April 24, 2017

Get Ready to Hit the Road

By Molly McGarry

If you will be racing on a road or mountain bike, in a cycling-specific race or multisport competition this year, it is time to start training.

Whatever race you are training for on your bike, consider these training tips to help improve your overall performance and get in top shape for your cycling season.

Flexibility and Strength Training

Typically, cyclists focus on maximizing “saddle time,” but strength training helps build a strong foundation of endurance and power while also preventing injuries. Targeting muscles that drive the bike forward with each pedal stroke should be your main focus in addition to developing core strength and hip stability.

Flexibility is also a strong part of what keeps cyclists and triathletes injury-free and performing at their highest potential. Another way of obtaining this is to add a yoga class at a local gym or try out a yoga-specific studio in order to add a beneficial routine to race-season preparation.

Practice “Bike to Run” Transitions

The ability to transition from cycling to running can make or break your race performance. Practice this important transition by doing what is referred to as “Brick Workouts.”

This exercise consists of a longer, strenuous bike ride immediately followed by an easy run. Practicing this transition often will help condition your legs to adapt from a seated position on the bike to a standing position when running. This workout translates to stronger, more successful transitions during race season.

Prepare for Outdoor Riding

After a winter of training indoors on a stationary bike, the transition to riding outdoors can become a challenge. Virtual training modules like Zwift or Road Trainer can proactively push your indoor training to the next level in the dead of winter. While cyclists can simply put in their “time on the saddle” when training indoors for the season, each workout will benefit your long-term performance if you’re practicing for the actual outdoor race.

Even though late winter and early spring weather can be tough for outdoor cycling, bundle up, ride outdoors, and take advantage of any non-rainy day. Additionally, cold-weather training gear is a must-have to kick-start the outdoor rides as soon as possible. The sooner cyclists can train outdoors; the stronger they can start the season!

Gear to Get You Going — Cycling

Zwift Membership

A monthly subscription to Zwift’s virtual biking software is a great way to be challenged and stay motivated during indoor rides. Zwift supports most indoor trainer models yet will require certain sensors to translate your real-world effort into speed in the virtual one. With members from more than 150 countries there are plenty of virtual group rides and community races for cyclists of all levels.  Retail: $10/month subscription

Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Toe Covers

Keep your toes warm on wet, windy rides with these weather-resistant shoe caps. Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Toe Covers are designed for road and mountain biking shoes with a Kevlar® hook-and-loop closure to allow for quality protection and easy on-and-off. The soft-shell fabric is water- and wind- resistant and is highlighted by a reflective logo for added visibility. The covers are compatible with toe clips. Retail: $20

Betty Designs Signature Pocket Shell

Made from 100 percent polyester with reflective stripes and logos, the Betty Designs Signature Pocket Shell stuffs into a handy pocket for easy transport when not in use. This windbreaker offers laser-cut ventilation under the arms for better breathability and is a perfect cover for breezy or rainy morning workouts. Retail: $100

Molly McGarry is currently the Director of Group Fitness and Trainer Development and personal trainer at Northwest Personal Training in Vancouver, Washington. She specializes in corrective exercise and triathlons/race preparation.