You're going to have to train for this event.
How Hard Should You Train?
Cycle Greater Yellowstone is designed to be suitable for a fairly broad range of riders. There’s not a suffer-fest climb every day, but there’s plenty of opportunity to test yourself between longer distances and elevation. But no matter which way you go, this is a ride you need to train seriously for.
The route is open from 7 am to 5 pm so you can go fast or slow down and take a little more time. Keep in mind, if you do go a little slower, the longer you are in the elements of the day and the harder it can be to finish. The GYE is known for everything from dry heat to hail, snow, rain and wind - all in one day and especially when a high altitude pass is involved.
It’s Not Just the Miles
One factor that surprises many riders on week-long tours: seat time. It’s not just what shape your legs, lungs and heart are in; it’s also your derriere. Make sure you’ve trained for consecutive days – as many in a row as possible – at least several times before this event. It will make your riding so much more pleasant. And chamios cream. There are a lot of different creams out there, and we don't recommend any certain brand. What we do recommend is you use it, especially if this is your first high mileage bike tour. If you don't know what we're talking about, Google it: Chamois cream use for cyclists.
Additionally, our ride encounters metal obstacles on the ride such as cattle guards. There is open range in a few areas - cattle guards are inevitable. Here is a quick read on how to handle metal obstacles on the roadway.
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem high
Altitude: We begin at 5,500 feet, drop to about 4,000 feet at the end of Day 1, then ascend again. Day 3, Beartooth Pass, tops out at almost 11,000 feet. Cooke City, our layover town, sits at 7,600 feet. So if you're not used to elevation, you'll surely feel it constantly nagging at you. While we know many of you can’t train at altitude, your best protection against the elevation sickness is to come to the ride in the best shape possible, stay hydrated and listen to warning signs while riding. It’s virtually impossible to limit the effects of altitude, but there’ll be a whole lot less gasping for air if you be sure to train for the mileage. Many of our participants have found it helpful to come to the area 1-2 days in advance to acclimate.
Hydration at altitude is very important. This is considered a high desert area. Humidity is can easily be below 10%, and your sweat dries so quick you won't know you're losing water. Always drink - before, during and after. Keep a water bottle at night and come equipped with two water bottle holders. We use Torq Energy Drink on our ride. It is available in camp at Help Desk and on the route.
The Other Kind of Fit
Fitness is critical, of course – but that other type of fit is equally important: make sure you’re fitted to your bike. If you haven’t had a professional bike fitting, you might be amazed at what a difference a few adjustments can make over 350-plus miles in a week.