Pre-Ride Check List

If you are riding and training regularly, your pre ride checklist will soon become a part of your daily routine, second nature to brushing your teeth. But until the habit is formed, here is a pre ride check list that you should be executing, starting one and half hours, before every ride.


Stay Hydrated

Drink one glass of water as soon as you wake up. Continue to sip on water throughout the day. Drink another full glass of water before your ride. Drink one full water bottle for every hour while riding. If it is hot or you are wearing a heavy sweater you should also be consuming electrolytes or at the very least a dash of salt.

Stay Fuelled for the distance

Before a long ride eat a meal consisting of a mix of complex carbohydrates, fat and protein for sustained energy. Examples: eggs, avocado and toast or yogurt, banana and granola.  Before a short intense ride eat a snack of simple carbohydrates that digests quickly.  Examples: piece of fruit, energy bar, fruit shake.  Pack and carry enough fuel with you for the duration of the ride. 200-300 calories per hour is the general rule.

Stay Focused

Before you get on your bike, you should know what your goal is. If you want to improve and get faster, every ride should have a purpose. The purpose could be to work on strength, endurance, power, technique, recovery or learning a new route. But once you have chosen a goal, stick to it.

Pump up
Pump your tires to 100-120 psi every time you ride. The pressure you choose will depend on the road conditions, the type of ride you are doing and your weight. The five minutes that it takes to pump up your tires can save you from a pinch flat on the road.

Be Prepared

Your bike should have a saddle bag containing all the supplies that you need to change a flat. Make sure that your saddle bag is fully stocked with the following items at all times.

  1. spares tube (or two if you are alone and on a long ride away from home)
  2. tire levers
  3. patch kit
  4. hand pump
  5. CO2 cartridge is optional

Be Prepared for the worst

Although we never plan on getting in an accident, it is always good to be prepared.

  1. Tell someone where you are going and when you plan on returning.
  2. Wear Road ID or carry ID with you along with an emergency contact number, particularly if you have allergies to medication or a specific medical condition.
  3. A cell phone and visa card can get you out of most emergencies.


Kristina Bangma

Head Coach and Owner of Kits Energy

Missing A Ride

BikeHappinessAt 16 years old, I used my entire savings to buy my first road bike. It was a beautiful, hardly ridden, red Trek 1500. I grew up in Ontario so I rode that bike every day from Spring until Fall. I rode it to and from school and to my part time job as a lifeguard. On the weekends, I would explore old farm roads, challenging myself to ride further each week.

When I moved to Whistler I switched up the road bike for a mountain bike but I still rode as much as I could.

Now between the two bikes, the only thing that stops me from riding is work or illness.  Even after this many years of riding I still love my bikes more than any other sport I have tried.

So the question was, “How do you feel when you miss a ride?”

When I was younger and less wise, missing a ride would drop me immediately into a pit of despair. I would feel like the strength and power in my cycling legs was seeping away with every second that I wasn’t on my bike. I would swear to my friends that I must have gained five pounds overnight. If I missed a workout I would feel guilty for days as I obsessed about it, thinking that everyone else must be riding and getting faster when I wasn’t.

But after this many years, I have realized some very valuable lessons that have helped me overcome these thoughts.

The first thing I realized is that riding is my life and a lifestyle. There is no finish line. My training will ebb and flow with whatever else is happening in my life but the bike will always be there. That is reassuring.

The second lesson I learned is to have patience. We all want to be fast in one season but that doesn’t happen on the bike, especially if you want to be an endurance rider, completing a century or fondo. It takes years of training to make riding 160km feel comfortable. Missing one or two days of riding in a season is not going to make or break your training or fitness level.

Sometimes missing a training session can even make you faster. If you haven’t recovered from your last workout yet or you are getting run down or sick, taking a day off will do you more good than beating yourself up on the bike in this state.

The key is not to let missing workouts become a habit but also not to beat yourself up for it. Once you have missed a workout, don’t try to compensate by going harder on the next one. Simply put it behind you and stick to the program.

If you don’t have a program, then you need to get one. A program allows you to schedule your workouts around your other commitments and helps prevent you from putting in a lot of junk miles. Riding every day at the same speed is a great way to build a solid base, which is an important phase of the training program. But once you have moved beyond that, you aren’t going to get faster training this way. A good training program should have variety which includes some hard rides, some easy rides and an endurance ride within each week.

If it is an injury or work that is keeping you off the bike for an extended period of time, I have learned to use this time wisely. The first thing I do is clean up my diet. When you are riding for four to six hours in one weekend, it is necessary to eat high calorie foods to replace the lost glycogen stores. If I’m not on my bike, these foods quickly get eliminated.

The second thing I do is try to focus on what is keeping me off the bike so I can get back on again as soon as possible. If it is an injury I spend my lost cycling time on my rehab exercises. If it is work, I create a deadline so I know when I can get back on my bike again and then I adjust my program or goals accordingly.

Kristina Bangma

Head Coach and Owner of Kits Energy

Are Heart Rate Monitors Good Training Tools?

735999-1003-0003A heart rate monitor is a feedback system. It simply tells us how fast our heart is beating. But contrary to popular believe, your heart rate doesn’t always reflect how hard you are working. And this is where the confusion arises. A heart rate monitor is a great tool which can be used to help guide our training but sometimes the numbers can tell a different story than what is actually happening. You may read a higher or lower number than expected based on many different factors such as: the weather, hydration levels, stress levels, amount of sleep, etc. So what is a heart rate monitor good for? A heart rate monitor is a great tool for: (1) learning how to ride easy enough to build a base or recover from a hard ride (2) learning when you are pushing yourself hard enough and (3) knowing when you are overtraining.

  1. Building a training base requires many hours of riding at a low heart rate. Most of us like to race fellow riders on our easy rides, making the time pass more quickly and enjoying a bit of fun competition. By riding in a heart rate zone higher than your base zone, you risk the chance of not being able to recover fast enough for when the training program calls for a hard workout. This leads to many mediocre workouts which won’t make you faster.
  2. We all have a comfort zone. This zone is hard enough to make us feel like we are working out but not too hard that we feel more than a bit uncomfortable. If you want to get stronger or faster you need to ride out of this comfort zone to progress. A heart rate monitor is one tool that can help give you the confidence to push harder.
  3. Overtraining happens quickly, especially when you are passionate about your sport. If you wake up in the morning with an elevated heart rate or you have difficulty raising your heart rate in a workout even with a huge effort, these are a few signs that you might be overtraining.

After you have been riding with your heart rate monitor for a season or two you should be able to go by feel which zone you are working in and you will also know when the numbers are false. Once you understand the difference between what you feel and what the numbers are telling you, you will notice that you use your heart rate monitor less and less. At this point you may want to look into something more accurate such as a power meter which is a whole other topic to be explored in the next issue.