VeloPro Training Tips

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.

How to Acclimatize Yourself for Hot Weather Riding

In some parts of the world, summer means relentless weeks of 90+ degrees heat. Riding in hot weather can be tough, but It is possible to acclimatize yourself to these conditions. Acclimatization teaches your body to increase your blood volume, so you can produce more sweat. It also encourages you to sweat sooner in a workout, so you don't overheat. The goal is to increase your heat tolerance so that your performance stays the same regardless of the temperature increase. Heat acclimatization takes between 12-18 days of regular riding 4-5 times a week. You should aim for at least 40-60 minutes a workout. While you acclimatize pay careful attention to hydration. If you ride longer than an hour, consider filling your second water bottle with a hydration drink formulated to replace sodium and potassium. It's the sodium in your sweat that encourages fast evaporation for cooling. Also, carefully monitor your heart rate. If you're heart rate is higher than normal and doesn't recover at your regular rate, slow down and consider ending your workout early before you overheat. You will notice improvements in just a few rides.

How to Choose the Safest Bike Helmet

Aero? Check. Ventilation? Sweet design and color? Check! Safety? While not yet a standard the new technology for bike helmets is MIPs (Multi Directional Impact Protection System). Modern helmets do a good job of reducing linear force impacts. Helmets with MIPS also help reduce rotational force impact. Wearing a helmet is like insurance and helmets with MIPS gives you double coverage. Studies show that helmets with MIPS reduces the strain of impact on the brain by 13-37%. Giro, Kask, Bell and many others are now offering great lids with this tech. If you don't have one yet, it is time to upgrade.

How to Know When to Cut a Ride Short

We all have tough days. If you find yourself "riding angry" or "rage riding" because of an off-bike life event or an on-bike conflict with a motorist, consider cutting it short. We're not talking about a short adrenaline spike which can be normal and focusing. Rage riding occurs when you can't calm yourself down and keep dwelling on an incident to the point of distraction. Rage riding is very dangerous. You can become aggressive and make choices that endanger your life, like blowing a stop sign or red light, riding too fast for conditions, or challenging a car for road dominance. Take a break and live to ride another day.

Why you Should Always Wear Sunscreen when Cycling

Besides protecting against skin cancers, sunscreen has been proven to help your body stay cool, thereby making your ride more efficient. Just because you’ve developed the “cyclists' tan” doesn’t mean that you can skip the sunscreen. Choose some goo with at least SPF 45. Also, some cycling jerseys and bibs have built in sun protection. Read those labels and shop well. BTW chamois cream doesn’t count as a sunscreen substitute.