If you’re a beginner to competitive cycling, you are probably making a wide range of cycling mistakes that you don’t even realize. For the most part, you should focus on enjoying the sport. You’ve probably learned a lot during training, and you’ll learn a lot more as you continue to participate. There are a few basic tips that will make the race day go more easily for you. Here’s a look at the essentials.
5 Cycling Mistakes for Beginners
- Not having a plan for fueling: Don’t underestimate the importance of eating and hydration. Have a preplanned strategy for how you will stay energized and what foods you’re going to eat at what times. Don’t rely on the race stations for snacks or water. Bring foods that you are used to consuming while riding. It will remove the risk that you eat something that doesn’t settle right with your body.
- Having unreasonable expectations: If you have been tracking your training, you should know by now roughly how you tend to perform. One of the best ways to have a bad race day is to have goals that are unreasonable based on your training performance. If you push yourself too hard, you risk burning out early and disappointing yourself.
- Not taking care of your bike: Perhaps the most frustrating outcome in any race is when an issue with your bike holds you back when you are otherwise doing well. Make sure to give your bike a checkup before the race. If you don’t feel confident doing this yourself, give it to a bike shop a few weeks in advance, in case they need to order parts or make repairs.
- Only riding solo: It can cause bicycle crashes when riders who typically train alone suddenly must share the road with dozens of other cyclists on the race day. You might not know how to navigate around other rides, pass safely and otherwise stay safe. If possible, it’s a good idea to ride a few times with a cyclist group during training. You want to be used to riding with a crowd.
- Skipping breakfast or eating it late: Breakfast should be standard for any big ride. Don’t get too creative about what you eat, however. Eat your typical pre-ride breakfast about three hours before the race.
Of course, as you continue to race you will start to pick up a wide range of good habits that work for you. These were just a few very basic steps that you should always keep in mind before a big event. Happy riding.
Joshua Bonnici is a San Diego bike accident lawyer and cycling enthusiast with a passion for fighting on behalf of his fellow riders.