Fit to Ride | Track Time

By Tim Carrithers, Photography by Joe Neric & Carl Borg

Roll into the pits and unload your bike. Everything checks out with your checklist. Nothing left to chance. Nothing? What about you? The human body needs more than three chocolate donuts and 32 ounces of gas-station coffee to perform on the racetrack. But where do you start?

No need to be an ISSA-Certified fitness trainer, ultra-marathoner or bicycle racer, but it helps to know a guy who’s all three of those things and then some. Carl Borg of CrossFit Newport Beach (www.crossfitnb.com) has been helping Motorcyclist Test Consultant Barry Burke sharpen the human side of his track equation with impressive results, so we’re passing some of that knowledge on to you.

Before you saddle up, loosen up. Borg recommends a few minutes of Myofacial release, working out the adhesions that can restrict muscle movement with a high-tech rolling-pin like The Stick, (www.thestick.com), a Trigger Point roller (www.tptherapy.com) or even a padded length of PVC pipe. Regularly rolled muscles allow a greater range of motion, letting you move around on the bike more comfortably and tuck-in tighter with less strain. Target your feet, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus and gluteus medios (a.k.a. the upper/outer area of both hips), the upper back and lats (latissimus dorsi to couch potatoes), located just below the armpits.

Nobody takes a cold engine to redline, so don’t do it to yourself. Borg recommends a little dynamic stretching to bump up the heart rate and get your muscles ready, targeting areas that tend to get tight on the track. The Inch Worm/Cobra warms-up the shoulders, low back, hip-flexors and hamstrings. The Forward Lunge with Samson Stretch takes care of those areas along with the quadriceps, and helps open up the ribcage for easier breathing.

Keep track of what you’re drinking and eating between sessions. Start with 16-20 ounces of water every hour when the mercury rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Drink more when it’s really hot. After about 90 minutes you’ll need a little something to stave off the cramps, headache, nausea and sleepiness that say you’re already dehydrated. Replenishing electrolytes and carbohydrates is a good idea. Swilling sugary, neon-colored sports drinks isn’t. Borg recommends Salt Stick electrolyte capsules (www.saltstick.com), the reformulated Cytomax Natural sans artificial sweeteners (www.cytosport.com) or coconut water, the ultimate natural recovery drink.

Take a little time to iron out those kinks with a post-ride Myofacial release session using a Trigger Point foam roller or your instrument of choice. Spend up to 4 minutes on a couple of your tightest areas. Finish off the day with some solid nutrition to put back what the track took out of you: a good blend of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Think fish, chicken, turkey or even a little choice beef filet, along with some sweet potato and avocado.

Start with these basics—slowly at first, paying close attention to what your body is telling you—and then take it from there. This kind of training is a lot like riding: The more you learn, the better it gets.

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