Now in its fourth year and with the number of participants expected to top 2,000, the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge is set to take place on December 13, taking riders on a 92km journey around the blissfully (albeit temporarily) car-free streets of Dubai. And with the build-up rides to help participants train for the challenge starting on September 6, we quizzed Event Director, Stewart Howison on his top tips for ultimate pedal power.
From sofa to saddle
The four build-up rides planned between September and November – 35km on September 6; 45km on October 4; 65km on November 1 and 85km on November 22 at Nad al Sheba and Dubai Cycling Course – will see participants timed to give organisers the chance to sort riders into groups for the main event, whilst giving riders personal goals to beat each time.
‘We’ve tried to design a programme that could get people off the couch to doing 92km in four months,’ explains Stewart of how the build-up rides have been tailored for beginners as well as advanced riders. ‘They are time trials in the sense that you get a timed result giving you average speeds and an indication of the group you’ll be in for the Challenge. An average is taken over the four rides to know where to slot riders in at the starting gate.’
‘Cardio, stretching and yoga are three exercises that are a great complement to cycling,’ says Stewart. ‘Developing core fitness is paramount and in the lead up to the challenge you should aim to do cardio twice a week and cycling three times.’ And, if you can’t get out on the roads, Howison suggests that the bikes at the gym are a good substitute, however, riders should be aware that the same-old-scenery factor can mean you don’t push yourself as hard as you could.
‘The intensity is not as great at the gym as if you were out on the road for a 90 minute to two hour ride,’ he says. ‘Plus, training with others as opposed to training solo will always help you to push yourself harder.’
While it’s true that riders fill up with the sort of carbohydrate portions that would put the rest of us in a carb coma, nutritional strategy plays a key part in getting you challenge-ready.
‘The correct nutrition and hydration is vital as one of the key aspects of the sport is that you do it for two to four hours at a time,’ explains Stewart.
‘You need fuel for your body so it’s recommended that you get involved with a good nutrition programme. There are time frames and scientific processes to energy release from food, as well as the amount of electrolytes from liquids that you’re getting.’
Are you ready for the challenge?
Spinneys Dubai 92 Challenge. Free. December 13, www.cyclechallenge.ae