Every year I try and go on some sort of cycle tour or trip. Partly because I’m pretty useless at sight seeing or sitting on a beach and I also love cycling! But what other reasons are there to go on a cycle tour and how could it help your performance for triathlon?
- It will make you fitter. Spending several days just focussing on one of your three disciplines such as cycling can have a huge impact on your fitness.
- Spending several days on the bike can improve your neuromuscular recruitment and fitness. This means that your ability to recruit muscle fibres to pedal smoothly, more efficiently and at high and low cadences will improved. This is partly why you can ride yourself fit on a cycle tour. I first discovered this at the end of a 10 Lands End to John O’Groats trip. Even though my legs shot after I’d done more cycling than ever before, I felt amazing on the bike. I discovered I could corner and descend better, my balance was better and for the first time since being a teenager I could ride no handed.
- A cycle tour can challenge your boundaries and the limits you have in your head about how much cycling you can manage. If you have no choice but to ride another 50 miles to get to the next hotel then usually it gets done. Given the time, and no other commitments a cycle tour often helps you to discover that you can ride further and for longer than you think.
- Riding on different terrain can help to improve your cycling skills. In particular in the UK we’re don’t have many big mountains to descend from, so spending some time riding up and down mountains can help to improve descending skills. Sharper bike handling skills all round will make you a faster Triathlete
- Often other countries have quieter roads with less traffic and we noticed this particularly France. This makes riding more enjoyable and easier to get some quality training sessions done.
- It will widen your experience of cycling in different places, on different terrain, with different people and in different weather conditions. This all helps to improve widen your horizons and improve your skills and confidence.
- Having to get up every day and get ready to go cycling helps you to practice preparation for cycling so it happens smoother and more easily. This all helps to make your riding back home more hassle free.
- Riding in different countries can widen your experiences of riding on different terrain and challenge your skills and perceptions of what your strengths and weaknesses are. Riding up mountains in France taught me that I’m much better at longer more gradual climbs than I thought, compared to the shorter, steeper hills we tend to get in the UK. (After our St Malo to Nice trip, I came home full of fitness and brimming with confidence to ride on the lanes around the North Warwickshire Cycle route – only to almost get off and push on some of the little lumps).
- Riding in different places and on different terrain can be refreshing and re-invigorate your love of cycling so that you’re more motivated to train when you get home, or inspired to try some different things.
- It’s fun!
Get in touch to let us know what your favourite cycle tours have been, what you’ve got planned for next year or any recommendations for future trips.