Suggested Training Schedule
Week 1 (31 Oct- 6 Nov)
Aim: Unicycle Set-up, 50km total riding, at least 4 days riding
The point is to start getting used to the Coker/Schlumpf again if you have not been doing a lot of riding recently.
You should try out several different crank lengths to see what sort of hills you can tackle with each, and also various seat and handle set-ups. The best way to do this is to borrow seats from fellow unicyclists to see fit they fit your anatomy. It will also take a minimum of 1hr to get an idea of whether a seat is going to be comfortable. Bouncing up and down a soft seat for a few minutes will not give any useful info on how it feels after 100km.
Setting up a cyclecomputer is also useful to give you an indication of mileage. The most useful tool for motivating yourself is a ride diary. Useful info should be recorded, such as, time spent riding, distance, average speed, Unicycle Set-up, heart rate data (if you have a fancy heart rate monitor), and general comments (was it a nice day and who were you riding with?).
Week 2 (7 Nov-13 Nov)
Aim: More experimenting with set-up, 60km total riding, at least 4 days riding
Same as the previous week, but it does take a few weeks to get a set-up right. Build up an extra 10km from last weeks effort. If you are planning on making radical changes to your Unicycle, like rebuilding your wheel, adding brakes, or converting your Coker to a Tubeless system, or trying out things like 29'er inner tubes, do it NOW! These things often cause unforseen problems later on.
Week 3 (14 Nov-20 Nov)
Aim: Yet more experimenting, 70km total riding, at least 4 days riding
We're still building our base fitness, so don't worry too much about speed at this stage, just focus on sustained riding and figuring out why your saddle still hurts and what you're going to do about it. Also, try at least 2 different crank lengths on 2 different types of terrain. Is it easier to pedal fast on long cranks or is a slower cadence more efficient?
If your tyre is looking worn out, order a new one. A Coker tyre is probably good to last approx 1500km. After 1000km it's starting to look very bald, and by 1500km you can expect parts of the casing to show. Put the new Coker tyre on in Week 8, no later than that.
Week 4 (21 Nov-27 Nov)
Aim: Got your seat and handle sorted yet? 80km total riding, at least 4 days riding
Our last week setting up the unicycles. By now it should feel like a natural extension of your body. You should have a couple of crank lengths up your sleeve, and know what you need for different types of terrain.
It's also the last week of base training. Grind out slightly over 10km/day. Also, see if you can find a flat local loop (approx 10km) with little traffic which you can use as a timed circuit. Also find a good hilly circuit or just one big hill you can time yourself going up and down repeatedly.
Week 5 (28 Nov-4 Dec)
Aim: 90km over 3 days, nutrition, clothing
Still sticking with similar distances to the previous month, but less riding days and more recovery time to build up to longer distances. The aim is to ride less days but to increase the distances and recovery time between rides. So instead of riding 13km/day for 7 days, you really want to do at least 27km/day for 3 days. But it would be acceptable, for example, to ride 80km over the weekend, and just a short 10km ride during the week. The other days must be used for resting, recovering, and enjoying that tired, achy but satisfied feeling you get (it's called the endorphin fix). Eating well is good too.
It is also the time to sort out your nutritional needs. Do you drink like a horse and gulp down 1L of water when you get home? If so, you'll need a good camelbak. The LUT is supported, but you may be riding for up to 1-1.5hrs without seeing the support vehicle. So make sure you can carry enough water in your camelbak. Also, it's good to experiment with a variety of foods- not so much of a problem with a supported tour, but nothing beats having a good supply of your favourite energy bar to bring on tour.
Clothing- whilst bike shorts are traditionally the most comfortable wear, we would recommend either exeperimenting with wearing normal shorts over bike shorts, or getting bike specific baggy shorts with bike padding sewn in. The reason is that we are touring through villages which are probably more conservative than your own, and the sight of 20 skintight lycra clad people riding on one wheel is probably stretching things too far (pun intended). A good cycle jersey is recommended- they wick sweat away and also have handy pocket to store stuff. As always, experiment, even comfortable looking bike shorts can chafe if you've not ridden it before.
Week 6 (5 Dec-11 Dec)
Aim: 120km over 3 days, includes 20km speed work, 20km hills
Remember those circuits you scouted out in Week 4? Now use them for your speed and hill workouts. Just time yourself going up the hill as hard as you can, or on the flat speed circuit as fast as you can. You can use it as a reference in later weeks. Alternatively, you can spend a whole day just working on hills and/or speed. Whatever you think you are weakest at.
Week 7 (12 Dec- 18 Dec)
Aim: 150km over 3 days, includes 20km speedwork, 20km hills
It's getting tougher! You should be hurting now but your buttocks will be like slabs of prime beef. Again, avoid riding your Coker at all outside of the three training days. You should be recovering, and doing something else you enjoy or you will be so sick of your Coker by the start of the tour, that you might end up riding a b*ke ;o)
Is that hill getting easier and are you getting faster?
Week 8 (19 Dec- 25 Dec)
Aim: 200km over 3 days, 20km speedwork, 20km hills
You can eat as much as you like during Christmas much to the envy of your friends and family.
Change your tyre now, because even something as simple as a tyre has caused problems in the past- Ken's tyre bead snapped when he was in a little town called Toowomba, Australia, before a mountainbike race. No, they don't sell Coker tyres in Toowomba! Also check details like bolts (replace rusted ones- especially wheelcap bolts and bearings).
Week 9 (26 Dec-1 Jan)
Aim: 250km over 3 days, 20km speedwork, 20km hills
Definitely no more alterations to your unicycle at this stage. You will regret it! What you have now is what you should be using on the LUT.
Time to work off that excess X'mas pudding.
Week 10 (2 Jan- 8 Jan)
Aim: 150km over 2 days
This should be easier than the previous week, we're almost on a taper down mode.
Week 11 (9 Jan- 15 Jan)
Aim: 180km over 2 days
I lied, just one last hurdle. If you can do this, you will survive the Laos Unicycle Tour.
Week 12 (16 Jan- 23 Jan)
Aim: 25km over 1-2 days, last minute checks, no more riding till the tour. Don't ride too much this week, you should be hungry to ride when the tour starts!