Bike training in Gran Canaria. Photo: Rob Holden Photography
Hi to all, Wishing you the best in safety and health in 2016. I want to emphasise this and for all to realise that this can be a very, very dangerous sport. Bike riding on roads means you have to give full attention at every moment while riding. Please don’t take it for granted as at the first camp of the year I see people taking risks that just shouldn’t be taken.
I don’t care what the road rules say, being in the right while you are laying in a hospital bed is of no use to anyone. Stay vigilant and stay safe.
Now to something that drives me absolutely mad: Again, first camp of the season after I have been drilling people all off-season on the philosophy on the bike. Stressing how important cranking the big gears are if you are going to a time-trial or longer event. Yet I see this being ignored.
Here I am sitting behind the pack on an easy ride and the person that is spinning the least is the one who actually can spin. Everyone else who is being told to push the big gears are spinning so much I think I’m in an old lady’s gym class.
‘But Coach, on the efforts I push the big gears.’
Well riding around at 100-110 cadence on the easy stuff might be fine for the others, but not for us here. If you have been advised that pushing the big gear will help you then take that as law. For the easy stuff put it in the biggest gear you have and then ride as easy as you like.
I’ll say this just once. With all the swimming we do, we do not need to be like cyclists who can say ‘I need my long slow spinning miles for my cardio.’ This is triathlon. We get our cardio in the pool. We get it on the run. And of course we get it on bike too – but at much lower cadence.
One gains enormous strength from our slow, easy rides when they are done right. When it’s done with no resistance at all, you may as well be sitting on the couch at home and resting your immune system. The ride is doing nothing for you.
I have talked myself hoarse on this subject. Meanwhile you’ve all seen our best ever riders use this while here in the squad. It’s no coincidence that when they leave so does their bike ride. They shrink from bike tigers to kittens as without nasty coach they fall in love with the little chain ring. ‘Ooh. That feels so much better.’ Meanwhile they ride 10 minutes slower with a draft.
So people. If you’re serious about becoming a champion then stop pissing me off. If you are trying to improve your bike, doing your intervals in the ‘right’ gear and everything else in lounge chair mode guess what? You will continue to have a bike problem. It won’t get better. You won’t get better. Simple as that.
It’s like the turbo. Those who don’t like it just don’t want to be better strongly enough. We here have proved year after year, decade after decade, the cyclist’s doctrine doesn’t work for most triathletes. However, all seem to like sitting on a bike looking at the view and having a good chat. Well, that’s fine for others. That’s even encouraged for our age- groupers who train to enjoy themselves and sport.
But if you are here to beat the best, don’t spin like a top and then come race day be confounded as to why I don’t ride well. I can tell you now. If you sit your backside on a bike, after you warm up that thing doesn’t need a tourist on it. It needs someone bent on serious hurt. Hurting of one’s self so that in the long run you can put some serious hurt on your competitors.
Get real please.