Foreword Review — July / Aug 2011
Distance Cycling is written for the cyclist who has decided he or she wishes to train with a specific goal in mind. As outlined in the introduction, these goals might range from successfully completing a long ride (100-200 kilometers) to participating in race-like ultra-distance events of up to 1,200 kilometers called brevets.
Hughes and Kehlenbach approach the development of the cyclist from six specific areas: planning, training, mental skills, nutrition, equipment, and technique. Chapter one eases the reader into the text by explaining the importance of cardiovascular exercise in general, and from there, the focus turns to goal-setting (planning) for cycling events. Each successive chapter outlines, in great detail, the steps a rider should take to maximize the key attributes of the endurance cyclist.
Progressing through the book, the reader is introduced to a wide variety of cycling-specific verbiage like wattage (power output), ATP-CP system, and countersteering. Though these terms might initially appear overly technical, Hughes and Kehlenbach explain the concepts with easy-to-understand language and many helpful tips: They range from how to dress for increased safety in traffic to how, given varying wind conditions, to ride in a pace line with other riders.
The latter third of Distance Cycling primarily deals with building a training program over an eight- or twelve-week block. By the time the reader has reached this point, he or she has gathered enough information to make an accurate, objective self-evaluation, which, in turn, will allow for the creation of a customized training schedule.
Aside from the fact that Distance Cycling: Your Complete Guide for Long-distance Rides may initially intimidate prospective readers with its vast amount of information and detailed descriptions, it is strongly recommended for any cyclist (racers included) wanting to sidestep hiring a personal coach. With Distance Cycling, Hughes and Kehlenbach have created an important, accessible tool of self-knowledge and empowerment for the motivated endurance cyclist.