5 Oct 2017

How I Intend to Train for a 170 mile Cycle Ride

Eeeks! I can’t believe I’ve done it! I have only just gone and said yes to do the Way Of The Roses (Coast-to-Coast or C2C) Cycle Ride next summer. That’s a 170 miles of cycling from Morecambe to Bridlington over the Yorkshire Dales in the north of England. What was I thinking?

Or maybe I wasn’t. I had always wanted to do the C2C as a week-long ramble. But none of my cycling buddies seem interested in walking for seven days. The only way to do it is on a bicycle, they said.

How I Intend to Train for a 170 mile Cycle Ride


So here I am, petrified at the prospect of riding 60 miles every day for 3 consecutive days. It is not the 60 miles that worries me. I did the Blackpool ride in July and that was 60 miles. It is the hill climbs that are making me re-think my decision. The Blackpool ride had a total elevation of nearly 2000 feet. I did it at a sedate pace of under 10 miles/hour on a hybrid bike. The Way of the Roses boasts hills, a couple with ascents of around 1000 feet each. The total elevation for this ride is just under 8000 feet. Ouch!

Mind Games

With Blackpool, I had no clue about the route, the elevation or the topography when I first signed up to it. I probably would not have done it had I checked all the details. All I knew was I had to train, build up my cycling miles and ride my bicycle from Manchester to Blackpool on the day. It’s only after finishing the ride that the mental aspect of it hit me. Your mind plays a huge part in your performance, sometimes even more so than your body.

If I can keep the self-doubt at bay, lose weight, build speed and keep up with the training, I should be able to conquer the Way of the Roses.

Training Schedule

First things first. I need to get a robust training  programme in place. Riding outdoors is becoming increasingly difficult in this weather. I am not ready to invest in a turbo trainer just yet. I have a gym membership that I intend to put to good use over the winter months.

This is what I need to do over the coming months:

  • October to mid-January –  4 gym cycling sessions per week. Try and fit a bike ride in as and when, weather permitting. Average 40 miles/week
  • End-January to February – 2 gym sessions per week (both spinning, if possible) + 20 to 30 mile ride each week
  • March – average 60 miles/week over 2 or 3 rides
  • April – in addition to the shorter 20 or 30 mile rides, fit in one longer 40 to 60 miler each week
  • May, June, July – try and do back to back rides, increasing the distance each time.

Diet and Losing Weight

It’s not all about distance. Speed is an issue as well. I could potter along at 10 miles/hour, but that’s just tedious. I have no wish to spend all day in the saddle. There are two ways I can up my speed. I either upgrade to a lighter bike or I lose weight. I would love to do both.

Let me start by losing weight. I have already dropped a jeans size this year thanks to all the cycling. But there has been no change in weight, which means fat has been replaced by muscle and existing muscle tone has improved. The next step is to carry on building muscle while reducing absolute weight.

There is only one way to do this and it is not easy. I will have to watch what I eat. The refined sugars and processed foods will sadly have to go. There will be no fad diets, no skipping meals, just sensible eating. Lots of fruit and veg, complex carbs, proteins and good fats to make up the 1800 calories I need every day. There will be room for the occasional treat and G&T.


With the training and diet plans in place, the next step is implementation. I will blog about my progress every week so there is a visual reminder of how I am doing.  

What do you make of my training objectives? Do they sound feasible? Have you done something like this and would like to share your experience? Do leave a comment below. All constructive advice gladly received.

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