Sometimes a mouthful of fresh air is all we need

By Mon Garcia | Photo by Quino Al/Unsplash

I learned recently from a bike buddy just how important what you eat before and during a ride can be. On this site, we have a lot of health and nutrition articles that touch on what, when, and how much to eat.

I just recently re-discovered bananas but while out riding with a friend recently, I realized there’s one thing you should eat regularly to get stronger: the wind.

Eat the wind? Yes. A lot of us spend too much time drafting behind our teammates and training buddies when we’re out training. And while this can help you survive the speeds and distance of the ride, this doesn’t simulate your next race’s bike leg very well.

In the race, unless it’s draft legal, you’re mostly caught out, all alone and face-to-face with the biggest challenge to your speed  the wind. At 30kph, overcoming air resistance accounts for more than 50 percent of the energy you expend moving forward. That’s a whole different ball game, there. And yet, in training, most of us want to avoid the wind.

There are some famous Danish and Dutch cyclists who excel in bike racing, particularly climbing, and yet their part of the world is particularly devoid of mountains. How do they do it? They train and ride into the wind.

It’s best to simulate actual race conditions when you’re training. Plus, it’s best to maximize your training time by taking on as much resistance when you’re out riding. And the easiest way to do that is to take more time up front in the group or ride alone. Use the wind to make you stronger.

So, the next time you’re out training on your bike, don’t forget the cheapest performance-enhancing nutrient. Go out and eat the wind.