It’s a New Year, and any of our indescretions from the past 12 months can now be forgotten, or improved upon. While many consider that the start of a new years is just another day, it’s also a popular belief that it is a perfect time to start afresh, and forge into the coming 365 days with renewed vigour and focus. So, as a dedicated mountain biker with an interest in endurance mountain biking – what are your options?
While not aiming to get too personal, below are some resolutions that may or may not suit your outlook for the new year. Take the ones you want, leave the ones you don’t, and put your suggestions in the comments below!
Set some goals
This is obvious, but don’t just come up with some in your head, develop some S.M.A.R.T. goals and write them down. Make sure you set a variety of goals, from events based, to skills, to training – just to keep you motivated through your riding. Put them somewhere you’ll see them frequently – maybe near where your bikes are stored, or even on the bathroom mirror – whatever works for you.
Analyse your training
We all take a different approach to training. From those who analyse all the data possible, to those who ride when they want, or just ride on ‘feel’ and ‘sensations’. Perhaps your resolution could be to put a little more analysis into what you’re doing. This might be as easy as recording your rides, and how you felt, in a notebook. Or it could mean investing in a heart rate monitor and using it to train within the correct zones for your above goals. Or it might be enlisting the help of a coach to analyse the data your HRM and power meter collect, instead of just recording it all but not being quite sure what to do with it.
Ride somewhere new
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But how often are we tempted to just ride our local trails, and see if we can better our times, or clean certain sections? And if we pack up and head away, there is the benefit of visiting somewhere we already know – it saves hunting out new trails and new rides, right?
So why not make sure you go on one trip this year that is about exploring. There’s no need to ride where no mountain biker has gone before, just try something new. You might just end up having the ride of your life.
While this sits apart with analysing your training, make sure you find time to disconnect while riding. Keep your GPS in your pocket if you must. But ignore your phone, take the headphones out, and just ride. Follow the trails you want to, at the pace you want to, and don’t worry about your Instagram feed. Enjoy the ride for what it is, the scenery for what it shows you. Listen to the dirt, rocks or leaves under your tyres, and hear the whir of your chain across the sprockets. Mountain biking has beautiful sounds and sights. Make sure you have enough rides this year where you take them all in.
Ride with your partner
Maybe your partner rides, maybe they don’t? Maybe they grant you countless leave passes every year, so you can have the adventures you want, and do the training required to enjoy them. Why not do some kind of ride with your partner, one that they will enjoy? It might be to the local cafe for brunch, or it might be a cycle touring adventure. Who knows, it might be a mixed pair stage race. Make it something special for them, not just for you, to say thanks for the support they give you for your passion.
Volunteer at a bike race
Just about every race you do runs on volunteers. Even the big event companies rely heavily on volunteers. So next time you’re thinking about sitting out an event, why not contact the event organiser and see if you can help? Cycling clubs and races the world over rely on the enthusiasm of others to help out – make sure you’re giving back to the sport you love this year.
Master a new skill
Never managed to wheelie, or do a nose pivot turn? How about taking a vest off and putting it in your pocket while riding? It’s likely there are skills that you have passed by – why not devote some time to learning and mastering a skill this year. If you’re in need of guidance for demanding bike handling skills – ask a skills coach to help with some sessions. The benefits are immense!
So what are your cycling resolutions for the New Year?