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Sunday 3 May will see the return of Hit the Downs MTB, whether you are taking on the 30km, 60km or 80km route, here is everything you will need to get ready for the big day!
As you would before starting any new exercise regime, please make sure you have your doctor’s permission before starting, particularly if you’ve not ridden for a while. It’s important to remember to eat and drink at regular intervals during training (eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty).
As well as a bike suitable for riding long distances off-road, you’ll also need suitable clothing for the conditions and some reflective gear and lights if riding after dark.
Always take a spare tube, puncture kit, and a pump with you on your rides. Make sure your tyres are pumped up to the correct pressure before each ride (you’ll find the recommended pressure on the side of your tyres) and your pump will need a gauge.
If you don’t already have one, treat yourself to a cycle computer. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just one that measures distance travelled, ride time, current speed and average speed will be useful.
Any time spent on your bike will help you get fitter and improve your skills but try to do as much of your training off-road as possible. Riding off-road takes twice as much effort as on road (but the views are often nicer!)
If you don’t have one already get a cycling buddy. They are a great incentive to getting on your bike is to ride with friends or family. If you don’t have a cycling buddy why not post something on the Hit the Downs MTB Facebook group?
Beware wet chalk! Our chalk downland is beautiful but although muddy tracks can be tricky, wet chalk is like ice! Take care.
There’s no shame in walking up the hills. If your climbing speed has dropped to walking pace just hop off the bike and save your energy. When you’re training make a note of how far you get up a particular hill before you have to get off, then watch over the weeks as you reach higher and higher each time, until finally you make it to the top!