In peaks and valleys, I’ve been riding for 10 years already. Due to some physical condition, I cannot run, but the fitness coach encouraged me to work on endurance and aerobic capacity, so cycling became the answer to that demand. As almost every rookie I bought a cheap mountain bike but apparently found out that neither MTB nor gravel cycling are not really my thing. I like to tease fellow MTB cyclists that after 1 hour of riding they spend 2 hours cleaning their bikes. But in fact, I simply enjoy the road and pure speed much more than MTB obstacle courses.
Competitive and performance-oriented cycling makes you able to endure a tremendous amount of pain :). Jokes aside, this sport boosts endurance, commitment, and determination. Like learning, progress in cycling cannot be achieved in an instant, you need to learn and train daily in order to polish skills and improve. Regarding performance at work, I believe that every systematic physical activity affects it. Physical exercises alleviate mental stress, hence allow to solve tasks much more efficiently.
Not much, I’ve never aimed to professional heights. Here and there some sprint records on local routes, that still remain unbeaten. I mostly ride for myself. It’s some sort of meditation, to get on the road and push yourself to the limit of certain pace. I have a theory, that workouts produce physical stress to our body and the body learns how to deal with it. Intensive fitness and aerobic activities teach our body how to restore in the most fast and efficient manner. And mental stress physiologically is not really different. Hence trained body deals with mental strength as easy as it does during physical training sessions.
For me – hills and long ascents. I’m pretty heavy and big for roadie, so my domain are flat surfaces where I can push all strength down. Other than that, on a long-distance, you definitely need to maintain proper hydration and calorie intake. Your knees and heart will thank you later. Also, it might seem quite unobvious, but competitive cycling is not only about individual physical capabilities. It is also about teamwork, strategic thinking, and persistence. A well-formed team without a doubt will outperform strong individual rider. However, riding on more than 40 km/h speeds inches from each other is not as easy as it might look. So, to become a team it takes a lot of efforts to build trust and to understand each other without saying a word.
Falling from the bike is a pretty common accident. Even if you are a self-certain rider with ideal balance, there are other road users, that sometimes are not acting really sane and predictable. So I always wonder are people that riding without helmets brave, irrational or immortal. The most common traumas are damaged shoulders and collar bones, and of course asphalt sickness (which is bruises, abrasions and brushed wounds when inertia drags you along the road).
We ride in Virtual Reality. No, seriously, we do. We use so-called “stationary trainers”. It’s equipment, that allows you to mount your bike on a specific roller and use it indoors. Modern trainers can connect to computers via Bluetooth and ANT+ protocols. Software like Zwift or OneLap connects to the trainer, power meter, heart rate and cadence sensors and displays real or virtual locations on TV, tablet or monitor. Moreover, it gives “road feel” by applying resistance to your rear wheel while riding uphill and lowering resistance on descents. Prices for such equipment are not prohibitive. Of course, there’re pricey high-end models for dedicated professionals, but decent bundle could be acquired for 500 euros with all necessary accessories, which will make your rear not to forget the saddle shape throughout long winters.