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.

How do you explain your lifestyle to your significant other?

If you picked up riding while you are already in a relationship, it is often challenging for your significant other to understand why you love what you do. However, you must show them that this is the opportunity to grow with you and see the development of your athletic journey. There are ways to let your significant other understand your new-found hobby/passion.

 

Here are a few items on our list that will help your significant other understand and become supportive of what you do.

 

Schedule your rides accordingly. 

Does your significant other like to sleep-in, go grocery shopping, or watch some Netflix? By adjusting your training schedule while they are busy with their own activities, it allows them to see that you’re working around their schedule and you are putting your relationship first. By doing so, you will be able to minimize the feeling of neglect or “not wanting to spend quality time with them”.

 

Invite them to the fun events and have them engage. 

Find a local Criterium or a Fondo such as the Mammoth Gran Fondo, and have a mini weekend getaway! Come in a bit early or have an extended stay so you can enjoy what the area has to offer. Set up some activities for the next 5 hours so you can head out and perform at your event while they tour the area. Better yet, get them involved and put them in the feed zone in the middle of your ride for some extra morale boost. Nothing will give you more energy than seeing some of your close supporters on the sidelines.

 

Assuring them that you take safe precautions 

Don’t make them worry. Don’t avoid negative conversations about how you almost felt like you were having a heat stroke, in a car traffic, or seeing a crash in a race. Rather, show them that you are very responsible and accountable for your safety. Let them know that you appreciate their love and concern for you. The best key is to assure them. Calculate the risk and reward scenarios whether it be a race scenario or training.

 

Let them get a glimpse of what you do

Take them out on a bike ride on the beach bike path and have them get a glimpse of where the bike can take them. Have them enjoy the nice breeze in the best conditions where they can enjoy and see firsthand why you love what you do.

 

Find an opportunity to show off the skills  

With so much riding, you develop a strong cardiovascular system. Now, it’s time to show them that bike riding makes you so strong and fit. Prove to them what your strength can do for them. Take a rest day from training and flex your fitness by going crazy with labor work such as cleaning the cars, house, lawn, and everything else in between. Amaze them with the amount of energy riding provides you.

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.