Things I’ve Learnt From Cycling this year

Time trial

Often when cycling you end up repeating very similar training / cycling patterns. But, every year, you can learn something new. These are a few of the things that have helped over past 12 months.

1. Physio Therapy Works.

In March / April I had six weeks off with knee injury. A sports physio seemed to correctly diagnose and gave useful exercises to strengthen muscles. I will be doing core strength exercises over this winter (something I’ve always neglected in past). This was one of most useful things I’ve learnt. Dealing with knee problemss

2. Constant Energy Levels.

Learning how to maintain more constant energy levels was most useful nutritional tip. In particular, being more careful of GI index of foods. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, I consume a higher proportion of low or medium GI foods to avoid ‘sugar spikes’ which later leave you feeling tired. Glucose / energy drinks need to be taken only during or just before exercise.

3. Progress is not in a straight line

My first season 2005, was one of constant progress (25 pb from 1.00.30 to 52.57). The next 4 years 2005-09 were years of relative stagnation in performance. It was only in 2010 and then this year 2011 that I’ve broken through previous plateau’s.

4. Aerodynamics is Really Important.

Of course you know aerodynamics are important for time trials, but improvements this year (see: wind tunnel testing) have enabled unexpectedly large improvements in times. (marginal gains)

5. Six Weeks off bike isn’t end of the world.

My plan was to do 1,000 miles in Feb and 1,000 miles in march. I did very little as I was just resting knee injury. As it happened, the lay-off didn’t seem to prevent best year on the bike. (but, I’m glad I didn’t take six weeks off just before the knee injury.

6. Easier Recovery / Harder Training.

This year recovery rides have been a little slower, and intervals sessions a little harder. Part of the reason that interval sessions have been harder, is that my body seems to be able to cope with a higher training load than in previous years. Perhaps due to

  • cumulative training / strength.
  • better diet
  • better rest
  • Patience – related to number 3, sometimes you just have to be patient and not expect constant improvement in times.

7. Organising a Race is Much Harder than Racing it.

Organising a race (10 mile TT) was a good experience. It turned out much better than I feared. But, I have a new respect for race organisers.

8. You Can’t Change Other Road Users

Whatever you do, you can change the way other road users behave. If you’re a cyclist you just have to deal with certain road behaviours. Somethings never change!

9. You Never Regret a good puncture resistant Tyre

This year has been a good one for not attracting too many punctures. Puncture resistant tyres

10. Comfortable Shorts

Best Padded shorts – make cycling much more comfortable

11. I Want a New Bike

No matter how many bikes you have, there is always room for one more. Top of my wish list is a new single speed commuting bike Also a pair of Zipp 202 s would be good.



Any other Top Tips – Anything that has particularly helped you in the world of cycling this year?

One Response to Things I’ve Learnt From Cycling this year

  1. Rob Patrick October 11, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    I’m picking up my single speed Genesis Day one cross bike tonight.

    I’ve chosen this as I think it will be the perfect winter bike. Only time will tell.

    My commute has got a couple of decent hills in it and I thought that this will force me to do ‘intervals’ like it or not. The option of taking the canal tow path on occasion when the weather is right also appeals as well.

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