(From the Procrastinating Pedalers of Reno-Tahoe)
As we approach the “meat” of the riding season, many of us are looking forward to spending more time on our bikes and even completing a personal best in whatever that might be. This generally means longer rides, and a lot more saddle time. Here are a few tips that might help you in achieving your Personal Best:
1. Bike Fit – As you spend longer days in the saddle, minor bike-fit issues can become MAJOR bike-fit issues. Everything gets exaggerated as we spend more time on our bikes. If you can, have your bike fitted by an expert at a local shop.
2. Build up slowly – Start building your mileage over time. Add mileage in 10% increments and only when your previous distance becomes easy for you.
3. Train to terrain – If your Personal Best includes hills, make sure that you incorporate hill climbing into your routes.
4. Keep track – Whether you use Garmin Connect, Strava or some other means, keep track of your progress in terms of mileage and even how you felt before and after riding. It’s good to record what you ate for breakfast and what you ate during the ride. Doing this will help you sort out what works for you and what does not.
5. Make adjustments – As stated above, riding longer distances will exaggerate any issues you are having. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments. How does your saddle feel? How does the padding feel in your shorts? How are your feet holding up? Make any adjustments before you attempt your Personal Best.
6. Don’t forget to fuel – Eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty. If you feel yourself getting either hungry or thirsty, you probably waited too long. It’s essential to carry plenty of food and water on longer rides.
7. Recover – Do not over-train. If you feel tired, take a rest day. Your muscles need time to rest and re-build. If you just can’t sit still, make it an “active recovery” day. Go for a short walk or hike, but keep it super easy and under an hour.
8. Pay attention – Listen to your body. Are you having trouble sleeping or feeling burned out and irritable? Do your legs feel like lead weights? These are sure signs that you need a break from the bike. You will come back feeling refreshed, mentally and physically.