When it comes to preparing your body for a big adventure ride, is it really any different from preparing your body for a roller derby tournament? After all, many would consider either of these disciplines to be “extreme sports.” While getting prepped for your adventure ride also involves some time prepping the bike (to be discussed in a separate blog), getting ready for a big ride is like getting ready for a big tournament.
I started pondering this question as I am getting ready to leave in a few short hours for a roller derby tournament in Ohio! Exciting stuff! Three hard hitting games over two days is a big deal in our sport, and it something that requires preparation. Likewise, getting your body ready to endure the rigors of a big adventure ride also requires a lot of preparation. Below are my tips for getting ready for your next adventure ride (or tournament)
Get Plenty of Rest
In roller derby circles, we sometimes call this our “battle sleep” and it is important. If you are not well rested, you will not be at your best mentally or physically to perform. Being too tired can cause you to make many mental mistakes which could lead to an accident. Tired muscles could also end up feeling weaker than normal, making you less able to handle your bike like you normally would.
Just like your bike needs the right fuel to keep going, our bodies also need to be fueled up before we go on our adventure ride. The same is true for any athlete. Eat a mix of healthy vegetables, lean meats and whole grains will help fuel your body for the ride. Cut out the alcohol and drink plenty of water. On the day of your ride, or tournament day, have a healthy breakfast. A combo of quick burning carbs and lean protein will give you the energy you need and keep you satisfied until the “lunch stop.” Of course, sometimes there is no lunch stop on an adventure ride. Or maybe there is nothing but chip stands along the way. In that case, always ensure you pack snacks with you for your ride, like trail mix, fruit and granola bars. And lots of water to prevent dehydration.
Our muscles need to be ready to go when it’s game time. Or adventure ride time. My FitRider coach Karl warned me about going “too hard” the week prior to the tournament. Yes, still go to the gym, but keep your workouts light. Light weights that work the whole body are best to prevent injury and minimize recovery time. As always, ensure you stretch your muscle to keep everything loose. Pre-game, or pre-ride, make sure you do a light warm up and stretch so you are ready to go! Interesting story, at a tournament last year, fellow FitRider blogger Jen and I went to the hotel gym a few hours before our game and did a quick cardio and light weight workout. The great thing is, players for the other team were staying at the same hotel and watched us workout. The other team went out and partied the night before, and they were feeling hung over. They felt even worse when they saw us working out. We managed to intimidate the other team before we even got to the rink! We already won the game before it started. Which reinforces my point about “getting your battle sleep” and brings me to my next point about mental preparation.
The mental game is just as important as the physical game. It’s true for any sport, including adventure bike riding. If you already are doubting your abilities, you might as well stay home. In adventure riding, if you feel like you’re going to crash, you probably will. Your mind needs to be focused and alert. In your mind, you have to have a plan for dealing with upcoming obstacles: will you avoid them or tackle them. It’s not enough to be physically fit; you need to believe it as well. When your mind is clear, you will be able to overcome just about all obstacles. Those include logs, rocks and really large roller derby players who want to crush you!
Karl Tettmann, Co-Founder. Avid health and fitness coach who just loves to ride.