Rowe & King Coaching: Preparing for a training ride
Here are some top tips on how to get the most out of your next training ride from Rowe & King Coaching.
Dress for the day. If you have an early start, put your rain jacket on, or otherwise in your pocket. You can then use your jacket for any enforced stops (punctures, mechanicals etc.) or after a café stop to warm up again. Once you are warm, you can take it off, roll it up small, and tuck it in to your pocket.
Select suitable gear ratios for your bike
There is no point in having higher gear ratios on your bike than you need. Chris Froome used 53 x 11 to win the Tour de France, so it’s likely that 50 x 12 is sufficient for most sportive riders. By not having an 11-tooth sprocket, you can have a lower bottom gear, say a 32 sprocket, which can be really useful for the longer and steeper climbs.
Preparing for punctures
If you ride on your own, always take two inner tubes and if you use CO2 gas, carry two canisters. A set of allen keys and a chain link extractor are also solid additions to a saddle bag. You will thank us for this advice when your chain snaps or you puncture twice in a single ride!
When you stop for a coffee, always take a layer of clothing off. You can put it back on when you go out into the cold again. Coffee stops are good for motivation. A 3-hour training ride can be a long slog, however if you know you have a coffee planned after 2 hours – it’s a lot easier on the head, with only an hour home after.
Selecting the right gear for the terrain
Select a gear ratio that allows for a fast and fluid cadence – aim for around 80-100rpm whilst cycling on the flat. Make sure you change down the gears before you start climbing a hill or turn in to a corner. Trying to change down once your cadence has dropped down to 30/40 rpm, whilst still trying to put the power down is going to lead to gears slipping and you having to put your foot down. Accelerate out of bends in a smaller gear, allowing your cadence to pick up before changing up.
Climbing unfamiliar hills
When you are cycling on unfamiliar roads and are unsure of the terrain ahead, look up and try to gauge the length and gradient of the climb in order to pace your effort. The tree line is usually the top. If you can see a long winding road ahead – pace yourself, as it’s likely you have a lot of climbing to go. There is little benefit to going well for the first half of a climb and then cracking! Pace yourself for the duration of the climb.