Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas, upon being asked by Bikes Etc. magazine about the Tour de France recently, said:
“The Tour is pretty simple – you smash it, recover, then do it all again”
We can all learn a lot from this.
Other than ‘not to do the Tour de France’ I was thinking more along the lines of how to make improvements in your training/racing:
Ouch This Is Gonna Hurt!
Imagine the following scenario: You rub the palm of your hand with sandpaper until it bleeds (you’re going to have to run with me for a bit so read on…!). Once the bleeding stops it dries, possibly forms a scab and then after a few days that scab comes off. The most important thing here is not “why am I doing this?!” but that even though your hand is very sore and delicate for the first few days the skin toughens up and is in fact stronger than it was at the end of the process. This is an example of a stress-adaptation curve.
If we were techies we’d draw this curve for you but we’re not we’re cyclists so basically it’s this:
Stress Recover Adapt Improve
This is exactly what happens when you train; you put a strain on the body that it’s not used to (ride harder, faster, longer), rest and recover then next time you’ll be that little bit more prepared (fitter) and you’ll find it easy. You do actually have to go HARDER than last time though!!
Or as ‘G’ put it earlier; smash it, recover, then do it all again J
That said you’ll probably go out again and ride to the level of your new fitness so
“It never gets easier, you just get fitter!”
Talking of the magazine Bikes Etc. (did you see what I did there?), the July issue has an awesome rider’s guide to the Tour De France. Not only does it tell you a bit about this year’s Tour but it also gives the reader expert training and advice on how to be a Tour contender. I’m ‘bigging this up’ so bloody much you’d think I was in it?!!
Therefore you’ll be delighted to hear that you can read my top tips on:
Time Trialling (page 7)
Sprinting (page 8)
Riding cobbles (page 10)
How to get comfortable on the bike (page 12)
How to shed weight from your bike (page 31)
Now, just in case you’ve spent your last £4.75 on a few cereal bars that will probably make you fatter and therefore slower, here’s a snippet of my ‘contribution’ with some bonus features you lucky devils!:
How to get comfortable on the bike
“Bike fit is extremely important and you should always fit the bike to the rider and not try to adapt to the wrong position. Ideally a bike fit would be reviewed annually as our body may change due to weight loss/gain or improved/worsened flexibility for example.
A ‘good’ bike fit is about finding the ideal blend of comfort, aerodynamics and power production and every rider will require a different apportionment of these three depending on their goals, physique, fitness, flexibility and experience. The problems are the opposite: possible risk of injury, being uncomfortable, aching joints, loss of power and too much drag.
There are 2 key requirements that I look for when considering a bike fit:
- Do I get on with the Fitter? i.e. is she my ex-wife? Erm I mean does he/she understand my needs and the type of riding I do?
- I like to walk away with my own bike in the new position. Some Fitters measure you up on their own in house bike/rig/jig and then give you the measurements to take home. DON’T do this.
Saddle choice should also be discussed as part of a bike fit because changing it at any other time will affect saddle height and other dimensions. Again, follow my 2 key points re bike fit and the Fitter will help you to a) choose a saddle and b) fit and try out the saddle. Agree before the fit that you can come back and switch saddles for free if you don’t get on with it too.”
There you go.
Seriously though cheapskate, treat yourself 😉