Speed. We all want it, even if we don’t admit it. I’m not as fast as some, but I’m not slow either. I’ve learnt a thing or two over the years about speed. Apart from pushing on those pedals a LOT harder (still important) there are other ways to eek out a little more speed. Here are three simple tips for getting a little bit faster this year.
Lose some weight! Yes, I’m looking at you. Drop 10kg / 20lbs off your lardy ass and you’ll be a damn sight quicker when the road points skyward. As Blur so eloquently put it, “Who’s that gut lord marching, you should cut down on your pork life mate!”
It’s simple physics. An 90kg rider is going to need a LOT more watts to keep pace with a 75kg rider up a climb. The steeper it gets, the greater that difference is going to feel. We’re not all going to look like Chris Froome at the end of The Tour, but a couple of inches off the waistline probably wouldn’t hurt.
Deep section wheels. Sure you still have to be able to power them up to speed, but get a set of quality deep section carbon rims bombing along above 30kph and the difference is noticeable! They hold and maintain speed much easier than shallow section wheels. Modern designs also handle crosswinds much better. The deeper the better, 40mm is a good all-rounder depth, 60mm for full-on aero as long as it’s not too windy where you ride.
Bonus points for outright sexy looks too.
Know when to conserve energy and when to push hard. Don’t want to starve or spend? Then this tip is totally free (unless you want to PayPal me for the awesome advice). My secret to speed is not about being the most powerful rider, or even putting out a lot of power (I don’t) but using the power I have wisely.
Don’t back off the gas early (and don’t stop for Instagram shots).
If a higher average speed is what you’re after, push a little harder into the red on any inclines and – this part is important – keep that power on over the crest of the climb and into the descent. Many riders will hit the crest and instantly back off, losing even more speed. Don’t do this. Keep the pressure on! Once you’re up to speed again, back off and use the rest of the descent to recover. On the flats get as aero as possible, but I’ll delve into that in another article.
So there you go, three tips to get you cycling faster in 2020 and on your way to taking every Strava KOM in your neighbourhood. Or maybe just getting to the cafe first… #pedalharder