Pelotonia is a grassroots bike tour with one goal: to end cancer
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Training Tips

While we can’t wait to get back to our traditional group rides, Pelotonia will not be sponsoring or supporting any solo or group rides in 2020. We encourage everyone to use caution and follow local and state department health guidelines for social distancing and utilizee these training tips. And, as always, please follow the rules of the road while riding. For more on rider safety, please visit For more on planning group rides in Columbus, please visit

As you are preparing to accomplish your Pelotonia goal for this year, there are a few things you’ll need to have in order before you can begin your training.


  • Stay hydrated. Always carry a water bottle with water or other hydrating liquids.
  • For rides longer than 30 minutes, we recommend bringing some sort of nutritious snack…now is the time to experiment with nutrition that works best for you.
  • Find a brand or flavor that you ENJOY drinking…no matter how good it might be for you, if you don’t like it, you won’t drink it and you’ll be dehydrated.
  • For rides greater than 90-120 minutes, consider a product that has protein in the mixture. It might taste a bit gritty, but it aids muscle recovery.
  • Beware of overly sugary drinks. Yes, you will need the sugar to some extent; sometimes you can water down these drinks for a better ratio of necessary sugars and electrolytes.
  • March and April is the time to decide what snack/nutrition work for you. You’re going to be out on longer rides this summer before the event date and you’ll need to bring along some extra calories and nutrition.

Injury Prevention

After cycling, stretching and foam rolling can help reduce tightness and muscle soreness to help with your recovery. Some common stretches for cyclists include:

Place your foot on a small stool or step with your toes pointing up and your knee straight. Slowly lean forward at the hips, maintaining good posture through the trunk, until a stretch is felt in the back of your thigh.

Lying on your back, cross your legs and place your ankle on your opposite knee. Gently pull upward behind the thigh on the bottom leg into the chest until a stretch is felt in the buttock/hip.

IT Band
In a standing position, cross one leg over the other and then lean in the direction of the back leg until a stretch is felt in the outside of the hip.

Standing up straight, hold onto something for balance. Grasp one ankle with the same hand and pull your ankle close to your buttock by bending your knee, until a stretch is felt on front of your thigh.

Start standing in a lunge position, with the back leg straight and the front knee bent. Slowly lean forward into a wall, keeping the heel of the back foot on the ground. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the calf muscle of the back leg.

Start standing in a lunge position with both knees bent, and then lean forward into a wall until stretch is felt in lower calf or Achilles.

Upper Trapezius
Sitting or standing, place one hand on your lower back. With you other hand, gently grasp opposite side of head and bend toward that arm until a stretch is felt on opposite side of your neck.

Levator Scapula
Sitting or standing, place on hand on your low back. Look down towards your opposite armpit. With your hand, gently grasp the opposite back side of your head, and give gentle overpressure down and sideways until you feel a stretch in the back corner of your neck.

Hamstring Foam Rolling
Use arms and opposite leg to support you, rolling the back of your thigh from buttocks to knee.

Quadriceps Foam Rolling
Use arms to support you, and allow front of thighs to sink into foam roller. Roll from top of knee all the way up to your hip.

IT Band Foam Rolling
Lie on the side you want to roll, and cross other foot over that leg. Using foot that is flat on ground and your hands, roll from outside of knee all the way up to outside of hip, allowing the leg being rolled to relax completely.

Common Issues Affecting Cyclists

Below are some of the most common injuries affecting cyclists; click here for a brief summary to help you better understand the symptoms, causes and treatments of each.

  • Neck Pain
  • Numbness/Tingling in the Hands
  • Low Back Pain
  • Saddle Soreness
  • Hip Pain
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
  • Patellar Tendon Pain
  • Hamstring Strain
  • Achilles Tendon Pain

Ohio State Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation

Ohio State Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation includes a group of physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists and certified specialists that understand the demands of your sport. We understand that as endurance athletes, you are familiar with training through pains and fear the recommendation to discontinue your sport. However, with prompt evaluation and appropriate procedures taken, many injuries can be treated early, which may prevent time away from your sport.

Physical therapists on  Ohio State Sports Medicine Endurance Team offer bicycle fittings for both patient rehabilitation and on a fee-for-service basis.

Ohio State Sports Medicine is the official medical provider for Pelotonia.

Kendra McCamey, MD and Matt Briggs DPT, SCS, ATC are the medical directors for Pelotonia.

Bike Fitting 

As you ramp up your training for Pelotonia, the Endurance Medicine team with Ohio State Sports Medicine would be happy to conduct a bike fitting for you.  Due to the repetitive nature of cycling, a slight misalignment can create inefficiency or pain. A bike fitting can help correct technique, improve biomechanics and prevent injuries.  Dates for when they will host a special bike fitting for Pelotonia participants will be announced for 2019 in the upcoming months or you can schedule one on your own. When you attend, bring your bike and wear your gear (shorts, helmet, gloves, etc.) for this one-hour evaluation to assess your range of motion, strength and how this impacts your joints while riding. You’ll leave with personalized recommendations and an exercise plan to get you ready for your Pelotonia goals.  

Novice Route Advice 

We reached out to our friends at Roll: and VisionQuest who recommend the following items for our different route options:

Nutrition and hydration are very important on these routes. Make sure to pack more than you think you need to eat or drink so that you have something before you get hungry or thirsty. Bars, gels, chews are all easily digested while riding. A sports drink mix in your water bottle helps with hydration, especially one with a lot of electrolytes and not just sugar.

If you are a more novice rider, riding in close proximity to other people may be a new experience so learning group ride etiquette is absolutely necessary for safety. Practice riding in groups ahead of the event if possible.  We also recommend the Pelotonia RSI classes to help you get prepared for Pelotonia.

A helmet (required), cycling shorts, gloves, comfortable shoes, and a sweat-wicking shirt will have a big impact on any ride experience for safety and comfort.

For specific training plans, see this PDF from VisionQuest.

25 & 35-Miles

It’s more important to have a comfortable and safe, working bike for the 25-mile route, then the type of bike. Riders are less likely to have mechanical issues for the shorter distances, but having a tune-up ahead of the event is highly recommended. Many riders overlook having a bike that is set up well for their body, so we recommend stopping by a local bike shop to ensure it’s fitted to you, correctly.  Riders should expect to be riding anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on skill level.

45, 55 & 75-Miles

As your duration and distance get longer you will be more concerned with your equipment’s performance. You don’t need a pro-level bike to enjoy your ride, however, a road bike will be lighter weight and more efficient than a hybrid or comfort bike. We recommend getting accustomed to the bike and how it will impact your body position, as it is in a more aggressive position than your everyday ride. You should expect to be riding for 3-4 hours, and you’ll want to ensure you have stretched and prepared your body for the ride. Shoulder, back, hand, and neck discomfort can be common if not prepared.

Longer routes do tend to have more mechanical issues. If you’re not comfortable changing a tire yourself or will not be riding with someone who knows how – we suggest learning. It’s always smart to pack your own spare inner tubes, a small tube patch kit, a CO2 kit or a mini pump. The mini-pumps are easier to use for beginners in general.

Clothing is also very important in these distances. Cycling shorts are a must! Gloves help to improve hand comfort on road bikes, and cycling jerseys offer pockets in the back that can store food, tools, phones, wallets or other small items that you want to have with you. Having a saddle bag is also a great way to carry the necessities.

Road etiquette and safely riding around traffic are paramount for long road rides. Clipless cycling pedals/shoes are recommended for these distances. They improve efficiency and comfort significantly. They do require some skill and technique, so make sure that you practice ahead of the ride and are comfortable getting in and out of them quickly.

100 & 135-Miles

Investing in a higher end bike may be worth your while for these routes.  A higher end bike is typically lighter in weight and will help on the training requirements necessary to complete this distance. You definitely will need quite a bit of training ahead of time to be able to comfortably complete this distance! Otherwise, you will be sore, uncomfortable and won’t enjoy your Pelotonia ride! You will want to build up the distances that you ride slowly over time so that you don’t sustain an overuse injury.  We also highly recommend being comfortable with road-ride maintenance because you could be alone at some point in the ride, and knowing these maintenance tasks will allow you to be self-reliant in the event that you should need it.  Also, the longer you are riding, the more likely the weather will change throughout your trip.  Rain and cooler temperatures can make riding more challenging so w recommend being prepared for anything!

155, 180 & 200-Miles

These routes are for experienced cyclists only.  All of the above holds true!  Stretching is extremely important and your focus should be on building your endurance and fitness ahead of time to complete your routes safely.  Training is an absolute must for these routes, as they last all day, have significant hills, and your body needs to have the endurance to complete them. You will also want to ensure to bring anything you will need to sleep comfortably and recover for another day of riding.