After a winter of semi-hibernation, stodgy comfort food and inconsistent riding, cyclists emerge blinking into the sunshine in a less than highly-tuned state. So, we’ve been thinking about pre-summer preparation and how to Improve Your Cycling For the Summer
Clean up your diet
During the winter months, we often turn to sugary and carbohydrate-dense foods to make ourselves feel better but now is a good time to start weeding out processed and sugary foods. Cutting your intake of processed foods by 50 per cent will benefit both your health and your waistline.
Spring means a wealth of fresh veg. The first to emerge are the green things: cabbages, beans, peas and the short-lived asparagus season. Fragrant and nutty, spring green cabbage can be used raw in juices or salads or steamed or stir-fried to retain maximum nutrients on cooking.
With an average portion providing more than the daily recommended nutrient intake (RNI) for vitamin C, as well as vitamins A and E, cabbage provides lots of antioxidants to help your body copy with the demands of training and stay well.
Protect your knees
There is a condition known to old-school cyclists and certain physios as ‘spring knee’. This nagging frontal knee pain often occurs at the start of the season when riders have suddenly increased the volume or intensity they are riding. This is a soft tissue injury that can have several different causes: muscular weakness or imbalance, poor technique or biomechanics and an increase in load on muscles not yet conditioned to training.
This winter has seen a huge trend towards indoor training; spinning and Wattbike classes have increased in popularity, whereas the newly coined phrase ‘trainertainment’ represents the new levels of interest in virtually-enhanced turbo work.
The problem is that, while training indoors using all these gadgets might help maintain or even increase our fitness, it doesn’t do much for our bike-handling skills.
Just because your legs are strong and fast from the turbo, don’t go flat-out, as you may find your engine’s capabilities exceeding your handling. Start with a few steady rides and actively concentrate on skills such as cornering, descending and track-standing to make sure your balance and technique are up to scratch. Once you combine these skills with your turbo-boosted fitness, you’ll be ready to fly.