National coaching manager Luke Madill has provided some considerations and tips for riders when heading back to the track!
For a lot of our members, the COVID period didn’t stop you from staying active on your bike, which was fantastic to see! However, for most of us, it feels like it’s been a lifetime since you hit the track.
Now that we are seeing some relief in sight, and fingers crossed we do not have any setbacks, it’s important that you ease back into your training to ensure you’re ready for when the gate drops on your first race back.
Below are a few key points to take on board when you’re dusting the cobwebs off the bike and getting back out on the track.
Hopefully you all continued to follow some of the home bike skills available while in isolation, which should make this transition back onto the track and into racing a little easier.
Take it slow
There is no rush to jump on the track hitting the straights at max speed while boosting every jump like you did prior to them being closed.
For a lot of you, feeling a little hesitant and nervous when entering back onto a track for the first few weeks will be a normal feeling, so don’t let this discourage you.
Allow a couple of weeks of some easy fun riding with no expectation on your speed or skill level. Make the use of local pump tracks or skate parks if you have access to them. Once you feel more comfortable on your bike, you can start to test some of your skills and track speed, taking notes on where you are feeling comfortable and areas you need to spend more time.
Make a list you can tick off once you feel comfortable and confident in that area e.g. pumping, manualing, jumping, cornering and gate starts. This will then be your homework for the coming weeks to ensure you’re ready for racing.
Prepare to race
Every State is at different levels with regards to their restrictions and how close they are to running state events again.
Regardless of the race calendar, you need to make sure you are prepared for when racing does kick back off.
As we mentioned above, you need to make sure you have run through a checklist to ensure you are comfortable on the bike and riding consistently again.
The other area you will struggle with is your race fitness. You may feel fine on your bike practicing one or two straights a few times, but you need to test yourself doing a full lap.
Ideally it would be great if you can do a few club days to ease back into the race scene, but if that’s not possible, set yourself a plan to complete a couple of full laps at the end of your training sessions to prepare yourself for racing. You may notice that you fatigue a lot faster than normal, but again don’t let this dishearten you, continue to add more half and full lap efforts into your training.
Be patient, enjoy the time you are having getting back out on the bike and hopefully we will see races being run all over the country again in the near future.