Intermediate Cyclist

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  • ‘Super Tuck’ Is Not So Super

    One thing that has stood out in both the Tour de France and the US Pro Challenge this year is the extreme descending position adopted by many riders on steep descents. Instead of using the traditional method of sitting on the saddle with the hands next to the stem and pedals horizontal, daring riders have taken to sitting on the top tube. Although several pros have tried this in the past few years, I suspect that because Tinkoff-Saxo's Peter Sagan got lots of camera time in the Tour while squatting on the top tube, the technique has gone mainstream. I can't figure out why.

  • ‘Super Tuck’ Is Not So Super

    One thing that has stood out in both the Tour de France and the US Pro Challenge this year is the extreme descending position adopted by many riders on steep descents. Instead of using the traditional method of sitting on the saddle with the hands next to the stem and pedals horizontal, daring riders have taken to sitting on the top tube. Although several pros have tried this in the past few years, I suspect that because Tinkoff-Saxo's Peter Sagan got lots of camera time in the Tour while squatting on the top tube, the technique has gone mainstream. I can't figure out why.

  • A Cautionary Tale: How Cycling Saved My Life

    My eBook Pedal Off The Pounds (POTP) is filled with tips on healthy eating. While the eBook if focused on eating for weight loss, most of the suggestions are designed for healthy living as well, including heart health. When I wrote the book, I based it on the diet that I have come to eat and live by. I walk the talk. It has helped me stay lean as I have gotten older. And I was hoping it would keep me free of the diseases of civilization: cancer, diabetes and heart disease. So I was shocked recently to learn that I had a blocked coronary artery!

  • A Primer on Atrial Fibrillation

    It was a warm picture perfect day in early October and a group of us were going to do hill intervals on Pebblebrook Road. This road has about 350-400 feet of steady elevation gain over 2 miles, and is about 10 miles from my home. As I rode to meet the other riders I was having trouble catching my breath and attributed this to mild seasonal allergies and the fact that I had not used my inhaler prior to the ride.

  • A Roadie's Story: Riding Paris-Roubaix

    Westly Windsor is a 68-year-old roadie from Melbourne, Australia. An RBR Premium Member, he graciously agreed to share his account of riding the first-ever Paris-Roubaix Gran Fondo in April 2012.

  • Aero Perfection: How to Find Your Lowest, Fastest Position

    Your power is good but you're worried if your aero position is as sleek as it could be.   How can you achieve the most aerodynamic position so you slice through the air, thus going faster for the power you're producing?  Our RBR experts weigh to help  you find your lowest, fastest position.

  • Am I Doomed By My Age and Work Schedule?

    By Coach Fred Matheny  I need your advice on my training schedule. I work 4 consecutive days of 13 hours each, then have 4 days off when I have unlimited time to ride. I usually do 2-4 hours, but especially on the first day I feel sluggish. I just turned 50, and my fitness and endurance seem to be on the decline. How can I turn things around, given my weird work schedule?

  • Am I Fast Enough to Race?

    I want to race this season but I don't want to come in last. I can ride 19 mph for hours and can cover 21 miles in an hour at an all-out pace. Is this fast enough to hang with the main pack, or should I even bother? 

  • Are My Indoor Workouts Divided Right?

    I have a CompuTrainer and a set of rollers. Currently, with no outdoor riding, I'm doing two days of weight lifting, three days on the CT, one day on rollers and one day off. Each workout is about an hour long. Am I doing it right?

  • Bee Stings, and How to Deal With Them

    Bee stings while riding are an unfortunate, largely unavoidable, and nearly inevitable nuisance at the very least. At worst, they can cause extreme swelling and discomfort. Because they happen more often than we would like, and are potentially dangerous, it's helpful for all riders to refresh our memory on what to do if we're stung.

  • Can an Inclined Treadmill Improve Cycling?

    Could you settle an argument? I don't have a trainer, so I walk on a treadmill for an hour. It's set for a 12-degree incline. My friend says this workout won't help my cycling, but it maxes my heart rate and I believe I can tell the difference when I ride. Who's right?

  • Can I Determine My Potential Functional Threshold Power?

    I am 59 years old and I been cycling for 12 years. Each winter of the last 10 years I have been looking for a training plan to improve. My FTP hovers around 225 watts after winter training and reaches around 240 watts by the end of the outdoor cycling season in Southern Ontario. I am curious if there is a physical test one can do to determine one's potential FTP? 

  • Can I Determine My Potential Functional Threshold Power?

    By Coach John Hughes  I am 59 years old and I been cycling for 12 years. Each winter of the last 10 years I have been looking for a training plan to improve. My FTP hovers around 225 watts after winter training and reaches around 240 watts by the end of the outdoor cycling season in Southern Ontario. I am curious if there is a physical test one can do to determine one's potential FTP?

  • Can I Get as Fit by Riding a Tandem?

    My wife and I just did our first tandem ride. She doesn't normally ride, so I presume most of the wattage came from my legs. The climbs were tough and my heart rate reached over 85% of max. I slowed my cadence to 80 rpm to make it more comfortable for her. She had fun, and I felt I had a good workout. Is this going to be an effective way for me to train?

  • Can I Keep Cycling Fitness During a Business Trip?

    I'll be in China on business for the next three weeks, with only a stationary bike in the hotel's fitness room. The best I can hope for is 45 minutes a day of boring pedaling. Prior to this trip, I've been averaging 150 miles a week with interval work and climbing. Any suggestions for maintaining form?

  • Can I Shorten My Surgery Rehab?

    I'm 52 and ride 80-100 miles a week. Recently, I had a 7-hour surgery that will keep me off my bike and out of the gym for 4-6 weeks, possibly longer. I'm concerned that I will lose all of my fitness. Do you think it's okay to start training sooner?

  • Can I Survive 200 Miles on Minimal Training?

    I want to ride a double century in four weeks. I did a 6-hour century three months ago. Since then I have ridden 200 miles per month with some interval training, and run 15-20 miles per week. Can I complete the double?

  • Can I Train Effectively Despite My Age and Work Schedule?

    I need your advice on my training schedule. I work 4 consecutive days of 13 hours each, then have 4 days off when I have unlimited time to ride. I usually do 2-4 hours, but especially on the first day I feel sluggish. I just turned 50, and my fitness and endurance seem to be on the decline. How can I turn things around, given my weird work schedule?

  • Can I Train Twice a Day Effectively?

    I'm reading your Basic Training for Roadies with great interest because I have the time constraints that you address. Unfortunately, home and work often limit my training to just 30-45 minutes per ride. My high school coaches loved two-a-day workouts. Can I get fit if I ride twice each day but only 30 minutes at a time?

  • Can I Train Well Even With a Job and Family?

    Although I've been riding competitively for years, I have trouble balancing my training with my wife's schedule (she also rides), the demands of our 4-year-old son, and my job. My typical training week includes one long weekend ride, a recovery ride and two short tempo or interval sessions. That's all I can manage. And our son brings home colds, which are impossible to avoid. Can I improve under these constraints? I want riding to be fun, not like a job.

  • Can You Simplify Heart Rate Training?

    I've been trying to calculate my heart rate for different training zones. I'm confused. Some authorities say to base the percentages on max heart rate while others say lactate threshold should be used. One book says to figure max heart rate using the "220 minus your age" formula, while another says I should get a lab test. Can you simplify this mess?

  • Causes of Saddle Pain, Part 1

  • Causes of Saddle Pain, Part 2

  • Cleat Placement on Cycling Shoes, Part 1

    This is the time of year we ramp up our mileage to get ready for the big rides to come later in the season. It’s also a common time to buy new equipment for the season, such as new shoes or new clipless pedal systems. If our cleats aren’t positioned correctly on the shoes, it can cause inefficient pedaling, pain or, worse, even knee injuries.

  • Cleat Placement on Cycling Shoes, Part 2

    In Part 1 of this 2-part series, we covered finding an efficient, safe, neutral cleat position using a four-step process, and explained some different cleat positions for different types of riders/riding. We’ll finish up with a look at cleat positioning for recumbents, cleat angle adjustment, ankle clearance, marking your cleat position, and a few additional bonus tips.

  • Climbing Tips for the Road

  • Clothing is Key to Enjoyable Winter Riding

    Elizabeth Wicks, 71, lives in the central Massachusetts area just north of Worcester and has been a record-setting endurance cyclist for 20 years. She rides year-round and logged 5,500 miles in 2013, 5,700 miles in 2014 and 5,824 miles so far in 2015 (aiming for 6,000). Knowing that Elizabeth is an avid winter rider, even in the harsh conditions of the Northeast, we asked her to describe how she prepares for and rides in the winter. There are some terrific lessons here for all of us recreational roadies.

  • Clothing is Key to Enjoyable Winter Riding

    Elizabeth Wicks, 71, lives in the central Massachusetts area just north of Worcester and has been a record-setting endurance cyclist for 20 years. She rides year-round and logged 5,500 miles in 2013, 5,700 miles in 2014 and 5,824 miles so far in 2015 (aiming for 6,000). Knowing that Elizabeth is an avid winter rider, even in the harsh conditions of the Northeast, we asked her to describe how she prepares for and rides in the winter. There are some terrific lessons here for all of us recreational roadies.

  • Co-motion Carrera Tandem

    Coach Fred Matheny reviews the Co-Motion Carerra tandem. He counts numerous technological improvements in the Carerra over his 10-year-old Co-Motion Speedster tandem. Among them: disc brakes front and rear, no diagonal tube, Gates belt drive, lighter weight, lively handling and a 10-speed drivetrain, to name a few.

  • Co-Motion Speedster Tandem

    Coach Fred Matheny reviews the Co-Motion Speedster tandem. "The Speedster is a do-everything bike," he says. "Although not as light as a carbon or titanium tandem would be, its steel frame isn't a burden on long climbs and it offers the stability to mount racks and panniers for an extended tour. We opted for some bells and whistles: a WoundUp carbon tandem fork, Old Man Mountain rear rack, Shimano Flight Deck, RockShox suspension seatpost for the stoker and an Avid mechanical disk rear brake.

  • Coach, I Need an Altitude Adjustment!

    Do you have any recommendations for racing at altitude? I've bonked badly in events at elevations of 5,000 to 8,000 feet. Guys I beat in the valley are killing me. Basically, I just can't breathe.  My coach says it's all in my head. My doctor prescribed Diamox and some type of steroid, but I bonked even worse. Before the last race, I even took a week off work and stayed at race elevation for seven days, but it didn't help. And I've done the opposite, not going up until late the night before the race. I even tried oxygen-enhanced water!

  • Cycling Sports Medicine Tips from an Expert

    Andy Pruitt’s name has become synonymous with sports medicine for cycling. As director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, Pruitt has made a career out of treating world-class riders. He has served as chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team and is an elite athlete in his own right, too. He lost his lower leg in a hunting accident at age 14 but still wrestled and participated in track, eventually winning 12 high school varsity letters. When he took up cycling he earned a category 2 ranking in able-bodied racing and was twice a world champion in disabled cycling. We've got a sampling of Pruitt's cycling wisdom.

  • Dictionary of Cycling Lingo

    These definitions and explanations will improve your understanding of road cycling (and help you figure out what that guy in the peloton is chattering about).

  • Did Endurance Camp Include Intensity, Too?

    I wondered if all rides at your high-mileage training camp were the same intensity, or were they like they've been described in Coach Fred Matheny's eBooks? Were you riding often in "no-man's land?" Did you use a heart monitor?

  • Do a Quick Check After Falling

    If you or someone you're riding with falls – even if it's just toppling over after failing to click out at a stop or for some other silly reason – take a minute to check the rider and the bike to make sure everything is OK. Here's a short checklist.

  • Do a Quick Check After Falling

    If you or someone you're riding with falls – even if it's just toppling over after failing to click out at a stop or for some other silly reason – take a minute to check the rider and the bike to make sure everything is OK. Here's a short checklist.

  • Do Knees Need a Neutral Bike Fit?

    How strictly should I interpret the need to achieve a "neutral knee position" as per bike fit guidelines?

  • Do Training Rides Need to Be as Long as Events?

    I'm 48 and in the past rode 12-15 hours per week but was usually overtrained. This season I'm trying to recover better by doing 10-hour weeks including weekend rides of about 100 miles and building up only for major events.  I'm planning to ride one of Australia's toughest "classics" in September, Grafton-Inverell. It's 140 miles, starting at sea level and ascending to about 4,000 feet, with an 11-mile climb of 7 percent. It'll take me about 8 hours. Do you think I need to do training rides of the same distance? Is an 8-week build-and-peak phase adequate?

  • Do Training Rides Need to Be as Long as Events?

    By Coach Fred Matheny  I'm 48 and in the past rode 12-15 hours per week but was usually overtrained. This season I'm trying to recover better by doing 10-hour weeks including weekend rides of about 100 miles and building up only for major events.  I'm planning to ride one of Australia's toughest "classics" in September, Grafton-Inverell. It's 140 miles, starting at sea level and ascending to about 4,000 feet, with an 11-mile climb of 7 percent. It'll take me about 8 hours. Do you think I need to do training rides of the same distance? Is an 8-week build-and-peak phase adequate?

  • Does a Layoff Raise Maximum Heart Rate?

    My max heart rate is usually right at 160 bpm. I did some heavy training for eight weeks (sprint intervals, hill intervals, long rides), then took six days off. No riding or other exercise. Now when I do sprint intervals, my max HR is about 10 beats higher than before my break. Is this caused by the layoff?

  • Does Cross-Country Skiing Work for Cycling Training?

    I live where the snow starts flying in October and ends in late June. I cross-county ski to retain my aerobic conditioning, but do you have any suggestions on how to keep my legs in cycling shape, too? 

  • Does Fatigue Depress Heart Rate?

    I race in the 45+ masters division and use daily bike commutes for training. After a day or two off the bike, I can stay above my lactate threshold heart rate for long intervals. However, after commuting 30 miles per day for a few days, it becomes increasingly difficult to achieve a high heart rate. Is this normal? Or is it old age? 

  • Does High-Altitude Simulation Work?

    My gym has a "hypoxic" enclosure outfitted with a stationary bike and treadmill. Would training in the simulated high altitude two or three days a week improve my fitness? 

  • Does Stationary Recumbent Riding Help Road Bike Riding?

    The gym in my office building has a stationary recumbent. Does using it provide the same benefits as riding outside on my road bike?

  • ECOS Emergency ID System

    ECOS EID Tags.web If you've ever crashed on the road, or stopped to help a fellow rider who has, you can easily understand the value of readily accessible personal identification on road rides. First responders need to know your name, your emergency contact info, any medical conditions or drug allergies you may have — and the list goes on.

  • High Cadences, Used Appropriately, Can Save Your Legs

    By Coach Fred Matheny  I think I was recently reading that the best cyclists have a cadence of 110 rpm. This seems very fast (at least for me). I am probably in the 70-90 range. Do most riders do better at higher rpm? Is there benefit to sometimes powering up hills at lower rpm? I asked a question earlier in the year about maintaining cycling shape while doing bouts of backpacking. The advice I received was very good. The first ride after getting back is slow and heavy but after that it comes back quickly. Thanks.

  • How Can a Fast Rider Develop Endurance?

    I'm a reasonably accomplished velodrome racer but I want to switch to criteriums and road racing. I train on Wednesdays with Pete Penseyres' group in San Diego.  I suffer on the climbs but have improved. Would I be better off avoiding hills in midweek training sessions and doing flat, fast speedwork instead? My teammates say I should forget the hills because of my genetics. 

  • How Can a Heavy Sweater Avoid Cramps?

    I sweat beyond belief. Sweat runs off my face and drips like a worn faucet. Then I cramp badly, even though I drink a lot. What do you suggest?

  • How Can a Large Guy Climb Better?

    I'm 6-3 and 245, down from 280. I played football in college 15 years ago and took up cycling because I wanted a lifelong sport to replace the thrill of the gridiron wars. Because of my size, I do okay on the flats but get dropped immediately on climbs. I know I'll never be a great climber, but what can I do to improve?

  • How Can a Small Guy Ride So Strongly?

    I began riding last year and recently met my first professional cyclist in person. He's a good climber on a small U.S. pro team. I'm astonished at how small he is! He looks skinny, emaciated and weak. But I know he can ride circles around me even though I'm an athletic 6-footer and 190 pounds. How can such an unimposing person put out so much power? I want to climb like him!

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