by Jarrod Charbonneau
Tips for Advanced Riders & Spinners: For those of you who complete a minimum of 5 spin classes a week or 300+ miles per week you know a lot of the details discussed in the previous articles so I offer you tips for advanced cyclists to improve your abilities further.
1) Rest days: Just as you read it, rest days are just as important as training days and unless you are training for a specific race you should train 5 days a week allowing two rest days per week (preferably not back to back). This does not mean you can’t lift weights but I would avoid running because it is a similar muscle group.
2) Hills and rollers: Once you are comfortable being in the saddle for a long time (3+ hours) you should start your hill climbing practice. Rolling hills are the best terrain to learn on because you learn how to use your gears quick and effectively. As you see a hill approaching you want to gear up to build as much speed as possible and keep that gear/speed for as long as you can even while on the hill, then start to gear down. Once you reach the top of the hill you should gear right back up and pick up speed to go down the hill you just climbed.
3) Eat hearty: The night before a ride it is essential to eat an above average meal because you are going to burn a lot of calories. Pasta with very little red sauce or Primavera are my weapons of choice but I would stay away from the creamy sauces such as alfredo.
4) Make hills your edge: There are two types of spinners/cyclists, sprinters and climbers. I could not tell you how many times I hear people say “I am better on flats than I am on hills” simply because they move faster while on a flat road. The best cyclists are climbers PERIOD. If you want to have an edge on everyone you spin/cycle with try to incorporate hill climbing in 4 out of 5 workouts for at least 60% of the workout.
5) Ride safely: It seems simple enough but there are a few ways to make sure you are riding safely.
(1) If at all possible, try to ride with one other person, this way if either one gets hurt the other can quickly call 911 or help the situation. (2) Wear bright colors and use lights. (3) Try your best to avoid cities; cities are filled with cars and crazy people. Typically I will start and end my ride in the city to leave and return but if you don’t live in a city to begin with than good.
Jarrod Charbonneau is a spin instructor at Beacon Hill Athletic Clubs. He is also an avid road cyclist and has completed several rides in the New England area including the Pan Mass Challenge, Harpoon B2B and Point to Point. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.