Over the past two years, cycling transformed from my biggest weakness to my greatest weapon. I hate to disappoint, but I don’t have a shortcut to offer you. However, I do have a handful of tips to get you on the road to your best bike split.
You hate the trainer.
You’re alone in the living room and it’s hot. Or you’re alone in the garage and it’s cold. I’ve done both and yes, we would all prefer to be outside. But cycling success is built on the trainer. You have to learn to love it. Workouts on the trainer can be tailored to achieve specific goals. It allows you to hit every zone from recovery to neuromuscular endurance that you wouldn’t be able to control as well if you were out on the road. If you’re willing to invest some money, a power meter can help you achieve the results you’re looking for by allowing you to accurately stay within the prescribed zones. Although it’s not as ideal, heart rate and perceived exertion are good measures to take advantage of what the trainer can offer.
You never ride alone.
Until this year, I never did a long ride alone. My reasoning for that was two-fold 1) safety in numbers and 2) I couldn’t imagine being out there for 5-6 hours with only myself to talk to. Scheduling conflicts made it challenging to meet up with friends for rides this year. Despite my concerns about safety, I hit the road solo for several 80-110+ mile rides. The difference it made was incredible. There’s something exhilarating about it being you, the road and your mind. You aren’t going to have anyone to talk to or push you on race day. It’s you vs you. Having that mental strength is going to be key to maintaining focus throughout the most challenging parts of the ride.
Your bike doesn’t fit you.
Having the latest and greatest super bike is an advantage. But the “my bike isn’t as nice as theirs” excuse doesn’t work. It all comes down to the fit and the rider. If you’re going to invest in anything this year, my suggestion is a professional fit. The fitter should look at everything from the top of your head to the placement of the cleats. Although it can be a lengthy process, being able to ride comfortably in aerodynamic position that allows you get off the bike and run is invaluable.
You aren’t fueling properly.
I’m a broken record player when it comes to fueling in triathlon. It is the fourth sport. You can be the marathon world record holder but if you start with nothing in the tank, you’re not going anywhere. With hundreds of products available, fueling can be a daunting and overwhelming task. But the coaches at Next Level can help you determine the electrolytes, carbs and calories you should be consuming in order to maintain an energy level that sets you up for success. Learn more in my previous article, Science behind Fueling.
You aren’t taking advantage of “free” speed.
There’s a million bells and whistles when it comes to gear. But 4 stand out. An aero helmet can offer 3-8 watts. Aero wheels range from 18-20 watts. The right type of clothing that’s tight to the body has been proven to save 3-10 watts while a clean bike can save you 6-10. That means that you’re saving 30 watts at the minimum which can translate to significant speed increases.
These five things have helped to transform my cycling and continues to do the same for my athletes. But ultimately, you need to invest the time and energy into becoming a better cyclist. If you have questions or want to learn more about how Next Level Triathlon can help you become a faster rider contact us here.