Cycling prep recommended for Tour

Published 1:49 pm Saturday, April 14, 2018

Riders are preparing for the Hampton Roads Tour de Cure at the end of April, and those preparations start with finding the best fit on your bicycle.

John Maher is captain of Team Portsmouth, which has more than 100 riders for Tour this year and has raised $26,686 as of Saturday. Maher himself has been cycling long distances for more than a decade.

He recommended that riders get a proper fitting at their favorite bike shop. These adjustments will improve performance and comfort before Tour day.

Newsletter

Email newsletter signup

That includes the shape of the handlebars and their positioning for the rider’s particular reach and grip.

“If you start shifting your weight around, putting more pressure on your hands and arms, you’ll get tired and numb,” Maher said in a phone interview. “Then if you shift your weight to your butt, then that’ll get sore.”

“It’s almost a pain spiral, you just feel worse and worse and to add insult to injury, you’re getting tired.”

If the rider sits too far forward, the added knee stress increases the risk of injury, while leaning too far back will reduce pedaling power and strain the lower back. Then there’s the seat, or saddle.

“You need to find the saddle that’s least objectionable,” Maher said. He explained that all saddles get uncomfortable after 100 miles of riding, but each rider should be able to find one that’s less obstructive. “I have the same saddle on all my bikes, because that saddle works for me.”

Ideally, riders have practiced for weeks ahead of the event to condition themselves for the routes ahead of them, according to Maher. That practice comes with an understanding of limitations and the sort of equipment you’ll need on Tour day.

Maher stressed the importance of planning your wardrobe ahead of time. Riders should check weather forecasts — especially in erratic Virginia — and consider how many layers they’ll need to be effective.

Then they need to plan ahead on where they’ll store the clothes in case they need to add or remove layers mid-ride.

“Clothing becomes a strategy of thinking about what you’re going to take with you,” Maher said.

Practice informs riders on their individual “recipes for success,” according to Maher, and part of that is bringing some snacks that you know will sit well on your stomach.

“There’s nothing worse than having a lunch that’s strange to you, and then for the next 15 miles your gut doesn’t feel right,” he said.

The 2018 Hampton Roads Tour de Cure will take place on April 28, beginning and ending at the Suffolk Executive Airport. The route options are 12, 30, 63 and 100 miles. There will also be a 5K run and walk for those that don’t wish to ride.

There is a $30 registration fee and a $200 fundraising minimum. The registration fee will go up to $35 on Tour day. The fundraising goal is $450,000, and approximately $275,669 has been raised as of Saturday.

Visit diabetes.org/hrtdc or call 424-6662 ext. 3269 for more information.