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Three tips to effectively move from the trainer to the road

Cannes International Bike

For many Canadian triathletes, the winter has meant hours on the trainer which means hours of unidirectional movement and no practice with bike handling skills unless you’ve braved a set of rollers regularly. With the warmer temps arriving and race season approaching, triathletes will soon be heading to the season’s first outdoor ride. Be sure the transition from trainer to road goes without a hitch with the following tips.

1. Get your bike serviced. All the sweat and spilled sports drink that has found its way into your aerobars and possibly even the cable routing, needs to be cleaned. But so does your drivetrain. That intense fan you set for workouts has no doubt blown dust in there and it likely needs some love. You’ll need fully functional gears when you get outside not just for enjoyable riding but for safety too. Be sure to check your bike chain. Is it worn out? Does it need lube? Change that trainer tire and beware of the rough roads with winter potholes that still need fixing.

2. Get a proper bike fit. Triathletes often ride with their hands on the aerobars rather than their arms as they would outside. This can affect what you perceive as comfortable riding right now which may be different from last year. Furthermore, any increase in strength from critical power sessions on the trainer can mean you’re ready for a more powerful or aggressive position. Have a bike fitter weigh in and help avoid injury and discomfort and maximize performance.

3. Increase Incrementally
You’ve trained hard all winter, have your “A” race set and you are roaring to go. The longer days and warmer weather can boost your energy, but that doesn’t mean you should double or triple you intensity and volume. We all know it’s easier to ride long outside than it is on the trainer, but this is prime injury time. Ramp things up by only 10 to 20 per cent a week and be sure to get in your rest day. Check in with your coach about reducing volume by 10 to 20 per cent every four to six weeks to allow your body to adapt to the extra work and improvements.