You’re probably spending more time in the saddle than you have before. Things that aren’t quite right with your gear or nutrition might start telling. Now’s the time to sort them out. The important thing is to handle them one at a time and in small increments.
Do you suffer pain in your neck, shoulders, knees or legs? Chances are your position on the bike is not correct. On short rides these problems don’t have enough time to show up. On longer rides on the same bike even a small maladjustment can cause discomfort or pain.
Start by making sure your saddle is level. Then check for the correct height, and position fore and aft. If you find you need to make adjustments, make them one at a time. You might solve your problem by changing just one thing. Remember, every change can affect something else if overdone.
Make a note of where everything was positioned before making changes. That way you can change them right back again if you need to.
Are you coming home badly chafed or with sore feet? Could be your gear.
Cycling knicks are designed to be worn close to the skin for a purpose – to keep your tender spots as comfortable as is possible sitting on a narrow saddle for a long period of time. Synthetic underwear will contribute to chaffing.
Good shoes are vital for keeping your feet happy. Soft-soled shoes such as runners allow your foot to bend unnaturally as you pedal. If your feet are in pain it might be time to invest in some stiff soled cycling shoes.
Bike’s OK, gear’s OK – but you’re still fading before you finish a ride. Time to think about nutrition. There are all sorts of “energy” products lining the shelves of bike shops. Should you try them? Maybe.
It’s important to make sure you’re eating properly the rest of the week first. Good all round nutrition is vital for good performance on your bike. If you decide to try supplements, check whether they’re designed for use during the ride or as a post ride recovery.
When the day of the big event arrives your bike, gear and nutrition should all be tried and true. Don’t try anything new on that day! Just enjoy yourself.
See you on the road soon, God willing.