9 Tips to Transition Toward Spring Cycling

Cycling Economy

Ever see someone rocking side-to-side or bobbing up and down a little as the rider pedals? Moving your upper body doesn't generate any more power; it just uses energy and creates upper body fatigue. When riding on the trainer, especially when doing the above drills, check that you are riding with a quiet upper body, if possible by riding in front of a mirror.

Upper Body Fatigue

I sometimes see riders with elbows locked and I suspect they will have sore hands and tight shoulders and necks if they ride for very long. Your core muscles should be strong enough that your hands rest lightly on the bars like you are typing and your elbows should be bent rather than supporting your upper body. Practice riding with a tight core—abdominal muscles engaged and lower back supporting your upper body. If it's uncomfortable to ride with slightly bent elbows, then check your bike fit—you may need a shorter stem.

More: 3 Core Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

Ramp Up Slowly

You may have just selected your big event for 2013 and with the longer, warmer days you're excited to prepare. Ramp up slowly! Spring knee is a very common affliction—a form of tendinitis manifesting itself as sharp pain across the top of the kneecap. Spring knee results from increasing the miles too quickly and/or the weights in the gym. Follow these rules of thumb to avoid getting injured:

  • Total weekly volume increases by 10 to 20 percent
  • Only two or three hard rides a week—long endurance ride and intensity ride(s)
  • Long ride is no more than 1/2 to 2/3 of total weekly volume
  • Several easy, active recovery days a week
  • At least one complete rest day a week
  • Increase monthly volume by 15 to 25 percent
  • Every four to six weeks reduce training volume by 10 to 25 percent for a week

Enjoy your spring riding!

More: 4 Common Cycling Injuries...and How to Prevent Them

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