MASTERING THE BIKE: TRAIN FOR THE DC TERRAIN
Author: Matias Palavecino
If you're looking for a flat and fast bike course, the
Nation's Triathlon has you covered. Besides a few rollers on the Parkway, the
40K course is built for speed. Here are a couple bike workouts and tips to get
Lucky 777s - The goal of this workout is to improve your race day threshold by working slightly above your 40K bike goal. Start with a 15 minute warm and throw in a few out of the saddle 20 second bursts. This will help "open" up the legs and prepare the body for the upcoming sufferfest. Main set - Roll into a 7 minute effort just above the pace you plan to sustain at Nation's Tri. Take 7 minutes of easy spinning, repeat six more times. So a total of seven sets of 7 minutes on followed by 7 minutes off. Ten minute cool down. APPROX TIME: 2 HR.
20 Minute Thresholds - The first workout called for intervals just above threshold. This time we work our aerobic engines by riding tempo just below threshold. Start with a 15 minute warm up and throw in a few 20 second bursts. Main set - 20 minutes at tempo just below your race day goal pace. Take two minutes rest, then roll into the second round and follow up with a ten minute cool down. Also known as the "2x20", this is a staple workout for those training for a flat and fast 40K. APPROX TIME: 65 MIN.
Adding these workouts to your training schedule will lead to big improvements on race day. Be sure to follow up intense bike sessions with two easy days of riding. It's during rest that the body gets stronger from all those hammerfests.
Aerodynamics - On a flat course like Nation's, aerodynamic drag is by far the greatest obstacle to your speed, accounting for 70 to 80 percent of the resistance felt while pedaling. The only greater obstacle is climbing up a hill, and there are only a few of those sprinkled along the course, so aerodynamics plays a big role in your success. Things as simple as dropping your head down a few inches or riding in your drops vs the hoods can have a big impact on your overall time. At first, it may be a bit challenging to breathe in the drops, but only at first. With practice and conditioning, you can train your body to be comfortable in the drops. And if you can splurge on clip on aero bars, even better. Those that spend time on improving their position will see benefits on race day.
So there you have it - Incorporate these workouts into your routine and you will crush it on race day. Spend time learning about aerodynamics and the role it plays in cycling.
A swimmer as a kid and runner through high school and college, Matias was hooked after watching his sister and dad compete at the 2003 Columbia triathlon. All the hard work paid off in 2007 when he qualified to race the Ironman Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He followed up with amateur wins at the 2008 Eagleman Half Ironman, 2009 Chicago Triathlon, and a sub 2:35 performance at the 2010 Boston Marathon. Matias loves the high energy people drawn to the sport and met his soon to be wife at swim practice. Their motto? "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing". Matias races and trains with the Snapple Triathlon Team.