VeloPro Training Tips
Why you Should Lower your Tire Pressure
A common mistake is to run one's tires in an over-inflated state. The idea being that the "harder" a tire is, the less rolling resistance it has. In fact, that is not the case. The goal is to avoid pinch flats while reducing road buzz. Most people don't know that pinch flats occur not only when tires are under-inflated, but also when they are over-inflated. What do you do? Inflate your tires to the lower or middle PSI range recommended on the side of your tire. Just to the point where they can absorb small imperfections in the road surface, but no more. This is faster, more efficient and more comfortable. If you are a Clydesdale or Athena rider (over 200 lbs), you may need add an additional 10 PSI.
How to Keep the Sweat out of Your Eyes When Cycling
When you are cycling or training there's nothing worse than sweat rolling into your eyes. It is painful and worse it can be dangerous. Losing vision when drafting or on a 40 mph descent is a recipe for a crash. So, what can you do? The truth is that there is no common solution that works for everyone. You may have to try several things before you find the solution that works for you. Here are a few quick ideas to experiment with.
- Use a microfiber cycling cap or visor under your helmet. The sweat will collect and roll off the brim.
- Use a sweat wicking headband or skullcap like the "Halo, Sweat GUTR, or SweatVac" brands. Each system works slightly differently, but most of these headbands include strips that channel the sweat to your temples.
- Select well ventilated cycling sunglasses. This will help aide sweat evaporation and avoid steamy lens syndrome. Make sure the nose-piece is adjusted correctly so sweat doesn't leak through.
- Some cycling glasses and cycling helmets come with a sweat bar. Some riders swear by this feature.
When NOT to do Interval Training
Interval training is as an important part of many training plans. Because of the intense demand they place on your body, intervals done correctly can help you make big performance gains. They can also greatly increase your risk of injury. It is important to understand what kind of intervals you are doing. Most endurance training plans call for LT (lactate threshold) intervals. Racing plans may call for the more intense VO2MAX intervals. LT intervals are designed to put steel in your legs to prepare you for tougher parts of a ride like hill climbs. VO2MAX intervals are designed to increase your heart rate to supply the maximum amount of oxygen possible to your muscles for huge bursts of power. Both types of intervals can be stressful on your body and bike.
If your plan calls for intervals, make sure you are prepared. Intervals are guaranteed to exacerbate any issues you may have. Do not do intervals if you have a nagging injury. Do not do intervals if you have any outstanding bike maintenance issues. Avoid doing intervals in excessive heat. Do not do intervals if don not have a safe place to do them. Doing intervals on a multi-use bike path with kids, dogs, and slow riders is a recipe for disaster. Also, do not do intervals on busy city streets. Interval training should not be an impromptu alleycat race where you risk your life. For increased safety and control, consider doing intervals inside on a trainer. Be very wary of doing intervals more than once a week. Your body needs sufficient time to recover from these extreme efforts.
One final word; do not get carried away and forget your technique. Focus on the maximum effort you can maintain with proper technique. This will help you reduce chances of injury.
How to Avoid Wrecking a Group Ride
This sounds simple, but don't be a road zombie! Remember to look ahead. On group rides it is easy to settle into a rhythm and get fixated on the wheel of the rider just in front of you. Remind yourself to frequently look up the road and take cues from what's happening there. Movements at the front are often magnified down the line. If you are not paying attention, you can miss hand signals that point out pavement issues and road furniture. You can also miss abrupt changes in speed that can send you crashing into the riders in front of you.
How to Climb Out of the Saddle
Downshift before you stand. If you are in too big of a gear, you can blow out your legs or injure your knees. Depending on your brake/shifter placement, shifting while standing can be difficult. When rising out of your saddle on a road bike, place your hands on the horns for stability. Keep your weight forward and use the time out of the saddle to stretch your legs. Keep a moderate cadence. This is not a sprint. If it is a long hill, limit your time standing. You can spike your heart rate. If the grade of the hill is very steep, you can pull against the bars and use your upper body for extra leverage.
When should you Replace your Chain?
Chain replacement is an important part of keeping your bike running smoothly and shifting well. You can lose precious watts with an inefficient drive chain. You’ve earned those watts, don’t give them away for free. When a chain is worn, it will measure longer than 12 and 1/16 inches (30.6cm) between pins along the bottom. You can measure this with a ruler or invest a few dollars in a simple chain checker tool like the Park Tools version in the picture. We love you Park Tools! You should check your chain for wear at least every 500 miles. Chain wear can vary based on your weight, riding conditions, and maintenance habits. If your chain slips under power or when shifting, this can be another sign. Give your chain a check today!
Why you Should Always Make an Event Checklist
It sucks to show up after training for three months to your event only to find that you left your cycling shoes at home. It's downright embarrassing to forget your event credentials. It's more humiliating to forget your helmet and not be allowed to ride at all. Avoid the hassle by putting together a checklist of everything you'll need on the day. Don't forget the chamois cream, it's totally gross to borrow someone else's DZnuts.
How to Fuel Yourself for Longer Rides
Short rides don't require extra fuel beyond normal meals. However, when you're training for hours at a time, it's important to stay fueled. This not only helps you better your training effort during your workout, but then helps with recovery, preparing you for the next day. A good rule of thumb is if you are riding two or more hours, bring some fuel and eat something every 40-45 minutes. Shoot for healthy, quickly metabolized carbs to refresh your glycogen stores. Gels and bars will do in a pinch, but real food is always better. Peanut butter and honey squares anyone?
Why you Should go Tubeless
Eliminating tubes is a relatively recent practice in cycling, though other vehicles abandoned tubes long ago. When used correctly, a tubeless setup rolls faster and more comfortably while reducing the chances of blowouts. If your tire is punctured, a few spins of the wheel will help the sealant inside plug the leak and you are on your way. Most newer bike wheels will take tubeless tires. For a modest investment, you can get maximum peace of mind. Check with your local bike shop to set you up. Once you learn the ropes, you can do it yourself.
Why you Should Brake Before the Turn
Braking in turns is a common beginner mistake. At speed, this causes your bike to push towards the outside of the turn rather than carve around it. In a group ride or race, you can actually cause a a crash, if you suddenly brake in a turn. So, practice descending by braking before you get to corners, then gradually letting go as you begin to lean into the corner.