Epic Preparation for Tour de France Challenge
Nothing worth having comes easy.
aerobic fitness to a level where, with a large amount of determination and luck, we would see the Champs-Elysees with over two thousand miles of road behind us and smiles on our faces.
It was very obvious to Kevin and I we were not going to do this on our own so Destination Cycling was hired to take on the logistical duties and a team of riders was formed. A group of ten cyclists was assembled; all with the goal to get Kevin to the finish line, and in the process raise money for the Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton Foundation. The team was assembled with the approach of any professional team; we had riders to fill specific roles. We had some big motors that provided more draft than an open barn door for the flats, as well as a few smaller riders that could set the pace in the hills without putting themselves, or other members of the team, over the edge. The only thing we were missing was a sprinter, because, well, we weren?t sprinting for anything but city limit signs.
The staff was another invaluable addition to the team. So much energy can be wasted on things that seem small and meaningless, but in the big picture, add up and diminish a person?s ability to sit on the bike for a mind-numbing (as well as other areas) amount of time. To help relieve this stress, a mechanic, several massage therapists, and general managers were also brought on to complete the team which, by the time it was finished, resembled nothing short of fully supported professional squad. During an undertaking of such magnitude, even with the complete staff and a team of riders, unforeseen obstacles and bumps in the road can, and of course will, arise and this is what you need to be prepared for.
The foreseeable problems are easy to prepare for if you?re thinking ahead. Keep in mind on this ride, as well as any ride you might be doing that consists of five to 10 hours on the bike each day, you will inevitably encounter problems you?re not going to see on shorter rides. Staying hydrated and consuming enough calories is pretty elementary, but what you might not realize is that after a day or so of eating nothing but what I like to refer to as robot food (energy bars, drinks and gels), your gut can get pretty angry with you and the last thing you need is to stop the forward momentum so you can dive into the woods to take care of some lower GI distress.
Early in long rides and multi-day tours, it?s important to consume real food, and by real food I mean fruit, sandwiches, bagels, whatever you can get your hands on. Ham and cheese sandwiches worked nicely for us, but offered its own challenge. Try to find some smoked turkey in