How to Train for BASC

Bicycle Across South Carolina is going to be challenging.  While there are no major mountains to climb in this year’s event, you will be climbing lots and lots of little hills.  This means that not only will you need endurance to complete the event, but you will need “repeatability” so that you can climb all those little hills throughout your day.  Repeatability and endurance come from doing specific training rides.   You will want to increase the mileage that you ride each week by 10% so that you’ll be ready for longer and longer rides.  For those riders doing the “Long” course, you will want to do at least 2 days leading up to the event where you ride 50-60 hilly miles.  For those riders doing the “short” course, you will want to ride at least 2 days before the event of 30-35 hilly miles.    In addition to being able to complete the distances, I would encourage you to do rides that are hilly where you can get in at least 10-15 hills, each about ¼ to ½ mile long.  This applies to both the short and long course riders.

Peaks Coaching Group created training plans just for the riders of BASC.  These are made for beginners, intermediates, and experts and are both 5 and 10 weeks long.  I encourage you to start sooner than later, as in general, your fitness takes about 8 weeks to really improve.  Each training plan is delivered on the www.TrainingPeaks.com platform and you can easily use the free basic account, which includes the phone app.  This way you can access your workouts daily and even have them emailed to you, along with uploading your post-workout data.   Once you have a plan, then you will be given access to our exclusive Training Plan Facebook group, where you can ask coaches any question you might have about your plan, equipment, nutrition, or anything cycling!

For $19.95, it’s a heck of a great deal to prepare you for BASC.   Click here to access the plans.

Not sure if this training plan is right for you? Join our free Virtual Q&A Session on August 25 at 8PM. Click here to register! 

The riding that you do for BASC is not just to improve your cardiovascular fitness and leg muscles, but also to increase the strength and endurance in your lower back muscles, along with toughing up your buttocks!   Riding on a bicycle seat can at first be uncomfortable, but it should never cause pain or numbness.  If you are experiencing either of these, then you need a different saddle.  I would encourage you to go to your local bike shop and purchase a saddle that has a “cut-out” down the center of it.  This relieves pressure and allows you to ride more comfortably.   Many people think more padding or a wider saddle is the answer, but generally, this makes the situation worse.   Finding the right saddle for you is not always easy and you may have to try a couple of different ones before you find just the right one.

One of the key components of a fun ride is that you finish with energy to spare.   This means that you paced yourself correctly and started fit enough to finish strong. All of cycling is about pacing.  We pace ourselves eating, drinking, going up the hills and pushing it over the short hills towards the finish.  Here are some key tips that you should do while training and in the event itself.

  1. In the beginning of your ride, you are fresh and strong, so you’ll want to take off and push it and it’s very hard to resist this desire.  If you are confident, you can finish strong, then I say go for it!  However, if you are concerned about finishing or finishing completely exhausted, then hold back your energy in those first 10 miles, so that you can pace yourself well on the coming hills.   Make sure to drink in that first hour as well.  You might also want to snack on a bar at the first stop to be sure you are fueled for the rest of the ride.
  2. Pedal at a cadence between 85-100 rpm, so that is both comfortable and manageable. You want to strike an economical balance between putting the strain on your cardiovascular system and muscular strength.   If you pedal with a cadence that is too slow, you’ll use too much force on the pedals, which will deplete your energy stores and could cause cramps in the late stages of the event. If you pedal over 100 rpm, then you could bounce in the saddle or your pace (speed) will decrease.
  3. Always eat before you are hungry.  One of the biggest mistakes I see riders making on rides is forgetting to eat. Your rides will be over two hours of steady riding and it’s easy to forget to eat, as you are concentrating on pedaling, staying in your lane, and pacing yourself.  Be certain you eat at least 300 calories at the end of the first hour. You’re burning lots of calories, so keep your engine fueled.
  4. Hydration is also super important, and I would suggest you always have a bottle of water AND a bottle of sports drink with electrolytes.  Alternate between water and your sports drink.  This will help you better absorb the water and make sure you are keeping your energy levels up.  If it’s hot, aim to finish a bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours.
  5. Don’t spend a lot of time at the feed areas. Sure, the volunteers are friendly and it's fun to socialize with other riders, but plan to spend no more than 10 minutes off your bike at a time. Why? Your legs will get tight and slow. Fill up your water bottles and eat a snack. Oh, and do some stretches. Then get back on your bike and finish strong!

In conclusion, the BASC is going to be so much fun and you are going to have a blast!   It’s going to be even more fun when you finish with energy to spare in order to enjoy all the rest of the day’s festivities!  Let’s start training now!

10-Week and 5-Week Plans:   There are two plan options so that you can start training when it best suits you.  Of course, we recommend you start training now!   10 weeks is optimal to begin your training plan, but you can still make great gains if you start 5 weeks out from BASC.

Beginner Plan:  This plan is for anyone doing the short route and that has never ridden more than 30 miles before.   This plan will progressively build up your miles over the 4 or 8 weeks so that you’ll be able to easily complete the short routes.   There are (4) workouts per week so that you can have (2) strong days during the week and get in (2) fun days on the weekend.  It includes rides up to 30 miles.

Intermediate Plan:  This plan can be used for anyone doing the short route that has been riding for a while but wants to increase their fitness so that they finish strong.   Alternatively, this plan can be used for anyone doing the long route, that wants to challenge themselves to finish it with a little energy to spare.  It includes rides up to 50 miles.

Advanced Plan:  This plan can be used for anyone doing the long route, that has been cycling regularly for at least 1 year, and can train harder.  This rider wants to finish ride the route quickly and with strength to spare.  This plan includes interval training and rides up to 60miles long.

10-Week Plans (Aug. 23+)

5-Week Plans (Sept. 13+)

 

****Note: These plans are designed to start on either Monday, August 23rd or Monday, September 13th.   However, you can start the plans when you want. If you are a little late to the game, then you should still “apply” the plan on Aug. 23rd or Sept 13th and then just start the plan on your current date.   If you are early and want to get started right away, then apply the plans on a Monday, and then you will repeat weeks 6, 7, 8 after the plan finishes, so you will have enough workouts leading up to BASC.