The temperatures, not the date on the calendar, might be fooling me into thinking that spring is sticking around for good, but a few warm weather days here and there have gotten me excited for the season ahead. And they’re reminding myself to put in the proper training before the race season hits. In this respect, cycling is a lot like baseball where we lay low in the winter (for the most part), then head into spring training in February and March to dust the cobwebs off our playing/riding for the season’s debut in April. And as the weather starts to improve ever so slightly, it is getting to the time of year where we really want to start ramping up total training volume. The intensity will be increasing a bit as well, but try to make the last weeks of March and April your biggest of the year unless you are on a rest week. Here are some things to think about going into the next phase of training:
Regardless of what your goals are, everyone can benefit from training the threshold system. This may come in different forms, some will be doing 3×15 minute intervals, others 2×20’s or even 2×30 minute efforts. Whether you are racing Ironman, road races and crits or even just gearing up for local group rides and centuries, these intervals will be very effective for building the lactate threshold component of your engine, which is a key piece in your ultimate success. The only reason these types of sessions won’t valuable is if they completely destroy you and prevent your from getting your other required training in at the appropriate intensities or durations. Being a little tired is OK, even if you have some races coming up, since for almost all of us, these are just races, big goals for Midwesterners should be falling in the July to September time frame. Below are some tips to ensure you are getting the most from your threshold training. Continue reading
The Midwest winter is already showing signs of fading and many of you are likely itching to get outside (or you already added some extra layers and went out). With the weather warming, local group rides are beginning to swell from those few hard men who lasted the winter to those other riders who have a lower tolerance for cold and ice. Many of us have favorite groups that we are anxious to join, while others may be feeling that after a solid winter of training, they finally have the fitness to hang with some of the faster groups that have seemed intimidating and out of reach in the past. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the group riding experience, here are some things to keep in mind Continue reading
Again, here’s another article I rode for the Vision Quest newsletter. With many of us riding consistently outside this summer, it seemed like an appropriate time to talk about group riding.
Depending on the type of rider you are and your training background, group rides may make up a large component of your riding at certain times of the year or they may be something completely foreign to you. In the past, we have talked about the advantages and disadvantages of including group rides in the training program for more seasoned riders. Here we will offer some tips to help newer riders find an appropriate group and learn how best to fit into that ride.
If you have never been on a group ride before, you may feel intimidated by the size and speed of the group that may resemble organized (or un-organized) chaos. There are two basic patterns you will encounter on any group ride: 2×2 and the rotating paceline. Riding 2×2 is most practical for lower speeds up to about 22 mph. Two leaders will ride side-by-side with the rest of the group lined up side-by-side behind them. The leaders will pull for 2-5 minutes before pulling off to the outside of their line and drifting to the back of the group. The next two riders in line will then move up between the previous leaders and take up pace-making duties.