This past weekend proved to be a goldmine for cycling tips. Both introspectively and by observing others.
We can all ride like a pro with our friends on good days but it’s how you handle those inevitable bad days that shows your true character. Haven’t had any bad days? Well either you aren’t human or haven’t been in this sport long enough!
I had a BAD day on the bike this past Sunday. 250km of BAD. I didn’t eat or drink enough, my legs were heavy, and I wasn’t feeling well (on the verge of a cold). On top of that, my riding mates were all on fire. Not a great day to be riding poorly…
How do you handle those bad days? Here’s what I keep in mind and try to do:
1. FORCE yourself to eat and drink. One probable reason for the poor form on the day is because you aren’t properly fueled. It’s amazing what a can of Coke can do in the short term.
2. Don’t be too proud to sit in and do as little work as possible. Save your energy for getting you home. Let your riding partners know what’s going on and that you’ll be sitting in. They just may have mercy on you.
3. If you’re feeling horrible then listen to your body and don’t fight it. It’s just one bad day. Accept it and keep a positive attitude. This will make the ride easier on you and your riding mates.
4. There can be a massive difference between how you feel when you’re heart rate is at 165bpm vs 160bpm (for example). Ask your mates to slow it up a bit until you’re more comfortable and hopefully you’ll find a pace that will get you home while everyone else still has a good ride.
5. Save your legs, not your gears! Spin, spin, spin. Spinning does a lot less damage to the muscles than big gear riding. Also, every chance you get, stop pedaling, duck down into the slipstream and go for the free ride. Conserve every ounce of energy you have.
6. Break the ride into 30min pieces and don’t think about the rest. Set yourself small goals to reach. The daunting task of dragging yourself 3 more hours can be overwhelming if you’re feeling really bad.
Remember: A bad day’s riding beats a good day’s work…..