This fall, address the bike limiters that are standing in the way of your best results.
Finding new speed on the bike during your off-season sounds like an unlikely occurrence, right? But improving some simple things that factor into your cycling strength may be simpler than you think. It may not even involve doing more cycling!
How fast you go depends on a few factors: your power, weight and how aerodynamic you are. On a flat course, what matters most is your power and drag. On a very hilly course, your power and weight matter more (watts per kilogram). Take advantage of this time of year to address your biggest limiter.
Your power is lacking.
Ride more. Sometimes the simplest solution is the answer. This option is great if you haven’t been training for a long period of time or training consistently. The great thing about just starting out is that nearly any stimulus works. If you’ve been riding for less than a year—or less than three times a week for a longer period of time—you will benefit merely from riding more. Find a way to make it fun. Join a cycling group, sign up for a fall century or try some shop rides.
Follow a plan. After you’ve been riding for a few years, it takes more than “just riding” or tagging along on whatever ride your friends are doing to improve. Check out the plans available on Trainer Road (Trainerroad.com) as a starting point. Whether your goal is to improve your functional threshold power (FTP) or add some structure to your endurance miles, it’s likely that Trainer Road has a plan for you.
Hire a coach. Objectivity matters! I have found that when left to their own devices, most people will push themselves too hard (thus failing to elicit improvement) or go too easy (not enough of a training stimulus to improve). This is where accountability comes in and objectivity is key. Even if you are a coach yourself, the adage is true: “Every coach needs a coach.”