La Vie Velominatus: Train Properly

There are few pleasures in life as great as to achieve a goal, to accomplish something that doesn’t come easily. Great lessons are taught through this activity; we learn that it is our determination and not our doubt that defines our limits. We learn that through studied discipline we can cultivate the skills required to work incrementally towards becoming what we want to be.

This is true for our personal, social and professional lives – and any other aspect that I may have left off. But to achieve our goals is usually a rather complicated mess; it requires introspection, it often requires reliance upon others to do their part or at least not interfere with you doing yours, and it is usually rife with hard choices of long-lasting and difficult to understand consequences.

In its most basic form, Cycling provides us a path to discovery in a less complicated model than do our actual lives. We train our bodies, we become more healthy. We become more healthy, we train more. We become stronger, we go faster. We derive more pleasure from our efforts. We experience reward for sacrifice. We associate progress with the pain of an effort. We enjoy Cycling more. We ride more. We become healthier still. We become stronger still. We go even faster. We suffer more. We associate more pain with a greater sense of achievement. And though it all, we discover it that unlike every other walk of life, in Sport we are islands: what we find here is only what we have brought with us.

Eventually, exercising will become training. The activity becomes richer with the application of the discipline that comes with this rebadging. Exercise is something you do regularly but without structure. With training comes a study of your body and how it responds to stimulus. Long rides have a different effect on the body than do short ones. Successive hard efforts have another effect, as do longer and shorter periods off the bike.

Training Properly requires discipline and patience. It means you don’t just throw your leg over your machine and pedal off to ride along tree-lined boulevards. Training Properly means having a plan for each day. It means heading for the hills one day, and the plains another. It means controlling yourself and not trying to set your best time up the local climb because you feel good that day. Training Properly means restraining yourself on a group ride and not joining in on the town line sprints if your plan doesn’t call for it. Training Properly means leaving for a ride despite the rain falling from the heavens and the loved ones whom you leave at home.

Training Properly comes down you and you alone; much can be learned from books and coaches, but the path is yours to walk. The discovery is yours to experience and to shape into what you are seeking. There are, however, some basics to keep in mind. Also keep in mind I’m not a “Sports Doctor”, “Physiotherapist”, or “Smart”. And never take medical or sporting advice from Some Guy On the Internet.

  1. Break your muscles down, and allow them to build back up. This is the fundamental principle of Training Properly. Hard efforts break your muscles down. You body will respond by building them back stronger than they were before. This process takes time. Be patient.
  2. Observe Rule #5 when appropriate. In accordance with #1 above, laying down the V is handy for breaking the muscles down, but not so much for allowing them to build back up. Lay down the V one day, then give your body a chance to build back up, either through rest or through low-intensity recovery rides.
  3. Learn to listen to your body. There are good pains and bad pains – learn to tell the difference. Good pains include burning lungs, gun aches, road rash, and the like. These pains will lessen during a ride or even go away completely. Proceed carefully, but learn to push through them; if they don’t go away, they get classified as bad pains. Bad pains include different types of knee pain and chronic pains in, for example, your shoulders, back, or neck. Knees are especially sacred and should be looked after carefully; see a physiotherapist for this and if they prescribe time off the bike, take it. Rushing recovery on a sensitive injury may seem tough and in compliance with Rule #5, but may set you back more than being patient and recovering fully. If you suffer from chronic pains, consult a fitting specialist and work on your position.
  4. Train to ride farther than you need to. Incrementally increase the distance of your training, until you can ride farther than you need to. If you are training for a Sportive or race of 140 kilometers, train to ride 160 or 200; you will arrive for your event with the confidence that you can easily handle the ride and will have something in reserve should things not go according to plan.
  5. Save competing for Race Day. Being competitive is for racing, not training. Set goals for a ride, and adhere to them. Don’t chase after a rider who passes you on a climb when you are on a recovery ride. Don’t lift your pace when you see a rider ahead who you think you can catch. If you don’t race, pick a day or two every week where you try to catch every rider you spot on the road – but remember that they should also be adhering to their own training plan; don’t sit on uninvited and don’t hinder their training through your antics.

Be patient. Have discipline. Train Properly. Vive la Vie Velominatus.

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207 Replies to “La Vie Velominatus: Train Properly”

  1. Frank – I’m still curious how long that most recent solo 200km ride in the rain took. Damn, that’s really far to do solo, but I know you enjoy riding solo as well.

    grumbledook – Yup, cross riding is a GREAT addition to the life of any Velominatus. I’ve only been at it a year but it’s great for a few reasons – if you only have one hour you can still ride your arse off, have a ton of fun, and get some good work into your legs & lungs. I also love it because sometimes I can only get out at rush hour. Trying to do a training ride while dealing with amped up/zoned out cubicle zombies fucking sucks. I can get to some trails where I can ride for an hour or two & to reach them I never have to touch busy roads. And, an hour of road riding might not be fun – warming up/cooling down can take up 2/3s of the ride. Not with cross riding!

    I have to admit that I’ve refused to ever do intervals until a few months back when I was training for my final cross race of the season. I don’t road race & try to balance riding/training so I’ve refused until then. They weren’t fun, but they made the race seem much easier. And, I placed pretty highly.

    Anyway, I think that this article & discussion highlight that everyone, even in the smaller community of the Velominati, ride for different reasons. What some of us want out of cycling is different than what others want. But, we are all united by a passion for the sport, the lifestyle, the health benefits, and the bikes & equipment. I find it depressing when a guy wants to talk PowerMeter numbers but doesn’t notice the dude who just rolled past on an awesome Merckx. Ugh.

    Mikael Liddy – Ha, cycling, food, and adult beverages! I like all three as well. I’ve severely cut back on that third one because I was spending too much time doing it. Now it makes it even more fun when I can drink with mates after cycling or soccer, instead of doing it out of habit. And, it’s also amazing how much better my cycling training has been going without that drag on my form.

  2. @snoov

    @frank
    Last week on the BBC a former GP turned presenter was involved in an exercise experiment.
    On an exercise bike he did 3 x 20 second all out efforts, 3 times a week for 6 weeks.
    In terms of health benefits he was shocked by the results. Evidently it’s better than going running or to the gym for hours.
    Not sure how it relates to cyclists who want to race etc but very interesting.

    While I’m not going to argue about the apparent benefits, let’s be serious. How much fun is that program? I’d say zero. Give me a nice couple of hours on a spring day in the Kettle Moraine and I’m a happy camper.

  3. @SuperFed

    Looking at your rides recently, I don’t think you’ll have any problem killing the 160k. I agree with Calmante; have a bit of fun! Stick to the plan you have, but if you’re flying up a hill, maybe move one cog down and try to kick it over the top just a wee bit faster.

    @scaler911

    Awesome link, thanks for sharing. Makes me feel a bit better about all the time I spent on the trainer during the winter, doing 1 minute and five minute intervals.

  4. @grumbledook, @frank
    I got TTCC this spring and found it helpful in understanding the science and the compromises of higher intensity training. I’m not the biggest Carmichael fan, nevertheless I’ve found it useful. The basic point is that if you only have about 6 hrs a week to train you’re better off focusing on intensity. You won’t have the time to train for super endurance for longer competitive events but you can still train for shorter races or less intense longer events. Your peak will also be
    shorter, so you need to plan ahead if you are targeting a specific goal.

    I haven’t bothered following a specific training plan in the book or sorting out my target heartrates with a field test; I’ve adapted it by riding rollers with sufferfest videos that are somewhat analogous to the workouts in the book during the week, and getting out on the roads on the weekends. I ride on feel and rate of perceived exertion. When I’m on the road I ride as hard (or not) as I feel like. It may not be perfect, but it works for my life and I’m faster and stronger because of it. The point of which, for me, is more fun when I’m out on the roads. As is often the case especially if you’re in the velominatus paterfamilias sitch as @The Oracle describes the best can be the enemy of the good.

  5. @wiscot, @snoov
    Those sound like Tabata intervals — you do 20 seconds as absolutely hard as you can, rest 10 seconds, repeat. I tried them once; after four reps I was about ready to throw up.

  6. @Nate

    @wiscot, @snoov
    Those sound like Tabata intervals “” you do 20 seconds as absolutely hard as you can, rest 10 seconds, repeat. I tried them once; after four reps I was about ready to throw up.

    Not these ones he was recovering until his breathing was under control, about 5 mins. It was for general fitness, not training for anything in particular.

  7. @wiscot
    Absolutely, getting out on the bike kills may birds with one stone so to speak. It’s cathartic in a psychological sense, it’s fun, it’s fresh air, it’s out of the city, it’s fun, the views are spectacular, it’s spending time with the mates, it’s getting some time alone, it’s good for collecting sun rays and manufacturing vitamin D, it’s fun, it’s thrilling, it’s challenging, it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s hard, it’s still fun it’s LVV.

  8. @mcsqueak

    @SuperFed

    Looking at your rides recently, I don’t think you’ll have any problem killing the 160k. I agree with Calmante; have a bit of fun! Stick to the plan you have, but if you’re flying up a hill, maybe move one cog down and try to kick it over the top just a wee bit faster.

    @scaler911

    Awesome link, thanks for sharing. Makes me feel a bit better about all the time I spent on the trainer during the winter, doing 1 minute and five minute intervals.

    Sure, Here’s the link to the article that was written by Kirk; http://biketechreview.com/performance/supply/47-base-a-new-definition

  9. @frank

    @grumbledook

    A couple of years ago, I discovered that cyclocross would be the ideal cycling discipline for my situation. And I can highly recommend it to everyone who likes to ride the pain but has too little time to Train Properly for road racing. CX races usually last less than 1 hour (except for elite riders and pro’s). So you don’t need a lot of 3-4 hour rides to be prepared properly, plus you can compensate some lack of fitness with superior riding skills (at least in the hobby and C/B amateur categories). But you can still enjoy the competition in a bicycle race. Of course, I still do both, road cycling and cx. But with road cycling alone, my performance would be much worse than it is now.

    This is one of the reasons I’m thrilled about CX – also the automatic interval training it will give. As much as I love hitting a climb full gas or rolling along tout a droit, structured interval training is not something I manage to be disciplined about.

    The Time-Crunched Cyclist; I hate Chris Carmichael (for no reason other than that he was Pharmy’s coach) but this is an interesting new approach to training that lots of people are talking about – more intensity, less distance, etc. Maybe I’ll try it some day, but it sounds like hocus-pocus to me, who has spent his life doing super long rides (10-12 hours) to get fit.

    I love the long ride; the determination it takes me to not climb off is payed back in spades at the sense of satisfaction of having finished it. Take my local Seattle 200km-er; I ride by my house three separate times before heading out for the last leg; when its pouring rain, the temptation is strong. And I love the way it brings you closer to your machine. The way your body feels when it’s been pedaling all day is sublime!

    @The Oracle

    VLVV*
    *(I saw roadslave use this Velomiscrit abbreviation, and I move that it be immediately added to the Lexicon).

    Done.

    I used to go for long-distance rides together with a friend when I was still a PhD student. This is now about 10 years ago. We usually did these rides in the first half of the season with a peak in May/June when we did at least 1, but mostly 2 200+x km rides per week plus 2 or 3 shorter rides. My average distance per ride in these “golden years” was 110 km. But due to the fact that I did a lot of other sports at this time, I never managed to exceed 10k km p.a.. Nevertheless, I guess I am still benefiting from this period of proper training, especially since it helped me in becoming very good in terms of your point #3.

  10. @scaler911

    @mcsqueak

    @SuperFed

    Looking at your rides recently, I don’t think you’ll have any problem killing the 160k. I agree with Calmante; have a bit of fun! Stick to the plan you have, but if you’re flying up a hill, maybe move one cog down and try to kick it over the top just a wee bit faster.

    @scaler911

    Awesome link, thanks for sharing. Makes me feel a bit better about all the time I spent on the trainer during the winter, doing 1 minute and five minute intervals.

    Sure, Here’s the link to the article that was written by Kirk; http://biketechreview.com/performance/supply/47-base-a-new-definition

    Good article. I like him.

  11. @grumbledook

    The Time-Crunched Cyclist; I hate Chris Carmichael (for no reason other than that he was Pharmy’s coach) but this is an interesting new approach to training that lots of people are talking about – more intensity, less distance, etc. Maybe I’ll try it some day, but it sounds like hocus-pocus to me, who has spent his life doing super long rides (10-12 hours) to get fit.

    I think it works great for those guys who only do crits or short (90 min or less) road races. I do not like that type of racing. For me, I like it when you have been suffering with the dudes next to you for three hours and then someone drops the hammer on a climb and there is still another hour to go and you know that you have to kill yourself NOW or you might as well go home. To me, THAT is racing. Not 30 min crits in the States that someone made up for our USA short attention span theatre lives.

  12. Excellent. Double post and now I look like an idiot. That’s what happens when you try to have a conversation on Bretto’s level.

  13. @Buck Rogers

    @grumbledook

    The Time-Crunched Cyclist; I hate Chris Carmichael (for no reason other than that he was Pharmy’s coach) but this is an interesting new approach to training that lots of people are talking about – more intensity, less distance, etc. Maybe I’ll try it some day, but it sounds like hocus-pocus to me, who has spent his life doing super long rides (10-12 hours) to get fit.

    I think it works great for those guys who only do crits or short (90 min or less) road races. I do not like that type of racing. For me, I like it when you have been suffering with the dudes next to you for three hours and then someone drops the hammer on a climb and there is still another hour to go and you know that you have to kill yourself NOW or you might as well go home. To me, THAT is racing. Not 30 min crits in the States that someone made up for our USA short attention span theatre lives.

    Have you ever been to a CX race, racing yourself or just watching? It’s a lot of fun either way, even if it lasts less than 60 min. … And you may have read in some comments here that a few of us just don’t have the time to train for couple of hours, several times a week. So short+intense is the only option left. … But still, I do love to go for a 10 hour ride in the Swiss alps once or twice a year. This is Zen!

  14. Here’s my training plan: ride the fucking bike. All this training craap pales in comparison to getting my girly ass off the couch, on the contact points, and pointing the merckxdamn thing up the road. I love the feeling of a day on the bike; of polishing off a grueling ride. But like the ads for “abs of steel” I don’t need crunches or situps – I need to get rid of the layers of fat and flab than hang on my waistline. I have a special relationship with food, and my bike is very, very jealous.

    In fact, I just took the cadence sensor off my bike. Fuck it. Can’t read the display anyway, and I’d rather be looking at my velomispouse’s ass. The HR meter I keep, because a few BPM difference on a climb makes a huge difference to me. Cadence? Crikey, until I can find a SRAM cassette combination that goes 11×78, it doesn’t make a farthings bit of difference. I suck as a climber. But then I suck at sprinting, rolleurs, and time trialing. Other that that, I’m a great cyclist. Or will be in two months time.

    ♫♫ Cog-als are the place for me.
    Bike livin’ is the life for me.
    Land spreadin’ out so far and wide
    Keep mountain biking, just give me that road outside.

    Cog-als is where I’d rather stay.
    I get allergic smelling Huy.
    I just adore a fizik view.
    Keepers I love you but give me whatever’s new.

    …The chores.
    …The stores.
    …Fresh air.
    …Pedal Square

    You are my bike.
    Good bye to my life.
    Co-gals we are there.

    -bump bump- ♫ ♫ ♫

  15. For 95% of us (those of us with jobs, kids, and the other complications of a non-pro), train properly can be summed up in six words:
    Ride more.
    Sleep more.
    Eat better.

    End of.

  16. @grumbledook
    Oh yes, completely agree, LOVE CX racing. I have only done it a few times but have huge respect for it. Cannot wait to when we move back to the North East this fall and do some again! Give me the long RR from April to late September and the CX from October/November and then let me nordic ski from Dec through March and I am a VERY HAPPY guy!

  17. @snoov

    @wiscotAbsolutely, getting out on the bike kills may birds with one stone so to speak. It’s cathartic in a psychological sense, it’s fun, it’s fresh air, it’s out of the city, it’s fun, the views are spectacular, it’s spending time with the mates, it’s getting some time alone, it’s good for collecting sun rays and manufacturing vitamin D, it’s fun, it’s thrilling, it’s challenging, it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s hard, it’s still fun it’s LVV.

    Yes. This. Except for being out of the city and the spectacular views. I’m in Houston, so those two don’t count. But the rest is exactly it for me.

  18. I agree with the over-whelming sentiment of the preceding 123 posts… Great article and great thread- best in a while.

    I got myself on a race focused training program in November 2011 and have seen massive improvements in my relatively weak abilities. The structure of the training removes some of the spontaneity of the rides, but my coach and I have worked hard to make them fun… I rarely do the same workout more than twice and month and often we re-work their structure so they aren’t too repetitive. My only advice is try to keep it fun- if it sucks you’ll only suck it up so long before throwing in the towel.

  19. @Ron

    Frank – I’m still curious how long that most recent solo 200km ride in the rain took. Damn, that’s really far to do solo, but I know you enjoy riding solo as well.

    It takes about 7 and a half to eight hours, which is not stellar from an average speed perspective, but keep in mind there are 16 categorized climbs!

  20. @eightzero
    A masterpiece. Especially the bit about the 11×78 cassette. I love the implication that if you require a 78, that the 11 is still somehow useful.

  21. @frank

    What, no side-spur down to Sea-Tac? After the cogal I stopped to grab some fast food and coffee for the drive home in Sea-Tac, and there was a meth head in the Jack-in-the-Box that probably could hook you up with some killer performance enhancers.

  22. @Anjin-san

    I agree with the over-whelming sentiment of the preceding 123 posts… Great article and great thread- best in a while.

    I got myself on a race focused training program in November 2011 and have seen massive improvements in my relatively weak abilities. The structure of the training removes some of the spontaneity of the rides, but my coach and I have worked hard to make them fun… I rarely do the same workout more than twice and month and often we re-work their structure so they aren’t too repetitive. My only advice is try to keep it fun- if it sucks you’ll only suck it up so long before throwing in the towel.

    Totally – and that’s where doing it a long time really helps. Just like with learning to recognize different pains – learn to recognize different types of “I donwannaanymore”. Your reluctance can be for a hard ride you know you have to do and that will make you happy afterward. Or your reluctance can be because you’re burnt out and the sport has stopped being fun.

    For me, I usually find that the second case comes alongside not being interested in other aspects of cycling. I didn’t want to ride today – it was early, before work, blah blah but I was meeting a friend and I did it anyway. And after the ride, instead of putting the bike in the basement, I put it in the living room because I wanted to look at it during the day while I worked. So my reluctance was more just that I didn’t want to ride today, not that I’m burned out.

    When I stop wanted to watch a bike race, or pass over the Rouleur and pick up the New Yorker, those can be signs that I’m getting burned out. Not that I only ever read cycling literature, but the point is that when I’m into Cycling, I have to decide to read or watch something else. When I’m burning out, I have to push myself to write, read, or watch Cycling stuff. For me, that’s my toggle – that’s how I realize I need to back off and find the fun again.

    Luckily, the seasons tend to do that for me. Spring and Summer, I am all geared up and ready to slam it every day. Fall comes as a welcome change to focus on long, low intensity stuff. Then by the time we hit Spring, I”m done fucking around and ready to start hurting my legs again. It works.

  23. @mcsqueak

    @frank

    What, no side-spur down to Sea-Tac? After the cogal I stopped to grab some fast food and coffee for the drive home in Sea-Tac, and there was a meth head in the Jack-in-the-Box that probably could hook you up with some killer performance enhancers.

    I don’t keep my passport updated to let me go down there. Shit, the only reason I keep my pass valid to get to the East Side (Bellevue/Kirkland) is because of work.

    My Merckx, Seattleittes are homebodies and hate going anywhere. I used to commute daily 125 miles each way to my office when I lived in North Carolina, and a trip to the nearest reasonable grocery store was 45 miles round trip. Now the grocery store that’s 4 miles away seems like a trek and we generally just park the car on Friday and don’t move it until Monday.

  24. @frank
    Going that distance solo, you have no real reason to try to push the pace in my opinion. As you know, it is purely for time in the saddle where your body gets used to the long day. I do the odd 6+ hour ride and when I set out I will say that I will not allow my HR over 145 at any single point and will keep the pace purposefully slow, the old LSD workout builds wonders. Today, with strava and ave speed, etc it is so challenging to just let yourself go slow for a super long distance. I have trouble with this but with a bit of maturity, I am getting better at it.

  25. @Marcus
    God Lord, is that Chopper Reid’s rich cousin there?

    Also, speaking of Calmante, is he still in the penalty box?

  26. Nope. I’m here. You can read about my adventures in the Keepers thread… and my new obsession of hula-hooping.

  27. Anyone here strictly for or against weight training, while we’re on the topic of training. I’m really thinking of taking advantage of my works “gym” (an all in one style machine, some freeweights, a big pilates ball or whatever they are, and a treadmill which I will ignore).

    The reason I ask is because if its all about power to weight ratio then wouldn’t working out the legs a bit help things out? Specifically hip flexor, quads, glutes, and hamstring exercises? At the least my guns will look more intimidating…

    I’m already doing well on the weight aspect, I’m actually less then a couple pounds away from loosing the Clydesdale status, should easily be below once the weather turns warm enough for the group rides and commuting.

  28. General left field thought – why is Cav faster over 100m than anyone else?

    I was doing my usual route home and thought I’d sprint the last 200m – knocked 15secs off my PB (only 1.4Km, so no big deal) but I felt sooo slow on the sprint – probably maxed at 50kph? on the flat

    What makes one go supersonic fast like Cav – is it body position, cadence, power?? (apart from the obvious answers on a postcard….)

    Sorry to sound so unknowledgeable, but if I don’t ask, I’m never going to get any faster

  29. @Dr C

    A few things. Most good sprinters were or are track cyclists. Track cycling requires a fluid yet powerful pedal stroke. How fast you can spin the pedals is equally as important as how much power you put out.

    If you’ve never seen this video before watch Cavs feet:

    Using a metronome I clocked his cadence at 114 rpm, and you know he’s in a big gear. You only spin that fast using the entire pedal stroke to generate thrust. If you want to get better, do lots of one legged pedal drills and practice riding at a higher cadence. Also some short efforts in a big gear will help your muscles train to make more perfect circles, start slow and get faster.

    I’m not great at these things but sprinting is definitely my strong suit if I were to have one.

  30. Also you’ll notice he’s rather aero considering the effort, elbows bent, looking straight ahead when possible.

    I don’t remember what bike you’re riding either Dr. C, but I’m sure his shoes, frame, bb, and wheels are stiffer than yours, and probably more aero, so a higher percentage of his power is making it to the pavement and less is spent fighting the wind.

    He also gets a lead out, meaning the speed at the start of his sprint is higher, meaning he is expelling less energy to get to the speed he starts his sprint at.

  31. @King Clydesdale
    At the risk of over-espousing ( my word) Carmichael’s book he has a good idea about resistance training. In short if you are riding a shed load of Klms then weights MAY help as an extra. However it ain’t certain. However what is certain is that if you are a weekend warrior cyclist with limited training time then non-cycling focused weight training is a great thing to do so you don’t completely fuck yourself the next time your do some gardening or try to move some furniture. Or something like that

  32. Great thread guys!

    Tomorrow will be a rest day for me. I just realised the best thing about a rest day is that it means you’re getting enough riding time to warrant one. I love spring!!

  33. @Dr C
    I read that the thing about Cav that makes him stand out is his ability to kick twice!

    @King Clydesdale
    Watching that clip I’d put the cadence in the 70 to 80 zone. I thought cadence was measured by a full rotation of the crank, not every pedal stroke. If I’m wrong, I await correction.

  34. @King Clydesdale
    That’s an awesome bit of video. I can’t believe how low over the bars he is.

    If he’s doing 114 in 53 x 11 that’s 73kph. On a slight uphill and from memory on cobbles (albeit small city cobbles but not smooth tarmac) for 20 odd seconds.

  35. @snoov

    @Dr C
    I read that the thing about Cav that makes him stand out is his ability to kick twice!

    @King Clydesdale
    Watching that clip I’d put the cadence in the 70 to 80 zone. I thought cadence was measured by a full rotation of the crank, not every pedal stroke. If I’m wrong, I await correction.

    He’d have to be turning a huge gear to be doing any meaningful speed at 70 – 80 rpm, that’d be 45 – 50kph at 53 x 11. Given a lead out train most of us could hit that for 20 seconds.

  36. @King Clydesdale

    Anyone here strictly for or against weight training, while we’re on the topic of training. I’m really thinking of taking advantage of my works “gym” (an all in one style machine, some freeweights, a big pilates ball or whatever they are, and a treadmill which I will ignore).

    The reason I ask is because if its all about power to weight ratio then wouldn’t working out the legs a bit help things out? Specifically hip flexor, quads, glutes, and hamstring exercises? At the least my guns will look more intimidating…

    I’m already doing well on the weight aspect, I’m actually less then a couple pounds away from loosing the Clydesdale status, should easily be below once the weather turns warm enough for the group rides and commuting.

    I noticed you didn’t mention anything about lower leg strengthening. Although you don’t really generate power from your lower leg, these muscles are responsible for stabilizing your ankle and foot, and would stand to get the most benefit from targeted weight training. Feet and ankles are poorly designed for riding, since the fulcrum of that particular lever is located at the very least efficient point, right at the end. Anything you do to strengthen the muscles in that area will make your power transfer much more efficient.

    This is also why I believe in non-traditional cleat placement, ie. as far back toward the heel as possible. Having large feet is a liability in cycling, and there really isn’t much science to the method of placing the ball of your foot over the axle. The shorter you make that lever, the less your lower leg has to work to stabilize your foot. I wont go so far as to recommend mid-foot cleat placement, like Joe Friel does, but I won’t knock it, either.

  37. @Dr C

    General left field thought – why is Cav faster over 100m than anyone else?

    I was doing my usual route home and thought I’d sprint the last 200m – knocked 15secs off my PB (only 1.4Km, so no big deal) but I felt sooo slow on the sprint – probably maxed at 50kph? on the flat

    What makes one go supersonic fast like Cav – is it body position, cadence, power?? (apart from the obvious answers on a postcard….)

    Sorry to sound so unknowledgeable, but if I don’t ask, I’m never going to get any faster

    I guess apart from proper training, it’s your genes that decide if you have the potential to be as fast as MC or not. So it’s not your fault but rather your parents’, if you cannot sprint faster than 50kph.

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