With daylight savings time well underway many of us are itching to enjoy those long hours in the saddle before or after work, chasing the sun's rays across the horizon. And with summer's rays calling for more time on two wheels, we put together this list of endurance riding tips to help make every summer mile enjoyable and bonk-free.
1. Prepare Your Body
In the off-season tap into functional exercises, fun cross-training activities, and shorter rides. Focus on exercises that will directly make you stronger on the bike. For example: working core muscles in ways that simulate their use on the bike, by combining stability and mobility. Exercises like plank/side plank rotations, mountain climbers, and -- you guessed it -- bicycle kicks. When you do push-ups, think about how they will help your ride: elbows out for mountain bikers, and elbows back for road bikers. A little yoga can go a long way too.
If you didn't do these things over the off-season, it's not too late to start: to be a strong cyclist or mountain biker, you should do functional strength training all year long.
2. Get a Proper Warm-Up
Start off slowly at a comfortable, conversational pace for at least the first 30 minutes. If you let your muscles and your lungs ease into the workout gradually, they'll last longer and be less sore as you continue through the ride. If you track your heart rate zones, you should be warming up in zones 1 and 2.
3. Use Your Core Power
Time to put that functional strength training to work. Tighten up your lower abdominal muscles when you stand on your bike to power up steep sections. Keep your core active when you are making technical moves such as railing a corner or negotiating a rocky descent. Engaging those stabilizing muscles will give you a strong base from which to move the parts of your body that propel and maneuver your bike, and make your movements more efficient.
4. Feed the Furnace
Don't skip breakfast, especially if you're planning on putting in some long miles. Two favorites around here are Biju's Oatmeal and his Sweet Rice Porridge, both of which are simple, yet delicious power-packed breakfast options of from The Feed Zone Cookbook.
When you're out on the bike, aim to eat between 200-300 calories every hour after the first 1-2 hours, and aim to drink between 12-20 oz of hydration mix per hour depending on the temperature. We're fans of Skratch Labs drink mix because the formula is simple and easy on the stomach while providing sufficient electrolyte replacement.
5. Enjoy the Places Your Legs Take You
When you start spending a good part of your day on the bike, your body and mind will thank you for taking time to stop at scenic spots. Plus it's a great reason to take a breather, stretch your hips, shoulders, back, and soak in the view.