Now that Spring is here and we can head outdoors for our everyday fitness, some may take to riding. With the heat coming on sooner rather than later, it is important to take the proper precautions to get the most out of your biking experience.
The audience for this blog is not directed at the pro athlete, yet we can all take some gems from performance cycling to enhance our own ride. In respect to the summer heat…
1) Will you be riding indoors or outdoors?
2) Will you participate in a spin class, a group ride or get on a bike trainer with the only free hour(s) in your day while trying to maintain that life balance?
The goal is to give you some easy tools for your riding kit to:
- Maximize experience by improving technique and efficiency
- Decrease risk of injury
- Tips on Hydration and Nutrition
1. Regardless where you are riding and whether you are stationary or not, proper form is the foundational essential. Sit at a 90 degree angle in the saddle where you can maximize your airway for more efficient breathing, engage your core for stability in the saddle, and remember to pull up on the pedals as it is as important as pushing down.
Your heel should actually be lower than toes at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Think about the motion of wiping mud off your shoe. I have a dog so I could easily use another analogy! As you increase your speed or tension on the bike, try NOT to rock your torso back and forth on the bike. If your shoulders and arms are moving excessively, this is exactly what you are doing! To remedy this, do not use a white knuckle grip on the handlebars yet keep your shoulders facing forward in a relaxed, position with an elbow angle of 15 degrees, taking tension out of your riding technique helps to reduce overuse injuries.
2. Since you now have proper form to help to reduce injury, I am going to recommend a warm up to increase your heart rate and riding muscles for a minimum of 5-10 minutes. The post-ride warm down is also 5 -10 minutes to reduce heart rate and begin to cool down muscles before you get off the bike. Stretching out your muscles post ride is the best way to prevent injury and unnecessary aches and pains. Check out WaffWeb.com
or Nicole Morell 5 Post-Ride Stretches.
3. Now that you now have the form and stretching of a Pro Cyclist, let’s talk about bike nutrition. The following tips are for rides under one hour.
Pre-Charge: you need about 75-100 grams of carbs. Cereal with dried fruit, oatmeal with bananas or scrambled eggs on toast, honey and milk are also recommended. Timing is everything when it comes to refueling. Make sure you have a water bottle and take a swig every 10 minutes. You may not need to consume carbohydrates or electrolytes to maintain energy or regulate mineral loss in a ride under an hour. To replenish and recover consume a protein and carbohydrate, rich drink or snack within the first 15-30 minutes after exercise. This is the time when you’re riding muscles use the carbs and protein most efficiently and effectively.
Your summer riding kit is now complete. Have a great ride!
May The Tour Be With You.