So, you are getting faster on your bike. When you started maybe you were averaging 8-10 mph on your longer rides, but now that that you have been training for STP, RSVP, Flying Wheels and similar events your average speed is getting closer to 15+ mph on longer rides and you are wondering what the next step is?
I finished STP in one day in 1985 with 10 friends from the UW and after that I was so hooked I started hanging out at bike shops and reading every bike article I could find. Racing seemed risky and way beyond my ability, so I was happy to just study it.
When I moved to Colorado after College, I began working at the Moots bike shop and they began taking me out after work to show me how to *really* ride. I learned how to race from those guys, and when the Steamboat Stage race came to town that Summer I was ready to try my first race.
In the NW there are many races, but these 3 are the best choices for new riders :
2. Pacific Raceways or Seward Park weekly races, SBRP*
3. Jerry Baker Velodrome
*Sprint Triathlon and Mountain Biking are other common ways people start racing, but they require a Mountain Bike or you have to like swimming and running.
Beginning racer clinic at Pacific Raceways
Here is how to tell which is best for you:
-Do you ride with racer types or HPC on the road and keep pace with them? (#2 or 3 above)
-Do you have a mountain or cyclocross bike and like the dirt? (#1, the safest and best intro to racing that will also make you a better rider on the road)
I’m addicted to my own training indoors, and I love it! Cyclocross Review
I learned a lot this cross reason I learned that I can race really well on an average of three hours of riding a week. I learned that mental preparation and a clear race day routine including the two days prior are critical in performing at my peak. Hydration and nutrition are paramount in finishing the body’s energy and metabolic preparation to unleash what the training has prepared you to do.
I also told some of you that I’m operating on a bank of fitness that I’ve built over the last 30 years and once you build it it is there is an account for you to make withdrawals on. There is a limit though, if I had to guess it feels that the strength and technique you build up is there at about the level you last trained hard minus 30%. The endurance and the real race fitness has to be rebuilt
The place many of feel the bike the most is in the hands. Depending on how forward you are, you might have 5-50% of your weight on your hands, and every bump, seam and pothole is felt in the hands. Have you heard of Bar Phat? Double thickness tape or ergonomic inserts under the bar tape? Choosing the right handlebar tape can make the difference between happy hands or numb and unhappy hands and upper body.
Bar Phat gel under your tape absorbs lots o road vibrations
The first order of business is being sure you have the correct width of handlebar, and that your brake levers are set up correctly. If you are over-reaching or your bars are the wrong width, it is like holding a uncomfortable push up for hours as you ride and can quickly lead to shoulder, neck, upperback and lower back pain.
We have a number of different handlebar tapes to match your riding and hand size, from oversized gel infused cushion grip for big hands or rough roads to thin very sticky tape if you have a ergonomic carbon bar of small hands. Of course the orientation of the brake levers and placement of the handlebars are paramount to a proper fit.
At Cycle U we do fittings daily from both stores with either Craig Undem or Colin Gibson, both Specialized trained elite fitters with years of experience. Even if you only want help in picking out the right saddle or to troubleshoot some pain you are having you can walk into either store or call/email us to set something up. All of our fittings are good for 1 year, and if you buy a saddle or stem from us as part of one of our fittings, you get 30days to try it and if it isn’t the right one you can return it and try another choice. Get fitted, get comfortable and Get Ready to Ride! More info CLICK HERE
When talking bike fitting, the place where the rubber really meets the road is where your foot pressures the pedals. Before you put pressure on the pedals and make the crank go around, your foot must transfer it’s force into the shoe, and that interface is perhaps the most important in making the bike go and not wasting any energy.
Another innovation that Specialized pioneered is the Arch-o-meter. Anyone can quickly be measured for the correct arch height and improve comfort dramatically with a footbed that the correct level of cushion and support…and the best part? = The cost is only $30 a pair. If you ride in wet weather, are a heavier rider or are a hard pedaling hammer head, plan to replace your footbeds every year as they do compress giving you less cushion. If your arch is collapsing every pedal stroke, you are wasting precious watts.
Arch-o-meter to find correct footbed quickly
At Cycle U we do fittings daily from both stores with either Craig Undem or Colin Gibson, both Specialized trained elite fitters with years of experience. Even if you only want help in picking out the right saddle or to troubleshoot some pain you are having you can walk into either store or call/email us to set something up. All of our fittings are good for 1 year, and if you buy a saddle or stem from us as part of one of our fittings, you get 30days to try it and if it isn’t the right one you can return it and try another choice. Get fitted, get comfortable and Get Ready to Ride! More info on our fitting CLICK HERE