Do you want to ride faster?
Following a very positive response to a blog about myth busting in the swim discipline that arose from the Cozumel training camp, I suggested last month that I would write a three part series about myth busting - not just in the swim, but also the bike and the run disciplines. Rather than a standard blog format, I asked for feedback from our coaches and their athletes, on what they have heard me say at training camps in regard to the specific disciplines. Keeping it real, instead of theory. So this blog is about the bike.
* 'Forget what you have been told about spinning. 100 cadence is total bullshit. We stomp. We don't spin.' * 'You can be too aero at the front with the bars. One of the biggest mistakes I see with age groupers is having the pads on their bars and hence elbows so close together, that they lose control of the front wheel. Thus they snake down the road, covering more distance, and negating all the benefits of being aero in the first place'. * 'If you do all your racing on a time trial bike, then train on it. Train as you race! We only count km done in the bars within our squad!' * 'Don't fall for the longer cranks will make you faster spiel. We are triathletes, the longer cranks may indeed make you faster in a bike time trial. However, they will negatively effect your run.' * 'Try to forget that your pedal stroke should be a complete circle. Pulling across the bottom with your heal leading, and pulling up on the up stroke is slowing your run' * 'We build recovery into each pedal stroke. We recover when we swim. All "experts" agree with that. We recover when we run. All "experts" agree with that. But, we are taught that good cycling technique doesn't need any recovery at all! Draw your own conclusions to that theory. I know mine is rubbish to that' * 'As we don't pull across the bottom we don't need to have a low heal. Toe pointing down is fine for us. We set our seat position aggressively over the bottom bracket, which makes it harder to lead with the heal. However, as we are not looking for any power on the pull across the bottom, we don't need a flat foot' * 'We take out the engagement of the Calf and Achilles as much as possible with our bike position. Listen carefully - we have to run for 3, 4 or 5 hours after the bike. We also take out the power of the hamstring on the up movement. We are preparing for triathlon not cycling.. * 'Bike frames are the most over hyped piece of equipment on the market. The saving one can make financially by understanding that the bars, the chain, the tyre, the seat and the wheels are far more important to the speed of the bike, will allow you to buy the two most important pieces of equipment to improve your triathlon immensely.'
That leads to the next piece of advice... * 'The two most important pieces of training equipment are a turbo that allows low cadence, and a treadmill. Without doubt, they are the two most important pieces of equipment in the sport. I have used both for 30 years. They were my first purchases as a coach. In 30 years I've seen nothing to change that opinion.'
Conclusion I can already hear people saying - 'he has said nothing about the Watts?'
The best tip on Watts I can give you is to read the fantastic article by Cam Watt. He is my favourite Watt, and will be yours too after you read the article.
I can assure all readers, if you follow the above, you will improve out of sight. If you have just come to the sport, and do not have a bike riders background, the techniques of the best cyclists in the world are 'Fools Gold' to us. Let's stop fooling ourselves, and get to work.