National Bike month is recognized from coast to coast each May as a time to celebrate the power of cycling as well as to reflect on the many reasons why we enjoy the sport.
Cycling is my meditation in motion. A time to push, a time to spin, a time to breathe and simply enjoy the outdoors.
Spring was slow to get going this year. In the past, I've pushed through the NC winters by layering up and heading out for a short ride. This winter was cold, wet, and downright windy. I recall grumbling well into March as I was still pulling on my tights, shoe covers, and jacket.
I love cycling in May. Those chilly rides are a thing of the past and the bright yellow NC pollen washes away in with the last April shower, making it the perfect time to crank up the cycling volume!
Many of us who work full-time jobs, have children, and outside obligations often find tacking on the mileage a challenge. When I have an extra busy week, I maximize my ride time with strategic workouts like interval training or hill repeats. These brief, but intense workouts provide a short, efficient, and effective strategy for big fitness gains in a short amount of time. One of my favorite go-to intervals is geared up for stronger climbing. Who doesn’t want to be a stronger climber? I warm up at an easy pace with a ride to one of my favorite moderate climbs a few miles from my house. At the base of the climb, I stand out of the saddle and charge up the hill as fast as possible, then simply coast back to the start to catch my breath and recover. Next time up, I will push this hill seated, continuing these intervals for 4 climbs based on how I’m feeling and the time that I have available.
Intervals are time efficient and a great way to increase fitness levels however, due to their intensity and the demands they place on the body, one of these workouts coupled with a few more moderate intensity rides each week is sufficient. In addition to riding, remember that adequate rest off the bike is necessary to maximize your training. Hard efforts break down your muscles, empty your fuel storage, and challenge your entire nervous system. To avoid over training and/or injury, implement practices of self-care: refuel and re-hydrate, cross-train, stretch, foam roll, take a bath, get a massage, read a book, and put your feet up. Your body and mind will thank you…
Did you know that Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 18th? Check out the links below, grab a buddy and plan your safe route to work.
Happy National Bike month! In the words of Eddy Merckx,” Ride Lots.”