You can sign up to ride in your local area at diabetes.org/tour.
If this will be your first long-distance ride, take note of these essential tips from Jonathan Cane, head coach and president of New York's City Coach.
- INVEST IN A GOOD PAIR OF CYCLING SHORTS. Don't let the spandex intimidate you—it's there for a reason. Bike shorts come with padding so those tiny saddles will be comfortable for the long haul.
- FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH BASIC BICYCLE MECHANICS. You should know how to repair a flat tire and adjust your gears and brakes before the ride.
- GET A NUTRITION STRATEGY IN PLACE. Experiment with different foods during your long rides and stick with what works. You don't want to run into any surprises on event day.
- KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD. Assume that everybody and everything could kill you, and always wear protective eyewear and a helmet.
- PUMP UP YOUR TIRES EVERY TIME YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE. Tires lose air overnight and make you more susceptible to flats.
- TAKE IT EASY THE LAST WEEK. Even if you've missed some training rides, cramming in miles as the event approaches will only make your legs tired.
3 CORE ESSENTIALS FOR CYCLISTS
After hours in the saddle, your abs and lower back are bound to feel fatigued, making it difficult to maintain strong cycling form. These exercises will help you keep your core stabilized and solid, even while your other extremities are in motion. Aim for three sets of each exercise, resting for 60 seconds in between sets.
PLANKS WITH GLUTE RAISES
TARGETS: abs, back, glutes, hamstrings
Get into plank position with arms extended as if you were about to do a pushup. (Too hard? Modify it by supporting your weight on your forearms.) Using your glutes, lift your right leg off the ground until it's in line with your back, then pause. Lower and alternate legs for 20 reps.
TARGETS: abs, hips, quads, glutes
Lie flat on the ground with your heels resting on a stability ball. Lift your hips off the ground as you pull the ball toward your butt with your feet. Roll ball away from you and lower hips. Do 15 reps.
TARGETS: abs, lower back, glutes, quads
Lie facedown on the ground. Extend arms and legs slightly off the ground while keeping your gaze down. Move them up and down in small pulses, alternating your right arm/left leg and left arm/right leg. Speed up until you reach a continuous swimming-like motion for 30 seconds at a time.
POWER TO YOUR PEDALS
Because cycling is a non-weight-bearing activity, it's safe (and smart) to strength train your legs during your non-riding days. The more strength you build in your glutes, quads and hamstrings, the easier it will be to power up hills and maintain an efficient pedal stroke. Incorporate these three exercises into your training program to improve your cycling efficiency and decrease your risk of injury. Aim for three sets of each exercise, resting for 60 seconds in between sets.
BALL WALL SQUATS
TARGETS: glutes, quads, hamstrings
Place a stability ball between your lower back and a wall. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and back straight. Bend your knees and use the ball as a roller to squat down, bringing your butt back like you're sitting in a chair. Advanced version: Hold dumbbells at your sides and include a bicep curl on the way down. Do 15 reps.
TARGETS: adductors (inner thigh), quads
Start with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Step sideways two to three feet into a lunge, keeping your planted leg straight. Bend your knee to form a 90-degree angle. Press back up with your bended leg and return to start. Advanced version: Hold a medicine ball. Do 20 reps.
TARGETS: quads, hamstrings, glutes, hips
Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Lunge behind you with the right leg as if you were about take a big step backward. Pause for a moment and return to start. Repeat with opposite leg. Advanced version: Hold dumbbells at your sides. Do 20 reps.