Sprinting for Success

Sprint training is an aspect that can and should be part of your program year-round, and is an aspect that many riders either neglect or do incorrectly if they do include them. Making a well-designed sprint workout part of your weekly routine is crucial for any cyclist who not only wants to improve not just their final sprint, but also their ability to make speed changes in almost any kind of mass-start bike race.A sprint, like most efforts, consists of two aspects: cardiovascular and muscular. It's important to consider each aspect separately, and then see how to combine them for maximum effectiveness. From the cardiovascular standpoint, any interval that begins with a maximal effort will ...

Opening Up: Fine Tuning for Race Day

A recurring choice riders are faced with is whether to train through a week when there are races on the weekend, or pull up on training early to be better rested for the weekend's events. How to make those choices, and how to structure your training based on your choice, is based on a lot of variables. How important are the races? How important is the long-term fitness you're trying to build? What kind of training are you doing, or what kind of phase are you in? And if you do rest, how do you make sure you feel your best on race day?A typical weekly schedule might include a recovery day on Monday, sprints on Tuesday, threshold intervals on Wednesday, a longer endurance day with some tempo ...

The Lantern Rouge: Bus Driving and Stage Race Survival

Stage racing is a unique animal. There are very few sporting events that combine different disciplines or versions of their sport day after day, to award an overall winner. Decathlon comes to mind as one of the few parallels. But that very nature of it's appeal also contains its challenges. For many riders, these races are the peak of their season and their training has revolved around being at their best. For others, the races are primarily training, especially in the early season, or to peak for later events. And of course, some people climb well, some time trial well, and some sprint well, but everyone has to do everything. When you have such a discrepancy of goals and fitness ...

The Card Up Your Sleeve, Part II

In Part 1 of The Card Up Your Sleeve, I wrote about the inevitability of sprint finishes in most Category 3, 4, and 5 races. Regardless of your natural ability, field sprinting is a mandatory skill to acquire if you plan on moving up through the categories. I mentioned two scenarios: when to wait for the sprint if field sprinting is your talent, and how to approach a field sprint if it's not. Here in Part 2, I'll discuss the latter in detail, and outline some approaches useful for a rider in any category.If your skills are time trialing or climbing, or you have a decent sprint but your brain's not wired for the high-speed human pinball that is field sprinting, you're not alone. Everyone has ...

The Card Up Your Sleeve, Part I

For all road racers trying to upgrade from the lower categories, there's one skill that takes precedence above all others: field sprinting. Outside of pro/1/2 races, the dynamic tends to be to such that everyone is willing to chase down attacks, but no one is willing to counter-attack or work with a break they bridge up to. It's a vicious cycle; most races end in field sprints so no one wants to attack or counter-attack for fear of being tired for the field sprint, thus, the race always ends in a field sprint. At the same time, no one wants to let any other riders get away, so the field will typically do just enough to chase down any attackers, put themselves back in contention and on par, ...