If you love riding your mountain bike, it’s only a matter of time when you’ll start thinking about competing. Those who cycle out of a hobby usually go for a ride about two times a week. But in order to prepare for a professional competition, you will need to commit to a tougher training regime and reason with yourself why you want to give it a go. Is it because of the experience or are you out there to win? Most amateur racers choose to compete because they want to be a part of the good atmosphere that values great sports spirit and makes all racers and the audience feel welcomed.
There are entry-level competitions you can participate in, so if you wish to upgrade, explore new terrains and traces, and push yourself out of your comfort zone by testing your limits – here’s some of the basic tips you should take in mind.
Train Hard to Build Endurance
You should adjust your training sessions according to the duration of the race, not just the distance. For example, if you’re signing up for a race that’s two hours long, you need to make your rides at least two or three hours long in order to build endurance and make it through the race. It is advisable to push your body to the limits a week before the race. Here’s why: the intense workout (the kind that makes your legs sore) is the last phase of fitness preparation that ensures the maximum strength of your muscles. Highly intense workouts break muscle fibres which then get regenerated, become larger and more resilient. This ensures you the best possible performance.
Take Care of Your Bike and Equipment
To prevent any technical problems during the race, run a thorough check up of your bike. That includes checking the brakes and the air in tyres (optimally 30-50 psi), ensuring wheels aren’t wobbly, adjusting the saddle height, and checking if the operation of changes functions properly. This goes a long way as you’ll avoid unfortunate mechanic issues during the race. In addition, ensure you have comfortable and quality accompanying equipment such as a secure helmet, good mountain bike shoes, riding gloves, and a fitness suit that you feel comfortable in. Most athletes choose dri-fit or other microfiber materials that ensure the best athletic performance by letting the skin breathe and fastly soaking in sweat. Make sure to test drive all your equipment before the race to see if everything fits, so you don’t end up with unpleasant surprises such as blisters or itchy skin of a poorly chosen piece of clothing.
Have Enough Sleep
Various studies have shown just how important sleep is for normal physical and mental functioning. It helps your whole body recover, which is especially important when you’re preparing for the race. The amount of shut-eye you get affects your daily performance so if you’re sleep deprived, you better skip the race all together. Learn to listen to your body’s needs. Eight hours of sleep is mandatory, but if you feel drowsy during the day, do take a nap (it’s best to make it 45 min or 90 min). To get enough sleep, stick to a sleeping schedule, stay away from excessive amounts of alcohol, avoid screen time before going to bed, and create a relaxing ambient for yourself.
Hydration and Nutrition Are the Key
You’d be amazed how water and your daily menu can influence your physical performance. Both liquids and wisely chosen types of foods function as a fuel for your body, which is why you need to be mindful about them. Coconut water is great because it contains electrolytes and natural sugars, providing your body with nutrients it needs. You should avoid eating simple carbs and stick with lean proteins (e.g. eggs or chicken meat) and complex carbs (e.g. whole grain bread or oatmeal). You can also try some of the meat plans available online so to ensure your body is healthy and at the peak of its energy.
Now, are you ready to hit the racing track?