As you start to navigate the world of mountain biking, there are certain considerations to be made as a female biker. This doesn’t in any way mean women can’t ride just as fast and hard as men, but there are certain challenges they encounter that men don’t. Here is a basic guide of how to make the most of your mountain biking experience as a woman.
How do you wear a helmet with long hair?
A common question from women getting into any sort of biking is how do you wear a helmet with long hair? The best option is to use the “helmet hair hole.” (Most cross-country helmets have one in the back where the size adjuster is.) This way you can simply pull your hair into a ponytail, adjust that hole in the back of the helmet to its widest setting, then pull your ponytail through.
Then just clip on the chin strap and make any other necessary adjustments so there’s no movement when you shake your head. Another tip is to not wear underwear with a chamois. This gives you less of a chance of chaffing and getting rubbed the wrong way. It’s also important to wear breathable layers and avoid cotton and down as they soak up moisture and don’t dry out quickly.
How to prepare for hitting the trails
Training is an important part of mountain biking whether you’re male or female. It’s important to give yourself about a month of solid training before you hit the trails. This, of course, can be gradual so you can exercise twice a week or so in the beginning, and add on more days as the month goes on.
Building leg strength and endurance should be a priority, but incorporate things like push-ups into your workout as well. Upper body and core strength are almost, if not equally, as important as leg strength.
Remember that that holding your handlebars works arm and back muscles and you need them to be strong so you don’t get tired out. Overall it’s important to remember that the stronger you are in general, the more strength and coordination you’ll have on the bike and the better you’ll perform.
What you eat is important, but when you eat is almost equally important. To avoid stomach cramping, try to eat your pre-ride meal at least an hour before riding. You’ll also want to drink 250 ML of water an hour before as well.
When it comes to what you’re eating go for real, whole foods since you’ll most likely only be eating bars and gels on the trails. You’ll want to eat a combination of carbohydrates, protein and fats. During your ride make sure to keep up your energy with protein bars and energy gels. Within 15 minutes of finishing your ride you’ll want to get back to the whole foods. Load up on carbohydrates with some protein. An hour after your ride you can start incorporating some fats.
A good rule of thumb ratio is 60% carbohydrate, 20% fat, and 20% protein. Keep up with the fluids and even add some electrolyte-replacements if you can. Overall, don’t stress too much about the ratios, just make sure you eat!
Meagan lives in Collingwood, ON, Canada, only a few pedal strokes to the areas most technical
singletrack, longest downhills, and picturesque country roads. As the Business Development Director for Sacred Rides, Meagan’s focus is on developing their line of Women’s Mountain Bike Trips in wild and wonderful places around the world. Meagan is an Ambassador for Oakley, TREK Women and the YMCA and strives to create, build and foster a community of women dedicated to learning, progressing and conquering new skills.