Here’s a reader question from Marius in Germany!
Right now I’m not a regular biker with a Race bike (yet) but I really want to start it.
Do you have any tips on how to start racebiking without doing “too” much and without loosing the motivation? I started mountainbiking a few years ago and in the beginning I just did too much (I believe) so that I did not feel so happy about it anymore.
I also want to start racebiking in order to lose some weight. Maybe you have some helpful advice for that too.
Thanks in advance and greetings from Germany!
One of the things I did when I decided to get fit again a few years ago, was to do the basics on my old mtb that I’d had for 15 years. Only after I felt reasonably fit again, after at least six months of going out a few times per week, did I “reward” myself with a new road bike.
This did a few things:
- I knew that it wasn’t just a passive phase, an impulse buy, destined to sit gathering dust in the garage until an eventual eBay sale.
- When I got my road bike, I immediately loved it because I was fit enough to use it properly and appreciate it.
- I felt the benefit of the lightness in weight, the responsiveness of the handling, and the efficiency of the transmission.
- Compared to the old steel mtb I’d trained on, this was all heavenly, and it made me love my new bike from the beginning.
I think if I’d just gone out and bought a new road bike to get fit on, things might have turned out differently.
However, assuming you’ve already got a base level of fitness and are not starting from scratch, it will be helpful to try to stick to weekly mileage targets, ensuring you take proper rest days too. The rest days are just as important as the workout days!
Ways to keep your cycling motivation up
No, not just for the leaderboards! (Quite the opposite)
Try creating some private Strava segments, or use existing ones that make sense to you and track your own progress over time. Forget comparing yourself to everyone else, this is about you!
Use chrome extensions like this one to help auto filter the data, and monitor your own progress, against yourself. Nevermind them.
For an enhanced view of your Strava stats on steroids, you must check out Veloviewer if you haven’t already.
It’s rather incredible.
Use the force
In your question, you mention that you overdid it when you rode a mountain bike a few years ago. This suggests that you might be one of those people who finds data/stats/a sense of clear progress quite addictive. It can be.
So make sure you take an occasional ride where it’s not about the numbers. Just sometimes.
Book yourself on a sportive.
There’s nothing like focusing your mind than committing yourself to an event.
Knowing that you’ll be on a long ride (go on, go for a century!) with hundreds of other cyclists is a great incentive to train properly. You’ll want to enjoy the day and feel strong and confident all day. The last thing you want is to struggle and wish you’d never entered.
By the way, if you do book on an event, you must read my free Ebook. It will help you, I promise!
Celebrate your achievement
Finally, having worked hard training up to an event, why not commemorate all that effort with a bespoke piece of artwork based on your rides?
MadewithSisu links to your Strava data and then pulls images of your rides into a piece of art, which they print out and send to you. I know one ScarletFire reader who bought one and they were very impressed with the quality. Visit MadeWithSisu now
Exercising to lose weight
I’m not going to advise any particular type of exercise for losing weight, though something you often hear is that riding in zone 2 trains the body to go into a “fat burning” mode. Meh.
My view is that if you’re exercising, you’re burning off energy, so you also need to consider how much energy you’re consuming, and a great way to do that accurately is to use an app like MyFitnessPal.
I ran a little series of posts last year to document my experience of using the app to try to lose a bit of weight (not much, but I had a clear goal in mind, which I achieved).
Post 1 Using the MyFitnessPal app to lose weight
Post 2 The MyFitnessPal experiment to lose weight. Is it working?
Post 3 Weight loss with smartphone apps update #3
I hope that helped, Marius!
Come on readers, what other advice can you offer in the comments?
Update: Geoff contacted me by email to offer the following advice:
My advice to him would be to set a goal to get fit by doing a sponsored event locally.
He will feel obliged to complete the event and not let people down. The event will give him the desire to go out training when a night in front of the tv would appear to be a good option.
He needs to join a local cycle club which runs competitive events such as 10 mile (16k) and 25mile (40k) Time Trials. Getting improvements on a weekly basis should give that “heads up” feeling (it does for me anyway!!!)
Also if he gets a Garmin (and can understand it!), I find that looking at the statistics of a completed ride i.e. average speed and height gained can spur me on to do that route again and compare results. Lastly, try to commute to work couple of times a week will give a base fitness that can be drawn upon when the going gets tough.
Hope this makes sense but it works for me and having the ”gear” to go out in poor weather can offset discomfort levels on the most fantastic modes of transport ever invented.
Do you have some advice to offer? Please use the comments section below.