Bike Skills Pay Dividends, Fortunately!

bike skills

This image shows the stats for a training level assessment ride I completed with one of my major triathlon supporters and fellow athlete, Tracey. The goal was a slow build over a period of two hours on the bike on a one-mile loop. Easy rollers, much like our upcoming race, White Lake Half Ironman.

Tracey is younger, fitter, and stronger than I, but I noticed her slowly dropping back. This made me wonder why, so I watched in my mirror, and noticed a pattern.

  1. Tracey lost ground ascending rollers.
  2. On coming out of those sharp corners you see on the course map on my watch, above.
  3. Her cadence was all over the place, especially ascending rollers.

I was simply gaining ground due to Tracey’s bike skills. I had the good fortune to learn from some remarkable Ironman coaches over the years, and they taught me the keys to successful cycling, apart from lots and lots of training and a good bike fit. If your bike doesn’t fit, riding sucks, especially as you start those 100-mile training rides.

Here are the key rules for Tracey. She had no problem with #1, fortunately, nor I (this time!)

  1. Keep the rubber side down (don’t fall off the bike).
  2. Maintain pedal cadence at your ideal, mine being about 85 rpm.
  3. Never ever waste momentum, by working the gears and holding your perceived effort, or wattage if you have a meter, steady.
  4. Optimize your ability to take sharp turns, which feels a bit like a gravity assist to me. I kind of shoot out of the turns.
  5. Always feel uncomfortable on long rides, because “if you are comfortable you are going too slow,” Chris Hauth, AIMP Coaching.

With a few tweaks, Tracey will be dropping this old guy any day now, I’m sure of it.

As aging catches up with you, you can get stronger, but you will gain most ground by optimizing your life and bike skills.

I look forward to racing White Lake together, Tracey’s first half Ironman.

bike skills
That’s Tracey on the left, after we completed a recent sprint with Maya, another great athlete I’m fortunate to train with.


-kev aka FitOldDog

Bike skills
MRI scans through the thighs of three guys. Grey is muscle, white is fat, clear ring around the central white spot (bone marrow) is the femoral bone. Note the loss of both muscle and bone mass in the sedentary guy.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.