I get asked the question all the time: “How do I get faster on the bike?” While I believe some of it is natural ability, I have also worked my ass off to make it a strength…and I love speed! This is not a one-answer question…..so I’m going to touch on one tip at a time:)
Biking can be a very “social” sport and it is very easy to go easy. You get together with some friends on Saturday morning and go out for a nice 2-3 hour ride. Or, when you go out by yourself, you’re just not motivated to push yourself. I am all for group rides and easy days, but if you want to get faster, you need to change this up a bit and keep these rides for your easy days. Consider finding a group or one or two people that are a little bit faster than you and start joining in with their rides. It’s usually easier to push yourself when you are with others, and most people find it more enjoyable. This is how I got faster when I first started this sport. I was introduced to a solid cycling group when I bought my first bike, and I either tried my hardest to stay with them, or I’d end up on my own. I’m sure they would have waited for me, but that wasn’t really the point. This being said, if you are training for a non-drafting race, my strong opinion is: Don’t draft in training unless it’s supposed to be an easy part of your workout. Solid, consistent efforts in aero are very hard to achieve when sitting on someone’s wheel. So unless you plan on sitting up and chilling on the flats and riding hard on the hills….. get some solid aero rides in! If you’re with a group, either hang back a bit if you are all travelling at relatively the same speed, or pull out front and loop back if you get too far ahead or when your interval is done. I do most of my training solo, but we do have a great group here in Penticton that do an 8km time trial climb every week. This is usually done at 90-105% of FTP. We do it in a cat-and-mouse format where slowest rider leaves first. So you are either riding scared or trying to catch. This is a fun way to push yourself hard…. And you know you aren’t the only one suffering!