front of you, your effort to maintain a given speed can be reduced by 15% to 30%, depending upon the speed you’re riding, the wind and the terrain. It’s an honorable facet of cycling in that everyone is working together for the common good of the group. When performed poorly, the formation becomes counterproductive. 

There is one critical skill you need to perform well in a paceline that you can practice on your solo training rides. So, before I get into the nitty gritty of pace line tips, let’s cover this basic riding skill. 

learn to ride in a straight line

This is arguably the most important skill to master. You may think that riding a straight line is primarily executed by steering the bike but it has more to do with how you pedal. When you apply force to the right pedal, the bike tends to move to the left and vice versa. The greater the force you apply to the pedal, especially at the bottom of the stroke past 5 o’clock (radial force), the more the bike will move “off-line.” 

To practice this skill on your solo rides, ride the white line on the road and focus on even pedaling between both legs. Try different gear/cadence ratios and look at the line 20 feet in front of you. Once you think you’ve got it, take it one step further: stay on the white line and maintain your speed while reaching for your bottle, take a drink and replace it. The Empire State Ride is a long ride and you’ll have to drink often, so I strongly encourage you to practice and get comfortable with taking in fluids without disrupting the paceline. 

For this blog, I am focusing on single file paceline because it’s the easiest to master and safest for the type of roads you’ll encounter on the Empire State Ride. Because a paceline is structured, it requires consistency, predictability, communication and alertness from all riders. If done properly, a single paceline is much safer than a group of riders strewn haphazardly across the road because no movements are arbitrary. So, let’s start at the front. 

Leader's Responsibility

When you are at the front leading the group in a paceline, you have a huge responsibility and need to stay aware of that the entire time. If you’re the person taking the long pulls or at the front pulling all day, it’s easy to mentally drift off and forget that everyone behind you is depending on you to guide them safely down the road. You must focus and guide your group defensively and on course. You are constantly looking for road hazards and potentially dangerous traffic situations while maintaining a speed the group can handle and all the while looking for those #ESR21 directional arrows. It’s a lot to take on. 

keeping the pace at the front steady

The number one mistake riders make is picking up speed when it’s their turn to take a pull. The second biggest is when the rider signals that they are done pulling, move to the side and keep the speed the same. Both the cyclists who is coming to the front for their turn to pull and the one who just finished their pull have the biggest impact on the pace of the group. Make sure that when it’s your turn at the front, you maintain the same speed and avoid surging. Don’t be a “Sergio.” Don’t go to the front and accelerate. If you surge, gaps will open, the draft effect is minimized and the paceline turns into a slinky. If you are a strong rider, take a longer pull at the front, not a faster one. 

The rider who is pulling off will force an increase in the pace by not slowing down enough once they’ve moved over. If you move over and don’t scrub speed, the rider pulling through has to speed up to pass. When you’re done pulling, move to the appropriate side and then slow down 1-2 mph so that the pulling rider can pass you at the same speed you were pulling at. 

in the line micro adjustments

It’s nearly impossible for everyone to put forth equal amounts of effort, especially on undulating terrain. You need to make micro adjustments along the way to prevent the line bunching together or getting strung out with big gaps. Think of it like driving a car. You don’t slam on the brakes, then hit the gas; you moderate your speed with small adjustments to the gas pedal.

To do that in a paceline, try some of these techniques. 

  • Soft pedaling – When you begin to get sucked into the rider in front of you, take a light pedal stroke or two to micro adjust your speed accordingly. Try not to stop pedaling and over adjust.
  • Shifting – Being in the right gear/cadence ratio will make your soft pedaling more effective. If you’re in too light of a gear, soft pedaling will not micro-adjust your speed down and too big a gear will force you to stop pedaling to reduce speed and then difficult to micro adjust your speed back up. Again, think of this as your gas pedal. It would be much more difficult to maintain a steady speed if the pedal has no resistance against your foot (gear to light) or requires a huge force to push it down (gear too big). 
  • Feathering the brakes – Gently use the brakes while continuing to pedal or soft pedal. You can also reduce your speed without braking by raising your body to create more air resistance or moving over slightly out of the draft of the person ahead of you. You want to avoid over adjusting and moving forward or backwards too fast. 
  • Field of view – Don’t focus on the wheel directly in front of you. It’s an instinct when riding in a line, but it gives you zero time to react should something go wrong. Keep your head up and check about 10 meters down the road. Look through holes in the leading rider—over their shoulder, under their arm or through their legs—and ride proactively instead of reactively. This will help keep the line moving smoothly. 
  • Conserve energy – If you’re starting to feel tired from pulling, sit out a few turns until you’re ready to take another pull. Simply open a spot for riders to rejoin the line in front of you or come to the front and immediately pull off and drift to the back. You don’t have to take a pull at all if that’s what works for you.
  • Starting from scratch – If you’re new to this, the best way to start out pace line riding is with a partner you trust who is a smooth rider. Start out following them with about 2 feet of space between your bikes or greater if you’re not comfortable being that close. Gradually close the distance to whatever your nerves can stand. Ideally you want to be six to 12 inches away. 

a word about risk

The efficiency of riding in a pace line comes at the cost of added risk. Riding in a pace line is not as safe as riding by yourself. If the rider ahead of you (or behind you or on either side for that matter) does something unexpected, you could find yourself on the pavement in an instant. Don’t ride in a paceline unless you’re willing to assume these risks. 

And finally, I leave you with this.

There are three basic rules to paceline riding: 

  1. Don’t do anything suddenly
  2. Don’t do anything suddenly!
  3. DO NOT DO ANYTHING SUDDENLY!! 

See you all soon,

 Coach Charlie

Join our 500+ Mile Challenge

If you are interested in our 500+ mile adventure across the state of New York, but worried about committing due to training and fundraising, we have the perfect solution.

Enter the Empire State Ride virtual 500+ mile challenge.

This virtual cycling challenge offers you a way to get a taste for the Empire State Ride right in your hometown. During the month of July, you choose when and where to ride 500+ miles.

By signing up for our cycling fundraiser, you’re advancing cancer research from the seat of your bike. While there are no registration fees or fundraising minimums, you can still make a difference. Your donations are impacting the future of cancer research and saving lives and many people will support that.

And that’s not all. You can also qualify for exciting rider rewards as a token of appreciation from our team!

when you raise $500

We will send you a welcome gift, complete with a t-shirt and items to celebrate your mileage milestones.

When you raise $1000

You will receive a special 500+ Mile Challenge cycling jersey.

Additionally, as a virtual rider, you still get access to all the amazing perks our weeklong and custom riders get. You can join our private Facebook group with your fellow riders to meet and share advice with ahead of the 500+ mile adventure.  

As you continue your adventure, you will have access to a fundraising coordinator, cycling coach, physical therapist and much more. Our road warriors are cyclists located all over the country and you will be part of a special group.  You choose when and where to ride and see how you stack up to other fellow riders!  

Taking on a challenge is always fun, but it’s even better when coupled with the opportunity to make a difference. This is a cycling challenge that you won’t want to miss.  

Charlie’s Tips: Nutrition and Hydration for ESR Training

ESR Riders:

May is here and the weather is starting to favor outdoor rides again. If you’re following the ESR Training Plan, the volume of your weekend endurance rides is starting to build to the point that we need to start to pay attention to nutrition to make sure you have the fuel for the work required.

In my coaching practice, I spend equal amount of time prescribing training and fueling strategy necessary to complete the workouts. In this era of low carbohydrate diets, getting my athletes to consume enough carbohydrates is a struggle, but when they do, the difference in the consistency of their moderate to high intensity efforts is astonishing. And this, my friends, is where the magic happens.

Carbohydrate needs may be different at different exercise intensities. When the exercise intensity is low and total carbohydrate oxidation rates are low, carbohydrate intake recommendations may have to be adjusted downwards.

With increasing exercise intensity, the active muscle mass becomes more and more dependent on carbohydrate as a source of energy. Both an increased muscle glycogenolysis and increased plasma glucose oxidation will contribute to the increased energy demands. It is therefore reasonable to expect that exogenous carbohydrate oxidation will increase with increasing exercise intensities.

Hydration is perhaps even more critical to get right for all workouts. One of my favorite quotes, “nutrition doesn’t work in a dehydrated environment,” sums it up well.

Here’s a great in-depth article written by CTS Coach Renee Eastman that spells it all out.

Be well and Train Right! 

Charlie Livermore l Pro Coach Carmichael Training Systems

Julie’s Story: A journey of fate, struggles and a rediscovered passion

When Julie had shortness of breath in May of 2020, she thought she had COVID-19. When that turned into chest pains and her heart racing one night, she thought it was a heart attack. She told her wife who quickly called an ambulance.

Halfway to the hospital, all her symptoms mysteriously disappeared. However, the EMT explained to Julie that it was protocol to take her and check her over, so they continued on to a local hospital in Watertown, NY. 

After arriving, her vitals were checked and doctors ran numerous blood tests. While everything came back clear, the ER attending physician decided to do a chest CT scan because “crazy things are happening” in 2020. This decision saved her life.

The ER doctor told her that both lung cavities were full of blood clots and that every blood vessel inside both lung cavities had clots in them. She was immediately admitted to figure out what was going on. 

Within 12 hours, an abdominal CT scan, a pelvic ultrasound and a transvaginal ultrasound were administered and confirmed the clots were caused by enlarged cysts on both ovaries. 

Within 24 hours, a blood test confirmed Julie had ovarian cancer. 

Julie couldn’t believe it. She had no history of cancer in her family.

When deciding where to get treatment, health insurance options and opinions from friends and family pointed Julie to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York. Even though she was receiving treatment in the middle of a pandemic, she never once felt unsafe at Roswell Park due to the staff and safety protocols put in place.

“I know it’s scary as hell, but as soon as I left Roswell, I knew I would be safe.”

While going through treatment, Julie was thinking of ways to bounce back from her diagnosis. As a former athlete, she wanted to do something physical and her doctor told her how important it is to be active.

“I’m totally out of shape and full of steroids and drugs, but asking myself ‘what am I going to do when I’m done with this? What can I do physically to get on the other side?’”

Enter the Empire State Ride.

A challenge awaits

The night before her second chemotherapy infusion, Julie was reading a digital newsletter from Roswell Park when she stumbled across an announcement about the upcoming Empire State Ride. She checked out the website, read through the blogs, even watched the documentary on YouTube , and was left speechless – she had to be a part of this.

Julie knew the importance of getting her body moving while still going through treatment and decided participating in the Empire State Ride was the perfect goal.

“Everyone has this idea that when you come out of treatment, you’re a weakling and shouldn’t be doing [active things] to your body. 

“So I said, ‘This is a total reality.’ I have a stationary bike in the basement. I’ll just pedal a little bit after chemo.”

That’s exactly what she did. Not only did it feel good to move, it also brought Julie back. A torn ACL from college basketball led her to discover cycling as a great form of exercise. In 1995 when she was 24, she sold her car and did a cross-country trip on her bike. She also did the Bicycle Tour of Colorado in 1997, so the Empire State Ride will be her first weeklong tour in a while. But, she was not only excited about getting back into her passion, but  also to find a way to give back to Roswell Park.

“Going through chemotherapy and cancer changes you. When I saw the [ESR] documentary, it brought tears to my eyes. It was the spark I needed to think about what was going to motivate me to get into shape in 2021 after I was finished with my active treatment. Seeing the inspiring stories of the ESR riders who rode for loved ones who they lost due to cancer was gut-wrenching. I thought, ‘What if I could ride in ESR in 2021? How inspiring would that be for riders who lost loved ones due to cancer and what about cancer survivors? What if I could inspire a cancer survivor to ride in the Empire State Ride?’

“A bike tour is a moving social event. You become friends for life with those that you meet. You get to spend time with people on a level that is not possible in today’s crazy-busy world. The feeling I had was that, ‘Yes, I can do #ESR21.”

For Julie, cancer was a wake-up call and she is determined to create what she wants out of life as a cancer survivor.

“Cancer wakes you up. It makes you focus on things you might not have been focused on before, in terms of health. I knew coming through the other side of it, I would be a different person in 2021. I knew training for this would be a huge jumping off point.”

You can support Julie’s adventure here or join her on the road and become a part of the Empire State Ride 2021.

Details of the official #ESR21 route

July will be here in no time, which means the Empire State Ride is getting closer. If you’re still on the fence about participating or trying to figure out your plans before committing, we have something that will help – check out the official route. 

Let's Break it down

Day 1

Staten Island to Yorktown Heights. 58+ miles and 1,700 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 2

Yorktown Heights to Rhinebeck. 79+ miles and 3,900 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 3

Rhinebeck to Albany. 75+ miles and 2,800 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 4

Albany to Utica. 98+ miles and 3,300 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 5

Utica to Weedsport. 83+ miles and 1,900 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 6

Weedsport to Spencerport. 76+ miles and 2,100 ft. elevation gain.​

Day 7

Spencerport to Niagara Falls. 77+ miles and 1,700 ft. elevation gain.

When you participate in the Empire State Ride, you are not only advancing cancer research from the seat of your bike, but also taking on a unique cycling challenge. All riders get access to: 

  • Tenting accommodations, which includes a tent, air mattress, camp chair and fresh towels
  • Catered breakfast and dinner every day
  • Rest stops every 15 – 20 miles
  • On-site bike repairs
  • Support and gear vehicles
  • Charging stations 
  • and more
 And a couple other things to note:
  •  Some riders choose to stay in a hotel for the entire week or for several nights. Any rider who chooses this option is required to make the arrangements themselves and cover the expenses. We do have room blocks available, but spots are limited. 
  • All riders will end their route at camp each night, but there will be limited hotel shuttles provided to transport riders to and from the hotel at designated times.
  • There will be a charter that departs from Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, July 24 and takes riders to Staten Island for a $75 fee. This charter takes riders and luggage, but not bikes, so if you choose to take advantage of this, you will need to plan how to get your bike to Staten Island. If you’re in the Buffalo area, you can drop off your bike on Thursday at the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and we will truck it to the start line. Or you can ship your bike through Campus WheelWorks, our partner bike shop, and our team will truck your bike to the start line. 
  • Additionally, there will be a charter that departs from Niagara Falls back to Staten Island on Sunday, August 1 at 8:30 a.m. for a $75 fee. You can ship your bike back home through Campus WheelWorks. Our team will transport it from Niagara Falls to Campus WheelWorks. 
  • If you’re driving to either Buffalo to take the charter or to Wagner College in Staten Island, there will be free, week-long parking for both. 
  • All registered riders get access to a travel planner, which includes access to this information like how to ship your bike, the in-person experience and more. 
Ready to make your summer an adventure? Commit to the Empire State Ride and start making a difference. 

Why you need to come to New York State for this cycling adventure

When you think of New York State, what comes to mind? 

Most likely New York City and the Statue of Liberty. Probably crowded subway stations and endless crowds. Maybe even snowstorms in Buffalo. Or a certain football team that still hasn’t won a particular championship game that takes place every February. You know the one…with the funny commercials and a big concert halfway through, but that we can’t write in this blog post because it’s trademarked. Yeah, that one. 

The truth is New York State is so much more than all those things and it’s a total dreamland for cycling. 

No, seriously.

Rolling hills, challenging elevation gains and superb summer weather make it the perfect setting for an adventure.

Particularly a 500+ mile adventure across the entire state that advances cancer research. Do we have your attention now?

Good. 

Enter the Empire State Ride. One state. Seven days. 500+ miles.

Here’s what you need to know. 

It's a challenge

Cycling across an entire state isn’t easy and the Empire State Ride is no exception.  We begin in New York City, travel up the Hudson River to the capital of Albany, then climb our way over through Syracuse and Rochester, and end at one of the natural wonders of the world – Niagara Falls. 

The good news? We’re cycling in the summer – this year, from July 25 through 31. So you don’t have to worry about snow. 

The bad news? You’ve got the hills, heat and humidity working against you. 

But, who doesn’t love a good challenge? Not only will you get the chance to push yourself to your limits, but you’ll also get the chance to see New York like never before.

And who knows – you may even end up loving it. 

It's Impactful

Taking on a challenge is always fun, but it’s even better when coupled with the opportunity to make a difference. 

At its core, the Empire State Ride is a fundraiser. Every year, our road warriors help to advance cancer research from the seats of their bikes by each committing to raise the required $3,500 minimum. And they have real impact. 

Funds raised support America’s first cancer center, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, which provides treatment and care for more than 44,000 patients from 41 states and four foreign countries every single year.

Our road warriors have helped fuel groundbreaking research, like clinical trials for CIMAvax, a cutting-edge lung cancer vaccine, and phase II trials for SurVaxM, a brain cancer vaccine. 

When you choose to take on this adventure, not only are you tackling something only the most elite cyclists have accomplished, but you’re also fueling national and international cancer research. 

It's Fully Supported

This photo was taken in 2019 pre-pandemic.

You’re never alone on the Empire State Ride. Not only will you be a part of the official class of #ESR21, but our staff is here to fully support you, before, during and after the adventure. 

We know raising $3,500 can be intimidating, but our fundraising team is here to help you meet – and exceed – your goal. You’ll get access to many tools, including but not limited to email templates, a mobile app, business cards with a QR code that links to your fundraising dashboard and is unique to you, worthwhile rewards to aim for, and more. You’ll also be invited to our private Facebook group where you can meet us and your fellow riders pre-adventure to get to know one another and exchange advice.

When it comes down to the in-person experience, all you have to worry about is cycling those 500+ miles. We’ll take care of everything else, including rest stops every 15 – 20 miles, tenting accommodations, luggage trucks, showers and restrooms, catered breakfasts and dinners, onsite bike repairs and more. 

We know that COVID-19 is still a threat, but we are working with state officials to keep everyone safe by following CDC and New York State guidelines. Check out our FAQ page for more information on these details. 

#ESR21 is a whirlwind – it’s challenging, it’s intense, it’s impactful. It’s lifechanging and it changes lives. If you’re ready for an adventure in 2021, look no further than the Empire State Ride.  

Fundraising made easy: connect your dashboard with Facebook

Fundraising $3,500 is a challenge, but when armed with the right tools and attitude, it’s easier than you think. 

One of the best tools to help with your #ESR21 fundraising is integrating your online fundraising dashboard with your personal Facebook page. This utilization allows you to easily spread the word about your fundraiser and track your progress right on Facebook. You can also quickly send updates on your progress, making it that much easier to reach your goal. Additionally, your friends and family can donate when scrolling through their newsfeeds. The best part? Your progress will be reflected in your fundraising thermometer, both on Facebook and on your Empire State Ride fundraising page, so people can stay up to date on your journey. 

Here's How to Connect Your Fundraiser to Facebook

Log in to your fundraising dashboard

Scroll down and click "Connect Fundraiser on Facebook"

You'll be redirected to Facebook and a pop-up window appears. Click 'Continue' or 'Ok.'​

Either you'll be brought to your Facebook Fundraiser or you will be prompted to go to your Facebook Fundraiser from your dashboard.​

Edit your fundraising information, including title, description, goal amount, end goal and more.​

Promote your Facebook Fundraiser by sharing or inviting people to your fundraiser to start getting donations!

This tool will allow you to spread the word about your fundraiser, engage directly with donors and reach more people than you ever thought possible.

6 ways to use the#ESR21 fundraising app

Fundraising $3,500 can be a challenge. But with the right passion, hard work and tools, anyone can do it. Download the Empire State Ride fundraising app, which makes reaching the fundraising commitment easier.

Now, everything you need to be a successful fundraiser will be located in one place on your mobile device. Features of the app include:

  • Monitoring your fundraising progress
  • Sharing your page using social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and SMS
  • Viewing and managing donations
  • Updating your page with a personalized story and photo
  • Integrating with Facebook to start a fundraiser
  • Easily importing email contacts and sending emails

The app is available for both Apple and Android devices. Head to either the App Store or Google Play, search Empire State Ride Fundraising and select download – it’s that easy.

Take a Tour of the App

With this new tool, there’s so much you can do. Here are 6 ways to make the most out of it.

Monitor Your Fundraising Progress

Once you log in using your credentials from registration, you will see your fundraising progress. Here, you can:

  1. Track your goal
  2. Adjust your goal
  3. See your team’s progress (if on a team)

Share Your Page

Now that you’ve made the commitment to fundraise for cancer research, it’s time to spread the word. The Empire State Ride app makes it easy to share your personalized page across many platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and SMS. You can share your page from three different locations on the app:

  1. Home (right under your fundraising progress)
  2. Donors
  3. Page

View and Manage Donations

Keep track of your donations all under the Donors tab. You can see who’s donated to your efforts and how much they gave. You’ll be able to thank them right through the app, too. Additionally, you can opt to be notified via email when you receive a donation. This is a great option to make sure you never miss a chance to say thank you to a donor.

Update Your Page and Picture

Updating your page and photo just got easier. Instead of needing a desktop or laptop, now all you need is your phone and the app.
Make sure to update the story of why you’re participating in the Empire State Ride. This will help donors understand your drive and passion, which can ultimately lead to donations.

Integrate with Facebook

Facebook fundraising is an incredible tool to reach more donors than ever. Integrating your personalized page with the social media giant is one of the best things you can do. Now, you can do it through the app with one simple click. Simply scroll down on the home screen and click “Connect to Facebook.”

Send Emails to Contacts

If you have your email contacts stored on your phone, you can easily import them into this app. It automatically syncs with your address book, making it that much easier to reach out to your contacts to spread the word about your #ESR21 fundraiser.

The Empire State Ride Fundraising app will help you reach and exceed your fundraising goals. Download it today to get started.

3 Tips for Tackling 500+ Miles

3 Tips for Tackling 500+ Miles

Greetings ESR riders!

I wish I was giving you these tips on how to get through 500+ miles live and in person after a good day on the bike, Greg’s map review talk, a great catered dinner under the tent and the inspiring words from Terry and the survivors we get to hear from.

The ESR ride has been a major “BIG FUN” week in my life for the last 4 years and I’m going to miss it dearly this year. But here we are making the most out of a difficult situation – thriving vs surviving. Because that’s who we are!

The range of riding experience and fitness level of ESR riders made it a bit of a challenge to come up with the three best tips that everyone can use to help tackle riding 500+ miles.

I was recently on a cycling vacation in North Carolina that gave me some time to ponder the basics of what makes long distance bike riding enjoyable and what can make it feel like punishment.

On Day Three of my ride, I made a huge hydration/nutrition mistake on a long hard ride that resulted in the worst 40 minutes that I’ve had on a bike in years. This reminds me that no matter how fit or experienced a cyclist is, hydration and nutrition can make or break you.

I also happen to be on a new bike that I’ve only done 3 rides on. I’ve had a dozen bike fits in my time as a cyclist and have fitted over 100 athletes on the Retul system myself so I know when my position is right for me. Still it took 5 rides of tiny adjustments to get it perfect.

I was also fortunate to get to ride with my friend (and yours) Katie Hamister. Talking with Katie about her accident and how she thinks about safety now inspired me to include this topic as one of my tips.

Kudos to everyone who has been putting in the miles and raising funds during the ESR challenge in July and best of luck to everyone of you for taking on this next challenge.

So here are my 3 tips that I hope will help you exceed you goals.

Tip #1: Hydration and Nutrition

In order of priority, hydration trumps nutrition. Nutrition doesn’t work in a dehydrated state. It’s August hot now and your body’s cooling mechanism is sweat.

You must replace both the liquid and the electrolytes that make up your sweat. The less acclimated you are to heat the more electrolytes you lose through sweat.

  • Drink 1 to 1.5 bottles per hour. Depending on the intensity and length of the ride.
  • Use an exercise hydration product that focuses primarily on replenishing electrolytes vs carbohydrates.
  • If you have a computer that has an “Alert” feature, program it to remind you to drink every 10-20 minutes. The latest research recommends drinking greater amounts every 20 minutes vs small sips every 10 minutes. If you choose every 20 minutes, you’ll need to drink a third of your bottle at a time. Either way, you’ll be fine.
  • Drink before and after your ride.
  • Try not to ride during the hottest part of the day.
  • The rate at which you consume carbohydrates during your ride depends on the intensity and length. See the recommendations based on the latest science below.
  • Important to remember that the amount of calories in a bar or peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for example, is not made up of 100% carbohydrates. When you’re calculating your energy needs use grams of carbohydrates vs calories for you measurements.

Tip #2: Comfort via Bike Fit

I know, I’m always harping on this bike fit thing. Thing is until you’ve had a professional fit, you just don’t know what you don’t know. The level of comfort and biomechanical efficiency you’ll get from a bike fit can be transformational. As an added benefit a good fit will greatly decrease overuse injuries.

  • Regardless of the kind of bike you’re riding, it must be the right size for you.
  • Your flexibility/mobility determines how your position on the bike should be.
  • The width of your sit bones determines your saddle width. This has little to do with gender or body composition/shapes.
  • Comfort should be your #1 priority for a 500+ mile challenge.
  • The standard on bike fitting systems is Retul.

Tip #3: Safety

Now that you’re properly positioned on your bike and have a hydration and nutrition strategy you’re ready to tackle this challenge. Your #1 goal should be your safety.

  • Install a flashing rear light on your bike. Even better are rear lights with radar that shows oncoming vehicles on your bike computer. I use the Garmin Varia.
  • Wear bright colored jersey. Bright green and red jerseys are the most visible.
  • Keep your eye on the road when your drinking from your bottle (don’t till your head up and look at the sky) instead hold the bottle level and squeeze for water flow.
  • Ride defensively. Although you may have the “right” by law, assume that vehicles will not exercise them in your favor. Be aware of “the worst case scenario” in any situation.
  • Hold on to your handlebars. The images below illustrate what I mean by this. In image 1, the rider is merely placing weight on the hoods. In image 2, the rider is holding the bars while placing weight on the hoods. The same applies in images 3 and 4. When the thumb is over the bars vs. under the bars. Those of you who have heard me speak bout this know it as “the hook.”

Be Well!
Coach Charlie Livermore, CTS Pro Coach