First of all, both rides are recreational rides not races.
You should be in fairly good shape to attempt the ride. You do not have to be an avid cyclist. On the regular ride, no one will ride much faster than 18 mph on their bike. Several experienced riders will be riding to help assist and encourage the riders newest to this type of riding. The most important requirement to do this ride is simply have a desire to do something unique and challenging. A desire to ride across the state is the biggest prerequisite. This ride will resemble the type of rides I’ve led over the past 20 years minus the fastest two or three groups.
The best way to prepare is to get on your bike (or a borrowed one) and get familiar with being on a bike seat for long periods of time. Leg and back strength and stamina are the key physical demands. We rarely ride so fast that your cardiovascular stamina comes into play.
So, get on your bike and ride and ride. Get comfortable riding 10-15 miles at a time. We rarely do a leg any longer than that. Become familiar with the bike that you will be riding. Know how to change gears and use the brakes. We will be riding up and down some hills, so practicing gear shifting is helpful. We will also be riding in light traffic, so if you’ve never ridden on the road with cars, practice that some also. Practice drinking from a water bottle while riding. You’ll do lots of that on the trip! If you have the opportunity to do any rides with groups of riders, that will benefit you. When training, most people usually bike alone or with one other rider. On this trip you’ll be riding with a group of about 8-10 most of the time. Riding in a group has some of its own unique dynamics.
This is a new type of ride. As the popularity of the annual bike trip has grown a couple of issues have emerged. One of the biggest is the growing difference between experienced riders and the novice riders. These differences resulted in too much waiting for one another at rest stops and meals. My desire is to create a ride for the more experienced, faster riders so they can enjoy riding at their normal speeds (18mph+) and not be held back so much by the very large group and the slower average speeds of the novice riders.
So, the spring ride is for those who know they can average 17+ mpg in a group for the ride. I will introduce some new routes, probably some challenging hills, some longer distances in both legs and total daily mileage. It’s possible we may do two 1oo mile days rather than spreading the 200 miles over three days like we do in the fall ride. More speed, more adventure, more variety each time on the spring ride.