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By: Rob Annis

How To Bike Faster: A Simplistic Approach

We’ve already explained how to run faster, but seeing as how over 50% of almost all triathlons are spent on the bike it’s time we learn how to increase triathlon cycling performance. In order to be a better cyclist it’s obvious that a large a part of triathlon training should be focused on getting faster on the bike. However, getting faster on the bike can often be tricky and require patience. The good news is that there is a lot of potential in almost all age-groups to increase their bike speed dramatically. The tips below will explain exactly how.

Take advantage of free speed

Staying aero is one of the easiest ways to take advantage of free speed. Assuming you have aero-bars on your bike, get used to staying in them by training often in the aero position. Additionally, free speed can be gained from wearing an aero-helmet, getting aero-wheels, and getting a good bike fit (see below).

Train Hard (seriously)

To truly get good at cycling you have to train in the saddle, hard. If you can’t handle pushing yourself in zone 3, 4, and even 5 it’s going to be challenging to improve in cycling. That being said, your training needs to include a combination of strength (climbing), endurance, and muscle endurance training session to build well-rounded cycling performance. Push yourself on the bike and you will notice a pay come race day.

Ride with a group

Riding with a group often requires you to push much harder than you normally would training solo. Additionally, being around a bunch of roadies puts you in the mindset of a cyclist, you will begin to notice how other riders approach a climb, corner, etc. You may find it intimidating at first to ride with a bunch of other cyclists but don’t worry, clubs, stores, and other organizations typically have various levels of groups ranging from people who just want to get outside, to elite racers. Find a group that suits your style but remember, if you want to get better as a cyclist you have to challenge yourself, so don’t be afraid to go with a group slightly better than you. I once joined a cycling with several professional cyclists who raced around a 10 mile loop 4 times every Tuesday. My first week I couldn’t hang on for even 1 loop, the next week I was able to hang on for a loop and half… As the weeks went by I could stay with the pack longer and longer until I actually began to podium in these races!

Get a good bike fit

Getting a good bike fit is by far the best investment you can make in triathlon. If your bike doesn’t fit, you will want to quit. A good bike fit can literally shave minutes off your time by putting you in a safe, comfortable position and the best aerodynamic position possible based on your body. I recommend searching your local area for an experienced fitter who understands the needs of a triathlete. Unlike cyclists, triathletes have to run off of a hard bike ride so it’s important that your fitter understands the needs of triathlon.

Get a power meter

Power meters are awesome! Unlike other forms of measurement such as heart rate and pace, watts don’t lie. Power meters can provide valuable data that can be used to gauge intensity and provide data for you to improve upon. Currently, power meters range from $700-$2500 depending on the model. Do your homework as to which one will fit you best. If you have to make the choice between a set of race wheels and a power meter, go with the power meter. The data a power meter provides will build your cycling fitness.

About Brad Haag

Brad is a certified USAT triathlon coach, a certified USAC cycling coach, and a certified NCSF personal trainer. Brad specializes in coaching endurance and warrior class athletes to peak performance. He can be found at HaagsAthletics.com.

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