Image of the December 2020 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
December 2020 Issue
Home / Articles / Great Rides

Cycle trail preparation

On the Motu’s Pakihi Track. Photo: Studio Zag

To make the most of your Great Ride adventure, you need to be bike-fit. Expert bike fitter and endurance cyclist Karl Murray shows you how.

The time you can spend riding a cycle trail will depend on how much time you spend preparing. It will also determine just how much you enjoy your chosen cycle trail.

If you’re just starting out with the easier graded Great Rides, you don’t need to put in too much effort. Two months before you intend to ride a trail, I suggest you start preparing by riding between 30-60min each weekday and to do at least a few hours over the weekend which could be as little as two 90min rides and up to two three-hour rides. Ride at a pace that allows you to finish on your bike.

More experienced
Some of the better cycle trails span hundreds of kilometres and need to be done over several days. For these rides, you need to begin training at least six weeks in advance and build up the distance and time spent riding.

Your training schedule could look like this: Monday is a rest day, Tuesday ride 15km, Wednesday ride 25km and Thursday ride 40km. Friday would be an easy 20km and Saturday a firm pace for 40km and Sunday a longer ride day starting at 50km.

Apply this method to the weeks, with increments to each day. So week one has 190km, week two has 200km and week three has 210km. Then week four is an easier week at 180km. Keep building on this to cover more distance so that you eventually cover the distance of your chosen cycle trail at least one week before you ride it. The final week should be an easy week – don’t overdo it.

If you’re riding the more difficult trails, you will need to increase both the time and distance covered in your training and begin your training up to three months out from the ride.

– Karl Murray runs Rouleur Cycles in Auckland