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Thursday, 24 April 2014 06:00

Healthy Riding

columnist David PocockWe, as a community, will talk endlessly about our bikes and how we keep then running and or improve the way they handle / run / perform . . . but how often do we do the same for ourselves?  How often, as we go on this or that run, do we really look at what we do for ourselves?  Think about it, do we always make sure we get enough sleep before we head out on a long ride to, or from a given event?  Do we make sure we eat enough to balance out against the rigours of the ride, do we take in enough fluids (not beer / whiskey / wine)?  Many of us are now, I’m sorry to point it out, no longer under 30 or even 40 and all of this will and does take it’s toll. 

“Sleep is over rated.”  Ya, ya, ya, we hear that so often but, think about it, how much sleep do you get on a regular work-week night?  And now you’re going to go drive a machine that requires 110%, or more, attention for long stretches of time on little or no sleep.   Let’s think on that for a minute.  Now let’s think about what lack of sleep does to us when we are at work, we’re not as focussed, we might forget to do some minor task, or miss a step (minor though it might be) or we nod off for a short “eye rest break” at coffee time or over lunch.  On a bike we do not have that luxury really now do we, especially if we’re on a challenging road like the “Kaslo - New Denver”, the “Twisty 6" or say “The Tail of the Dragon”?  

Food is fuel for us.  Are you getting by on a quick coffee and a sweet roll to start the day or how about a fast food burger and shake or Pop for lunch?  When you’re hungry you are NOT paying as much attention to what you need to be doing, we all know that.

Remember mom saying you need a good breakfast to get ahead at school?   Never mind mom, look at all the school breakfast programs out there and the proof of the improved grades and lower attention and behavioural problems in those schools that have a breakfast and lunch program.  Just maybe they are on to something here and just maybe we can take away the same thought, reasonably good food in reasonable quantities, will result in better performance.  Remember too that overloading on food will make us a little slow for a while so maybe plan for the time to have a good meal and use the interim time to take care of other maintenance like looking over the bike to make sure all the bits and pieces are where they should be and working like they should so that your ride will not be interrupted by a breakdown.

Water or fluids, again something that often gets overlooked what with the excitement of the trip.  Again, we, as riders actually are prone to loose more of our body moisture, while riding, than we would on most regular days at a job, more so if you are at a desk job.   Remember we’re out in the elements we’ve got LOTS of air moving past us drawing the moisture away from our bodies, yes even IF you are in full leathers.   Now add dry air and heat, think of the food driers for preserving fruits and such, not too much different on a bike, in the summer.  For those who ride in the mountains, though it may seem cooler and all, the lower atmospheric pressure contributes to higher moisture loss.  If you drink at least 2 litres of water at your regular job in a day double it.  Something that will also help, mix Gatorade half and half with water , or put some sliced lemon or limes, or both, in your water bottle.  There are now personal hydration systems (Camel-backs etc.) with right-angle bite valves that will fit under helmets. 

It is not hard to forget that when we are riding we need to remember all of the stuff we’d do on a regular basis in our regular work-a-day lives to look after ourselves, “Hey! We’re on a short vacation when we go for a ride”, but we need to survive that vacation so that we can do it again.  Road trips are meant to be fun but if we loose attention to what we are doing, even just for a moment, the results for us can be just that much more harsh.

Ride safe, we’d much rather talk to you, than about you.

Last modified on Thursday, 29 May 2014 17:43

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