An elite athlete I am not. Even when I was younger and fitter and leaner, I was always a bit of a scrapper. I have never really looked good at any sport I participated in. A lot of my acheivements have been made through sheer bloody mindedness more than athletic ability or talent. What I am learning as I slowly make my way up the big hill that is life, is that pig headed determination isn’t going to get me to my goals any more. I need to be smarter in the way I tackle some of the goals I have set for myself. And after doing some long rides lately, I have learnt quite a few things.
Notice I didn’t say food. This is a lesson I have learned time and time again in my life, but always seem to slip back into the bad old habits.
I remember when I was younger and used to go on long rides on a converted MTB. We would stop and have a couple of chocolate bars and a fizzy drink of some sort. Youth was on my side, but even then I could recognise the rush of the sugar hit, and the bonk that hit you like a tank when the sugar was gone. When I did my charity ride to Melbourne in 2005, every morning bar one I had a good breakfast on cereals, juices and a cup of tea. One day I decided to have some McCrud from Macca’s. I may as well have eaten the paper bag it came in for all the good it did. I felt like rubbish all day.
Now when i take off on a long ride, I make sure I have sandwiches with Nutella or honey and banana. I take some protein bars as well. I have tried the Cadel Evans Winners bars, but I waste valuable energy trying to chew the bloody things. And then more energy as my tongue spends the next hour playing search and destroy all the tiny seeds that get stuck in your teeth. I am sure they are a terific product though.
Also, hydration is as important as eating for energy. I think on last weekends 7 hour and 150km ride I emptied 7 bottles of water and 1 bottle of electrolyte stuff that Lewy gave me. Even after another couple of bottles when I got home I felt dehydrated.
So people, good food and plenty of water, it is important.
Clothing for the people who don’t understand Australian. I have been wearing good quality knicks for years.
It is just in the past month that I have tried bib knicks. What a revelation. Firstly, a point if I may. As seen in the photo above, they always show you photos of blokes that aren’t exactly shaped like the blog author, if you catch my drift. I stripped a bit of weight off, but the ab I am sporting is quite a sight to behold, and I can tell you, bib knicks don’t improve the look. Remember those bras a few years back, the Wonderbra, well imagine that for a boob that has centred itself, dropped down 12 inches and is heaps bigger. Bib knicks lift my gut up and make it even more prominent. Oh excellent! And people ask why I don’t ride in the drops? I cant reach the bloody things!
Also, I have found that your knicks, well, the chamois part of them, are really only as good as your chamois cream. I resisted for years, but now if I am going to be out more than an hour, I am reaching for the Butt Butter. And avid readers will probably remember that a few weeks ago I realised that a tiny bit on the end of your finger rubbed into the chamois is pointless. Get a good scoop of it into the chamois, it feels disgusting the first time you pull your knicks on, but belive me, it will be worth it.
Rest and relaxation.
If there is anything I am naturally talented at, it is sitting on my arse. If I am on the couch, that usually ends up with me grabbing some cushions (ooh, a chance to plug the good wife’s site. http://www.cooshonz.com ) and slowly sliding into a laying position and then it is lights out.
I have found that a day off the bike the day before a big ride make a huge difference for me. I am sure it isn’t the same with everyone, but for me, that seems to work best. It doesn’t seem to matter if I have an easy ride, sub 1 hour and no busting fast average speed the day before, but it is best if i don’t ride at all the day before.
Also, if I do have a big week, I try and have a good couple of days off so as I don’t burn myself up riding all the time. It takes longer to recover at age 43 than it did 20 years ago. Don’t be afraid to have a day off the bike if you are on my side of 30, it wont kill you.
So there you have it, the slightly jumbled musings of a non pro cyclist. Thanks for reading.