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Ashley Watson BDS gives us an insight into how difficult long distance cycling can be, and how you achieve an impressive 450 miles in 5 days as an amateur cyclist

A challenge worth supporting…

If you are fed up with people tapping you for money to fund their charitable “holidays” and you think this challenge is something similar, then think again. Sure there are nice days and the scenery can be stunning, but when you’re pedalling down a 10% gradient with your brakes on in the freezing rain just to get to a ski resort alive, then you realise there might be something more to charity challenges.

I am a keen amateur cyclist who eats too many pies in the winter and only exercises at work when I have to reach for my computer, so completing one of these rides can get quite emotional. Very few of us get the free time to cycle in the region of 100 miles consecutively for five days, so training can be difficult, but my advice is – don’t panic. If I can do it – so can you!

Important advice

There are so many bits of advice that you need to take on board such as make sure to eat the right foods at the right time, measure your progress, stay hydrated and find an electrolyte solution that you like. Don’t rely on sticky gels and sweets, they might get you up a hill but then you will fail later on in the ride.ashley-watson-bike-ride-2

Buy the right gear (especially a good saddle and bib shorts), but don’t think you can buy yourself into success, and make sure you exercise on the bike more as you get nearer to the ride as this will help you build energy stores in the correct muscles.

Stay away from the pies

I spend about an hour two to three times a week climbing up the local hills (about 8-9%) and three hours on a Sunday morning cycling around 50 miles with my mate Andrew. The more pies I eat the harder it gets, so the best advice I can give is get out frequently and eat less pies!

The other piece of advice that I was given was to always carry a banana – sure they are great for slow release energy, but if you are saddle sore they make a great addition to your bib shorts!

 If you have been inspired and would like to make a donation visit the Straumann Charity Bike Ride JustGiving Page

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