Stephen Cunningham, former pro cyclist and cycle coach, give us his top tips ahead of big rides. 

A few days leading out to an event, I often get asked what the final preparations should be from the final ride before the event, what to eat before and during, clothing and so on. So here are a few things I always do leading up to a big day out on the bike.

Lift your carbohydrate intake
From today through to big day, start lifting your carbohydrate intake. I find that getting a bit more pasta into me a few days out from the ride is the best way to go. I also make sure I get all the ride food groups including chicken / fish or tofu for protein, lots of green vegetables and fruit, grains and dairy. It’s important not to rely on the breakfast on the day to get you through the ride, it’s the 2 days leading up to the ride that equate to over 80% of your energy stores.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

The same applies with Hydration. Far too many people leave it to the actual day of the ride to focus on being well hydrated. I generally start 3 to 4 days out where i’m putting a lot of emphasis on drinking water with some electrolytes. Think about a pot plant that is bone dry, then give it a good drink on 1 day and the water will run right through the body. However a plant that has been watered well and regularly, will store a lot more when you give it that final drink!

Sleep like a baby

A good night’s sleep or 2 can do wonders. Try to get a couple of good sleeps in. Roger Federer was  asked what are some of the most important things that allow him to perform at his best. His response was – sleep, sleep and sleep! So think about getting to bed with a single digit in it two nights before and you’ll be well on your way to feeling great on the day.

Dress Appropriately

Getting your choice of clothing on the day is super important, you don’t want to start cold and lose unnecessary energy, but you also don’t want to be lugging an extra 3kg’s of garments in your back pockets half way through the ride.

Rest up

If you’re thinking about cramming in one last ride for fitness, think again! It’s all in the bank and any ride between in the final moments will more than likely do you more harm than good. I do find a very light spin the day before good can be helpful but not crucial. Certainly stay out of the hills between now and Sunday and save yourself for what is going to be a great day on the bike!


Luckily, you still have a few weeks of training to put into your leg’s for Amy’s Ride SA. You can register to ride here

Steve runs his own cycle coaching sessions. You can book sessions and find out more about what he does at