Beautiful summer rides should be a reward for all the hard work you did in bad winter and spring weather. […]
Beautiful summer rides should be a reward for all the hard work you did in bad winter and spring weather. Unfortunately, there are several common mistakes cyclists make in the summer that rob them of the peak performance they have built over the year. Let’s take a look at how to avoid them and enjoy riding in the summer.
Not enough recovery
The first problem with riding in the summer is that you just feel so good in the saddle. You put in the hours earlier in the year, you feel light, fast, and powerful! And that’s exactly when you are most likely to skip the rest day. It might seem like you can handle a lot more in the summer, but the reality is your body needs a recovery just as much as any other time of the year. Keep a healthy balance of easy and hard rides and force yourself to take at least a day or two a week off, especially if you’re planning some races in the summer. And don’t forget about your nutrition. Ice cream and cakes are everywhere, but you need some good protein, slow carbs, healthy fats, and veggies too.
Check out our recovery series to remind yourself of the right habits.
It’s really easy to get overheated in the summer. The usual climbs and your standard aerobic tempo combined with a lot of heat can quickly make your core temperature rise. Elevated core temperature then reduces your power output, especially with harder efforts, and can ruin your enjoyment of riding too. The problem is that regular overheating doesn’t necessarily help you deal with heat better. What helps is to acclimatise gradually, expose yourself to higher temperatures in a controlled way either in a sauna or on shorter easy rides that can be stopped if things go sideways. Save long and intense sessions for the cooler parts of the day. And of course, stay on top of your hydration.
Check out our series on the topic for a refresher.
Too many big rides
The summer is great for riding in a group. Normally, having a group of cyclists to ride with is a plus. It helps you keep your training regular; it pushes you, and makes hard rides feel less painful. The problem in the summer is that everyone wants to do long epic rides all the time. It’s very easy to overdo it. If you are preparing for an event, it’s important to stick with a focused training regimen in the lead-up. Working on speed, doing intervals, and tapering properly is necessary if you want to have a successful race. On the other hand, if you have no races planned for the summer, then go ahead and do as many big rides as you can handle.
Too much racing
There are a lot of opportunities in the summer to do various races and cool events. If you want to enjoy all of these while performing well, you need to think about training too. Mere switching between race pace and recovery is very demanding on the body and won’t allow you to keep your form for long. You should schedule blocks of two weeks or more of focused training in between your races. That way you will be able to enjoy plenty of exciting cycling without underperforming. We will go into more detail about how to best combine racing and training later in this series.