What’s It Take to Ride Like a Tour Rider?

July 10, 2014
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USA Pro Challenge Stage 7 starting in Golden, CO

Pro cyclists are often all thought to be blessed with nature’s special gifts – a huge heart, enormous lungs and infinite leg power.  Yet, in reality this is hardly the case. The truth is that most of us have the physiology to be a decent racer if we trained as much as they do.  Granted, most of us don’t have the time or the resources available to pro cyclists but we can all optimize the talents bestowed upon us by training properly.  Here’s how.

Start with the basics.  Have good equipment.  Meaning, have a bike that fits, get the right bike parts, and wear the appropriate cycling accessories. It may seem obvious but even small things add up. This is an easy one to dial in, so get it right.

Next, focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t.  Some argue work and family commitments distract from proper training but there are other elements you can control.  You can control your the quality of your workouts, your bike technique, and your recovery.  When training, focus your efforts using power and heart rate. Both play a key role in training and you can use both to target weaknesses and strengths.  Dial in your nutrition on an off the bike so that you are properly fueled going into the workout and can bring your best effort to each training session.  Also, schedule specific workouts to build fitness, improve your climbing technique and bike skills.

While it may seem counter intuitive, easy rides or time off the bike is equally as important as training time.  The post, Four Ways to Recover Like a Tour Rider, suggests ways to conserve energy while riding in the peleton (aka your group ride) and use your cycling buddies as teammates to pace you and shield you from the elements.

A little R&R or active recovery is good too.  Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins’ benefits from the focus it brings to his cycling, while others, such as pro mountain biker and Olympian Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, use yoga to gain strength. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury.

You may not make it as a Tour rider but you sure can embrace the training elements of a Tour rider lifestyle.  And, if all else fails, put on your best suffer face!


Late to the Game? Ways to Make up for Lost Training Time

May 15, 2014

image003Even the best made training plans go awry. Work demands, family obligations, illness, injury, or even weather challenges all can take a toll on training.  Now with the Colorado racing season underway, the pressure is on to get into racing form.

But what do you if you are behind the curve? Stress out? Freak out? Beat yourself up?  No! There’s nothing you can do about the past so you have to let it go and move forward.  Here’s how to make the best of what you’ve got.

The post, Making up For Lost Training Time, suggest to focus on what you can control and let go of things beyond your control.  What can you control? The intensity, duration, and consistencies of your workouts.  You can also control the elements surrounding your training, as in, your bike parts, bike functioning, and being well prepared nutritionally to get the best out of your workouts.

You can also focus your efforts on training with power and heart rate. Both play a key role in training and you can use both to target weaknesses and strengths.  Other options include Dialing in Your Race Day Nutrition Needs adjusting your goals to reflect your current fitness level and your aims for the season and preparing race strategies that you can build upon as the season progresses.

The post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan, reminds us, “ It’s easy to beat yourself up over missed training, but if you have been steady with training, give yourself a break. Gaining fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days and losing fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days. It takes months of steady training to gain good fitness. A few days missed or logging a fewer less hours than planned for a week is a small blip on the radar.”

You may or may not be at the front of the pack in your early Spring races, but you can definitely show up at the line in the best form possible, mentally race ready, and prepared for a healthy and strong 2014 cycling season.