When you live in a country like Australia it is pretty difficult to avoid heat and sun exposure while you’re riding your road bike. The summer sun can be pretty fierce so here’s my tips for handling it.
Ride early and late
I do most of my riding early in the morning. There are a number of reasons for riding early but one of them is definitely sun exposure and heat. You’ll also avoid traffic if you ride early in the day. But if you can’t ride early in the morning then try a twilight ride to avoid the sun.
Make sure you carry at least one full waterbottle on your bike, if not two. You can buy insulated bottles like the ones I use from Camelbak. I fill them up with fridge-cooled water before I go out and the water stays cool for hours. If you’re going on a long ride (more than say 60 km) then you should consider a sports drink in a second bottle. This helps with hydration but also energy. There are always places to stop and refill bottles, particularly on organised rides.
Last week we brought you Rebecca Hay’s advice on eating during a ride and this week we look at eating before you ride. Over to Rebecca once again…
Should I eat before training?
A very common question among cyclists. The answer depends on a few factors:
- what you are planning to do?
- what you want to get out your session? and
- the duration of your training session.
You can apply some very simple rules based on planned intensity and duration of the activity. Even if you are exercising with weight reduction as one of your goals you will find you train better if you have a little fuel on board before an intense training session.
Here’s the second guest blog post from sports dietician Rebecca Hay from The Athlete’s Kitchen. Rebecca kindly volunteered to write a few blog posts for WWC and here’s her second contribution about what to take on board during a ride………
The length and intensity of a ride dictates how much and what you might decide to take with you on a bike ride. There is a lot of information in magazines and the internet about how to meet needs. Many cyclists choose to consume water only on their rides. For a short, moderate paced ride this may be enough. When the intensity kicks up though it is time to start thinking about adding some carbohydrate to top up muscle fuel.
Basics – muscles will use glycogen for fuel. Glycogen is stored in our muscles and liver. We have enough stored in our muscles for ~90min of moderate intensity activity.
One of the major topics amongst my riding friends in the last few weeks at the post-ride café visit, has been aggressive birds. Spring has definitely sprung in my neighbourhood and birds are out in force defending their young.
Thankfully my bird attacks have been uneventful where I’ve heard a click noise on my helmet and been aware of an anonymous object nearby, but a few of my friends have not been so lucky. One of them had a butcherbird attack him on Saturday morning and draw blood on his cheek. Another was attacked by an aggressive magpie last week while visiting an area where he doesn’t normally ride. Both of them stayed calm and managed to stay upright but many are not so lucky.
These stories have prompted me to do some research and put a list of facts and tips together.
My photograph of Anna at Dunc Grey Velodrome
I was lucky enough to catch up with the amazing Anna Meares via email for an interview. I find Anna very inspiring and have been lucky enough to see her race a couple of times at the velodrome in Sydney.
Q: My Sydney Cycling Club, Lidcombe Auburn Cycle Club (LACC) has a girls’ development squad called the Pixies. They ride and race both track and road and range in age from about six to 13. What words of wisdom could you offer them?
A: I have heard of the Pixies (very cute little group and cute name). My advice would be to have fun, enjoy the sport, enjoy the company of old friends and new friends because these will be memories that last you a lifetime.
Q: At what age did you switch from ‘having fun’ racing and riding your bike to ‘serious’ training? How old were you when you found your first coach?
A: I was 13 when I found my first coach in Ken Tucker in Rockhampton. I probably went from having fun to serious when I was 16 years old.
Earlier this year I attended a women’s training camp and met sports dietician Rebecca Hay from The Athlete’s Kitchen. Rebecca kindly volunteered to write a few blog posts for WWC and here’s her first contribution about recovering from a ride………
How do you recover after a ride? There is a lot of information around how best to recover …but how do you know if it is correct?
Despite what you often read carbohydrate should make up the bulk of what you consume. It is used to fill muscles up again with glycogen – this is muscle fuel. You will empty almost all your muscle glycogen after an intense 60 minute exercise session or after 90 to 120 minutes of a moderate session.
Whether you’re a competitive or recreational cyclist you can benefit from regular resistance/strength training sessions at the gym. Cycling is an endurance activity, while resistance training is an anaerobic activity, that is, periods of work interspersed with periods of rest. But regular resistance training can improve your strength, help you maintain bone mass and aid in injury prevention.
I’ve been doing a weekly resistance training session for about seven years which is longer than I’ve been cycling. I believe it plays an important part in my exercise program which also includes jogging. My focus has always been on general resistance training to keep me strong and to help with bone density rather than improving my cycling. Perhaps if I was a more serious cyclist then I would focus solely on improving my performance on the bike. For the purposes of this post I will concentrate on resistance training to complement cycling.
Now I’m not suggesting you need to undertake Anna Meares’ regular weights sessions. Anna’s gym workouts are very specific and aimed at making her the awesome sprinter that she is, but we can learn from her efforts.
A couple of my cycling buddies have recently told me of their pregnancies so I thought it would be a good topic to cover on Women Who Cycle. In fact, one of them told me while we were riding along on a regular weekend ride. This is not a topic that I’m an expert on, because I have not completed any formal training in healthcare or fitness, and I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve done some research and compiled some expert opinion from others.
The most important thing to note is that every women is different and so everyone needs to make their own decisions about how much to cycle during pregnancy or even if you cycle at all. Before you even consider it I urge you to discuss it and any other exercise plans with your doctor.
Ever since I started riding four and a half years ago my weight has been very stable but I also know that if I lost a few kilos I would be faster and go up hills better. So I read with interest an article from one of my favourite women’s online cycling magazines Women’s Cycling.ca and the editor Laurel-Lea kindly agreed that I could reproduce it here.
So here it is by Diane Stibbard…….
Q: How do I determine my optimal weight so I’m strong and fit on my bike?
A: Everyone has a different body physiology as well as different cycling goals: your genetic makeup affects your ability to lose and gain weight and to gain lean muscle mass. However, your body weight, lean muscle mass, body-fat percentage, body-mass distribution, and body-fat distribution all play a big role in your performance on the bike.
Kimberley Wells (centre) on the Podium at the 2013 nationals.
The first time I remembering hearing the name Kimberley Wells was when I was watching the Bay Crits on television earlier this year. She won against many of her highly fancied rivals. The second time was when I saw her live, racing in the Women’s Cup at Unley in Adelaide during the Tour Down Under where she also won. So I wasn’t at all surprised when Kimberley made contact with me from her new base in the US. Here’s the story in her own words.
Why did you start cycling?
I am 27 years old now and fell into cycling throughout University in Far North Queensland. I came back from a year in the UK/Europe working and travelling and bought a road bike a week before I started Uni, aged 18 years. Initially I used it to get around town, but over a few years became more involved in bunch riding, the Townsville Cycling Club then some local racing, progressing to having a coach. I knew I wanted to go further with the cycling, but there were significant challenges doing this as a medical student in the far reaches of North Queensland without a road map to success. After graduating University in 2009 and following my boyfriend to Canberra I started ramping up the riding/racing, working towards becoming a full-time athlete in 2012.