Tips: Long Rides

Holiday time is the right time to do long distance rides. Most people do have more time at hand and it creates a solid base for the rest of the year. Here are some tips to make it work for you:
Prepare: the longer the ride, the bigger the chance of an incident. Make sure your bike is in top condition and you have the gear to fix two punctures (bombs, plugs, tube and mini pump), take a cell phone, a mini tool and some cash.
Take it easy: Use your gears to keep your Cadence between 70 and 90 and your heart rate around 70% of your maximum. Try not to exceed this heart-rate and you can go all day
Water and electrolytes:  Make sure you drink half a bottle of water and half a bottle of electrolyte drink per hour. Rather small sips than all at once.
Food: Eat before the ride and eat something every hour or, even better, half a bar every half hour. Even on a shorter ride, always take an energy bar and a gel for an emergency.  
Your butt: Chamois cream and a good fitting cycling bib will go a long way against chafing.  
Sun screen: The sun may not be out when you leave, but spending hours on the bike will get you sun burnt. Protect yourself.
You will get tired: A good indication is when you start to hit small ruts, roots and rocks unexpectedly. It is tempting to stop and rest but it is actually better only to stop when really necessary. Instead, loosen the body while riding. Stand up and climb, to relieve your muscles and bottom. Just watch your heart-rate. Best to shift up two gears and use a low cadence. Also, make sure you keep your energy levels up and change your hand position regularly.
Ride in a group: It is not only more fun and good for motivation, but also safer in case of a crash or mechanical fault.

Split it up: It is much easier if you split the long distance into parts and focus on each section individually. Every completed section is a small victory, which is good for motivation.
Routes: The Yellow Dunlop or Gold route are great routes for longer rides. There are options for cool drinks and food at  Monkey Land on the Gold route and at the Rain Farm on the Yellow Dunlop route and Gold route. There is a tap at the compound halfway on the Rain Farm climb on Yellow/Gold.
If you want to go longer, hop left onto the Blue route if you go through the Fairview top gate and if you still have some energy left then take Silver Medi Response route if you go out of the Fairview gate.