Shifting Gears

A simple bonding experience can lead you to discover a new passion.

Cover Image: In cycling, riding in groups can teach you how to work and win as a team. (904fitness.com)

From a fierce spiker to a speedster on two wheels, the Shopinas.com Lady Clickers’ captain, Cha Cruz, is looking to take up cycling after retiring from volleyball. The two-time Most Valuable Player of the UAAP Women’s Volleyball (Season 73-74) realized her love for cycling when she and her friend and former teammate, Manila Santos, bonded while casually riding a bike around the Mall of Asia concert grounds. Indeed, sometimes it only takes a fun and simple bonding activity to kickstart your pursuit to a new found passion.

 

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A natural leader and bonafide volleyball star, Cha Cruz of the La Salle Lady Spikers is looking to take up cycling after she retires from volleyball. (Rappler.com)

 
While Cha Cruz’s athleticism is unquestionable due to her volleyball background, cycling is an entirely different animal. Like Cruz, a growing number of Filipinos are looking to get into cycling especially since a lot of cycling groups and new trails have been popping out from every corner. If you are considering taking up cycling as a sport, here are a few things to take note of before you ride out for your first race.
 

Enjoy The Feeling and Get Familiar

 
For some people, the first step is the hardest to make. However, having fun with what you do guarantees that you will get through that hump as easy as saying “ta-daa!”

To do that, go out and find groups to ride along with. This will help you get comfortable and enjoy the feeling of cycling more before you get introduced to the intensity of an actual race.

In a race, bear in mind that you will not be riding on your own and the easiest way for you to adjust to that situation is by familiarizing yourself with the feel of riding in groups. Not only do you get to meet new friends, whom in the future could be your teammates come race day, you will also get accustomed to drafting and positioning yourself in the pack while riding in high speeds. Even if you are the physically fittest cyclist among the bunch, the lack of experience could easily send you off balance or worse, cause an accident. Also, riding with more experienced cyclists can help boost the speed of your development.

After getting the hang of cycling in groups, take the time to familiarize yourself with the trail. Take note of where the hard turns are, the danger zones, the uphill climbs and the downhill slides. The more you know the course, the easier it will be for you to discover the best strategy for your approach to the race.
 

Have The Right Ingredients

 
Knowing how to ride does not always mean you are ready to race. Just like any other sport, cycling requires strict attention to details.

First, check your bike and make sure it is well-maintained. From the brakes down to the chains, make sure everything is locked in their proper place. You can easily clean your bike by wiping it with wet wipes.

 

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For new riders like Cha Cruz, it’s very important to keep your bike well-maintained. (cleanipedia.com)

 
 
The most common thing competitors pay attention to before any match or race is their diets. Rightfully so, a good diet is one of the factors that help your body be in race condition. However, it’s very easy to overdo your diet, which in turn could be a bad thing. Before the race, you may eat how you normally would. If you plan on loading on carbs, just make sure you don’t eat a mountain of it. Ideally, you should eat and drink somewhere around 500 calories. Most importantly, always make sure you’re properly hydrated at all times.

Eat a good breakfast (with a small amount of protein) 3 hours before the race, fill up your water bottles, check if you have your race license with you and what the weather conditions will be – these are the things that you should have and have done before heading to the course.

It’s also a big mistake to take a full day of rest before the race. Go for a ride and get your body finely tuned for next day’s race. Preparing for the race normally requires the most attention but it is also the best part since you start to feel excited for the much anticipated race day.
 

Live The Moment and Learn From It

 

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While cycling around Mall of Asia Arena with her friend and former teammate Manila Santos, Cha Cruz discovered her passion for cycling. (instagram.com/chaarcruz)

 
 
As you line up in the starting line together with the other cyclists beginning to mount their bikes, it’s okay if you feel a bit anxious. Just remind yourself that despite the fact that you are there to compete, you are also there to have a great time. The goal should always include learning and the best way to do that is through gaining more experience.

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