I have a 50 mile bike ride in 1 week. I have been training for a while and I am trying to figure out, at this point, if I should be:

  • Training hard, doing a few long bike rides to get prepared
  • Resting and taking it easy.

I have heard both arguments (one saying to do a similar ride and others saying focus on resting)

Any suggestions for what to do a week before a big bike ride?

  • 1
    Here's a small hint: A major portion of butt soreness in riding is not due to the pressure but due to the hairs being pulled out of your butt while riding. The common practice of riding a lot to get your butt "conditioned" is, in large part, a matter of getting all those hairs pulled in advance. You can "cheat" by shaving your butt (especially in the area near where the cheeks meet) a day or three in advance of the ride. (Be sure to to it enough in advance to recover from any razor burn.) Of course, this is more an issue for men, but many women have a non-trivial amount of fine hair there. Commented May 5, 2012 at 12:58

10 Answers 10


The correct answer is both. You should do a long ride, around 80% of your goal distance 4 days before your actual ride, and then rest off the bike for 3 days.

That gives your body a wake up call that serious exercise is coming, and then a rest period to build up for it.

This answer has some explanation about why, but the only real debate is in the timing of the ride and the length of the rest period.

For most people, 3 days is enough to recover, but not so much as to lose the gains you made.

FWIW, 50 miles is a long ride, but not so long as to need to be excessively concerned with your training schedule, as long as you've been putting miles on the bike, and as long as you pay attention to eating the right food, in enough quantity, both in preparation for the ride, and while doing it.

  • 4
    +1. Adding 50 Miles is long enough that if you have not paid attention to nutrition it will hurt. With 1 week to go, I would focus more on getting quality food and fluids (Leave the cold beer and McD's till after). On the 80% ride, make sure you pay attention (practice) food and fluid intake.
    – mattnz
    Commented May 1, 2012 at 5:42
  • @mattnz: Agreed. I've added a note about proper nutritional prep to my answer.
    – zenbike
    Commented May 1, 2012 at 9:19
  • @zenbike - can you comment a bit more on nutrition. I haven't done a great job in that area but it would be great to know for future ride what nutritional focus
    – leora
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 2:46
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    @leora: I know generalities, but I'm not good with specifics in this area. For a fifty mile ride, you don't need to be excessively concerned, but you need to make sure you actually eat real meals of healthy food for at least the few days before, assuming that is not already a regular habit, and that you carry food or energy bars/gels, and plenty of water with you when you ride. Your body doesn't just use what is put in it immediately, so it matters how you eat, and how consistently you eat before a big event ride. Of course, on the day of eat light before you start.
    – zenbike
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 4:50
  • @leora: Plan for 1 liter of water for every 45 minutes on the bike. Using electrolyte tabs or drinks is good, but not necessary.
    – zenbike
    Commented May 2, 2012 at 4:51

50 (80.4km) miles?

I suggest that you don't think about the distance, but instead start thinking about the time.

At 50 miles, this is up to ~ 5 hours.

I suggest... you can do a semi-hard training ride a week in advance. Otherwise, just relax and do easy rides at low effort leading up to the day of the ride.

You'll be fine. And I wish you the best.

The question didn't mention as to whether this is an organized, supported ride. If this is a supported ride, there will be food/rest stops along the way. Be sure to take advantage of the rest stops and have a snack, rest a bit, and enjoy the day.


50 miles (in decent weather, on reasonably flat terrain) is really not that far, if you break it into 10-15 mile segments and stop to rest a few minutes between. If you can comfortably do 10-15 miles in one "sitting" then you should have no real difficulties (other than being fairly sore the next day).

I'd recommend doing a couple of 10-25 mile rides in the week leading up, but taking it easy the day (or two) before the ride. And make sure your bike is "tuned up", with the shifters and brakes working well, and the tires properly inflated.

Go a little heavy on starchy food the evening before, eat a decent (not too fatty) breakfast, and be sure to get some snacks every hour or so. And drink plenty of water. If it's a hot day, be sure to get some extra salt in the form of salty snacks, eg.


I just did my first 71 mile ride and like you, I was concerned about what to do or not do before the ride. After reading so many tips from cyclists that had done this rides forever....I learned that nutrition, hydration and a good night sleep before the ride is crucial. Opt to eat HEALTHY carbs a week prior to your ride. Prepare your mind for it and enjoy it. During my ride I drinked plenty of water (even if you don't feel you need it), eat every hour or so, and I was shocked how much energy I had left after my ride. I am getting ready to do a 180 (two day) bike ride a week after and SO looking forward to it. I hope this tip would help and good luck on your ride!


It's not about time, it's about staying consistent on the ride. Pack carbs, and electrolytes. No protein. You want to digest easily. No heavy solids..you need blood in your legs, not in your stomach. Start drinking 15 min. into ride. begin eating with 30 min..hungry or not. Once you get behind, you stay behind. It's 50 miles, not a 100. Just ride it and learn for next time.


I agree with several of the above answers. A ride of about 80% of the total about a week before, with a smaller ride (if time allows) at least 4 days before the event. Then rest and eat well. I also agree that time in the saddle is at least as important as the miles during training. That was a lesson I learned the hard way on my 1st century ride. My backside was VERY unforgiving. If you are riding 50 miles you should have spent at least that much time in the saddle, no matter the actual distance. Hope that helps! -- riding my 3rd Ojai Valley Century in 28 days . . .

  • While doing 80% would be ideal (well, 120% would be ideal, but 80% is close), it's not really necessary. I've seen people who've never ridden more that 10-20 miles do OK on week-long rides. Yes, your butt will be sore, but taking frequent breaks helps alleviate that. Commented May 5, 2012 at 12:52

Resting. A week out you need to be taking it easy. You dont have time for muscle recovering or time for injuries. Keep it easy, light rides if anything at all.

I tend to stay low a week out. My last century i was in the top 75 of 500 riders with this method, and felt great on race day.


you should take a day of rest before the event to ensure you will be at your absolute best. this is not necessary if you do not need to be your best. the day before that, not too intense. the thing is, a week is a very long time for your body. you can recover from most things. just dont do any 100 mile maximum intensity monster rides in the mountains. i once heard from a female rider that she did not recover from such in an entire week (a high protein diet was to blame for that, but still). most recover better than that, but better safe than sorry, right? youll be fine whatever you do. if i was taking it really seriously, i'd do short intensive rides for the rest of the week. thats because i did some of my fastest riding after such a prep.


Serioulsy speaking this Depends on how often you ride, and when you do how long and how far you ride?

If you ride often and ride somewhere between 20-25 Miles every time, I don't think you have to worry at all. Just make sure, on the last two days you are well rested and have maintained good protein diet.

If you ride occasionally, then its better to go on some regular practice ride and gain some stamina and endurance.

Also, if this is a competitive ride, then going on a 35-40 miles ride about 3 4 days to familiarise yourself with the road and to plan your ride is a good option too.


One of the best videos I've come across.. It gives detailed list of items required.

  • 2
    Welcome to SE. We prefer self-contained answers, and while its unlikely youtube will vanish anytime soon, it would be handy if you could list the main points in your answer in text. This helps the site's search engine find content - it can't index video.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 10:44
  • 1
    Welcome to Bicycles SE. We prefer answers on this site to be self-contained. That way, the answer is still valid if the video is removed. Please summarize what information is contained in the video within the body of your answer. Otherwise, it is likely to be downvoted, flagged for moderator intervention, and possibly deleted.
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    Commented May 8, 2017 at 12:55

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