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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Total Cycling Performance: Spring Training

April 28, 2010

Spring Training – What to do NOW

Spring has finally arrived, which means it’s time to GET OUT AND RIDE! The key to early season riding is to get as much time in the saddle as possible without getting overly fatigued, which can lead to illness and injury.

Whether you’ve done much training over the winter or not, whether you’re an experienced cyclist or not, I suggest your structure your training week around these 3 key workouts:

1. Ride hills at least one day per week. This is a very efficient workout in that it not only builds leg strength, but fighting gravity as you push yourself up the hill will increase your breathing rate at the same time. So you’ll get a double benefit of strength and cardio at the same time.

2. Ride longer “intervals” at least one day per week. These intervals can be anywhere from 8-20 minutes long, and should be at a level which forces you to breathe hard. You should be at the edge of your comfort level and should feel like you’re going to have to struggle to keep up the effort. You should also be forced to really focus to maintain your effort, where riding just a little harder will push you over the edge and you’ll “blow up,” or backing off even a little will put you back into an easy, conversational level. So this is a hard, determined effort. These long intervals can be either structured or unstructured.

3. One ride of the week should be a long ride at a fairly easy aerobic, endurance level. This long ride should be at a “conversational” effort level. In other words, you’re able to carry on a conversation with others if you’re riding with a group or with friends.

Each of these rides is important to helping you shake off any sluggishness you may have picked up over the winter and will quickly allow you to gain your cycling fitness. In addition, having 3 key rides on your schedule each week gives you structure to your riding plan.

If you ride more than 3 times per week, other rides can be either easy “recovery” rides or aerobic, endurance rides similar to #3, but shorter. Be conservative and do less rather than more as your body acclimates to time in the saddle.

As you feel yourself getting stronger, your first priority should be to increase the length of your long rides. Following this, then slowly increase the number of hills you ride, the number of long intervals and the length.

Be safe, keep healthy and injury free, but mainly, have fun as you ride. Enjoy this beautiful time of year, and GET OUT AND RIDE!

Bob McEnaney has over 33 years experience coaching performance athletes of all ages, genders and ability levels. He has trained and competed in triathlon, cycling, and running races of all distances. His personal experience is backed by years of formal training which has aided in formulating effective performance training plans used by hundreds of athletes across the country.

Bob is a certified coach through both USA Triathlon and USA Cycling. He also is a member of Joe Friel’s exclusive “Ultrafit” Association of Coaches. Additionally, he is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds a Sports Fitness Specialist advanced certification through NASM. This combination of long-time coaching experience and personal race experience puts Bob in a unique position to create time efficient and effective cycling training plans to help athletes train properly.

Visit Bob’s website at Total Cycling Performance.

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Spring Has Sprung

March 29, 2010

We here at the TRIA Orthopaedic/Nature Valley Grand Prix blog like a lot of things. Two of them are constants: good weather and a nice bike ride. Every day, we’re getting more and more sunlight, leaving us with more time after work each day to hop on our bike and ride until the street lights come on. It’s this time of year that brings out the kid in us, as we traverse on roads we know and try out the roads less taken. Bob McEnaney, a certified USCF and USAT coach, and owner of Total Cycling Performance, has these tips to prepare your steed for the roads ahead:

Funny things seem to happen to our bikes from the time we put them away in the fall until we bring them back out in the spring. What we remember as a finely tuned and fully operational bike is all of a sudden filled with funny noises, poor shifting and in serious need of maintenance.

Of course what we should have done is taken it in to our trusty bike shop mechanic before we put the bike into storage, but we didn’t and as a result must deal with it now, when everybody else is in the same predicament.

The ideal scenario is to get your bike into the bike shop ASAP and get that much-needed overhaul. Unfortunately, the turnaround time may be lengthy. If you can’t leave your bike in the shop for potentially up to a couple weeks, try these:

1. Set an appointment to take your bike in. While this is not commonplace, it’s worth asking for. In this way you’ll only be without your bike for the time they’re working on your bike.

2. Do some of the minor maintenance yourself. You could purchase a book or DVD and become your own wrench. Assuming you don’t like this option, you can easily do things like:

A: Examine your tires for cuts, excessive tread wear or flat spots. If it looks at all questionable, replace your tire. Flat tires seem to be much more common in the spring. I’m convinced this is because tires were ridden on all last season, should have been replaced but weren’t and now can’t handle the increased level of sand and other typical springtime debris on the roads. Don’t wait for a flat. Change your tires NOW!

B: Clean and lube your chain and your front and rear derailleur. Chain cleaning tools are inexpensive and this is a snap to do. Lubricating the moving parts of your drivetrain will keep you riding until you get your bike in to the shop.

C: Lube all other moving parts on your bike. Your local bike shop can help you with the proper lube.

Assuming you don’t have any major issues with your bike (especially safety-related) these few simple tasks should be enough to get you out on the road. BUT, your bike should still be overhauled, or at least tuned up, prior to embarking on any major rides or events. Good luck, and GET OUT AND RIDE!

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Ride Safely and Be Prepared for the Worst

May 26, 2009

Bob McEnaney has over 33 years experience coaching performance athletes of all ages, genders and ability levels. He has trained and competed in triathlon, cycling, and running races of all distances. His personal experience is backed by years of formal training which has aided in formulating effective performance training plans used by hundreds of athletes across the country.

Bob is a certified coach through both USA Triathlon and USA Cycling. He also is a member of Joe Friel’s exclusive “Ultrafit” Association of Coaches. Additionally, he is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds a Sports Fitness Specialist advanced certification through NASM. This combination of long-time coaching experience and personal race experience puts Bob in a unique position to create time efficient and effective cycling training plans to help athletes train properly.

McEnaney will be contributing to the NVGP blog for additional tips that will help riders of all ages and abilities get to that next level. His insight can be found at Total Cycling Performance. Here’s his first contribution:

I nearly got hit by a semi this morning; one of those big sand/gravel trucks.

I was riding toward a roundabout, something I do on most rides. It’s a harmless roundabout, with great visibility all around. The truck was coming from my right hand side, and I’m quite sure he saw me. But even so, I put my hands on my brakes, just in case.

I arrived at the roundabout before the truck, so technically I had the right of way. There are two lanes in this roundabout and I was in the outside lane because I was going to go straight through.

I was very close to the truck’s entrance into the roundabout and I could see that he wasn’t slowing down so I started to brake. The truck was in the right hand lane and blew right through the roundabout and cut into the left lane as he was going around.

I was forced to slam my brakes on. The semi was so long that even as I skidded its rear tires were right in front of me. Fortunately I was able to stay upright and avoid skidding toward the wheels. I know who would have come out on top of that one.

The lesson of the day is to be aware. Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of your situation and who’s around. And anticipate that the driver won’t see you or won’t care about you.

And while avoiding traffic is a topic that’s discussed often, the same rules apply to group rides. Riders are often side by side at high speeds, wheels overlapping and riders changing position. Awareness in a group situation is every bit as important as traffic awareness.

Anticipate that the riders next to you aren’t aware of you, or that they don’t possess good bike handling skills, and that they aren’t able to hold a line.

A crash is a crash, whether it involves a vehicle or another bike. Ride defensively, communicate, anticipate and be aware. Enjoy your riding, but ride safely.

GET OUT AND RIDE!

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