This article originally appeared in the May 2016 Toronto Triathlon Festival newsletter.
You survived the swim! Now let’s focus on the bike. You’ve been popping wheelies since you were a kid so it’s going to be a breeze, right? Let’s not discount the fact that the bike distance in triathlon is usually more than 75% of the race.
Saddle up and consider these factors when preparing for your bike training and racing:
When buying a new bike or even when mounting your existing bike, consider getting a professional to tweak your set-up. Comfort is the first consideration, followed by power, as in what position compliments your style (i.e. more aggressive aerodynamics or more upright for cruising). Spending the money upfront can save you much more in rehab bills when you get injured from a poor position.
LEARN TO CHANGE A FLAT
Imagine the frustration of training for months only to blow a tire in the first 500m! There are lots of demonstrations on YouTube, but you have to get your hands dirty and practice a few times on your own. Stash your change kit on your bike with 1 or 2 spare tubes – and don’t forget the pump!
Slogging away in a hard gear at a slow revolution is going to load up your muscles and make running afterwards feel like trudging through mud. When possible, keep those legs spinning at 90+ rpm.
Your upper body is basically along for the ride. Minimize inefficiencies by decreasing side to side movements, bouncing, and loosening your grip on the bars. And breathe – keep a steady controlled pattern with force originating from the depths of your belly and then emptying the entire contents of your lungs.
Remember we are triathletes – yes we want to ride as fast as possible, but a good bike split is one that also sets you up well for a strong run to the finish!