So I have joined the mountain bike group at school, and tommorrow is our first ride. I asked him today if I can ride my unicycle (Its a KH29XC, so I can keep up with bikes not too bad), he said it wouldnt be a problem, but bring my bike just incase. The farthest I have ever gone non-stop is about 4 km, I usually dismount then because I get sore. This trip tomorrow is going to be about 8 - 12 km, and he said at some points its a little technical.
So my question to you guys is what I can do tonight and tommorrow to prepare for the ride, i e; food, stretching, equipment. Also I was thinking of maybe powdering up my thighs, but I forget what to use, was it baby powder, corn starch, i dont know. And finally, I bought yesterday a cheap hydration pack ($29 CDN), not a camelbak by any means but it should do the trick. Should I fill it with water or gatorade? Oh ya, has anyone ever tried Red Bull, should I buy a little can of that?
8-12km is not very long on a 29er on a mostly non-technical course; if you’ve been riding regularly it shouldn’t be very difficult. I would go with water in the hydration pack; you’ll only be out there a couple of hours at most, so hydration won’t be that severe of an issue.
I would go with bike shorts of some sort. If you have to choose between boxers and briefs, go with briefs.
Take breaks when you can. In terms of seat soreness, even a short break every 10 minutes or so can make a big difference.
Most of all, relax. The more tense you are, the more energy you’ll be using, the more sore you’ll get, and the more likely to fall you’ll be.
Well, I have been doing some regular rides, but only like 3-5 kms, and usually a 20 minute break at the destination. Ya, I should think about getting some cycling shorts, and I was also think about doing an airseat conversion. I am not an athlete by any means, so I want to take precautions so that I can keep up (or not fall miles behind) the bikers. I do have handle bars but I am debating whether or not to take them off.
Good advice from tholub. My advice, in addition to his, is to make sure your bike is ready to use as well. If you were familiar with the planned distance for the ride you would be in better shape. But to combine your longest-ever ride with your first time keeping up with bikes may be quite a chore, unless the bikers are slow.
I speak from experience, trying to unicycle along with my local FATRAC mountain bike group on a 3.5 mile out-and-back trail after a morning of trailwork. By leaving before everybody else, I managed to get to the other end (at 3.5 miles) before all the bikes got there. But I was left way behind on the way back. I ride fast.
So depending on your goals for tomorrow, take the unicycle and be prepared for a good workout, or use your bike this time, and work your way up to being used to longer rides on the uni. Either way, have a good time!
Skip the Red Bull or any other similar “energy” drink. If you go to a Red Bull event (like a 24 hour race) they will tell the riders not to drink Red Bull during the event even though they are the sponsor. It’s not an athletic power food. It’s a drink designed to make your stomach upset.
If you put Gatorade or any other drink with sugar in it in your hydration pack be sure to rinse out the bladder as soon as you get home. The sugar will cause nasty stuff to grow in the bladder. Yuck! Rinse it out as soon as you get home. If it sits it will grow.
But drinks like Gatorade do have their place. They’ve got sugar and electrolytes and fluid which are three things you need during a ride.
I dunno about handlebars… do they affect your posture? If you’re hunched over the bars for an hour or two you’ll have a hard time standing / sitting upright for the following days. Make sure to have good posture through the ride (head up, chest out, shoulders back) and you’ll avoid a sore back / neck! Trust me on this one!
The cycling shorts mean the difference between major chafe-age and minor discomfort. No underwear, the seams on most boxers / briefs are in the worst place possible for uni riding. After my first major ride I had lost skin in the worst possible place (since this is a family forum, I won’t mention it) and nearly started crying when I took my post-ride shower. Ouch. Worse than a kick in the you-know-what. At least that pain is gone after an hour or two.
Also, bring lots of snack / trail food and water with you and make sure to use it throughout the ride to keep your energy levels up. I munch 1/2 a granola bar every 1/2 hr or so and find I can ride much stronger than if I’m starving the whole time. A hearty breakfast (without lots of meats or oils) the morning of the ride helps as well.
Do some stretching (hamstrings, inner thighs, quads, calves) after the ride and your post-ride recovery will be quick and painless. Nothing fancy, just some runner’s stretches will do: the stuff they taught you in high school phys. ed.
Don’t forget to enjoy the scenery! Post some pictures and share your stories when you get back!
You can do dynamic stretching beforehand to bring blood into your muscles, however, be sure not to do static stretching on a cold muscle. EVER!
Afterwards, do some static stretching like mentioned above as it will increase your flexibility and aid in recovery.
If you’re going to be exerting yourself for 90 minutes or more, pack the gatorade. You said it 8-12 km, and on the long end of that you could be out for a good amount of time. I’ve only ridden muni once, one a trials wheel, without food, water instead of gatorade on a 3 hour ride. It was terrible.
If that’s technical riding where you will be out for the aforementioned time, you should pack the gatorade.
A unique/interesting thing about unicycling is that riding efficiently and going fast has more to do about technique and skill than with fitness. Working on technique and skill will get you more benefits than working on fitness.
The trick to long muni rides is to not waste energy when you don’t have to. Ride efficiently.
It is very easy to mash the pedals and pedal in half revolution increments. What you want to do is pedal smoothly in a circle as much as possible. Don’t just push down on the pedals. You need to spin when possible. Spinning means pedaling in a circle. At the bottom of the stroke you need to scrape your foot back like you are scraping mud off your shoe, then lift you foot up a bit on the upstroke. If you get all of your power from mashing the pedals downwards then you end up riding in a jerky half-revolution at a time motion that is not efficient. Every time you slow the wheel down at the bottom of the pedal stroke you loose momentum and you waste energy. Keep the pedal stroke flowing all the way around.
That’s all easier to say than do when riding muni. The bumps and terrain changes and little climbs and big climbs all conspire against you. With time you learn how to ride more efficiently through all of that.
So concentrate on pedaling in circles and getting the most out of the bottom part of the pedal stroke. That’s where the efficiency comes for muni riding.