The start of a new year can inspire you to try new things, set those resolutions and improve your lifestyle.
The Christmas decorations are coming down, and our supermarkets are stocking the Easter Eggs. This can only mean one thing... it's the New Year, and the best time for a clean slate and exciting possibilities.
Whether you want to lose weight, get fit, try a new hobby or just improve your quality of life, there's always room to push your limits. The new year is a great time to set those goals in place and create action plans to achieve them. What with the recent release of new race dates, sportives and the growing numbers of women's MTB clubs, there's plenty of new opportunities to take.
So we've set out some 2016 fun goals for the mountain biker's out there...
Enter a MTB Event
There's a busy weekend-to-weekend calendar for 2016 of races, sportives and social rides, so there's plenty to choose from. Here's a few of our annual favourites to get involved with:
Now in it's 16th year, the exciting Scott Marathon MTB Series is back with 5 rounds spread throughout England and Wales. Choosing between 25km, 50km and 75km, these routes are the perfect way to try out the sportive scene, without race pressures. With 5 rounds throughout 2016, why not start with 25km and work your way up to 75km for your 2016 challenge?
- The Wild Boar Chase (May 15th 2016)
Set in the beautiful forest areas of the Gloucestershire, the Forest of Dean Wild Boar Race is a highlight of the year. Boasting a mixed bag of cycle paths, fire roads, single tracks and bridleways, the Wild Boar Chase is an event to look forward to.
There are 4 different route options: The Small Boar (21 miles), The Forest Boar (26 miles), The Wye Boar (40 miles), and The Full Boar (45 miles). This event is fun and friendly, and suitable for the whole family.
- Red Bull Foxhunt (TBC)
This is a perfect way to dip your toe into the race scene, meet some fantastic women and rub shoulders with the World Champ herself. The weekend consists of food, entertainment, yoga and of course... riding bikes! A must in any female MTBr's calendar. Details for 2016 have not yet been released, but keep an eye out!
- Megavalanche (July 4th - 10th)
If you fancy a mammoth of a challenge for you and your MTB, then look no further than the epic Megavalanche. Running since 1995, the Megavalanche has earned its reputation for being the most gnarly event in the diary. Mass start race 3300m up on a glacier, in the beautiful setting of Alpe D'Huez, and finishing 2600m down. Something to really get your tyres dirty with, and sneak a little holiday time in there too!
Now you have your challenge(s) penned into the diary, it's time to get training!
Formulating a regular training regime will help to ensure you're in tip top form for your events. As well as the obvious 'ride your bike' element, training that involves strengthening those all important core and leg muscles is important for every rider.
Every cyclist needs a strong muscle structure to both support them whilst riding, aid with manoeuvrability and also help prevent muscle injury, such as pulls and strains.
Core and strength training doesn't have to be a sweaty workout in the gym either! Explore new methods for getting fit such as Pilates which is super for core and posture. Floor exercises and mini-band workouts are also great to do if time is a little tight.
In addition to all the core work, a good level of cardiovascular fitness is crucial for helping you breath efficiently and getting the blood pumping to the areas that need it when you're exercising. Cycling is the obvious form, but jogging and swimming are also great ways of getting an all-body workout that will benefit your riding.
Set yourself a training goal, write it down and track it over time.
Having goals is a great way to keep your mind focused, giving you a target to work towards. But it's important to take care of yourself and your body with a tasty and balanced diet.
Try out some new recipes this year, and new ways to explore tasty and healthy foods which are essential to achieving those goals.
As well as contributing towards your fitness and recovery, a well balance diet can have wonderful effects on our mood, brain activity and general well-being.
Here's a few to start you off...
Some of us are lone rangers, cycling alone with our thoughts and churning out those miles - but riding with others can be really fun too!
If you've not done it yet, then join a cycling club in your area and go his the trails and make some new friends. There's some brilliant women's MTB groups on social media such as Velo Vie Ladies, Dame Cycling and PetalPower which are friendly communities of women organising women's MTB rides all over the country.
Daisy Chain Bike Events organise guided MTB rides suitable for all ages and skill levels. In small groups of 8 women, you'll explore new trails and meet like-minded bike-a-holics, even have a little picnic if the weather holds out.
Find some rides local to you and make some new riding buddies in 2016 so there's never an excuse to not ride!
Make 2016 your best MTB year yet by setting yourself some challenges, meeting new people and having fun!