Supercharge Your Season
There?s more to starting your season than simply signing up for a few local criteriums.
In far flung areas of the world, including Africa and Asia, the cycling season is already in full swing. Meanwhile, the majority of the United States is still struggling through the cold and wet months of late winter. Soon enough, the spring thaw will arrive, and bring with it the start of the competition season in North America .
Like many racers, you may already have your early-season races picked out, but there?s more to starting your season than simply signing up for a few local criteriums. This is a good time to formulate an early-season plan, a program of training and racing that will hone your skills and develop your strengths so you?re fast and powerful for your goal events later in the year.
Goal setting is a critical part of developing your early-season plan. Everyone wants to start the season on a strong note, preferably with a win that proves your winter training was effective. Unfortunately, a cyclist?s typical winter training program is designed to develop aerobic strength, focusing on longer, lower-intensity rides, neuromuscular-development workouts, and strength training. It shouldn?t be a surprise that your high-end power for accelerations and sprints is not as well developed as it was at the height of last season, but it?s a fact that only becomes evident to some racers during the first competition of the season.
Perspective is the key to having a successful early season. When your training program is aimed at achieving peak performance later in the spring and summer, it?s important to go into early-season races with realistic and productive goals. Look at the first five races of the season as a development period, the time when you use racing to gain skill and speed you?ll use to perform at your best in the months to come. These races should be a component in your overall early-season plan, not necessarily the sole focus of that plan. To supercharge your season, early races need to be incorporated into focused training and goal-oriented group rides.
Goal-Oriented Group Rides
As the weather starts to warm up, weekend group rides start to swell with riders welcoming the springtime sun. Used carefully, these rides can provide everything from a relaxing spin to an intense interval workout, and can be a great asset to your training. To make the most of your local group ride, try the following workouts:
? HighSpeed FastPedal: While FastPedal workouts (low gear, high cadence intervals) are often part of a cyclist?s winter training program, there?s an added advantage to performing high cadence work at high speed. There?s a difference between spinning a low gear out on the road by yourself and spinning your legs fast while maintaining the higher speeds found in races. This is the reason Lance Armstrong and other elite racers spend time motorpacing in low gear. When the group ride is rolling along at a good clip (20-25 mph), shift into a lighter gear that forces you to pedal between 110-120 rpm, faster if you can handle it without bouncing in