Expert Opinion with Mark Tabone

This month we hear from cycling expert Mark Tabone of Midland Cycles about what he thinks will help athletes get ready for race season.
1. Be race ready. What I mean by that is clean your bike, lube your chain, check your brakes and check your tyres for wear and holes.
2. This could be the most important thing I write today – saddle selection. No, you won’t get used to it. No, numbness is not a good thing. We have tools to measure sit bones which gives a great indicator as to saddle width. Having the correct size saddle will give you flexibility, pelvic rotation and support where it is required. You can even test different saddles to see how they work for you.
3. Now this could be the most controversial thing I write today – mental strength. What I’m referring to is knowing that you are able to do the distance. In terms of cycling, I would suggest that if your event has a cycle leg of 40km then train on the bike for 50km. This is something I have personally always done. My body knows that it is capable of 50km so when you’re racing harder and fatigue starts to set in, your mind is capable of pushing through.
4. Cleat placement is a major part of a bike fit. Do you get “Hot Spot” when you ride? Do you get numb feet? Both of these things can be cured by cleat placement. Not only can it solve “comfort” issues, but it can increase power and eliminate dead spot (when your cranks are at the top of pedal stroke).
5. Nutrition. I’m not a qualified nutritionist but it is important to re-fuel after a racing and training too. As a athlete you have approximately 15 – 20 minutes to get fuel back into your body and this will benefit your physical recovery.
6. The last point i would like to share is personal to me – why do we ride bikes or do triathlon? For me its all about fun. Yes, I push myself and I do hurt at the time but all in the name of fun. The second and more serious side for me is mental health. As a sufferer, I find it is the best way to unwind, forget what a bad day I have had and it simply clears the mind.
Mark is the proprietor of Midland Cycles and has been racing anything with two wheels since he was a young tacker. An original BMX bandit, he raced BMX into his thirties before turning to road and mountain bike racing at both a state and national level. These days he rides mainly for fun and fitness in between running his business and being a doting dad.