When do you get dropped?
If you’re like most riders, you don’t lose contact with the group (or your buddy) when the pace is moderate. Even if things get a little frisky you can hang.
Nope, most riders get dropped when it suddenly gets really hard—on a steep hill, when someone attacks, or when the road briefly turns into the wind.
To stick with the group in these conditions you need power—the ability to put the hammer down for 30 seconds to three minutes—and then recover when the pace slows.
Power like this isn’t easy to develop. It takes time. Start by establishing a solid strength base in the off-season with resistance training. Then devote eight weeks to specific power-building on the bike.
Strength in the weight room is a necessary precursor to power on the bike. I’ll define strength here as low-repetition movements—how much you can lift in a given exercise from one to 15 times.
Power, on the other hand, is work over time. It’s characterized by the multiple repetitions of the pedal stroke while going fast up a hill.
At first glance, low-rep grunt-and-groan strength has little to do with riding. But the emerging model for building crank-busting power on the bike starts in the weight room.
The trick is to build strength first, then convert it to cycling-specific power.
A complete, periodized resistance program with instructions on how to do each exercise to increase cycling ability is beyond the scope of this book. Here, I’ll show you how to periodize one specific leg exercise, the leg press, during the winter in order to build strength that converts well to cycling. Similar exercises, such as squats, step ups and lunges work, too.
CAUTION! Resistance training with improper technique can cause injury. Get instruction from a qualified cycling coach, athletic trainer, or NSCA-certified instructor.
Coach Harvey Newton’s Strength Training for Cyclists Systemis a great resource for roadies. Coach Newton, a strength training expert, just re-launched it last week with a new 132-page manual to go along with the DVD.