Monday, April 30, 2012

Preparing for your dream trip.

Our friends at VeloNews magazine recently published a special issue called Ultimate Ride Guide. Are you going on a mountain bike trip this year or planning one for 2013? Here are some handy tips on prepping for your big mountain bike adventure.

Pre-trip Training.
One of the biggest mistakes riders make it to approach a cycling trip like a final exam. You can’t pile on the training workload at the last minute like you're cramming for a test, it won’t work; you’ll just end up exhausted and slower than you were two weeks easlier. Instead, plan for your final high-volume and / or high-intensity training week to end 10-14 days before you leave for your trip. Whatever fitness you have at that last point is what youre going to have for your trip, and nothing you do in thsose final 10 days is going to give you more power or endurance. While you could say “the hay is in the barn” about 10 days out from departure, there are still plenty of ways you can burn the barn to the ground. Your actions and habits over those final 10 days can absolutely impact how rested and fresh you are for your mountain bike holiday, and that can have a significant influence on how much of your power you’re able to apply on the trail when it counts. You have to back off the number of hours you spend on the bike, but continue incorporating high-intensity efforts in those shorter and less frequent rides.

Your travel day.
Get a good nights sleep: don’t wait until the night before your trip to pack. You don’t want to be up until 1am packing and then have to wake up at 4:30 to get to the airport. The more rested you are for your travel day, the less stress you’ll place on your body as you endure the progression of planes, trains and automobiles the next day.

Eat clean.
There’s a lot of crappy food between your house and your final destination. You’ll feel better by avoiding heavy, high-fat options. To keep it simple, focus on consuming primarily water, raw fruits and vegetables and nuts during your travel day.

Stay clean.
You’ve been preparing for this trip for a long time so why risk it by picking up an illness in transit? Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face as much as possibly.

Pack for the worse-case scenario.
If the entire purpose of your trip is to be able to ride your bike at the other end, carry your helmet, shoes and pedals and one cycling kit in your carry-on. If your bike gets lost you can rent/borrow one. If your lugguage gets lost, at least you’ve got on complete kit and clothes on your back.

Getting the most out of your bike trip.
One of the best traval habits you can get into is to build your bike and go out for a 30-45 minute easy spin as soon as you arrive at your destination. You’re accomplishing a few things at once: you’re making sure that bike survived the baggage handlers’ best effofrts to destroy it, youre working out the stiffness and fluid retention issues associated with airline travel, and light exersive hels minimuze the impart of jet lag if you’ve crossed time zones. Don’t be the person who drives the pace or goes pounding up ever climb on Day 1 of a week-long trip, becsue no one wants to have to wait up for you on Day 5. If you have the opportunity to plan ahead, make Day 3 the big day of your trip, you’ve got a few days under your belt so you’ll feel smooth on the bike, but not so many miles in your legs that you’re suffering from excessive fatigue.
Above all, try and keep your trip in perspective. Most likely, you only get one big mountain bike vacation in a year, so do your best to let go of all the multitasking you normally do. Be a cyclist for a week, immerse yourself in the sport you love and soak in the sunshine, the scenery and the company of great friends. Ride as hard or as easy as you want, but do your best to disconnect from the numbers on your handlebars and connect with the human experience that only riding a mountain bike can provide.

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