Does anyone else's fight or flight kick in on the first long cycling trip of Spring? Cars flying by at 100 km/h, still unable to share the road after having it all to themselves during the frigid winter months. Maybe your heart rate is through the roof, because we all know winter cross-training doesn't always go as planned. Yet, that first long ride of the season is a magical one. It brings back the feeling of riding your bike as a kid, not a care in the world. We've encountered all these emotions and more. That's why we've enlisted the help of Näak ambassador and cycling virtuoso, Joannie Desroches, to give you the best tips on planning your long ride this Spring.
1. Comfortable Clothes For Epic Rides
"The right clothes are super important. Feeling comfortable and pretty makes me want to bike all day."
This importance of your gear can't be stressed enough. We've all been there; rashes, chaffing. Perhaps those extra pounds from winter leave your moisture-wicking long-sleeve feeling like it's slightly suffocating you.
Staying comfortable on your ride is the first step to actually enjoying it.
Joannie recommends women look at the clothes by Peppermint Cycling. By paying particular attention to their line's fit and colours, this woman-only brand makes prime cycling gear for all types of riders.
For men, Rapha has remained on top of performance cycling gear. During spring riding, some bib shorts and a long-sleeve jersey should keep you comfortable on your ride without the risk of overheating.
When in doubt, layer up!
2. Plan Your Route For Safe Success
"(In Spring) I always take more familiar routes and scenes because roads are usually very dirty and cars are not really used to cyclists yet. Therefore, I plan on routes with a large shoulder and where there is not too much circulation."
For long spring rides, plan your trips on routes you know and love, make safety a higher priority than you do in the Summer months.
An increase of cyclists on the road can leave new drivers flustered, and dirty streets can lead to unwanted road rash, or worse, broken bike parts.
For those of you exploring new routes this Spring, having a bike computer can save you from turning a 5-hour ride into a 10-hour expedition.
Joannie chooses Garmin for her long rides, which has an array of GPS cycling computers built to last at varying prices.
3. Fuel Your Body For Performance
"I always try to eat something with around a 4:1 carbohydrates/protein ratio during my ride."
Getting the proper nutrition can mean the difference between trying to keep up with your competition or leaving them in the dust. This goes for all races, whether your friends know that they are participating in one or not.
Getting proper nutrition on all parts of your long ride will leave you feeling energized throughout the trip and ready to go again the next day.
Näak Ultra Energy Bars are made with a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio and 370-405mg of natural electrolytes to energize your body throughout your cycling trip.
For Joannie, having some candy on hand can help with any sugar fatigue. On top of this, she always makes sure to bring an extra gel for getting proper nutrition, even when her stomach isn't cooperating.
After your ride, make sure you fuel up with a high-quality protein powder. This ensures that your muscles get all the amino acids they need to repair any tears, so you can get back on the road the next day, pain-free and ready to go!
Hint: for more tips on recovering after exercise, have a look at our article 6 Nutrition Tips To Optimize Your Recovery.
4. Always Remember, Enjoy Yourself
"Don't look at your watts/speed. You have to get your legs and body used to riding outside, so it's normal to be slower at the beginning of the season. Don't let that ruin your ride!"
Spring is the time to enjoy those long rides, not burn yourself out.
Take in the views and remember why you first started cycling—the freedom of getting away from it all and the love of moving your body.
Take these rides as an opportunity to dial in your movements, focus on your posture, and practice proper breath-work.
Joannie Desroches started racing as a long-distance triathlete, placing on the podium in three editions of the triathlon event Canadaman. Her passions include trail-running, snowshoe running, and cycling. Follow Joannie on her Instagram page @joanniedesroches.
For more performance tips, have a look at the rest of the Performance Articles that the Näak team has put together!