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Competitive Cycling – What You Need to Know

Competitive Cycling – What You Need to Know

Want to train like a professional cyclist? There are components to a cyclist’s lifestyle that could be adopted by all cycling fans to improve their performance, and also inspire them towards taking their training up a notch to achieve a higher level of training or racing:

1. Rules of Competitive Cycling

Organisers of events are required to set a limit to the amount of racing a cyclist can do each day. For men (depending on level of ability and competition) this can range between 40km – 280km, while for women this can be 20km – 140km.

2. Restrictions on What a Professional Cyclist Can Eat or Drink

A training programme for a professional cyclist often involves carrying out a 30-60 min ride before breakfast, not eating after 7pm, eating light evening meals but snacking healthily throughout the day… these are just some of the things cyclists need to do in order to stay in shape.

It is important to eat something from each food group, and also keep an eye on glucose levels during riding, based on the extraction of them from the carbohydrates you have eaten. Carbs are essential to to boosting energy, especially during long rides. The motto ‘Eat before you’re hungry, and drink before you’re thirsty’ is good advice from seasoned riders on when to eat them too.

3. Banned Substances They’re Prohibited from Taking

All cyclists follow the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of prohibited substances, which include amongst others; anabolic agents, human growth hormones, and diuretics. Cyclists can be tested at any time for these either during or outside of a competition.

4. Clothing They’re Required to Wear

Clothing is an important factor in training well, as the materials and design must complement the weather or environmental conditions. For example, waterproof, sweatproof, lightweight, aerodynamic designs and fabrics help cyclists to concentrate on their performance, without worrying about comfort.

All cyclists must also wear a uniform during events that cover the shoulders, as well as an approved helmet and no non-essential items that could increase their performance.

5. Fitness They Need to Have

Cycling is an endurance sport, and as such requires fitness on many levels that can be sustained during long journeys. Simple exercises can help build your core, lower back and tricep strength. Back ache usually kicks in after about 26 miles, so carrying out these exercises to build yourself up in preparation for this will help you push through it.

Advanced cardiovascular exercise and uphill cycling is a must, as well as eating well to put good fuel in your tank, as previously stated. However, resting is also an important and often overlooked component which is vital to allow the body to heal and repair, which will make it stronger for your next training session.

Last modified: January 6, 2021
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