Improve your race-day bike skills

Use this skills-focussed session to get you dialled into your race set-up for when the season resumes says Nik Cook

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Racing, like the rest of the country, is on hold. But racing will resume at some point, and this session will help you be race-ready.

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While social-distancing has scuppered swim training, it is possible, if you’re well, to keep up your bike and run training, so take advantage of those quieter roads and focus on some key skill work.

For this session, you’ll need a loop that should take about 10mins to ride, include steep climbs, plenty of corners and challenging descents.

If you’re not 100% relaxed and comfortable on your race set-up and your bike handling isn’t up to scratch, you’ll be haemorrhaging minutes on every leg and wasting precious energy for the run. By challenging yourself on your race bike on an intentionally technical loop, you can develop those key skills and ensure that riding fast in your race position becomes second nature. By riding these efforts at or just below threshold intensity, you’ll be testing those skills and your position under duress.

Top 3 tips for the session

Climbing

When out of the saddle, avoid excessive rocking. Anticipate gear choice as, unless you have satellite shifters, shifting on a TT set-up will require sitting back down.

Descending

Experiment staying down on your extensions when safe, as the free speed gains are significant. Build up your confidence and learn to feather your rear brake while staying aero.

Cornering

The basics of cornering still apply on a TT bike. Brake before turning, push down through the outside pedal and
look where you want to go as you make the manoeuvre.

THE SESSION

Warm-up

5-10mins building from easy to moderate

3-5mins easy

Your warm-up should take you to the start of your skills loop

Main Set

10mins vigorous ride over your skills loop

5mins easy

Repeat the above for a total of 3-4 loops. Try to go faster, not by upping your effort but by riding smoother and more skillfully.

Cool-down

5-10mins easy

Adapt for beginners

Skills are crucial for novices. See if you can find a more experienced rider to shadow as, by following them, you’ll
learn loads.

Adapt for Ironman

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Include a technical loop into your longer endurance rides and really push yourself out of your comfort zone.