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Overlooked Sources of Fatigue

We all understand the major causes of fatigue while riding a bicycle.  They are generally understood to be poor nutrition, lack of hydration, lactate build up, insufficient training, etc. etc.

Lesser known sources of fatigue are listed below.

Tingle Toes occurs when nerves in your feet are pinched or irritated causing that prickly and sometimes numb feeling in your toes.   Moving your feet often in your shoes will help.   Make sure the ball of your foot is over the axel of your pedal for the best transfer of energy from you to the bike.  Constant soreness will reduce the total energy that you have for a ride.

Scrinchee Face is that energy sapping look you get while trying to hold your glasses up where they belong, trying to see something in the distance, or going up a steep hill.  Practice relaxing your face muscles under these circumstances.  You don’t want those facial wrinkles to be permanent, do you?

Belly Breathing:  We are not in the military where we have to push our chest out and suck in your stomach.  While filling your lungs with fresh air let the air in your chest push on your diaphragm allowing your stomach to expand.  Holding this back with your stomach muscles is less efficient and tiring.  Remember that your stomach muscles are large and keeping them ridged will take away energy from other more important muscles. 

Gorilla Grip:  A reasonably firm grip on your handle bars is required for steering and emergency maneuvers.  Too firm a grip leads to soar or numb hands.  Lighten up on your grip to save energy.  

Shoulder Shrug:  Let your shoulders fall to where they like to be when you’re not riding.  Constantly holding them up and in will tire you out.  Try to identify why you are shrugging your shoulders and eliminate the cause.

Rigid Riding:   Anytime we hold our muscles in a rigid position we use more energy than a relaxed position.  Be aware of, and reduce any unnecessary tension in elbows, jaws and your neck. 

Eliminating these minor sources of fatigue may help you ride longer and Faster.  However, it is guaranteed that you will ride happier and more relaxed by eliminating these sources of irritation.

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