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The Cycling Blog

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WORLDS: High Speeds & Fast Finishes

training Mar 07, 2018

“Did you see Chris Hoy’s post on Twitter?” asked Shane Perkins in a conversation yesterday. “No” I said, what did he write?”…

Sir Chris described the amazing performances by Jeffrey Hoogland, Matthew Glaetzer and Theo Bos, all of whom rode their 1km (called the kilo) time trial in under 1 minute at the World Championships. Jeffrey Hoogland’s 59.459 is a sea-level world record and won him the gold medal.

The eight points on the graph represent the half-lap splits. It shows that after one full lap not one of the three riders is up to the maximum speed achieved as the point at 375m is the highest, leaving two-and-a-half laps of reducing speed. Reducing speed, slowing down, sounds a lot more relaxed than any ride averaging over 60kmh could possibly be.

The shape of the graph is similar to a graph of wattage of a 30 second anaerobic power test, in that it ramps up to its peak and declines before the end. Wattage and speed won’t...

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Cut the bad fats and start performing!

nutrition Feb 28, 2018

Optimal performance and health starts with the body - if you are fuelling yourself with excellent quality foods and staying hydrated you’re giving your body the best chance to perform at its best in all situations.

In this blog we will focus on one specific food group area - that is the fats. It’s a really interesting food group to delve in to and understanding the types of fat that you need to stay away from, or consume, is worthwhile.

So good fats and bad fats, what’s the difference and how will they impact on your performance? 

The Bad

Trans and saturated fats are the worst to consume - and the science behind why is fascinating…

These types of fat remain solid at room temperature – think about the white bits on meat or coconut oil in a jar. It's also the primary variety used in processed foods like cakes and biscuits. 

If you want to get scientific, saturated fat has a single bond in its molecular structure, which makes it more difficult...

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3 Tips to Maximise Your Training & Perform at Your Best!

physiology training Feb 11, 2018

We’ve discussed periodisation, programming and planning in many of our blogs, and whilst for the most part, the athletes that we come into contact with have a fairly sound understanding of how to structure a training program... From time to time though, we are asked the question:

How do I fit all of the training elements into my program throughout the season and perform on time? 

In this blog, we will offer you 3 fundamentals of training to help ensure you tick the boxes at the right time to enhance performance. 

Train a Few Elements Well (Don’t try and train everything at once)

When cooking a roast dinner, you don’t put all ingredients in the oven (both meat and vegetables) at the same time and expect they’ll all be cooked perfectly when you pull them out… 

The same principle applies when it comes to planning and executing your training. 

For example. If you try and train endurance, speed-endurance, top end speed and strength all...

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Two Reasons Why Toe Straps Are Important for Track Cyclists

equipment racing training Nov 24, 2017

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...

1. SECURE FOOT, SHOE AND PEDAL CONTACT

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,...

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How to Correctly Grip your Sprint Bars

bike set up training Nov 04, 2017

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: 

  1. The hand is in a neutral position and the forearm is flush (runs smoothly through the back of the hand). 
  2. The wrist is does not collapse inwards. A...
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Understanding Gear Ratios for Performance 

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...

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Specific Training versus Cross Training in Cycling. A Conflict or a Complement?

training Oct 17, 2017

Two things which we know are true according to science are these.

1.     Specific training produces specific results.

2.     Cross training is really helpful.

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...

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Plyometrics for Cycling Performance

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. 

There’s a...

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3 Core Skills to Improve Your Bunch & Sprint Racing 

skills training Sep 25, 2017

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:

  • Centre of Gravity Skill
  • Preparation for Physical contact
  • Improving Head Mobility  

Understanding Your Centre of Gravity

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...

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Training Quality over Quantity 

mindset training Sep 12, 2017

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...

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