Training to be a better cyclist is a black art. Talk to ten ‘experts’ and you will get ten very different responses on what you need to do. Every cycling magazine is packed with frequently contradictory advice on the magic technique or diet plan that will make you faster. And you won’t get very far without hearing the mantra we’ve Team Sky to thank for: ‘marginal gains’.
In truth, there are three things you need to think about if, like the rest of us, you’d like to go a little faster on a bicycle:
- The ‘engine’ of your cardiorespiratory system (heart, lungs and blood vessels) can usually be considerably improved
- Your power to weight ratio. This can be improved by a combination of more strength, especially in your legs, and reducing the weight of you (big improvements usually possible for no great expense) and your bike (tiny improvements at immense expense available…)
- Your skills in riding your bike and applying power through it can be improved – there’s a lot more technique necessary to ride bike effectively than many appreciate
Training all these things effectively demands an individual plan – we’re all different so we all need to focus on what we’re not so good at. Through our sponsors Athlete Service and the Henley Practice we have access to specialist trainers who can pull together training programmes and push you further than you would have thought possible.
When you first start riding seriously, there’s no real need for great science or elaborate training schedules: Eddy Merckx’s dictum ‘ride lots’ will suffice for the first year or so. But then your improvement will begin to plateau, and that’s when a little more science becomes necessary.
- We are fortunate that a number of our members are trained or have trained to the highest level – and are happy to share that knowledge with others.
- There is a simple training programme available through the Wednesday spinning session.
- The club ride helps many to begin to up their pace by gradually joining a faster group.
- There are more specific sessions for road racers that are arranged on an ad hoc basis.
- Cyclo cross and mountain bike session also happen frequently during the season.
At least once a year we pull together a road race taster session at the Hillingdon circuit. Run by professional coaches, these sessions give club members a safe exposure to the experience of a road race, and include hints an tips for even established racers.
We arrange a velodrome experience once a year, again with a coach, so you can experience the rush of 42 degree banking.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org