How to become a better athlete during lockdown
We can hardly call this a secret quarantine hack, unless this is the first article you’ve read after waking up from a very long winter hibernation. Zwift has never been so popular: it is preserving sanity, keeping relationships intact and stops only just short of saving lives (that credit goes to the brave front line heroes who really are saving lives). You’ll need a smart home trainer and almost any kind of smart device. There is a subscription fee, but don’t fret - it’s less than the cost of the wear on your Vittoria Graphene+. Zwift offer loads of races, and best way to start (assuming you’re a newbie, and haven’t skipped to the next paragraph by now) is to download the Zwift Companion app and follow a mate who’s in the know with such new-fangled things (also try Andy Turner Swift Carbon). They’ll invite you along and you’re ready to go. We guarantee you’ll be surprised how hard it is. Oh, and have water and a towel handy.
Top tip: Join our Showdown races where our two UCI teams battle each other - warm up BEFORE (as W52-FC Porto riders found out to their cost).
If you’re like the author of this and missed the boat in getting a home trainer in time before lockdown you’ll be getting (most likely for the first time in your life) home trainer FOMO. Never mind, by the end of the lockdown you’ll have the strongest core in the peloton and/or be the most zen - we recommend a daily mash up of (check out these YouTube videos) core routine, strength training, plyometrics, navy seal workouts and (sort of) yoga. Namaste.
Hot tip: It’s hard! So don’t be so tough on yourself at first - imagine you’re starting cycling again.
Become a cycling encyclopaedia
Ever found yourself puzzling at the coffee shop when your cycling mates wistfully reminisce about Michele Bartoli’s other-worldly surge on the Mur de Huy or bicker whether or not Vainsteins was too cooked to follow team orders and attack on the Pavé de Luchin? Yes us too. That’s the excuse we’re using when loved ones call us out for watching the 19th hour of grainy YouTube footage of old races in another language. Use this time during lockdown wisely - push the limits of your internet service provider’s ‘reasonable use’ clause and catch up on all the editions of the races you’ve missed (and rabbit hole yourself back in time). This will help you get to grips with a fuller context of the complex plot lines of the ultimate reality TV show that is bike racing.
Top tip: If your home trainer is old and decidedly not smart, cling-wrap your iPad and install YouTube on your bars.
Not quite - we’re not in the habit of doling out dietary advice, besides which it’s wholly irresponsible. But we will say this: it is a great time to shift things in your diet, with no events planned for the next while. So if you’ve been thinking of going plant-based, or adjusting your carb proportions, read up on it thoroughly and commit. There’s no risk, except maybe a sub-par Zwift performance, but then again you never know... It’s unlikely you’ll get another stretch of time like this to focus on your nutrition without the high stakes of expensive race and travel fees, so make the most of it.
Top tip: Watch The Game Changers, the read up on the comments to balance the hype to make your own decision.
Donate cycling stuff
Trust us on this. This is a win-win exercise. You get to declutter and you’ll make some aspiring cyclists very happy. Take all your bike stuff out and pick out only the items you need from the musty/rusty piles of duplicate spares, half assembled frames and kit that hasn’t fit since you raced under 23 (be honest, you’re not going to get down to that weight ever again). The rest goes to charity (unless it’s a new old stock Campag Record 50th Anniversary gruppo, in which case eBay it and donate 50%). If you believe there’s a chance that karma exists, consider how often you go to the limit on a descent, pushing the boundaries of your luck (and your Vittorias). Think about that when you’re wondering if you really need that third spare set of decade-old Sidis.
Top tip: Your local bike shop should have a charity bin - if not email email@example.com - to contribute to the team’s ReCycle program.
You’ve got Netflix right? So no doubt you’ve binged on Chef’s Table, Mind of a Chef, Parts Unknown, the Final Table, Salt, Fat Acid, Heat and even The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell. But that subtly flavoured and impossibly light soufflé seems a lifetime away when you stand at the kitchen counter in front of a couple of eggs and a frying pan from your student days. Don’t feel bad - these are pros at the top of their games. Imagine trying to follow Thomas de Ghent during an intervals session. Pick a dish you think you can master, YouTube the hell out of it and, well, master it. We’ve seen Louis Meintjes brush up on his baking and a triathlete SwiftCarbon owner who learned to make his own all-natural, raw food energy bars (which are delicious by the way). Now find your niche.
Top tip: If you have kids, this is a great chance at some bonding time.
Don’t service your bike
Spare a thought for your immediate cycling community who will suffer the most during lockdown - starting with the bike shops. When this is all over, we will all need to give them as much support as we can. Even as an online direct-to-consumer brand we believe bike shops are an essential part of our cycling lives, for face-to-face advice, service and all round general good vibes. Sure, clean your bike, and lube the parts that require it (especially if you’ve been on the home trainer. But leave the big maintenance jobs for the experts, starting with a full service.
Top tip: Buy flat whites for your technician and you might notice a couple of extra Watt savings on your drivetrain.
Final top tip: Share this with other cyclists!