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Tips for Training Camp

The end of January through March is prime training camp time for many cyclists. If you’ve been trapped inside during the winter months, it’s always exciting to get the wheels rolling under you for the first time in a few months. Even if you’ve been riding outside – but in cooler weather – the first ride without leg warmers can be a monumental occasion. Whether you are escaping to California, Hawaii or are doing a training camp at home, we have a few tips for you. We’ve compiled our advice, based on a few years of training camp experience, on what you should and shouldn’t do, to make your training camp a successful one. The tips are broken down into pre-camp, on-camp and post-camp advice. 



  • –  Ride! While many go to training camp to boost their fitness, it is important to have some riding under your belt going in. Spending every day riding well beyond your comfort zone and fitness level won’t make for a very fun training camp, so go in prepared.

  • – Get your bike in shape. If you’ve been riding outside in the winter gunk, it might be time for a tune-up. Chances are your chain and cables have been through the wringer of salt, mud and water. If you are going to be on a new bike, or have new equipment, make sure you’re happy with how it is all fitting. If you get everything sorted out before you try and put in the training camp miles you’ll be less likely to end up injured and won’t spend training camp fiddling with your bike everyday. 

  • –  Have all your other clothing, equipment and nutrition ready to go. If ride food will be provided, you don’t have to worry! If you are in charge of your own ride food, it might be wise to pick up a few bars ahead of time to supplement food you can buy at mid-ride stops. Make sure you have all the clothing and supplemental equipment you’ll need to take with you. Make sure you didn’t lose your rain jacket at the end of last season, you can find two arm warmers,  you have new cleats on your shoes and that you have spare tubes and a flat kit to take with you. 
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  •  Be on time. Most training camps involve larger group rides and nothing derails a camp faster than people floating along on their own schedule. No one wants to be ready to go at 9:55 am, only to have to wait until 10:15 for everyone to be ready to roll out for the “10am” ride. Be courteous.

  •  Carry cash/credit card and the address of where you are staying for the camp with you. Hopefully you don’t need it, but if you get separated from the group for some reason in a unfamiliar area, it helps to have the address of where you’re staying!

  •  Be prepared with food and bottles. Your camp leaders will likely have planned food and drink stops, but make sure you start out with two full bottles and pocketfuls of food. It’s always good to be somewhat self-sufficient and if you have food on you, you can eat when you need it.2014_WomensTourStage4_Pics_040
  •  Eat & drink early and often! If you’re riding in a hotter location and harder than you have been used to, you’ll need more energy and liquids than you might think. Keep on top of it right from the start of the ride, and you’ll enjoy yourself more. If you feel the dreaded bonk coming on, that cash you’re carrying can buy you a Snickers & Coke – they’ll work miracles (or at least help you suffer home).

  •  Be respectful of the purpose of each ride and everyone else on the ride. If you are meant to be doing an “endurance” pace ride, do that. Don’t be the one half-wheeling at the front and pushing the pace. There’s likely a hard ride or climb planned in, that you can test your legs on. Conversely, if you’re given the opportunity to go hard, don’t be afraid to push yourself! The best training camps are the ones where you go deeper, further or harder than you ever realized you could.

  •  Rest up, eat well and drink up between rides. As much as you need to fuel your body on the rides, you’ll need to make sure your body is ready to take on back-to-back days of riding. Re-hydrate with sports drink and water. Get a good sleep. Eat well right after the ride, at meals and don’t go to bed hungry!


  •  Put your legs up! You might come out of camp super-motivated and wanting to push on. That’s great that you’re motivated, but if you keep going hard you won’t benefit from the hard work you’ve put in. Take a few days off and then a few days easy and you’ll let your body profit from the hard week(s) of work you did during camp. Then you can tap into that motivationIMG_3795
  •  Remember everything that you learned and experienced at training camp. If you became more proficient at riding in a pace line or group at camp, bring that back to your local group rides. If you realized you’re actually a great climber on the bike, bring that confidence home with you.

  •  At training camp you’re often in an ideal world. You have time to make and eat healthy food, riding time is allocated and you have time built in to recover from training. Anticipate that it might take a few weeks to get back in the rhythm of real-life (work, training etc.). Try to keep up the good habits you followed at training camp, but realize that not everything will transfer over and be realistic about how much time you have.

  •  Make sure your bike survived the hard miles. You likely put your bike through its paces, so make sure everything is still functioning properly. If you flew home with your bike, make sure nothing got banged up or ended up misaligned from travel. As much as you wanted your bike to run smoothly for the camp, you want it to keep working smoothly for your newly motivated training afterwards too.

And most of all enjoy your training camp! If you have any tips that work well for you, share them with us!