With temperatures rising, lighter nights arriving and the trails finally starting to dry out, what better time than now to set yourself some summer goals. Goal setting doesn’t always have to revolve around racing or beating your Strava time, there are many other ways to enjoy your time on a bike. For many a good goal may be just to stop for one minute, once a ride, to enjoy where you are and what you’re doing.
Stopping to enjoy the view, much to Mawlis great disgust!
Goal setting as an idea however is a good one. It can aid us with motivation, progressing our skills, pushing our own personal limits and creating opportunities to try new things.
Here are my 8 best suggestions to help you build your own personal list –
1 – CONQUER A FEAR
Pick a feature that’s a level or two out of your current comfort zone and make it your aim to nail it by the end of summer. Something like, a big double, drop, or particularly technical steep section of trail. Envision yourself riding it with total style and ease, then write down what it is or take a picture and pin it on your bedroom wall. Tell all your friends too so you have someone to hold you accountable if you try to chicken out!
This jump used to terrify me
2 – JOIN A LESSON
We have lessons to learn to swim, drive, play an instrument, ride a horse, so why not to ride a bike? Having recently interviewed a couple of Katy Curds’ students I found they couldn’t praise enough the improvements they saw in their riding as a direct result of the lessons. Undoubtedly a step in the right direction to conquering step 1. When kamikaze style fails – try knowledge!
3 – IMPROVE FITNESS OFF THE BIKE
Whether you’re a cross country demon or a downhill deviant all of us can improve our on bike performance by conditioning the machine that guides it, i.e. – ourselves! The most effective improvement is most commonly thought to be strength training. Work on arms to improve the ability to hang on and hold a line, legs for power and core muscles to maintain a strong, balanced body position. This can be done in the gym or at home using body weight exercises. Putting in some road biking miles or just plain old running will improve cardiovascular fitness whilst swimming, pilates or yoga are great all round fitness for those who like to take life at a more leisurely pace.
4 – COMPLETE A LONG DISTANCE RIDE
This would make a good motive for the above goal by giving you a reason to put in the extra hours training. Though the immense sense of achievement when you succeed is reason enough. This could be in the form of a challenge race such as the Trans Provence or a specific notorious long ride from a magazine that you have always thought of as too difficult. Perhaps you’ve always fancied climbing a mountain? Why not give yourself a reason and take the bike so you can enjoy the ride back down! Set a date and book the holiday now – challenge yourself.
Trans Provence – The ultimate alpine mountain bike rally
Trans-Provence is a manifestation of what we believe mountain biking is all about; a melting pot of our sport’s finest ingredient elements.
In physical terms this means a week-long itinerary of true mountain wilderness, a huge and varied catalogue of awesome gravity-fuelled singletrack from the High Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. It exists since 2009 as a rally-style race which many past participants will tell you is more about the adventure than the time on the clock.
A 6 day 270km challenge that can be done as part of the race in June with 24 timed stages or as a weeklong guided trip.
5 – FUELING THE MACHINE
Wait, before we all throw out this idea in disgust I am not suggesting we do away with the much coveted post ride beer, I am as much a fan of that as anyone! I am merely suggesting giving more thought to the food we fuel our body with from the night before, pre ride and during. By being conscious of consuming the food types our body needs we will have higher energy levels for longer to enjoy our ride with. Take the time to eat a proper nutritious breakfast such as porridge, or muesli and stocking up on quality snacks like bananas, cereal bars or trail mix and avoid that mid ride slump.
6 – RIDE SOMEWHERE NEW
The scope for goal setting here is endless and entirely depends on the individual’s’ time and financial restraints. Starting with small goals such as, to go for a day trip somewhere new once a month, to weekends away at some of the UK trail centre meccas, to the ultimate dream of a holiday abroad with your beloved bike. The Alps, Spain, Italy or even the holy grails of Whistler and New Zealand………cue trailing off to daydreaming of happy days in the sun with the bike at high altitude.
7 – JOIN A DIG DAY
So many hours of hard work go into keeping those little ribbons of dirt we love so much as smile inducing as they are. If every rider gave up one day a year to help out at a dig day, it would go a long way to keeping the community strong and working together. It is also a great way to get an input into how your local trails are built, meet other riders and gain a new perspective on the places you ride. Alternatively if digging isn’t your thing or you’re out of action through injury consider volunteering at your local event. There will always be something to do for everyone and it makes for a great day out getting all the behind the scenes action.
8 – BE A SPECTATOR
What better way to keep the fire burning bright than to watch some top athletes risking it all for glory and giving us all a thorough example of how it should be done. Educational and immense fun, a day at the races will support the mountain biking world and provide lots of opportunities to chat about all things bike with other devoted fans. Why not make it a weekend away with the other half/family as many races are held in areas of outstanding natural beauty? Or one with the mates so you can join in with the notorious after party shenanigans too?
When setting your goals there is one important rule that is used in all walks of life, keep your targets SMART.
Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Timebound
Set goals that are relevant and important to you personally and remember that above all the most important thing is to have FUN on your bike! Happy Goal setting!