Preparing for a bike racing event is absolutely vital to each racers success. It is equal; to if not more important than a racers strategy during the actual race. Here are very important tips to consider before a bike race to improve your performance.
A bike race doesn’t begin when the start gun goes off, it starts much earlier in the form of homework and training sessions. Whether you are a participant of a local street race or major competitive tour event, you need to train yourself adequately to be able to physically and mentally cope with the challenges you will face. The training procedures differ somewhat on the kind of race, but in most cases, the basics are the same.
What is most imperative in any sort of racing is the participant’s cardiovascular endurance. This refers to the rider’s ability to generate energy to the working muscles during hours of intense exercise, day after day.
Having good cardiovascular endurance requires your circulatory and respiratory system to supply energy to your muscles to meet the demands of sustained physical activity.
Therefore, undergoing significant endurance training before a race is a must. You may be practicing for a ‘long distance slow training’ which is the most common form. This involving long biking sessions at regulated pace or ‘tempo training’ consisting of training at a steady, but fairly high intensity slightly higher than “race pace” for a shorter duration, usually 20-30 minutes at a steady pace.
‘Interval training’ of short, repeated and intense physical efforts and ‘circuit training’ of a series of specific exercises performed for short durations and rotated through in quick succession with little or no rest in between are important and will build both strength and stamina that pushes your fatigue and exhaustion limits higher up.
A well-rounded cyclist does need to kick up the pace towards the end of the race. Sprint stamina can be achieved by explosive exercise training routines. One way of increasing the power to deliver the final stint is through weight training exercise. This promotes muscle strength, tone, power, and core strength. Full squat exercise is highly recommended for long distance bikers.
Choice of bike and nutrition are also important.
Apart from choosing the most comfortable bike that fits you well, it’s essential to maintain proper food habits. Balancing of calories and nutrients helps to achieve peak performance. Eat plenty of carbohydrates and proteins that provide ultimate energy and body muscle repair. Maintain a proper diet chart as suggested by a nutritionist. Also adequate fluid intake for athletes is essential to comfort, performance and safety. The longer and more intensely you exercise, the more important it is to drink the right kind and amount of fluids.
Due to the repetitive nature of cycling, it is important for cyclists to maintain flexibility and muscle balance.
Cyclists tend to develop muscle tightness in the hamstrings, hip flexors and chest if these muscles aren’t stretched regularly. So, don’t forget to stretch early in your exercise routine and at the end.
To improve your bike handling skills, join a local club or bike racing team that matches your skills and goals. You will sharpen your team strategies and tactics which are a huge part of every bike race.
As a final preparation before starting off, plan a relaxing night before the race and remember to carry all your special clothing. Appropriate jerseys, socks, shoes, gloves, bike helmets play a significant role during a race.