Word of the day – DETRAINING

Ham Hill, Somerset
Ham Hill, Somerset

This wont come as a surprise to anyone but if you are into the science of sport and health you may find this article really interesting.

http://www.ilovebicycling.com/the-cycling-detraining-effect/

You have a safe period of about four days with no large detraining consequences. After that the detraining effect hits surprisingly fast.

What it says in a nutshell is after 3-4 days of no cycling your body starts to change. The efficiency of your heart and lungs fall slightly and leave it any longer and you will start to notice a significant drop in your fitness level and ability to recover.

Changes really begin to occur after one week out of the saddle and result in fitness losses. Aerobic capabilities drop off by about 5 percent. Your blood volume can be reduced by five to twelve percent.  This means a decrease in the amount of blood your heart can pump in terms of the amount of blood pumped per beat and total blood volume per minute. Your muscles also begin to lose elasticity.

Twice a week has always been that minimum magic number of “times to get out and ride” and we have all noticed the how things change if you have a week or 2 off..

If you’re forced to abandon your normal cycling routine for more than two weeks, attempt an abridged cycling schedule, even if it’s one ride per week, rather than stopping altogether. If you don’t have time for a good ride, you can break it up into several shorter rides. One option is to do two or three short sessions a week of high-intensity interval training. One-minute sprints of cycling, alternating with one-minute rests for a total of 10 minutes. Research shows that this can be a good way to maintain aerobic fitness, without significant detraining effects.

So get up and get out at least twice a week or every 3 days and keep yourself in tip top condition…

Night Riding

If you have’t yet ventured out on your mountain bike at night you should do so as soon as possible. The experience is something that is difficult to put into words but I will try to paint a little picture.

MTB Tyre at Night

There is an excitement about being out on your bike in the dark and you will find that your heart rate will be higher as a result of this new experience. Your senses are heightened as you try to focus on objects that you can’t quite see, you hear sounds in the bushes that aren’t there during the day or at least if they were you didn’t notice them. Small obstacles and features become different beasts as you rack your brain to try and remember what its like in the day time. You may even feel the slightest bumps and knocks that you wouldn’t otherwise notice.

Continue reading “Night Riding”

Night Riding

Night Riding

MTB Tyre at Night

If you have’t yet ventured out on your mountain bike at night you should do so as soon as possible. The experience is something that is difficult to put into words but I will try to paint a little picture.

There is an excitement about being out on your bike in the dark and you will find that your heart rate will be higher as a result of this new experience. Your senses are heightened as you try to focus on objects that you can’t quite see, you hear sounds in the bushes that aren’t there during the day or at least if they were you didn’t notice them. Small obstacles and features become different beasts as you rack your brain to try and remember what its like in the day time. You may even feel the slightest bumps and knocks that you wouldn’t otherwise notice.

It can be a little scary. Would you like to walk alone down that track in the dark? I remember my first night ride and I kept asking myself “what are you doing?”, it was pitch black and all I could see was a small pool of light in front of bike. Soon I added a helmet mounted light so that I could scan the hedgerows for the lurking monsters that were making strange noises (a rabbit, a gentle breeze – you know the sort of thing)… I have always had my Garmin bike GPS with maps so I never figured I would get lost but it is amazing how landmarks can look different, and your perception of time changes as you cover distances quicker than you think you have. I noticed this just last night while on a short climb – I was at the top before I even realised. Was this an improved fitness? Maybe. Or was it that my mind was pre-occupied with the deep black puddles and the cows staring at me from the darkness of the surrounding fields? Very likely.

MTB Dark Descents

Until you become familiar with a location in the dark as well as in the daylight there is an increased chance that you will have an accident. Make sure that someone knows where you are going, especially as the main reason you are riding at night is because its Winter and its getting cold, possibly icy and wet out. Make sure you have a charged mobile phone, a spare torch or lights. Don’t take it for granted that it will stay the same temperature – wear or take extra layers: as the sun goes down so does the temperature. Extra tubes are a must, you don’t want to be fixing a puncture in the dark on a freezing cold night.

I suppose what I am saying is you need to take extra care because you will be thinking about much more than you usually do while on the same trail. So, get some good lights with a long battery life – I am currently testing some MagicShine lights (review soon) – wrap up warm and get out and explore. Even your familiar backdoor trails will have surprises for you…

As well as all these new sensations and experiences, don’t forget the benefits of night riding: more fresh air, more exercise, more time on your bike and just one more excuse to buy some more bike gear!

The Gear Factor