Planning on completing one of the Kelly’s Cycle Challenge Sunday, 19 May 2019 rides?
Congratulations on signing up to the Kelly’s Cycle Challenge in support of Challengers!
Some of you will be keen cyclists, covering many miles per week, whilst others may be relatively new to the activity, although hopefully 19th May isn’t the first time you’ve been on a bike in a while!
Bevan Wilson Physiotherapy based in Guildford, Godalming, Wonersh and Milford are proud to support both Challengers and several of the Kelly’s events and have some tips and advice that may save you from unnecessary discomfort both during the event or for several days afterwards!
Choose your distance wisely:
When did you last ride a bike for longer than a dash to the shops for a late birthday card? Be realistic about the event distance you book onto. Being a cycling event in Surrey, hills will be involved. The routes are road based, so road tyres are best. Wide, grippy mountain biking tyres will slow you down, and make it harder to ride. On the route, ride to your pace. Don’t get involved in ‘king-of-the-mountain’ contests….it may seem fun initially, but it may mean you fail to finish, or limp home with no sense of fun or achievement.
Carbs a while before, and definitely the night before the ride. Your diet, a week before the ride, will benefit you on the day. On the day, energy bars are light to carry, and a great source of energy to keep you going but they can be a bit sticky and sickly, so you may need to wash them down with some fluids. Bananas, jelly beans or homemade ‘trail-mix’ are also great cycling fuels too!
Be sure to hydrate properly during your ride, too. Drink 250 ml every 15 to 20 minutes. You may need to drink more if you sweat heavily or if it is hot on the day. Straight water is best and less likely to create a dry, sticky mouth than energy drinks! It is best to eat and drink little and often and if you’re starting to flag then do stop at the rest points to have a quick move and gentle stretch as it will pay off over a long ride.
Cycling is a relatively low-impact sport, even on your legs. But over the course of 7, 26, 54 or 74 miles, you’re going to feel every bump on that road through your hands, shoulders, neck and particularly your butt! Invest in a good pair of padded cycling shorts and change your position and posture whilst cycling to relieve pressure on certain areas of your body.
Check the weather forecast for the day before leaving the house. You may want a lightweight cagoule to keep you dry, but not too hot at the same time. Similarly, a breathable, lightweight and quick-drying top is always preferable to one which soaks-up your sweat or keeps it locked-in next to you skin.
Even with the best clothing, Vaseline or chamois cream can be useful to reduce chafing around the groin and buttock areas, or anywhere your clothing may rub.
Regardless of how new or old or how cheap or expensive it’s important that everything is working correctly. Kelly’s suggest that you have your bike serviced a week before the event and this is excellent advice, as even something simple like rubbing breaks or poorly-calibrated gears can make for a much more challenging and less enjoyable ride. Don’t forget the possibility of a puncture along one of the country roads, away from the support stops. Carrying a small puncture repair kit is a great idea, but even better to practice beforehand and know how to use it! An Allen key set can also be useful just in case anything comes loose and there are many other useful tools, but you don’t want to be too weighed-down and there is no point carrying something if you don’t know how to use it!
Self-care during the ride:
However fit, or otherwise, it’s not uncommon to develop aches and pains during long rides. To minimise the risk and keep symptoms to a minimum, make sure to regularly change position on the bike, pace yourself and try and plan your cycle ahead of time – where are the hardest and easiest sections, rest stops etc. During easier periods of the ride, take advantage and use them to your physical benefit, like free-wheeling on downhill sections and taking the opportunity to stretch your muscles. Similarly, making sure to be in the correct gear as you start to ascend any hills will ensure that you carry the most momentum in to the climb and are therefore less likely to run out of leg power before you reach the top. Flat sections are a good opportunity for a drink or stretch but keep at least one hand on your handlebars and be careful not to get distracted, keeping an eye out for cars or potholes!
From time to time change hand positions, keeping your thumbs wrapped around the bar or brake lever for security. Gently rotating or flexing your head on your neck can help to relieve tension that can build up as you tire. Shoulder shrugs or tricep stretches can help to relieve arm tension When it is safe to do so, on a clear stretch of road, reach one hand up between your shoulder blades, or across your chest for a few seconds, then swap hands. To stretch your calf muscles, drop one pedal so your leg is straight. Let your heel drop loose below the pedal. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch legs.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy the Kelly’s Cycle Challenge, have a great day and help to raise loads of funds for Challengers! Remember, preparation is always key to a safe, successful and enjoyable ride.
Should you have any physical concerns before the day or need any help or advice with an injury after the event then feel free to get in touch as we would be delighted to offer you our support and treatment expertise.