Instant Improver

How To Be A Long Distance Cyclist

Andrew Flintoff and Lawrence Dallaglio are no strangers to superhuman sporting feats. As former national captains they propelled the England cricket team and rugby team respectively to some memorable victories.

However, they are attempting their toughest task this spring when they will cycle close to 3,000 km, as part of the Dallaglio Flintoff Cycle Slam travelling from Olympia in Greece (the site of the first Olympics) to London (obviously the site of this year’s Games).

So how do two athletes with physiques not exactly suited to long distance cycling, become experts? How can we emulate them? We went straight to the source.

Training

Dallaglio: “Neither Freddie or I are built for cycling, so the training is really important. It’s a question of getting out there on the road and getting some miles under the belt.”

Flintoff: “Try to get out three times a week – cycle to work if possible. And then fit in a longer ride at the weekend. It’s all about time in the saddle. We’ve both had serious knee injuries and cycling is pretty good on the body.”

Dallaglio: “With the weekend rides, begin gradually but try to get up to 50-60 miles on a single ride, and then after a few weeks increase this to 70-80 miles. It’s an endurance event, not a sprint.”

Equipment

Dallaglio: “Halfords are our bike partners so we’ve got some pretty cool bikes, but obviously you need a good road bike. We’ve been recommended a compact chain-set on the front (front gears, 50 x 34 rings) and a wide spread cassette on the rear (rear gears, 12 x 27 sprockets).”

Nutrition

Flintoff: “When you are training, try to start using energy drinks rather than water or cordial. Mix an electrolyte drink into your water bottles according to the instructions provided. This will give you extended energy and also prevent cramps later into the ride. A rule of thumb is that you should drink one bottle of fluid per hour, increasing intake on particularly hot days.”

Dallaglio: “Experiment with energy bars and gels. But you don’t have to go down the high-tech route. Foods like flapjacks, small sandwiches, jelly babies, dried fruits and nuts will all give you the sustenance you need.”

For more information on the Dallaglio Flintoff Cycle Slam 2012 supported by Virgin Media, visit dallaglioflintoff2012.com

(Image: Rex Features)