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Getting back outside on the bike

Five things to consider before hitting the road again this spring.

Taylor Reid, fresh off of his win in Puerto Rico pushes to close the gap to the leaders. 2017 Ironman Oceanside 70.3

Spring is almost here and in most parts of Canada you can now put the trainer away and get your bike prepped for the road. Here are five things you may want to consider before getting back out there.

Get a spring tune up

  • It’s common to take your bike off the road and put it right onto the trainer in the winter. If you didn’t use a specific trainer tire, you will want to get a new one for outside this year. Indoor trainers can eat up your back tire, causing it get very thin leading and to poor performance and many flats.
  • Even though you have been inside for most of your rides over the winter months, you have still put a lot of miles on your bike and it won’t hurt to get your gears adjusted and your cables tightened. Nothing feels better than getting your bike in 100% working order to feel both physically and mentally ready for the season.

Changing bikes?

If you are switching up your bikes, potentially going from your road bike to your tri bike, you should ease into your aero tri position in small increments. It is completely different from road geometry and can put a lot of strain on your back and neck until you have the strength in your core again. After a good warm up, get into your aero bars in 10 minute intervals and work your way up each week by slowly reducing the amount of time that you are not in your aero position.

Hills are your friend

Get out there for some repeats or find an undulating route that you like. Put to the test all that strength work you did on the trainer, and you’ll find it pays off in your first race of the year.

Keep focusing on your drills

You did them all winter to improve your cycling performance on the road. Cadence drills can still be done outside so it’s worth making time in the week for a ride dedicated to drills instead of distance. Keep reminding yourself of a proper pedal rotation. Push forward at the top, pull backward at the bottom and lift the weight of your leg back through to the top all in a smooth motion.

Consider a bike fit

If you haven’t already, you may want to consider getting properly bike fitted by a reputable fitter. Getting this done at the beginning of the season can prevent future problems. A good bike fitter will adjust the bike to your specific proportions and condition of your body. They will set you up to be as comfortable as possible while optimizing your aerodynamic position. This is something you want to get done early in the season. You don’t want to make detrimental adjustments in the middle of your race season as it could lead to injury and/or poor performance.

Being proactive this spring with your bike maintenance and prep can only help your performance this season. Get these things done so that you can concentrate on your training instead of fussing with details.