Another year has passed and it is time for the 2013 Courage Classic! This year will mark the 22nd anniversary of this wonderful event, and I can guarantee that both experienced riders and those who are participating in the Courage Classic for the first time are in for an amazing adventure. With less than 200 days until Day 1 of Courage Classic, it's time to get your training started.
Now is the time to start thinking about some very important preparations in order to have a successful and safe time at this year’s event.
1. Check your health: While the Courage Classic is designed to be a relaxed bicycle tour through some of the most beautiful terrain that Washington has to offer, with over 11,000 of climbing your physical fitness will undoubtedly be put to the test! Take a minute to consider any nagging aches and pains that may prevent you from training and participating in this event. Also, if you have any current medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, or shortness of breath when you try and exercise, make sure you check with your physician before starting to prepare for this great event!
2. Check your equipment: For those who are doing this for the first time, do you have a bike yet, is your bike ready to ride? A properly functioning bicycle is a must as you get ready for this event! If you’re not too sure if your bike is in good working order, make sure you visit your local bike shop and have them look it over. Many unnecessary accidents occur on bicycles due to faulty or poorly maintained equipment. Have you checked your helmet recently? Look closely for any cracks, dents, or straps that are worn out. Keep in mind that most modern helmets are made of materials designed to be replaced every 3 years. Finally, if you are unsure if your bicycle has been fit properly to your physique, consider having your local bike shop check your position before training starts in order to prevent unwanted aches and pains that may develop as you prepare for the Courage Classic.
3. Start a training plan: This is the time to start thinking about a training plan for the Courage Classic. For those who have never done this event, do your best to spend around 4 hours on your bike every week in preparation for the Courage Classic. If you are new to cycling, use the first 2 weeks to feel confident riding on flat surfaces around other bicyclists. After that you’ll want to start doing at least 1 “hilly” ride per week to prepare your body for the amazing climbs that await you. Six to eight weeks after beginning your training plan, try to fit in about 2 hilly rides per week. Remember that rest days are an important part of training! Consider resting every other day for the first month, and it is not a bad idea to take a few days off in a row every few weeks to allow your body time to recover and get ready for more training. Training with a friend or someone who has done the event before is also a great way to stay motivated and have fun.
Best of luck! Having personally ridden this event, I can guarantee the most novice of bicyclists that this is the best supported and most beautiful event you will ever have the opportunity to participate in.
Jason D. Brayley, MD
MultiCare Orthopedics and Sports Medicine