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Preparing for your first long ride

* Take your time.

Your first long ride is not the time to see how fast you can ride a long distance in. Start at a pace that's easy to maintain. Keep in mind that your heart rate may be elevated starting out, so pay attention to your breathing and settle into a good rhythm.

* Drink to Thirst

Drink enough fluid to satisfy your thirst, but be careful not to overdo it. If you drink too much fluid, you risk hyponatremia, a potentially fatal condition

* Snack Every Hour.

If you pace yourself and eat enough food, you'll finish your long ride without difficulty. Set a goal to eat at least 200 calories of carbohydrates every hour in the saddle, including the first hour. If you wait to eat until the second half of your race, it's too late.

* Stick to Normal Nutrition.

Long rides are not the best time to try something radically new, however if your not racing and in understandable company try something new then.

* Be Careful Riding in a Group

Riding in a group, sharing the workload and chatting are part of the fun of an organised ride. However, if you aren't familiar with your companions' bike handling skills, be careful and don't risk a crash.

* Get Through the Middle Miles

Early in the ride you'll feel fresh and have good legs. When the middle comes around, fatigue is likely to set in and you'll start thinking about how far away the end is. Try to persevere.

You're in the middle and convince yourself that you can ride through it. Eventually, you'll get a second burst of energy and you'll be surprised at how strong you feel.

* If Something Goes Wrong

First, Chill out this is all good practice. Then asses how bad it really is. Is it in your control or not? If it's a strong headwind, it'll just take you longer to finish. If it starts to rain, you'll get wet, your not going to shrink ! Know what you can control and what you can't, and do your best to push through. Next time I am sure your ride will be even longer !

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