How many of you are fans of YouTube? Do any of you subscribe to WIRED? If so, you might have noticed that their featured video on their home page is currently titled “Why It’s Almost Impossible to Ride a Bike 60 Kilometers in One Hour.”
For those of you who missed it, I’ll include the video below. Go ahead and have a watch.
After watching the video, I was inspired to write a Barton Haynes blog post discussing five tips explaining how to push oneself as a cyclist to your maximum level and your highest potential.
Tip One: Be Smart with Nutrition
The first step towards becoming a better cyclist begins before you even mount the saddle. As a competitive cyclist, you must be vigilant about what kinds of food you put into your body. Furthermore, you must be on top of when and how much you consume. Although this isn’t the blog post for specifying meal plans, I’ll go ahead and direct you to previous posts I’ve written about how to eat as an avid cyclist if you need tips and tricks on improving your habits around food:
- Eating During Century Bike Races
- Two Types of Nutrition for Cycling
- Ask Bart Haynes: Diet Tips for Cyclists
Tip Two: Stretch
As a cyclist, it’s highly important to stretch. Many athletes fail to take this extra step and don’t improve as a result. Why is stretching important, you ask? Mostly, stretching keeps your muscles flexible and strong. Your joints also benefit from experiencing a range of motion. Furthermore, you allow yourself a few minutes of time to mentally prepare and gear up for what you’re about to endure while you stretch. This post by Map My Run features 6 Stretches Every Cyclist Should Do.
Tip Three: Start Fast
Studies have shown that getting a rocket-fast start at the beginning of a cycling race helps cyclists improve their times. According to bicycling.com, British researchers found that “those who started a little faster than their average pace increased their time to exhaustion by 25 percent compared with those who started slowly or used a more even pace.” Although incorporating a sprint into the beginning of your cycles might be an adjustment, it’s important to practice due to the time that this method can shave off of your times.
Tip Four: Exercise Smart
Exercising is highly important if you want to enhance your abilities as a cycling and improve your times. There are many cycling exercises that you can do to strengthen your legs and core, but an important tip to note is that low weight, high reps are important to practice after you’ve completed a set. In other words, when you finish with your exercise, drop your weight and squeeze out a few more repetitions. Doing this will allow you to further condition your muscles and tap into your slow-twitch muscles that haven’t yet exhausted from your workout.
Tip Five: Get a Post-Ride Massage
This last tip might seem too good to be true, but it’s not! Experts recommend that cyclists get massages after their rides to improve their performance. The reason for this is because post-exercise massages cools inflammation and reduces next-day soreness by up to 30%. I’ve found several excellent masseuses around the Rancho Santa Fe area. Check to see if therapeutic massage is covered by your insurance. If not, however, invest in some compression tights or some massage tools to help your muscles relax after your rides.