I’ve had this blog in my mind and even outlined for some time. The original plan was to post this in January but here we are in March. Better late than never right?

Ironically I wrote this on the first full day of spring in a snowstorm. Yet unlike January consistent good cycling days are right around the corner.

It is always a good thing to look back at the previous season or year of any activity and think about what worked and what didn’t work for you. Cycling is no different. A new year should mean more adventures and more fun.

So over the next few blogs we are going to dive into just that. The goal should be to make this year even more fun than last year. Plus if you have things to look forward to it makes it even easier to stay motivated for those things. I don’t know about you but I always am happier and stay a little more focused when I know my next activity, event or vacation.

Creating a plan makes everything easier. You know what you have to look forward to. You think about it once and then you know you are going to get to do what you want to do.

It is always a good idea to ask yourself some questions to help make your next year of riding even better.

So the first question is:

What worked and what didn’t?

Obviously you want to keep doing more of what worked and address the areas that didn’t.

If it is a ride that is easy – just don’t do it again. Simple I know.

Before the climb. Tucson trip November 2017 Mt Lemmon

Memories from great rides last a lifetime!

What were your favorite rides? Do you want to do them again?

Most organized rides happen on the same weekend each year. Look them up mark your calendar and register early to save some money. Then invite some friends come along and ride with you. Riding with friends and family members is always more fun.

What came easy?

It is likely you’ll want to continue doing more of this. Make sure you keep it in the plan for your year. The easy stuff elevates the fun factor for your cycling.

Did you ride enough? – Mileage Goals – Do you track your rides?

Planning your riding season early and getting the rides on the calendar is the first step to making sure you get the rides in you want and don’t miss anything.

If you have a mileage goal which I know many people do. Do you have enough time to meet that goal with the riding you do?

Sometimes it is hard to find the extra time but if you include riding in stuff you already do you can often find extra time.

When you hang out with friends what do you do?

Could you do that on a ride on the local bike trail? You can still talk and maybe you stop for lunch or food along the way. Could you commute a few days a week to work? You’ll arrive at work more energized for sure. Maybe you couldn’t ride both ways. My Uncle used to rideshare with a friend. They would drive in together and then one of them would ride their bike home, taking turns driving. That way they arrived for work clean and ready to work and had the ride home to look forward to. They would leave their cloths in the office and then bring everything home on Friday. Many offices have locker rooms making riding round trip even easier.

Finding local group rides, typically weekly, is a great way to meet new people to ride with and to increase your riding mileage.

What didn’t you get to do that you wanted to?

Block out the time for those rides right now and make any plans or reservations you need to.

Are the areas that you didn’t like something you can improve?

Is it physical in nature? Do you need to train more?

In many cases it isn’t about training more it is about training smarter. As the saying goes “Quality over quantity”. Become a little more focused in nature and working in a certain area.

Riding with other riders can be super helpful. Especially someone who is stronger then you are. When I’ve been wanting to ride with stronger riders and worried if I can keep up I start by asking them if I can ride with them on their recovery days. During that ride I can figure out if I can keep up and recovery rides are always more casual for people.

Training alone can be important to. Sometimes you need to work on specific things that can’t happen in group rides. It is hard to preform specific training such as intervals or climbing repeats when riding with a group.

What did you struggle with?

Is there something that you aren’t familiar with on your bicycle?

How to shift the gears? How to use the quick releases? How to fix a flat?

Well head on over and we can help you with all of that in no time. Also check out our New Owners Class and Intro to Road and Fitness Riding.

Were there parts of your riding that you struggled with? Did you find that you bonked on rides? That could be an issue of nutrition, not eating enough or soon enough. I’ve always had a challenge figuring out my nutrition as my mileage increased.

Was climbing an issue for you?

A break in the climbing.

Develop a plan that will help you become a better climber. Our area offers plenty of hills to climb. They may not be long but doing repeats on them will make you stronger or find a loop that is hilly and ride it a couple times a week. You certainly won’t get stronger unless you practice and work on it.

Do you have trouble riding in a pace line?

When you ride alone practice riding on the white line for a period of time. This will teach you how to ride steady and be able to stick in a pace line.

Whatever you struggled with the first thing is to acknowledge it and then come up with a plan to address the issue. The hardest part is to start and why not make that today, you won’t regret it.

Was it something related to your equipment?

You’ll want to address that so you don’t miss out on rides because of something that was easily addressed. We’ll have an upcoming post that covers equipment.

Any areas of pain or discomfort on the body?

Were your rides comfortable last year or did you experience pain? Were you comfortable to a certain riding distance but then you hurt for rides that distance or longer?

Cycling doesn’t have to be uncomfortable nor should it be. Some issues come from a lack of fitness of your body. Riding more helps in many cases but sometime off the bike workouts are needed to improve on the bike comfort. Core workouts and increasing your flexibility are two areas that most cyclists need to do more of.

The importance of a good bicycle fit should never be underestimated. No matter what type of rider you are or what type of riding you do a good bicycle fitting could make a world of difference.

A bike fit will look at all of your contact points on the bicycle and your bodies’ position on the bike. Cyclists are often surprised at how much more comfortable they are after a fitting. A popular comment is “I never knew I could be this comfortable on my bike”

Sometimes with a little discussion a fitting isn’t needed. It could be worn out cycling shorts, the need for new grips on your handlebars, new shoes or a different position of your cleats and possibly even a new saddle. We’ll talk a little more about that in an upcoming post.

Keeping riding fun is what it is all about. A little reflection will help make 2018 a great year for your cycling!