Mid-June is here, and in the midwest that is the prime season for multi-day bicycling events. These events can range from 2 days (like the already-complete MS150) to a week or more (events like Bike Across Minnesota, TRAM, CANDISC, RAGBRAI, etc.).
And if you’re doing an event such as these or similar, your butt wants to talk to you and make sure you’re prepared.
- Training: A truism of a one-day event is that if you can usually do between 1/3 and 1/2 of the event distance on a regular basis, you ought to be able to finish. This is true for single-day rides only. Do not rely on such things to do day after day of personal best mileage. You need to put in some serious butt-in-saddle time before a ride like CANDISC or RAGBRAI. Do some shorter hammer rides on weeknights, longer rides at an event pace on weekends. There are many recommended mileage programs online and in magazines. Find one. Follow it.
This will make the event more enjoyable (maybe) and also not make you a burden on organizers.
- Bring several pairs of shorts. Do not bring any brand new shorts. Know your chamois. Know that it doesn’t leave bizarre butt pimples and rashes. It’s also best to bring shorts of different brands where possible if you aren’t a berserker brand loyalist or pro rider who is paid to be brand loyal no matter the brand. Different chamois rub in different spots day over day, so if something should emerge as a result of the extended use/multi-day opportunity, you have a backup that won’t keep opening that one sore. Yeah, THAT sore, the one that really hurts.
- Events like this tend to roll rain or shine, save for the type of rain that comes with sirens and mayhem. Deeply consider your love of your white shorts. Do you love them that much? Wear them in the shower one morning then pose in front of the mirror. How’s the view? This is best not tested in field conditions, for the good of your fellow riders. There are some exceptions, but be absolutely sure that you are an exception in a mind other than your own before prancing in wet white shorts, please.
- Chamois butter of some kind really is your friend, even if you’ve not used it before.
- If you aren’t wearing bib shorts, be absolutely sure your jersey back covers down below the shorts waistband. Or, apply some lotion to the area between midback and buttcrack just to be sure. You will appreciate not having a burned waistline area later when trying to sleep.
- Fiber. Eat it. Nothing is worse on a multi-day ride than having intestinal mayhem as a result of road food. Fiber won’t cure every possible issue, but it helps with many. Packing some Immodium tablets is a preventive measure that may make you someone’s hero (or even your own).
Your butt and fellow riders will appreciate your compliance with these tips.