February 11th, 2015
CYCLING = HAPPINESS
The best seat on the South American Epic is on your bicycle. From there you get a ground level view of the wonders of South America at cycling speed.
Presumably, all of you want to cycle as much as you can, and to have a ton of fun as you spin down the road. None of you are coming to South America to ride on a vehicle. However, embarking on a five and half month cycling expedition (or your section of this expedition) is no small feat, and should not be taken lightly.
Whatever your personal goals on the tour may be, the best way to prepare is through physical conditioning. We believe the better you train the quicker you will adapt to the challenges of the tour and the more you will enjoy the experience.
A good training regime prepares you not only for the sheer endurance of the South American Epic but also for the wide variety of terrain and road conditions that we traverse.
The South American Epic is open to all those who wish to take up the challenge. The riders generally can be grouped into one of the following 3 categories:
– Amateur athletes in excellent overall fitness with a base in triathlon, marathon running, or competitive cycling. Such persons are already training experts, for them the information below will only serve as a reminder. Typically they make up about 20% of riders.
– Persons in generally good to very good shape who balance active professional lives with outdoor physical activities and/or regular work out routines. For many of these folks cycling is a hobby, including some longer distance bike riding experience. Typically they make up about 60% of riders.
– Persons of more or less average physical condition for whom the tour really does present the challenge of a lifetime, including some of our oldest riders, and persons with relatively little cycling experience. Typically they make up about 20% of riders.
Sectional riders also face a unique challenge – trying to keep up with the well trained full tour riders who have been cycling day in, day out since Cartagena. You arrive for your section and find yourself trying to get in shape the whole time you’re there. It’s better to come prepared, with a solid level of fitness.
A basic training schedule aimed at helping you to condition yourself for the Tour can be found here.
Additional suggestions, courtesy of professional cycling coach, Rob Grissom, can be found below. Although these were written for the 2012 Silk Route they certainly apply to the 2015 South American Epic.
Of course, being in good physical shape is only part of what is required to succeed on the South American Epic. Mental toughness is another key. Mental fatigue can be as challenging to your performance as your physical health is. Perhaps the best method of mental training is simply to dream of South America. As you interval train, visualize yourself riding along the volcanic range in Ecuador, or across the salt flats in Bolivia. Keep an open mind, don’t worry about the unknowns, and allow the journey to unfold in front of you. Through good routines and proper maintenance of your body, your mind, and your bike, you will maximize your tour experience.
In summary, whether your goal is to race or achieve EFI, to ride as much as possible, or to ride some half days, we encourage you to develop and stick with a training routine. Of course, the tour also provides support vehicles that will be there to pick up riders who are tired, sick, or injured. Space is however limited and priority goes to those most in need. On the other hand, everyone can count on having lots of adrenaline as their starting line approaches. And if you are not already in decent trim, the first couple of weeks will whip you into shape and help you to find your cycling comfort zone.
We look forward to riding down the South American roads with you.