Taking inspiration from the pro riders!
Whatever style of bike you ride – from road to gravel to mountain – the big events of the summer like the Tour de France, the Enduro World Series and the UCI Downhill Championships are great for inspiring us to get fitter, push harder and go faster. What’s the best way to do this when you’re a recreational cyclist.
The short answer is simply to get more hours in on the bike but with busy lives it’s not always that simple. Drawing on the experiences of our staff and customers we’ve come up with our top tips so that you can be feeling fast and furious in a few weeks’ time.
Commute by bike – It might not be glamourous but riding to work is an easy way to get extra miles on the bike. Whether it’s cross country or on the road you can easily build your stamina and fitness over the week.
Hill sprints – In all cycling disciplines we need to be able to put the power down in short bursts to accelerate passed a competitor or get up a steep incline. Although it can be painful at first the good news is that it’s possible to train your body to do this when you’re already tired and pushing near the max. It’s simple – find a hill and ride up it repeatedly. Doesn’t sound like much but after 10 or 20 climbs, pushing as hard as you can, it’s exhausting.The fitness benefits are two-fold: firstly you are building your ability to work at your highest heart-rate; secondly you are increasing the power in your legs. If you’re a mountain biker why not use the down slope to practice holding manuals.
Get down the gym! – Strength and conditioning work through disciplines such as lifting weights, plyometrics, functional fitness and pilates will increase your core stability, power output and stamina one the bike.
Fuelling – There’s a range of information out there about what to eat on a ride but have you ever stopped to think about you feel 1-2 hours after meal? Doing that can give you important clues as to what food works best for your body. Some people find complex carbs such as porridge are great but others find that eggs, avocado, bacon and an apple will keep them going for longer.
Hydration – We all know we should drink around 2l of water a day but that goes up if you’re riding or working out. The obvious consequences are dehyradration include headaches and tiredness but it also affects your mental function including concentration, attention and response times, all of which are critical when riding.
Invest in coaching – Even if you’ve been riding for years a couple of hours with a coach can help you gain skills that translate into speed on the road or trail. There are a growing number of MTB coaching days for groups running across the country – this can be a great way of trying a new riding venue too. Or why not go for 1:1 coaching or a group session with mates?
Choose your riding buddies wisely – If you want to get faster and ride better find people to ride with who are faster and better than you and force yourself to keep up with them. Remember the saying – your brain gives up before your legs do!
We hope you find these helpful and effective – let us know how you get on and what works for you. Happy riding!