How To Get Faster On The Bike

Are you tired of having your friends wait for you at the top of the climbs?

Are you tired of having to go as hard as you can to keep up with your buddies while riding?

Are you trying to prepare for the upcoming race season while everyone’s on vacation?

Are you trying to get faster to improve your health, fitness, and lifestyle?

Then you have come to the right place because we are going to break down how you can get faster in 4 ways.

 

The Tools:

Tools could range from Cycling Computer Devices, basic mechanic tools, indoor trainer, Zwift, and apps. Look to have the right Apps as well to help you keep track of your riding. Strava is a great place to start and is the most common app used by all bike riders. It’s a great place to communicate, show off your rides, and look at how fast riders are out there. Strava also has heat maps where you can find where people commonly train and ride so you can avoid the busy streets.

 

A Training Plan: 

A structured training plan can do wonders for you. There are proven training models that apply to an individual’s lifestyle so they can become faster on the bike. Whether it be a polarized training model or high-intensity low volume training model. Whatever the training intensity distribution may be, following a structured training plan is bound to make you faster on the bike.

 

The Mindset:

Create some compelling and inspiring goals such as the S.W.O.T – Strength Weaknesses Opportunities Threats to hone in on your goals. Sticking to your goals with the right mindset will allow you to face adversity and push through the tough times. To get faster on the bike, you are going to need to create enough training stimulus to have your body adapt. Training stress breaks down the body and performing high-intensity interval training will increase your mitochondria count.

 

The Equipment: 

No, I’m not talking about a brand new 13k S Works SL7. When we say “have the right equipment to go faster on the bike”, what matters is your comfort on the bike such as your saddle. Being comfortable on the bike will allow you to train harder and train longer. The right type of clothing for all conditions whether it be hot or cold will allow you to be consistent with your training plan.

How To PR Your Next Strava Segment

COVID19 has put a hiatus on events until further notice. Competitive Cyclist of all disciplines has flocked towards Strava for some competition. Here are our best tips to help you nail a PR on your favorite Strava segments.

 

Do your homework. Strava – PR segments can be down to the seconds. It could be a lot shorter than you think because it requires a higher intensity effort. The effort could also be a bit longer than you think because it requires saving a little bit more in the tank. What it comes down to is understanding the entire length of the segment of where it starts and where it ends. Use the satellite map to find some landmarks for the start and end of the segment. You want to finish strong through the finish line without leading into it for the fastest time.

 

Have a Power Meter – This is a game-changer and if you don’t have one, we highly suggest you get one. What the power meter will allow you to do is help you understand what your training zones are and abilities to sustain an effort. Having a power meter will allow you to tackle a climb at a designated wattage and you come into the climb confidently knowing you can hold the power for an extended period.

 

Ride in good conditions.  If it’s windy out, be sure to capitalize on the tailwind and not the headwind for your desired segment. A 5-10mph headwind can greatly influence the time for your segments. On top of that, be sure to ride in very cool conditions. With a maximum effort, your body is going to be fighting to keep you cool. Look towards riding in the morning or towards the evening where you have optimal temperatures. Heat can reduce your peak performance and when going for a PR segment, you want to be riding in the most optimal times.

 

Have a Reference. Check if there’s someone near your fitness level that has done the climb before. Look at their power and times so you can carefully gauge how you will perform. If you know your fitter than your rival, set for a higher power target and finishing time. Knowing someone with similar power to weight ratio to you can help close the gap of the unknown.

 

Have a Pacing Partner. Pushing the maximum amount of power for a PR segment is no easy feat since it requires a lot of mental focus and sometimes, you have to get yourself hyped. Having a pacing partner is even much more powerful during longer segments because of the draft effect. Find your target power and have your pacing partner set the pace for the duration of the climb.

 

Utilizing these elements in your arsenal when tackling your next PR Strava segment is bound to get you a solid result.

 

 

Breaking A Bad Habit

How can we break a bad habit so we can make room for a beneficial one?

Sometimes getting off the Netflix to make room for extra riding is a bit more challenging than it may seem. Perhaps having a dessert every time after having dinner becomes a tradition and routine. It doesn’t have to be drugs or alcohol, but it could be an addiction to soda, social media, YouTube, etc. that are keeping us away from truly getting what we want. How do we replace our bad habits with something that is advantageous toward our goals and desires?

 

Wean off it and don’t go cold turkey. 

Weaning off is to make someone gradually stop depending on their addiction that they have become used to. If you look at how individuals in the medical field help addicts, you will find that they hardly ever 100% completely take away their addiction. What they do is they gradually lessen the amount over some time to avoid withdrawal symptoms. In the hospital, when an extreme alcoholic patient gets admitted, the doctors order them some beer to avoid or lessen the withdrawal symptoms they will face. When a patient gets discharge with steroids, they give them gradual smaller doses to avoid abruptly stopping. Figure out a system to slowly ease off the problem in order completely come off it.

 

Identify the triggers

What causes you to eat bad food? Is it because you often feel stressed out and hungry after work? Well then, pack yourself some food and healthy snacks so after work, you can eat something much healthier. Why are you buying unhealthy food at the grocery store? The trigger may be that you’re going to the grocery store hungry. Eat something before going to the grocery store so you are full and stick to your grocery list. Overall, find the triggers of your actions so you can influence your positive behavior.

 

Use Prompts

Find a system to set yourself up to minimize procrastination. Do you need to wake up at 5:30 am so you can ride at 6:00 am? Do you get home from work at 5:00 pm and need to sneak in a ride? Prepare your jerseys in advance so you don’t have to think about getting ready. Minimize the small daily decisions so you can focus on the big decisions like getting in your training.

 

Get Support

Utilize a friend, spouse, significant other, or friend to keep you accountable. Put it on Instagram stories and tell the world of what you’re trying to accomplish. If you tell 50 people you are going to do something, are you going to keep your word? How much do you value your reputation? Sometimes a little push of being accountable to another person is more motivating than doing some for ourselves.

 

Reward 

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your accomplishments and enjoy the milestones along the way.

Whats the difference? Influencer, Brand Ambassador, or Sponsored Athlete

Back in the day, professional athletes who were broadcasted on TV were the only ones who had access to endorsement deals. It was only just a few years ago where influencers started to rise and become a necessity to the industry. What’s the difference between an influencer, brand ambassador, and a sponsored athlete? All three are quite similar but let’s quickly break it down.

 

Influencer: an influencer will have access to a community and is notorious for being heavily involved within their community. They know everyone who is anyone. They are highly reliable and reputable individuals. An influencer doesn’t have to be a professional athlete. They can be a people-person who loves to do what they do. A real influencer will have value behind their actions and purchase decisions which would in return affect how the community sees a particular product.

 

Brand Ambassador: a brand ambassador works much closer with a brand and the company. An influencer will be in much more control and have leverage over what they say on a product compared to an ambassador. The brand ambassador is a true representative of the company’s product. They will more than likely have an agreement of terms of payment, product deals in exchange for content, or participation at events.

 

Sponsored Athlete: this is where the top athletes and influencers will receive product or monetary endorsements. Due to the athlete’s high reputation and athletic level, sponsorship can be seen as a product or company claiming a spot at the highest tier of its performance market. If a professional or popular individual is using the product, wouldn’t that be good enough for the average joe, right?

 

At Union Sport, we’ve worked with all three pillars of this system. We test the performance of our product at the highest level of sport as well as the performance with the general masses. We live true to our brand values of implementing innovation, fit, and design by listening to what people have said about our product.

The Three Phases

The average adult has already forgotten what it feels like to be on two wheels. To them, all they see is a person riding on the street or trail, going up and down, panting, sweating with a look on their face with disgust. This infamous face, however, is the look of determination, perseverance, and intensity in conquering the climb and effort. What does it take for an individual to reach this point?

 

There are three phases individuals will have to go through before they begin the journey of creating the “face of disgust”. For fun, let’s call these the dating, honeymoon, and marriage phases.

 

Dating – The stage where individuals will start riding for fun. They may have been open to the idea because they were influenced by someone within their circle. With proper guidance, they quickly experience the euphoria of what the bike has to offer. Very quickly, an individual will find this experience fun and very exciting. They will experience new adventures where traveling by foot would take 3x longer.

 

Honeymoon – This is the phase where individuals will begin adapting to nuisances of riding. They’ll begin to get a taste of what it means to push themselves. They will start to look toward small challenges to tickle their minds of what is possible. During this phase, individuals will have enjoyed the long journey of how far they have come with their abilities, but will eventually arrive at a crossroads. This is where some people will want to take it a little bit more seriously while others will have different goals and motives.

 

Marriage – This is where the serious riders lie. At this point, riding is a big part of their life and some may even classify it as their personal identity. This is where individuals will be chasing after performance.

 

Each phase varies among individuals and some stay longer in a phase than others. It seems though that no matter where you are at with riding, each phase will create a memorable experience that will have positive affects in your life.

The Mt. Everesting Challenge

The Mt. Everesting Challenge was a trending challenge for many pros and amateurs who are stuck in quarantine since racing is canceled. It’s a given that all athletes who attempt and complete this challenge are complete masochist who find enjoyment out of enduring. What is the Mt. Everesting Challenge? It’s climbing 29,029 ft or 8848 meters, which is the same height as Mt. Everest. Cyclist will find and choose a road and they will climb the same road until they reach the same amount of elevation as Mt. Everest. The rules can be found on https://everesting.cc/the-rules/. The link goes further in depth with how long of a break you can have and the rules of the road you must climb. This ride will gain some attention as it is an impressive flex.
Here are some tips we have gathered if you’re interested in tackling your first Mt. Everest Challenge.

Support
If you’re going to be riding on the same climb repeatedly, bring out your crew for the last half of the challenge. If you can complete a century, you can probably ride the first half on your own. After that halfway mark, you may need some social support to get you motivated and pumped. Plus, knowing that they drove all the way down and came out to support you, you’ll be even more motivated to finish.

Eat early, eat often
Be sure not to go too crazy with the gels and caffeine. Eat early and eat as much as you can because it’ll become more difficult to digest food later in the challenge. Gels consist of so much carbohydrate in the packet that it is important to also pair it with plenty of water. Too many Gels without enough water will cause an upset stomach and can potentially ruin your entire challenge. You don’t want an upset stomach for the Everesting challenge.
Caffeine
Use caffeine sparingly and appropriately. It is probably best at the very start of ride sparingly to get you going and towards the end of the ride. Too much caffeine during an event like this can cause a caffeine crash. What you may experience is extreme tiredness from the buildup of adenosine which are flooding your brand cells. In addition, you don’t want to be feeling more tired after consuming caffeine prior to first starting the challenge because you would feel worse than you should be.

Pace Yourself
Don’t start off too fast. At the start, make sure you go a bit slower than you think you need to. Overexerting yourself too early can cost you hours at the end. It’s a lot easier to go faster at the last half than it is to go fast at the start and recover from it. If you have access to a power meter, that will be incredibly more powerful. With a power meter, you can pace the climb and all its sections accordingly by making sure you stay within the proper zone. With the addition of the Heart Rate Monitor, you can also make sure you don’t spike your heart rate and keep that well-managed.
With this resource, continue to gather enough information so you can tackle your next Everesting Challenge!