Getting ready for the 2021 ride in just 9 weeks

Preparing for the London to York Tour in May 2021 isn’t as difficult as it may seem. It’s even possible to get fit enough for the ride in just NINE WEEKS by following the simple schedule below.

We’ll be cycling around 60 miles a day. To get your body ready for this challenge, you’ll need to get on your bike 2 – 4 times each week or, if this is difficult, fit in a weekend ride and 2 nights on an exercise bike in the gym.

Every second ride increase the time in the saddle by 10 – 20 minutes. By the time you get to week three or four, you should be able to ride for 60-120 minutes without too much difficulty. Vary the duration of your rides and try to ride a little faster or against greater resistance over the shorter distances or as part of shorter stints in the gym.

The training cycle below is a guide to how your plan might look. At the end of week 9 you’ll be in London ready to start the London – York ride.

Acclimatisation

Recovery

Boost

Final Prep

WEEK

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

Ride time (minutes)

30

30

45

45

45

45

45

60

45

30

45

60

60

45

60

60

60

60

45

45 60 90 45 90 120

120

+ Ride 50 miles

WEEKLY

TOTALS

(minutes)

105

120 165 195 135 195 225 240 105

Make sure that, by week 7, you can ride at least 50 miles in addition to your other time in the saddle. Take a short break half-way round. This will give you an important psychological boost.

Week 6 – a ninety minute ride (up to 20 miles) 

Winter ride Dec 2nd
A quick run out for a coffee to Hillyers’ Garden Centre near Hailsham, East Sussex from Bexhill

The weather for this ninety minute ride wasn’t too bad for early spring. On the plus side, it was mild. Less attractive were the rain, a strong westerly wind and muddy country lanes but, consequently, there was very little traffic and absolutely nobody out horse riding in spite of it being a Sunday. Quite a few hardy cyclists, though, including my wife, Diane. We took things steadily to cover twenty miles.

Week 7 – a 50 mile ride

For a good test, ‘warm up’ for about five miles without doing too much climbing. Then take in some climbing and descents for the next forty miles, making sure that you take a break half way through. Finally, plan for a final five miles of easy cycling to ‘cool down’.

One of my favourite forty mile rides includes some challenging climbs and, to compensate, some long descents. The route takes in the towns of Battle, Hailsham and Bexhill as well as passing through some particularly attractive villages such as Catsfield, Netherfield, Rushlake Green, Cowbeech, Westham and Pevensey. Cycling past the Norman castle at Pevensey is a particular highlight.

Can’t get on the bike ….. try the local gym

Other commitments or bad weather might mean not being able to get out on the bike . So an hour in the gym may have to do. It’s not the same as being out on the road but gym bikes are quite sophisticated and often fun to ride.  Many come with a bewildering array of possibilities including TV and radio options. I usually choose a ‘challenge level’ of 17/25 and a hilly course for my sessions but you may wish to choose something a little less challenging to start with. Aim to push yourself to no more than 80% of your maximum. Otherwise, you will be wasting muscle rather than building it.

IMG_0910 (2)

Above: not a pretty sight – rivers of sweat and bulging thighs. An indication that the ‘challenge level’ may have been set a little too high!

One good thing about using the gym is that it provides a great incentive to get out on the road which, on balance is far less demanding. OK the traffic is a perennial problem but bring on those cooling winds and the chance of the occasional well-deserved freewheel downhill.