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Strong Cyclists During Cycling Holiday A cycling tour can be a physically demanding holiday where even strong cyclists can struggle at times. However, there are certain steps to take to help you stay strong and get the most out of your cycling holiday.

Here we look at ways that you can save energy, improve your fitness and ensure that you are riding as strongly at the end of the holiday as you were at the beginning.

Preparation - Building a Base

Build fitness early You may be sick of hearing this from people, but the best way to say strong throughout a cycling holiday is to begin it with a solid base of fitness. Generally on active tours like this, cyclists with a good base get stronger as the trip progresses, while those without a good base level tend to struggle much more towards the end.

Cycling just once per week beforehand, doing the same distance that you will do daily on your cycling holiday is not really sufficient preparation - unless you have chosen a holiday which you know is well within your capabilities. At a minimum you should try to get some consecutive rides in (e.g. saturday and sunday) so that your body has some practice at riding while not fully recovered from the previous ride.

It is also a good idea to do some rides significantly longer and with more climbing than those on your cycling holiday. If you are only just able to complete the daily distance on one training ride, you will really struggle to do the same for five or six days in a row during the actual holiday.

Pace Yourself on the Holiday

Many times we have seen people ride too hard on the first couple of days of a cycling holiday, only to then really struggle for the remainder of the week. Always try to ride within yourself during the first two or three days, so that you finish the rides relatively fresh. It is not a good idea to try to follow every wheel that passes you or to always push hard to be the first up a climb.

Go at a steady pace on the first rides of the holiday and then, if you still feel really good, you can push yourself really hard towards the end. This is a much better way of doing it than starting off too hard and then not really enjoying your last rides.

Also remember that the pace that you ride at home on a saturday is not necessarily a pace that you can sustain for five or six consecutive rides.

Eat, Eat, Eat!

Fabada Asturiana One of the great things about a cycling holiday is that you can eat with impunity and not put on any weight, given all the energy that you will be using on the bike. Cycling burns a lot of calories and it is important to replace these each day. Glycogen, which is predominantly stored in the muscles, is the fuel that gives your legs the zip and fresh feeling when you are riding. Most people can store enough glycogen to last for one or two rides; however, if you don't replace this you will find that by the third or fourth ride your legs feel flat and lack any kind of explosivity.

The best way to replace glycogen is to eat carbohydrates both while cycling and after the ride. Ideally you should aim to consume around 100-200 calories every hour that you are on the bike, and then have a large meal in the evening.

Don't try to lose weight on your cycling holiday. It may well happen anyway, given the amount of energy that you will burn, but if you try to actively diet or eat little, then you will almost certainly not eat enough and will be struggling by the end of the holiday.

Rehydrate Well

Just as with eaten enough, it is important that you drink enough. Dehydration has a cumulative effect and it can creep up on you. For one or two days you will normally still feel fine if you don't drink enough, but towards the end of a week of heavy exercising, you will start to feel sluggish and will lack energy.

Aim to drink at least half a litre per hour while you are riding in normal conditions. When it is hot, or if you are doing a lot of climbing and hard riding, you should drink more than this and also include some electrolytes (most importantly sodium). Even if this does not make much noticeable impact on an individual ride, it will help you to stay well hydrated for the rides later in the week.

It is also important to drink a lot of water while you are off the bike. Most cycling holidays are taken in warm areas and you will also probably be drinking alcohol in the evenings, so grab every chance you have while walking around or relaxing in the hotel to drink some water and stay hydrated.