We take a look at the things you should be cut­ting down if you want to speed up in 2017

Cycling Plus - - CONTENTS -

Your 2017 res­o­lu­tions needn’t be grandiose or over-com­pli­cated to make a huge im­pact on your rid­ing. From fatty foods to Face­book, there are plenty of things you could be cut­ting down in or­der to speed up this year


Cut costs so you can re­ward your­self with a bet­ter bike. “Keep on top of lit­tle re­pairs and you’ll save your­self a big out­lay,” says Richard Sal­is­bury, di­rec­tor of bike fit spe­cial­ist, Pedal Pre­ci­sion ( ped­al­pre­ci­

“Clean and lube the key parts of your bike on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and check bolts, ca­bles and hous­ing to avoid a trip to the me­chan­ics,” says Sal­is­bury. “Keep your chain, cas­sette and chain­rings clean to avoid cre­at­ing a grind­ing paste of road filth that will see you buy­ing re­place­ments sooner.”

Neil Hol­man, me­chanic at 247 cy­, says: “If you get a deep cut in an ex­pen­sive tyre use su­per­glue to glue it back to­gether. Cut up an old tyre and zip tie it to your chain­stay to use as a chain­stay pro­tec­tor (es­pe­cially on mountain bikes), and cut the bead off an old road tyre and fit it in­side an­other tyre to make a punc­ture-proof setup.”

To save more turn ev­ery pair of shorts you own into warmer ‘tights’ by investing in some de­cent leg warm­ers, rather than hav­ing to buy bib tights.

If you do want to in­vest in a new bike, hold out un­til March or Oc­to­ber for a ‘nearly new’ one, as that’s when new mod­els are re­leased.


If you’re look­ing to get lean, re­strict­ing your al­co­hol in­take could get you there faster. One US study found that drink­ing just 24g of al­co­hol – less than two pints – re­duced the body’s fat-burn­ing abil­ity by 73 per cent. Even when it’s swill­ing around in your sys­tem al­co­hol skews the wa­ter bal­ance in your mus­cle cells and hin­ders glu­co­neo­ge­n­e­sis – the for­ma­tion of en­ergy-giv­ing sugar glu­cose – and re­lieves you of the en­ergy you need for en­durance.

Jonathan Edge­ley, ad­dic­tion con­sul­tant at soberser­, has ideas for cy­clists who like a tip­ple:


Re­move all the booze in the house and keep it that way – this will en­cour­age you not to have a quick drink and lose your chal­lenge. You can de­cide how best to ‘re­move’ any you have.


Chal­lenge a pal to a non-drink­ing con­test and al­low your­selves to hold one an­other ac­count­able – check in with them on a daily ba­sis to stay on track.


Re­place your drink­ing ac­tiv­i­ties with some­thing else. (Cy­cling in­stead of bot­tle re­cy­cling comes to mind). Have non-al­co­holic drinks when you’d usu­ally have a wine or beer or add an en­joy­able food into your diet to feed your plea­sure sen­sors.


Cre­ate an al­ter­na­tive struc­ture to your day and plan your free evenings and week­ends dif­fer­ently. If you al­ways reach for a beer when you get home or the foot­ball comes on switch to a more con­struc­tive habit – tak­ing a shower or hav­ing fruit drinks in­stead.


Break the month down into man­age­able sizes so you can make a com­mit­ment not to drink for one week, day or even just an hour at a time, and re­peat this when­ever you’re tempted. Treat it sim­i­lar to a train­ing plan, though this is more of an ab­stain­ing one.


Step on the scales and make a note of where you are. Take a ‘be­fore’ selfie then fol­low these golden rules be­fore send­ing it with your re­sul­tant amaz­ing ‘af­ter’ pic to us – see our How Cy­cling Changed My Life fea­ture (p134).


“A con­sis­tent theme in any suc­cess­ful fat loss plan is hav­ing a high per­cent­age of calo­ries from pro­tein,” says Matt Lovell. “It keeps you full, which means you are less likely to eat the wrong things, it pro­tects your mus­cle mass, which is es­sen­tial when­ever you drop calo­ries to lose fat, and it sup­ports well­be­ing as the pro­tein is used for hor­mones, neu­ro­trans­mit­ters and your im­mune sys­tem func­tion.”


“Sugar-filled ce­re­als crush en­ergy lev­els and sab­o­tage me­tab­o­lism,” says Lovell. In­stead make your first meal of the day yo­ghurt with berries, por­ridge or peanut but­ter on whole­grain bread. A study in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion found that peo­ple who ate a high­pro­tein break­fast con­sumed fewer snacks through­out the day.


There have been stud­ies – like one by Ari­zona Univer­sity where re­searchers watched the eat­ing habits of 300 stu­dents – that show how those who cut up their food into smaller por­tions and chew each mouth­ful eat up to 30 per cent fewer calo­ries through the day.


Put down the tablet, turn off the TV, sit at the ta­ble, serve 8oz glasses of wa­ter with ev­ery meal and re­move serv­ing dishes from the ta­ble be­fore you start eat­ing – those who do have been shown to cut calo­rie con­sump­tion by around 30 per cent.

Use wet weather as an op­por­tu­nity to fo­cus on slower but es­sen­tial skills


Put these mo­ti­va­tional spurs, from cy­cling coach Rob Wake­field ( pro­, into ac­tion to en­sure you never miss a day’s rid­ing in 2017...


Have your kit and bike ready to go at all times and warm your kit up on a ra­di­a­tor. Set your­self a short cir­cuit, but one that could ex­tend eas­ily once you’re out­doors. Get­ting over that ini­tial 10 min­utes is key, once you’re through it you’ll find you’ll stay on board.


Wet roads are worse when you’re go­ing fast or de­scend­ing, so in­stead use wet weather as an op­por­tu­nity to fo­cus on slower but es­sen­tial skills or tech­niques such as over-geared hill climbs.


Draw up a plan of your week – meet­ing times, fam­ily time, sleep times and so on and iden­tify win­dows of op­por­tu­nity for train­ing. Build cy­cling into your com­mute and if you can’t do the full jour­ney try cy­cling part of the way and ei­ther lock­ing the bike up at a train sta­tion or leav­ing it with a friend or rel­a­tive.


Sugar’s abil­ity to be more ad­dic­tive than co­caine thanks to it hav­ing a sim­i­lar ef­fect on the brain’s plea­sure cen­tres doesn’t help cy­clists with half an eye on en­durance stamina or weight man­age­ment.

“Chang­ing car­bo­hy­drate in­take so it’s pe­ri­odised with spe­cific train­ing ses­sions will ben­e­fit your per­for­mance,” says Marc Fell, Team Sky nu­tri­tion­ist. “On easy, gen­eral rides you don’t need as much car­bo­hy­drate be­fore or dur­ing and could per­haps try these rides in a fasted state to pro­mote adap­ta­tion and body com­po­si­tion. Only when it comes to rides that in­volve high-in­ten­sity ef­forts do carbs be­come king and it is im­por­tant to have them be­fore and dur­ing to sup­port the high-in­ten­sity cy­cling.”


“Af­ter a work­out, it’s likely that your mus­cles will feel sore due in part to mi­cro­dam­age,” ex­plains Toby Gar­bett. “The sub­se­quent heal­ing leads to mus­cle growth, but to pre­vent con­stant aching make a res­o­lu­tion to do mus­cle­fo­cused ride drills.”

Be­gin ev­ery ses­sion by build­ing up slowly – with a dy­namic warm-up in­stead of static stretches – then fin­ish with a cool down, re­duc­ing the de­mands on the mus­cles but main­tain­ing the mo­tion as your body tem­per­a­ture re­duces.

Buy into mus­cle-nour­ish­ing re­cov­ery food and plenty of flu­ids. Con­tinue to take on wa­ter for the rest of the day and through­out the next day to flush the body. Re­search in the Jour­nal of Ath­letic Train­ing links de­hy­dra­tion with a higher risk of DOMS – De­layed On­set Mus­cle Sore­ness.

Use a pain re­lief cold spray to cool any mus­cle strains like a ham­string pull and re­duce in­flam­ma­tion. Then use a warm­ing prod­uct as the af­fected area re­cov­ers (around 72 hours later) to in­crease blood flow, pro­vid­ing oxy­gen and nu­tri­ents to aid the heal­ing process.


“Many cy­clists fall into the trap of think­ing more miles means bet­ter or that it’s not worth the ride if you haven’t to­tally ham­mered it at some point,” says sports sci­en­tist Pro­fes­sor Greg Whyte OBE. “If you set out to do a steady five-to-six hours as part of your train­ing and stamina work, then smash through the last few miles at high in­ten­sity, you’re not stick­ing to the brief.

“Make each ride count by set­ting down what your in­ten­tions are, give it a pur­pose and aim to ac­count for ev­ery click – be it in­ter­vals or tempo or a low-in­ten­sity re­cov­ery ses­sion or a steady en­durance ses­sion set in a spe­cific heart rate zone. Have a train­ing plan that plots im­prove­ment and use a mea­sure – a heart rate mon­i­tor or power me­ter - to quan­tify your rides. Do the same on group rides so that you’re tick­ing your own boxes dur­ing the ride or by do­ing your own work around it.”

Bin off the booze and go green for a health­ier start to 2017

Don’t let rain stop play - wet roads can hone skills

Start your day with yo­ghurt and fruit to cut weight

Buy into mus­cle-nour­ish­ing food and plenty of flu­ids

Ride your own way, it’s not all about beat­ing your mates

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