It’s spring, the trails are melting out and bikes are starting to be seen everywhere; goodbye old man winter and hello summer time!
About this time of year, we’re just itching to get out on the trails and back onto two wheels. Before you grab your bike and hit the trails faster than the first comment on a pinkbike story; take a breath and set yourself up for another great season!
Here’s my advice to getting back up to speed this season:
Blunt as a spoon.
If your two wheels got put away and replaced by two planks for the winter, the likelihood is your skills, fitness and reaction times are probably not where they were back at the end of the summer.
Hit up the pump or BMX tracks, pop wheelies, bunny hop potholes, drop curbs, throw skids. Basically play, play, play on your two wheels to sharpen those basic skills back up.
Stretch, re-fuel and roll.
Hello legs, hello max heart rate, hello 6 months off the bike for most of the Sea-to-Sky residents – especially this year!
Your body is going to be screaming WTF and getting punished for the first few rides back. All this excitement and motivation of being back on the bike means you are probably going to keep pushing to do ‘just one more lap’.
Make sure that your post ride activities will set you up for minimal impact the next day. Replenish what you used in terms of calories and water. Chocolate milk and bananas are also a winner for a quick hit recovery – giving you sugars, salts, potassium and proteins.
Take the time to stretch post ride, now more than ever; and roll out those legs. You’ll never regret it the next day when you hurt less, recover quicker and can get back out there for another hit of the trails.
If you have been getting your yoga on over the winter; now is definitely not the time to just stop and give up all the hard work you have put in! If you are not one to get zen in classes, here are a few shorter routines that I enjoy:
Hit the road
Get your legs, hips, back, butt – pretty much your whole lower body used to being in a saddle for a long period of time again. Spin classes are great, but I know I’ve never done a 3 hour one!
Take the road bike out for a chilled Sunday ride, see the sights and spin those legs out. If you’re feeling really adventurous take some inspiration from the long weekend ride I did with a group of mountain bikers; Whistler to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast and back on Road Bikes.
Keep it fresh and clean!
Many lucky people will have shiny new bikes for the summer ahead, now is the time to get into the good habit of looking after your pride and joy properly by regularly cleaning it and checking it over.
New or old, take the time to get the bike set up probably, check air pressures and rebound speeds match where you are at now, not where you were at the end of the bike season.
And if your bike’s not fresh out of the box, be honest with yourself, how well did you clean it before it went away for the winter? give it a good wash, check anything that pivots, screws, rotates, twists… pretty much moves, and if in doubt book it into a service centre like Arbutus Routes and get them to check everything is in ship-shape order.
No snow doesn’t mean no respect
Remember to respect all trail closures! There is a good reason for them. Along with deadfall, drainage ruts and general winter damage affect the safety of a trail. Riding a trail in a fragile eco-system will only do more damage in the long run, and hurt your favorite trails.
Stick to trails that are harder pack and can handle high traffic; think machine built rather than natural rough cut loam. Check out trailforks for general closures and trail alerts, as well as local trail network association’s facebooks and websites. It’s also a great way to see what trails are running best in your area!
As amazing as the trail fairies are, a little help from riders goes a long way.
If you see a pool of water forming on the trail, dig a small drainage line to help the water disperse – just dragging your heel to make a 2 inch channel off the trail can make a huge difference.
If there are branches down, clear them right off the trail. If there are bigger trees or features down, report them on trailforks or to your local trail association.
See you on the trails!!