Regardless of whether you're a beginner or experienced track cyclist, the talk of toe-straps is of importance to everyone!
Here are some reasons why...
Think of it like this… when you’re following an opponent around the track in a race and it’s time to accelerate quickly, you want to engage and maximise your power line as efficiently as possible. That is, the line in which you can transfer all the power your body generates into the pedals, as fast as possible, so you can quickly accelerate your speed.
An important area that tends to get over looked is your cycling shoes! When you think about your foot in your cycling shoe - is it a snug fit? Or is there room to move your foot up and down, or side to side?
If you are experiencing this type of movement in your cycling shoes, it’s likely that some of the power that you produce when pedalling is going to waste,...
In this blog we want to chat briefly about angles and speed and what happens to your centre of gravity respectively. Plus we want to offer a few tips on what you can do to enhance your technical riding skills.
When we ride our bikes at low speeds on a Velodrome our centre of gravity drifts closer towards the track surface...
When we ride at high speeds our centre of gravity drifts away from the track surface...
When riding at slower speeds, particularly in the bends, your pedal clearance is reduced and the angle in which your tread is making contact with the velodrome's surface changes with the speed that you're travelling and the angles of the track (bends and straights).
If you plan on reducing your speed that you're travelling on the velodrome, be mindful when making sharp turns to ensure your tyre tread remains in contact with the surface, and pedal contact with the track is minimised.
Did you know that having the confidence and ability to effectively control...
The way in which you grip your sprint bars is important as it can mean the difference between winning and losing (particularly when races are won and lost by thousandths of seconds).
Incorrect grip position can also leave you in a stalled position in race attacks where you lose fractions of seconds whilst regaining a strong hold before accelerating with race bunches, or handicapping your ability all together in maximising peak forces.
There is a correct way in which you should be gripping your bars and this will make a big difference to your performance, say for instance in time trial events where you need to get out of the gate fast leaving no time for readjusting hand positions before taking off.
The below image highlights the correct grip for a sprint bar setup.
You will notice the following:
Understanding gear ratios is something that is usually taught very early in the piece for a new track cyclist. Gearing plays a significant role in race and training performance and it’s every track cyclist’s goal to try and pick the optimum gear to match their physiology and pedalling ability across different types of races.
Too big a gear and you’ll struggle to get on top of it, too small a gear and you’ll find yourself spinning out or struggling to find more at the pointy end of races.
For endurance events, finding a gear that allows you to keep up with the race and accelerate in sprints (in a points race for instance) is important, and for short events - such as the sprint or flying 200m - selecting a gear that allows you to produce the maximum amount of average watts over the full 200m is essential. Utilising a number of gears from a gear chart that pertains to your bike set up (e.g. wheel circumference) and your strengths is the first step...
Two things which we know are true according to science are these.
Point one means that just because somebody demonstrates a high VO2max in a running test does not mean that they can match that VO2max score in a rowing test. Point 2 – not a direct scientific quotation, can you tell? – describes that by working muscles in a way which are different to those a track cyclist normally performs can help track cycling performance. So we have a conflict straight away.
It remains true that a rower who performs a VO2max test and achieves a really high score is likely to achieve a higher than average score in a running test, for example. This is describing the generality of metabolic capacity meaning there will be a lot of overall, generalised, improvements in fitness from doing one activity which can be transferred to another.
Katrin Garfoot won...
Visiting the gym (or setting up a gym at home) and completing a range of strength and conditioning exercises season round, should have a place in your training program as it really improves cycling performance, science has proven it.
Strength and conditioning can mean a number of exercises which will vary depending on the individual goals, strengths and weaknesses of every cyclist. One area of strength and conditioning we refer to is plyometrics.
Plyometrics are primarily jumping exercises which are focused on enabling your muscles to exert maximum force fast. Whilst pure strength exercises will help you push bigger gears, pushing bigger gears fast requires power and speed elements and that’s where plyometrics enter the equation.
In addition to enhancing balance and coordination, plyometrics enable your larger muscle groups to work with synchronicity which are benefits that you don’t usually get from standard lifting regimes.
As athletes, professional or amateur, we spend so much time working on our physiological fitness capabilities and so little on skill development which can make a substantial difference to outcomes on race day.
Regardless of whether you’re a sprint or endurance athlete, in this blog we’re going to offer you 3 skill exercises to enhance your bike handling skills which will enable you to navigate yourself to winning positions in race scenarios.
3 Core Skills to Improve your Bunch & Sprint Racing Are:
Understanding where your centre of gravity is whilst navigating the banks of a velodrome is essential to staying upright, let alone, improving your tactical skills in race scenarios. The below image highlights how your centre of gravity shifts with varying speeds on the track.
As you ride fast, your centre of gravity shifts away...
Focusing on quality over quantity is not a new concept but it is a rather good one, particularly when we hone in on training and racing agendas encompassed within the parameters of your life and work agendas.
Here’s a quick maths addition to start you thinking:
Total hours in the day: 24
Hours Sleep: 8-10
Time to shower, prepare for day: 1
Transportation to work and home: 1-2
Work Hours: 8
Meal times: 3
Time to sit/relax/catch up with family/kids sport etc.: 1-2
Leftover hours to train within 24 hours window: 0-2 hours, possibly more if you choose to condense on the above life tasks…
What we essentially want to imply here is that the time you have leftover to train during the week (i.e. 0-2 hours per day), should be spent very wisely and this is where the concept of quality over quantity comes in.
If you don’t have a lot of time you really need to focus on the specific areas of training that will give you the...
When heading out for a long track session (plus 2 hours) or perhaps a long ride on the road, carrying some liquid energy to top up energy stores for the plus hour mark is a no-brainer, and for many, that top-up energy source comes in the form of sports drinks (aka: Powerade, Gatorade, Staminade etc.).
Whilst sports drinks have a long standing history and are backed by evidence that supports their effectiveness in rehydrating and topping up energy stores, sports drinks should come with a few words of warning, something like…
Sports drinks and gels are acidic, and they stick to your teeth due to their high sugar contents. While there are plenty of normal foods that non-athletes consume that have the same effect (soft drinks, confectionary etc.), it’s the frequency of exposure during exercise that can cause your dentist a headache (and eat into...
Building a strong core (and maintaining it) is absolutely essential if you're trying to progress and develop as a cyclist.
A strong core will also help you to remain injury free, and retain good control and stability when you’re on the bike.
A lot of people within the cycling fraternity that we know and work with don’t have a huge amount of time to train in the gym on top of their cycling training regime so a lot of the time we usually prescribe at home core exercises to complete.
This ensures that they maintain a strong functional level of strength to primarily avoid acquiring injuries of the back, hips and knees, but also to maintain good control and stability when they’re on the track cycling.
The 2 Core Exercises We Recommend for Cyclists are:
Both of these exercises can be done at home, and they will only take a few minutes of your time.
We’d recommend you complete each of these...