For many cyclists, the lack of races for the foreseeable future can be a depressing reality. Goal-driven athletes who have strict training regimens may find the lack of purpose demotivating. They might even be tempted to hang up the bike for good.
Keep your chin up and just enjoy the ride. Instead of seeing the situation as restrictive and frustrating, use it as an opportunity to finally get to ride to places you never really could when you were deep in training. All competitive cyclists are familiar with the challenges of sticking to a training program. Weekly mileage quotas. Targeted intensities. Race-specific training routes.
For athletes who have only defined a given year as basically “Training Season” and “Racing Season” (and perhaps a month of off-season anything), a year without racing can now be re-focused as simply A Year of Just Riding.
Why not? We are all aware by now of the impact of COVID-19 on our lives. We all know of people in our circle who have suffered from the disease, if not in our immediate families. Battling COVID-19 through an abundance of caution takes its toll on anyone as day in and day out, we have to take precautions while still trying to make an honest living in these difficult times.
For these exhausting times, the simple pleasure of riding a bike can be refreshing. A few hours of sunshine while riding through city and country roads can do wonders for the soul and make you hopeful for the future.
How to make just riding more enjoyable? Plan ahead, just like you did for all your races.
Map out your route beforehand.
Have you ever been on a road that forked into several ways and you wondered where those went? Now is the time to find out! Plot your route with Google Maps so you have a general idea where you’ll end up, then see for yourself. A little bit of adventure will do you some good.
Give yourself a personal challenge like a big, weekly target.
Whether it’s 100km or 600km, set a goal that will challenge you so you can stay motivated.
Bring some ride buddies.
No doubt you miss the company of your usual training companions. Invite them to come along and share in the adventure. Don’t forget your social distancing.
Make sure your bike is properly equipped.
Wear a mask while riding, and bring a face shield for your ride breaks.
If you’re going to go hard, do it uphill and on a clear road.
You don’t want to get rushed to a hospital if you get in a high-speed accident. Get your adrenaline on a climb so you’ll still be going at a relatively slow speed. Cruise the descents.