A certain friend who shall remain nameless sometimes shows up for a ride with A Dude Abikes. This person is almost always not ready in one or many ways, from not having water in his bottles, having eaten, or done anything to his bike. This is very vexing to A Dude’s soul. So I always ask, “Are you ready to ride”? I thought it might be helpful to share the things that A Dude recommends. Over time you’ll find what works best for you, it will become second nature, and you’ll memorize the list. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt and might help to write or type out your and have it visible.
The Night Before Bikemas: Food
It’s not original to say you want to have your liver stocked with glycogen ahead of a big ride (or run, or skiing, or shopping trip). That’s so you don’t burn up your muscles or “bonk” or run into smarter deadlier life forms. But if you didn’t know that or why, you would do well to satiate yourself the night before. A good dinner with some whole wheat pasta, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fat will go far. One source A Dude doesn’t recall suggested eating well two nights before may even be more important. Exactly what to eat is debatable, either pasta or not, but what’s important is to Mangia, mangia, mangia while not overdoing it either.
Sleeping is Beauty-full
Another obvious prerequisite to any sporting effort is being rested with a good night’s sleep. But if the law of averages applies, since Americans frequently get under the recommended daily allowance of shut-eye, the number of athletes (and fathletes) who arrive at a ride, race or other event low on the z’s isn’t nothing. A Dude has struggled with this, not being a morning person. (Well, I’m still a person in the morning, just not a very awake or nice one.) A power nap is a good way to catch up if needed.
Get it in Gear
The last cornerstone of your pre-ride strategy is gear. Shoes, weather-appropriate clothes, sunscreen, hat, music/cellphone and holder, water, hydration tabs, clothing layers and more are all necessary. Your bike should be in working order at all times, but for longer rides, you might want a mini-tune-up at your favorite bike shop. If you know your way around the bike, great. Brake pads should have plenty of life left in them, the chain and shifting mechanism should be well-lubricated, and of course tires aired up.
Wiping your bike down the night before isn’t required but a clean machine is always nice to have. Gloves, padded shorts with some sort of anti-chafing cream, arm and leg protectors if cold or very hot, shoes with laces or clasps in good order, snacks and also more snacks (what type is much-debated but comes down to a personal choice) are all good ideas. A Dude always carries a pump, two inner tubes, tool for changing them, patches and CO2 cartridges to get out of a flat tire situation. Again, this is probably not an original list, but it’s what A Dude has learned he needs to have a successful ride.
A final area of preparation concerns the mind. Logistics of getting to the start point are of course paramount. But what about your mental preparation? Have you visualized the course, or how you’re planning to ride it? What about affirmations or positive self-talk to get your mind in the game? If you are checking in with yourself, are you invested in doing the ride? Or are you distracted, tired, bored or otherwise just not that into it? In that case, you may want to skip the ride until you’ve had a rest day.
With proper nutrition, rest and gear, your ride will go much smoother than if you just hop on and go. Without it, not only are you not ready to ride, you’re going to slow down and burden your riding partner. It’s not worth being unprepared. Failure to plan is a plan to fail, so don’t do it. People get ready, there’s a ride a coming!
What are your tips and tricks you use to get Ready to Ride? Share your response in the Comments section.
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