Spring is a fabulous time of year. Flowers bloom, trails dry out, and we finally get a little sunshine on our pasty white legs. But, no matter how psyched we are, those first few rides of the season can feel a little brutal. So, in honor of easing the transition, we asked our SHREDLY Ambassadors to share their advice for spring training and early season fitness.
Build your Base
Hopefully you have a winter sport that kept you smiling and fit through the off season. Or, maybe you spent time on a trainer or spin bike that helped maintain your fitness. But, even if you hibernated like a bear, it’s not too late to get in back in riding shape by the time the high alpine trails melt out. Start building up your endurance on a road bike or trainer, or with long steady rides on gently rolling terrain. Jen Segger recommends that you “Don’t go from no riding to 7 days a week in the saddle. Gradually increase your duration and frequency over several weeks.”
Keep it Mellow
Remember that mountain biking involves a lot more than fitness, and your reaction speed and bike handling skills will need a few rides to warm up as well. Choose trails well within your skill level to help build up your confidence and get back in the flow for your first rides of the season. Sari Anderson says to remember that “It’s okay if you’ve lost a little nerve over the winter. Relax, have fun and it will come back.” This is a great time of the year to throw on some flat pedals and practice your skills on small ladders, skinnies and drops.
Don’t Forget to Stretch
If you haven’t been on a bike in months, you will definitely “feel it” after your first ride. Take some extra time to give your body a little TLC when you get off the bike and on rest days to avoid injuries or poor alignment. Pay special attention to your IT bands and lower back, along with your quads and hamstrings, which can all tighten up and cause pain. We also love Sari Anderson’s reminder that, “Your rear end usually only hurts the first day out. The best way to get past that is to ride more and get your bottom used to being back in the saddle.”
Stay Positive and Be Patient
If you’re gasping for air on the climbs, or have to walk a few spots that your rode last summer, just keep in mind that riding bikes is about having fun. Focus on the beauty of the season, and how lucky you are to be out riding trails. Your fitness will come back to you overtime, and before you know it you’ll be back to cranking up climbs and flowing through the descents.