Look dafter, get faster

Tired of the same old boring tips? We’ve teamed up with a sports scientist to offer some of the more unusual ways you can increase your speed.

By Will Harrison

1. Profane gains

A good reason never to wash your mouth out. Science has found that cracking the big ‘C’ (‘curse’ of course) helps us to tolerate pain! It appears this is because swearing activates a part of the brain responsible for producing pain-relieving chemicals such as adrenaline. When mountain biking, these chemicals mean we’re more resistant to pain – such as lactic acid on a steep climb – which helps us to pack extra punch into the pedals and keep working at a higher pace for longer.

2. Reveal your inner child

Riding with no agenda is a good thing! This isn’t a substitute to coaching or trial riding, but it should be an equally important part to our time in the saddle as it’s where we learn a lot of our skills. Take time to muck around with skids, bunny hops, wheelies and endos – apart from being great fun, you’ll perfect bike skills you wouldn’t normally practice. It’ll be valuable bike control you can apply to any trail.

3. Love the dairy

All drinks have a ‘Hydration Index’, which tells us how good they are at re-hydration. Milk scores higher than water and it’s only slightly behind specially designed rehydration drinks. Add a recovery powder for a double-whammy of post ride goodness – you’ll be ready to go fast again in no time.

4. Talk the talk

Whether it’s out loud or in our head, the words we use define our emotions and influence how we ride. Sometimes these will sow the seeds of doubt to stop us smashing a jump or slamming into a berm with as much confidence as we’d like. Use optimistic, positive words and it’ll boost your self-esteem. This will take away our doubt, assure us and help us to relax – we all know we ride fast when in this state.

5. Chug cherry

Tart cherry juice is the new fad to jump on the bandwagon. It doesn’t taste as sweet as its rewards, however it’s a big-hitter on the recovery scene; it’s full of antioxidants, helps inflammation, improves sleep quality and protects against muscle damage too. So if you want to improve recovery and speed for your next ride, drink this.

6. Body English

Body language can make or break us. Opening our shoulders and chest, standing tall, smiling and not slouching can all be examples of good posture and they will trick our brains into thinking we’re confident – even when we aren’t. So if you’re sizing up a road gap or section of tricky trail, don’t slouch!