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Training Tips and Hints

Informal Max-Effort Interval Training Tips from Ro...
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Excerpted from issue #606, published online 16 January, 2014


Solo Speedplay Drills
Want to develop snap and speed on your everyday rides? Try these solo drills. Always warm up first with at least 15 minutes of steadily increasing effort.

Chase the Bluebird. Pick a cue that appears frequently on your route: bluebirds, adopt-a-highway signs, white mailboxes, silos. Whenever you spot one of these cues, sprint for 20-30 seconds. Start your effort with a brisk burst out of the saddle, then sit down and crank up the gear. Don’t go all out. Sprint. Settle in. Spin.

Pickups. On an obstacle-free stretch of road, pick up the pace gradually until you’re pedaling briskly at about 80 percent of your max heart rate. The pace should feel quick but comfortable. Concentrate on a smooth spin and a relaxed, flowing pedal style. Continue for about one minute, then gradually back off to an easy pace. Repeat three times during the ride with at least five minutes of easy spinning between each effort.

Roller Coaster. Find a course with three or four short hills spread over several miles. Or look for a short loop with one or two hills. It should take no more than 20 seconds to sprint over each hill. Roll gently between the hills, then attack each rise out of the saddle. Your gear choice should let you spin about 110 rpm at the bottom and at least 90 rpm at the top. Again, don’t go all out. You want to ride briskly but not exhaustively.

Tips for Competitive Sprints

Okay, you’ve been sprinting on your solo rides and you know you’re faster. But how can you snag bragging rights in a group sprint against several friends?

Position is Everything. You’ll rarely win if you lead out a sprint, especially into a headwind. Position yourself one or two riders back, take advantage of their draft, and wait until the last minute to jump and come around. The exception is a slightly downhill sprint or one with a tailwind. Sometimes you can jump early by surprise and hold your gap to the line.

Strategize! Feign fatigue and sit on the back, or time your pulls so your last turn comes about a mile from the line. Then you can hide in the paceline until it’s time to fire your afterburners.

Adapted from Coach Fred Matheny’s Basic Training for Roadies. Coach Fred Matheny has decades of experience as a competitive racer and cycling coach. He is the author of 13 RBR eBooks and eArticles.
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