Surviving the Trainer

If there's one thing I can't endure, it's working out indoors. For me, the enjoyment in cycling isn't just the essence of training. It's about being outside, seeing different roads and landscapes, and actual racing. I always prefer playing sports to "working out," so riding the trainer in the winter has always been the pinnacle of drudgery. I would rather ride outside in 33 degrees and rain than strap myself to a machine indoors.At the same time, if you work long hours or live in a winter climate with cold, short days and dangerous road conditions, riding the trainer is probably a necessary part of your early season preparation, and one you'll need to make the best of. It doesn't have to be ...

You Can Take it With You

It's a common refrain for North American professional cyclists that traveling is the hardest part of the sport. This isn't unique to pros, though. It's crucial for racers at every level to consider how traveling can take away from your performance, and how much they need to prepare and account for it, just as they would with training. Bike racing is hard, of course, but it's something you prepare and train for. Traveling is something you do secondarily and is often out of your control; it's obviously not going to make you stronger to sit in a car for 6 hours, and undoes all the training, resting, and dieting you've done to prepare. Whether it's time in the car or maybe on a ...

Training While You Work

Most of our clients at Cycle-Smart are not professionals. Or more specifically, they're not professional cyclists. The majority of people we work with are trying to be the best bike racers they can be within the context of their "real lives" - work, school, family - they have other commitments that they aren't looking to sacrifice in order to become a full-time bike racer. One of our biggest challenges as coaches is to help them find the balance between their professions and personal lives and their athletic goals.Within that context exists a classic challenge for working professionals who are also amateur bike racers: the business trip. Training in the context of daily work is challenging ...

Training Weaknesses, Racing Strengths

By the month of May, most North American riders are done with base training for their summer season, or very close to it, and have anywhere from 1-3 months of racing under their belt. If you've had a successful spring, you should have a strong foundation of aerobic fitness, with the ability to ride at race pace for up to 60 minutes, enough endurance to finish your longest races, and the capacity to recover quickly from interval work and consecutive training or racing days.This is also the point where you should have enough information to sense what you're doing well and what you're doing poorly. Have you been climbing well? Sprinting well? The opposite? Are you finding that you're OK on ...

Sprinting for Success

Sprint training is an aspect that can and should be part of your training year-round, and is an aspect that many riders neglect, or often 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 ...