Taupo Cycle Challenge: setting a ride-time goal

Planning on riding the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge? While aiming to cross the finish line is a good start, you’ll need a ride-time goal to build an effective training plan. 

If you’re like me and haven’t ridden the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge before, working out your goal ride time could be a little challenging. When I asked around I got loads of conflicting advice, which made me wonder if I needed to name a time at all.


Why set a ride-time goal?

There’s loads of great reasons to set a time. In particular, if you’re doing the 160km version of the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge ride you’ll need to have a time in mind to know which start group to choose when entering.

Besides that, setting an overall goal provides a way to break your training plan down into a series of short- and medium-term sub goals that will help keep your training on track – no matter which category you’re entering.

Like any goal, your Cycle Challenge ride time needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound (SMART): “I’ll ride the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge [category distance] on Saturday 25 November 2017 in [ride time goal]”.

Sounds simple, right? But when I did some research and asked around, the experts told me cyclist expectations often over-ride actual ability when it comes to setting a time. So allow for this and base your time around your riding history and the amount of time you’ve got available to train each week.

Still not sure what your time should be? Ask around and if you need some help get some advice.

My approach is to set a goldilocks kind of goal – a time that’s realistic but is going to give me enough stretch to be a challenge.


Set smaller, more immediate goals

Having a ride-time goal is a great start. But the experts say it’s just the beginning. Proximal or short-term, week-to-week, sub goals should underpin a ride-time goal and training plan.

Over the next few blogs, I’ll run through research around three key areas I’ll be setting my training plan goals around: building fitness (how many times to train each week and riding to build endurance); developing technical skills (riding in a bunch, tackling hills, improving pedalling efficiency and bike set up); and nutrition (eating right when riding long and eating property when training).


Map out your plan with some everyday details

There’s around 145 days until the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge so if you’re planning on entering and you haven’t been riding all winter, it really is time to get on your bike.

An obvious start is to write up a weekly training schedule and track your progress, but Rory Gallagher, author of Think Small, the surprisingly simple ways to reach big goals, recommends breaking things down a step further.

Setting clear implementation expectations means being clear about how, when and where you’ll accomplish the tasks you’ll need to in order to reach your big ride-time goal. Essentially that translates to being clear about which days you’ll train, what you’ll be doing on those days and what time you’ll be doing it. And then following through.


What next?

I hope you’ve found this blog useful. This week’s to-do list includes setting a ride-time goal, mapping out a training plan across the next 20 weeks and being specific about each day’s riding.

If there’s anything specific you’d like to know about training for the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, just leave a comment below. I’ll find ask an expert and include it in an upcoming blog.


Ready to get training? Sign up to VBike’s 12-week Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge indoor cycling training programme before 31 July to get a $300 early bird discount.