Want to ride fast? Then sit down first—with a copy of Selene Yeager's new book, Get Fast!, 272 extremely readable pages of secrets, strategies, personal stories and even some training plans on how to take your riding to a new level. She reveals key information like how you can save twice as much time over a 40K time trial by getting into a proper tuck position than by buying a time trial bike. And how you might not need to spin like a hamster in a wheel in order to hang with a faster group. And how your "third eye" can help you corner like a pro. Plus, there's the latest information—filtered through a keep-it-real lens—on fueling, resistance training, and goal setting.
But even after all that, we still had some questions, so we caught up with Yeager (when she wasn't on a bike) to find out more.
With all of these ways to get faster, where should you start? Technique? Fueling? Training plans?
SY: It sounds simplistic, but where you start depends on where you are. If you're pretty new to cycling, then going into the technical stuff is where you should start. Basics like shifting, braking, and pedaling efficiently translate into easy speed. And they'll make you a better bike rider. You can't overstate how good it is to ride a bike better. You're safer, you handle the bike better, and it just makes your cycling a more pleasurable experience.
If you've been training—suppose you've been following a plan for a century ride, and the plan tells you how many miles to do per day or week—the next step is probably going to be working other elements into your riding, which might be intervals. Or maybe you need to work on core strength, because riding requires core strength but doesn't build it. And having a stronger personal frame will make you stronger on your bike.
Would you be smarter to spend 30 minutes a day making extra money to buy a nicer bike or wheels or spend those 30 minutes out riding?
SY: Unless you've truly maximized yourself and your ability on the bike you have, then 30 minutes a day of riding and training will make you faster. There's a point at which—and hopefully you'll hit it—you have earned the right to buy some speed. But don't feel like you have to. Some of the fastest people I know are on the most unlikely bikes because they know how to ride them and they're fit.
But if you have some money to spend, what should you upgrade first?
SY: A good set of wheels is probably the best investment a rider can make. New wheels are like a new bike. Early on in my riding, I kept hearing people talk about wheels, wheels, wheels. I thought they were rambling on about gear the way they always did. But then I found out what a difference wheels make, and it was a game changer.