BIKE PREP AND TRAINING FOR THE SPRING
AS WE ANXIOUSLY WAIT FOR THE 2018 OUTDOOR RIDING SEASON TO ARRIVE, THERE ARE WAYS TO KEEP INDOOR TRAINING INTERESTING. ALTHOUGH I ALWAYS KEEP MY EYE ON THE WEATHER FORECAST IN ORDER TO SEE WHEN I WILL BE ABLE TO RIDE OUTSIDE, THE RIDES ALWAYS SEEM TOO FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. ON A POSITIVE NOTE, THE CHANCE TO GET OUTDOORS ON A REGULAR BASIS IS OFTEN A POSSIBILITY ONCE MARCH ROLLS AROUND. WITH THE CORRECT KIT, A TUNED BIKE AND THE URGE TO AVOID PAINFULLY BORING WORKOUTS ON THE TRAINER, THE FOLLOWING TIPS WILL ASSIST THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING TO BEAT THE PACK OUT ONTO THE ROAD.
For those who have ridden on the trainer over the winter and are finally taking the bike off, there are a few things to double-check before that first ride back outside. I am a firm believer in having a tune-up done on your bike before taking it outside for the first time. A bike overhaul is never a bad idea, as there is nothing worse than getting caught up with some sort of mechanical problem your first ride back on the road. I am envious of those who find themselves to be mechanically savvy, as you are able to avoid costly tune-ups. Do a thorough check of all things that move on your bike – wheels, brakes, gears and the front cockpit. All things that tighten should also be double checked before heading outside. It is also extremely important to check for rust if you have been sweating over the top of your stem and handlebars. Those long hours spent on the trainer are sweaty ones. When all that moisture gets into different parts of your frame and components, it can wreak havoc on your bike. I recommend replacing any rusted or damaged stem and headset bolts.
When it is finally time to head outside and commit to whatever riding goals you have for 2018, it can be a challenge to transition the top end and interval-specific training gains you’ve made indoors. One way that I like to check my fitness level in early spring is by testing my legs over efforts of varying lengths – everything from 10-second sprints to 20- and 30-minute max efforts. I usually align these efforts with Strava segments, it seems to keep things that much more exciting. Testing yourself on various segments that you can look back on later is a great way to check fitness throughout the season.
When transitioning back to riding outside I try to ease into the different training. Take your time while you are getting used to being back outside. Allow yourself time to get comfortable being outdoors again and thank your lucky stars that you are no longer on the trainer.
One of the best parts about spring riding is watching your body adapt to putting in the steady and consistent miles. After a winter spent working on your high-end strength and fitness through an extensive interval program, you should see some impressive gains in your overall riding fitness. Use the spring to build on the winter training with some regular and specific efforts and a consistent riding routine. Getting out for a few early spring rides and evaluating your fitness levels early to figure out what areas you can continue to improve on will enhance your ability to improve cycling fitness through the rest of the season.
Hamilton, On.’s Sean Mackinnon competed as a triathlete until he was 15, then competed on the Canadian National Cycling Team. He won two bronze medals at the 2015 Pan American Games.