Cycling Training Tips, Straight from a Pro

Joining the 2014 Tour de Cure Women’s Series is Robin Farina, professional cyclist and President of the Women’s Cycling Association. Robin began her cycling career more than 10 years ago and was a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic long team. Today she owns an elite coaching company, RF Training, where she trains cyclists and tri-athletes of all levels. She is also the co-owner of Uptown Cycles in Charlotte, N.C., one of the premier bike shop/training centers in the country.

Today Robin shares her tips for choosing and preparing for a cycling event! Whether you’re a casual biker or an experienced cyclist, signed up for the Women’s Series or our regular Tour de Cure, you’ll want to read on!

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robin farinaI am so thrilled to be part of the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure Women’s Series this year. The Women’s Cycling Association and I are truly passionate and committed to women in cycling. I feel that these events will help encourage women to get involved in cycling and, at the same time, raise critical funds to stop the growing diabetes epidemic.

As a cycling coach and professional athlete it my job to not only help people train properly for their goal event, but also help them feel as prepared as possible for the big day. I want to share a handful of tips and pointers that have proven very useful for fellow cyclists.

Training and Preparation

Being prepared is the most important thing that will ensure an enjoyable and successful ride. First, let’s focus on the physical part of your event—because that may be foremost on your mind.

The Tour de Cure Women’s Series seeks to help more women feel confident and empowered on their bikes (and men as well!). To do this, the Association offers courses/distances that all accommodate riders—after all, it’s a ride and not a race!

When deciding among the route options, it’s best to choose a distance you have already achieved or come close to. Also consider the elevation gain, or the amount of climbing on the ride. That can add to the challenge, no matter the route distance.

If you have done several 50+ mile rides, choosing the longer metric century routes for the Women’s Series would be appropriate (either 66 or 67 miles). If you are a beginner cyclist, choose one of the shorter distances offered.

Still a little daunted? Know that there will be rest stops and support vehicles along the route. Make sure you stop at the rest stops to fuel up on your ride, use the restroom or just give your legs a rest.

What to Bring

Cycling can involve a lot of accessories! Here is a basic checklist of the “must haves” that you should take with you anytime you ride:

  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses
  • Emergency contact card and health insurance card
  • Water bottles (one with water and one with electrolyte drink)
  • Extra food such as a sandwich or a Go Macro bar
  • Cooler and ice for when you depart and return
  • Extra tubes for your bike and a small bike pump
  • Medical supplies (if needed)
  • Clothing and gear
    • Jersey (especially if you’re a Red Rider, someone who rides with diabetes!)
    • Bibs/shorts
    • Base layer (in case it’s chilly)
    • Socks
    • Wind jacket and/or vest
    • Rain jacket and/or vest
    • Arm warmers, leg warmers, knee warmers
    • Shoe covers

During the ride

Finally, remember to pace yourself. Don’t go out too hard or faster than you are used to riding. If you are used to a specific pace, find a group or a couple of riders who you feel comfortable riding with on event day.

Remember, your safety and arriving at the finish feeling great about your accomplishment is the GOAL!

If you live in or near California, I’d like to see you at the Women’s Series! Men are welcome too! You can sign up for one of two events: Southern California (Santa Barbara) on Saturday, Sept. 13, and Northern California (San Francisco East Bay) on Sunday, Oct. 26.

Together we can ride in sisterhood to Stop Diabetes®!

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