Specific Skills and Drills for a Powerful Early Season
Start the season with more grace and success.
lose gravity?s contribution to your momentum and have to work harder to maintain your speed. Sprint with your head up, hands in the drops, and shoot for a ?finish line? about 200 meters down the road.
Reassess You Skills
Your first seasonal dose of racing can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. It takes Lance Armstrong a few races to feel settled in the peloton as well, so you shouldn?t feel like you?re the only one. To alleviate mid-pack jitters, you should spend a little time refreshing your pack and cornering skills.
I don?t want the first corner you take at full speed this year to be in your first race. Instead, you should go to a business park or parking lot after work hours and practice bombing through corners. Be sure to be careful of cars and respectful of traffic laws; reasons empty parking lots may be safer than roads. Use cones or existing curbs in the parking lot to simulate corners in races. As you practice, change how the corner is set up (90 degrees, 120 degrees, 180 degrees), your approach to it, your exit from it, etc. When you feel comfortable, exaggerate the movements to expand your comfort zone: lean the bike further than normal, cut the corner closer to the inside and farther to the outside than normal, or change your line in the middle of the corner. These are all common responses to racing situations, and you?re more likely to respond correctly if you?ve done it in practice. These cornering drill workouts don?t have to be long or involved; some athletes do them during recovery rides or on their way home from other workouts.
Don?t Get Ahead Of Yourself
The cycling season can be a long one, lasting from Feb-March to October. At the very beginning of the season, you need to incorporate speed work into your program so you can race effectively, but you shouldn?t totally reshape your training yet. One mistake people make is to abandon the workouts that develop their aerobic engines too early, replacing them with too many hard group rides, intense interval sessions, and races. It?s normal and expected that your racing performance is going to be less than optimal when the season starts if your goal events are still five months away.
For the amateur competitive cyclist, I?d recommend adding one or two speed-focused rides into your weekly training program. If you normally train five days a week (one rest day, one recovery ride, five training days), adding two shouldn?t adversely affect your overall aerobic and lactate threshold training. If you train three or four days/week, keep your primary focus on your interval workouts and add some downhill sprints or cornering drills on the way home from your rides.
Early season training should include long intervals that work on developing your power at lactate threshold and further improve the power you can produce before you reach lactate threshold.