With the Ride to Conquer Cancer literally just days away, we sat down with Jordan Myers, a seasoned cycling veteran who has been cycling for 27 years. Currently working as an Event and Project Management Consultant, Jordan is an old friend of ePACT’s Medical Advisor, Dr. Adam Lund. Jordan has completed the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic Ride a whopping eleven times, and participated in Cycle Oregon eight times. He has even represented USA and Canada, and raced on the ITU World Championships Long Distance Triathlon Team! We were ecstatic when Jordan agreed to talk over some important tips for the Ride to Conquer Cancer participants, and hope you find them as informative as we do!
What are some things participants can do before the ride to be ready for the big day?
No amount of training in the last 10 days will make you a better rider. In fact, attempts to “get in shape” the final week may make you more tired before the ride. Focus on what you can control – sleep, stress level, diet, and equipment – all are paramount in the last 72 hours.
- Stress – Many people I know that do a ride or a gran fondo often stress the week of the event that they haven’t ridden enough, that the weather might be bad, or that they are coming down with a cold or injury. This is called the “taper tantrum’s” or pre-event jitters. It’s always OK to have pre-event jitters. It’s good to be little nervous as it means you respect the distance and endeavor ahead of you.
- Don’t over eat or “carbo load” in the hopes of “topping up” some nutritional deficiency.
- Fresh fruit or veggies with lots of water content, like cucumbers or melons, are great.
- In the last 36 hours don’t attempt to make up or “prepare” your body. Keep drinking coffee, have a beer, drink a normal amount of water, and have that glass of wine (of course within moderation). We are creatures of habit. Doing many things outside the norm on many levels has a profound effect if it’s all taken on during the last week before a ride. Many of those changes could be positive, but many of them will make you feel like a fish out of water.
- Post ride, day one – you should prepare yourself for GI distress. Lots of electrolyte drinks, gels, and bars can lead to discomfort due to the mixture of nutrients prepared in many different sport nutrition products. Almost everyone will have a little touch of a gas or sour tummy. Expect and prepare for it, with over the counter gas relief, which has been my personal savior. Also, eat, but don’t over eat. Keep the portions a normal size, and limit yourself on the alcohol.
- Sleep – Get as much sleep during event week that is humanly possible with all of your other commitments. Sit in a quiet room with a magazine or book so you can get to sleep early. From my experience, those who had a lot of sleep always performed well on big races.
- Shorts – Buy the best shorts you can afford, and try on a lot of pairs. This is the most important piece of clothing to own.
- Saddle – This is the single most important piece of equipment. A bad fitting saddle will not only make this ride a pain in the ass (literally) but may prevent you from finishing.
- Buy a saddle that is the proper width, not just gender. Traditional saddles are 133-35mm and very narrow. Now, saddles are offered in a variety of widths as manufactures recognize differences in sit bones & pelvic tilt/ flexibility. Go to a bike shop get your sit bones and bum fitted. My wife realized the “women’s specific saddle” was slightly too wide after she couldn’t do more than hour on her bike. We tried a variety of women’s saddles until we started with a men’s saddle at 143mm. It was the perfect fit for her. Point is, everyone is unique and a proper fitted saddle will make all the difference in the world
- And remember, extra cushion or springs = more rub and chaffing.
- Fenders – Fenders are an absolute savior for road grime and wetness on a long day out in the saddle. If you are going to make any last minute purchase this is it – especially on the West Coast! There are lots of options for road and race bikes with no eyelets that are intended for carbon frames – ‘it can’t fit on my bike’ is not an excuse.
- Glasses – buy a good pair of glasses or sunglasses to protect your eyes from dirt and wind. The strain on your eyes can make you more tired, and although it doesn’t seem like a big deal when you’re out for 3-4 hours, it’s a very big deal after 5-6 hours over two days.
- Chamois Cream (Lube)/Underwear – I worked the first four years of this event organizing the logistics & operations of the medical team, and we saw a number of riders with underwear on, which leads to rubbing. Bike shorts are actually designed to be worn without underwear, so try this if you can. Also use Chamois Cream before the ride and during the ride if needed – it feels weird at first, but that quickly goes away.
- Gloves – Have 2 pairs of gloves, 1 for non-raining riding, and the second for wet weather riding.
- Jacket – Get a close fitting jacket that will not act as a sail in the wind, which this ride has lots of.
- Booties – Think a glove for your feet. On a bike you’re moving at a quick speed, with plenty of wind. Even on days when it’s the temperature is pleasant, a little moisture and your feet will be freezing. Freezing feet = a miserable ride = riding slower = longer day in the rain. Buy yourself some shoe coverings for the wet or colder days. You can buy a loose shell for around $30, or get a very nice waterproof/ fleece lined covering for a little bit extra.
What are some common injuries/incidents that people should be prepared for during such a long ride?
- Rub and chafing – use cream and lubricants often.
- Knee soreness/ tendonitis – strong possibility depending on seat or cleat position.
- Neck and shoulder soreness – There’s a reason your road handlebars are designed the way they are, with many positions to change your grab and reach. Continually stretch and look around while on the bike throughout the day. Your neck and shoulders will thank you for it.
What is a good speed to begin the ride at?
At the start of a ride it is like being in Pampalona running with the Bulls. Year 1 of the Ride to Conquer Cancer we had two broken collar bones in the first 2km because people were not looking, passing on both sides, and not vocalizing their intentions. The start of the ride will be the first and likely only opportunity where most cyclists will ride with more than 10-20 people in a group. You can stay safe and aware by:
- Staying right
- Passing only on the left. I can’t stress this one enough!
- Being vocal, but friendly – we’re all cyclists here with the same goal in mind. When you hear a cyclist say “hold your line” it means to continue riding straight, and don’t make any sudden movements to left or right as they will be attempting to pass you.
What first-aid items do you carry with you?
I bring a small stick of body glide, some gauze and some athletic tape – that’s it. You can wash out any cuts with the water on your bike. Placing gauze on a cut and taping it (a make-shift band aid of sorts) is the most flexible first-aid you can provide until you can get to a station to have it cleaned up properly.
What can participants do if their muscles start to cramp up?
Cramps usually hit at the end of intense workouts or during endurance events because fatigued muscles are more likely to cramp. Carefully plan your fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrate intake to help avoid or delay muscle cramps. Drink a bit on thirst. If you’re cramping, stop and allow the cramp to seize if you’re having one. Once you start cramping, you will need to manage it by drinking & consuming some electrolytes in sips, not gulps.
The R2CC is a two day event – any tips on recovery after day one to help make getting back on the bike day two easier?
Surround yourself with good people, and tell lots of jokes. Mentally, the more you’re relaxed the easier this will be, so humor is huge. Whatever you do on day one will be amplified on day two (the good and the bad), and proper gear will ensure that day two is easier.
With the unpredictable weather, what are some ways people can stay warm for the duration of the ride?
Socks. This sounds crazy, but if the ride is long enough, and I know I may be in the saddle for longer than five hours, I get a ziplock bag and place a fresh pair of socks in it. This is a small luxury, but taking care of your feet, especially when the weather is unpredictable, makes a huge difference. Fenders are the most important last minute purchase, and don’t forget about booties, a jacket, and gloves.
After such an extensive trip, how can people cool down properly?
- Bring a jacket or something to stuff in your pocket. Put it on when you stop at stations.
- Don’t stay at a station for longer than 15 minutes, and 30 for lunch. The longer you stop the harder it is to get back on the saddle. It’s good to get off and stretch, but also good to keep focused on the goal in getting to camp or the finish line.
What are your top tips for participants in this year’s ride?
- Remember that it’s not a race, and to smile. You use less energy and muscles in your face smiling than you do being miserable, so use it to get through a tough moment.
A huge thank you to Jordan for providing this incredible advice, and helping Ride to Conquer Cancer participants with these great and helpful tips! We wish all of you a safe and fun ride! If you’re not participating but know someone who is, be sure to share this post with them so they are as best prepared for the conditions as possible. You can also connect with Jordan on LinkedIn!
To keep all Ride to Conquer Cancer participants safe on the road, we are proud to offer free ePACT organization accounts to teams! Stay connected with your team, and get quick access to information in an emergency. Sign up online or feel free to contact our Customer Service team toll-free at 1-855-773-7228 ext. 1.
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