There’s a whole year of riding rolling out before us, and for more than a few folk “this year I’m going to get fit” will have been somewhere on the New Year’s resolution list.
But what exactly do you mean by “I’m going to get fit?” Did you think about exactly what you want to achieve before you charged out on your first ride?
If you’re feeling slightly sheepish now don’t worry, most people will be. Don’t think you’re doing yourself any favours if your main aim is to “beat that git who always drops me on the climbs” either.
Before you plan your ideal 2002, you need to be realistic or it’ll all fall apart before we even get to March. Or to put it visually:
Building fitness / speed / skill whatever you want to call it, is pretty much the same as building up a bike. Everyone has a different amount they can dedicate to it and a different outcome they want to achieve.
Upgrading a bike requires money, upgrading yourself requires time. There’s also the fact that everyone starts from a different level. Some folk are lucky enough to be born with the genetic equivalent of Scandium and XTR componentry, others of us are somewhere around a dependable Deore level, while some days you’ll feel more like a Toys-R-Us special.
What we’re trying to say is don’t judge yourself against others who might have a completely different genetic starting point to you or far more time and energy to spend on training. Instead work out what you want to do yourself and achieve it step by step. That way you’ll really enjoy improving your riding rather than just feeling you aren’t getting anywhere compared to your mates. You’ll also make sure you’re riding at your full potential, rather than taking it easy because you’re the fastest one in the group already.
Nonplussed? Here are some pointers you might want to achieve.
Do you want to:
A) Finally get up that big hill without walking?
B) Get fit enough to ride 2 or 3 times a week?
C) Complete your local loop in under 1 (or 2 or 3) hour(s)?
D) Improve your ability to finish strong at the end of a 5-hour day ride?
E) Improve your ability to haul up big half-hour climbs?
F) Improve your ability to finish strongly up the big half-hour climb at the end of a two-day riding weekend, or a week long biking trip?
G) Improve your racing speed?
H) Improve your ability to charge up those little vertical technical sections?
I) Improve your ability to ride down those little vertical technical sections?
J) Lose weight?
K) Finally learn to wheelie, bunny hop etc. properly?
L) Eat as much as you like and still fit in the same clothes?
M) All of the above?
N) Or perhaps more realistically, a mixture of the above?
The great thing is that improvements in every one, or even several, of the above are easy and simple to achieve. Do it right and you’ll even enjoy it rather than endure getting there.
Work out what you want and then come back next week as Coach Potato will show you the first stage in achieving it. Or – as they say in women’s magazines – “welcome to a new you in the New Year”.