5 Steps to Becoming a Faster Rider
Caveat: I am not a PT, coach, MD, or a personal trainer. I speak from personal experience, articles & books I have read, and discussions with more knowledgeable people than myself. This is free advice, take it for what it is worth.
It is fun to ride faster. You don’t need to worry about being last. Hard things become a little easier. You can cover the same distance with less time on your butt. You will likely become healthier and feel better. All worthy goals.
Now for the unfortunate part. It takes time and effort. Lots of effort.
I am going to arrange these items in reverse order of difficulty, the easiest adjustment is first, the most difficult is last.
#1: Strength. Biking uses more than quadriceps. You need a strong core, back, triceps, glutes, hamstrings. While cycling uses these muscles, it doesn’t strengthen them. You need to occasionally go to the gym and lift weights. The best type of gym workout uses free weights (not machines) and isometrics (which help with balance). Try to go twice a week, and accept once a week. Do this year round. if you are riding a lot, ease off the leg exercises. Getting a trainer will make your gym time more efficient.
#2: Yoga. I cannot tell you how many times a person (usually a guy) will say they will not do yoga. Maybe it is because males typically suck at flexibility. If you don’t stretch and become more flexible, you will injure yourself. Your body is highly interrelated. Doing only hamstring stretches will not adequately stretch your hamstrings. In the end everything is connected to everything. Yoga is the best form of stretching to get at this. Not only does stretching help minimize injury, it helps you put your power into the pedals. Somewhat like torque vs horsepower in a car. Flexibility adds torque by allowing you to position your body for maximum efficiency. Here are two great videos you can watch and use from home. They are specifically for cyclists.
Sandy LeBlanc is a great instructor.
#3: Hard Days. Your body is great at being lazy. You have evolved to be efficient. Given an easy way out, your body will take it. In order to go fast, your body has to be shaken up and relearn what biking is. There is nothing wrong with long and slow, but this will not make you faster. Instead, do something unusual and more difficult in a short amount of time. Climb Summit Drive as hard as you can, go on a ride with faster companions, go on a mountain bike ride and climb fast. Shake your cycling up, make your legs hurt. Interval training is another great method for accomplishing this.
#4: Easy Days. Yes I marked this as harder than hard days. Once you start getting faster, once you’ve gone to the weight room, become more flexible, you will WANT to ride more. If you ride every day, you will not improve. The older we get the longer we need to rest between rides. It sucks. If I ride the BTBS ride on Tuesday evening, I might not be able to ride effectively until Saturday. It sucks. Hard rides require time for your muscles to heal. I usually walk, lift upper body weights, and do yoga on these off days. Sometime I just veg and watch the Tour de France. Once you are in shape, the best thing you can do is rest between major efforts.
#5. Lose Weight. I said it. Losing weight is the hardest thing to do, excluding keeping the lost weight off. If you want to ride faster, especially on the hills, you need to lose body fat. I suggest trying to lose no more than 1 pound a week for women, and a 1 ½ for men. Set realistic goals but set goals. I needed to write down everything I ate. I use myfitnesspal.com. I drastically reduced: beer, processed foods (including bread), and anything with added sugar. That means I ate fruits, vegetables, chicken, eggs, yogurt in meaningful amounts. No more handfuls of peanuts, chunks of cheese, or thirst-quenching Bend beers. This is the hardest thing to do, but probably the most important change. You can ride faster if you aren’t carrying around a daypack worth of fat. Society, cheap food, parents messaging, commercials, friends - all conspire to thwart your efforts, but you can do it. It is a test in mental strength and willpower.
Five efforts to ensure you become a faster ride. Can you skip one. Not really. They are all you, you need them all. Also this is a good time to consider giving Strava a shot. Whether you use it on your phone, or better yet, a Garmin device, Strava will measure your success. Don’t compete against others, compete against yourself. Find out whether living a good life allows you to ride up the Shevlin Park hill faster. I am betting it will.
Here are the Board Meeting minutes.
Speaking of volunteering, Jim Moore, a COWs member, is the new Director for Bicycle Rides NW. You can crew for Bicycle Rides NW. As a crew member you can be paid (positions start at $600 per tour), or you can trade working one tour for riding the other for free. They have several openings for our Oregon tour July 21-28, and possibly one or two for our California tour Aug. 4-11. The positions are with our Camp Central (hospitality) team and our Tent & Porter (tent rental) teams. There’s light-to-medium physical work involved, more so in the Tent & Porter position. They have a max of 300 riders, and they want their crew to work hard and then have as much fun as possible. If you’re available and interested, contact Executive Director Jim Moore by email or call 503-281-1526.
Feel free to come to the next meeting!
Old McKenzie Highway Spring ’18 Status
BEND – Following the Milli Fire of last year, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is managing visits to OR242, The Old McKenzie Highway, differently from years past.
This year, work crews are on the highway repairing serious damage on and adjacent to the highway from the devastating fire. This means that visitors are not allowed on the highway while crews are in the area repairing and restoring it.
Generally, ODOT crews will have heavy equipment on the highway during the work week, Monday through Thursday. Signs are posted indicating “extreme danger” and “road closed” to warn potential visitors of the hazards along the highway.
On weekend, crews are removing the warning signs to indicate that visiting is permitted.
However visitors, including cyclists and pedestrians, must be aware that ODOT is not maintaining the highway for wheeled travel at this time, and visitors are on the highway at their own risk.
ODOT intends to open the highway to motor vehicles on June 18th this year.
16 lucky participants can now sign up for the Group Riding workshop or the Descending Workshop. Members only!
Dispatch from Teresa and Wiley: McKenzie Pass is open to the gate at this time....Not far. They are planning to move the plow from Bachelor to the pass next week sometime. There was also warning that due to the fire, be prepared for very stark change scenery, as well as soils that will wash onto the roadway after they get it plowed. Caution was urged with being prepared with wide tires and likely lower speeds descending due to the runoff and likely ongoing road debris. Apparently 50 mph is not encouraged!
So, maybe 2-3 weeks out at this point.
Photo from last year
No longer must you email me to remove yourself from a ride. It happens to everyone, you sign up for a ride only to realize a previous commitment or the weather isn't to your liking or .... You'll need to go to your profile and do stuff. Here is a web-page to describe how to Unregister from a Ride.
Join us at the Deschutes Public Library in the Brooks room on Wall St. April 17 at 6PM. Get ready to enjoy bike season 2018, We will discuss upcoming events, jerseys, rides, and other happy stuff! Non-members welcome.
Central Oregon Wheelers is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization.