Cycling Tips

Cycling Tips with Ian Cassidy

• Make Sure your bike is in Race Condition

Check that your tyres, brakes and gears are in good working order, and that the nuts and bolts are secure. Get it checked out by a bike shop if you are unsure and DON’T leave it until the day before the race. Make sure that you have spare tubes, Co2 and levers in the saddle bag as well as a pump. But it’s one thing having them; you need to know how to use them.

• Know your Transition

Know where your swim entry is, where you racked your bike and where bike exit is. Take a walk through to familiarise yourself with it. Also, practice putting your helmet and sunglasses on. If you have your shoes clipped into the pedals, practice placing your feet into them before the day. Otherwise, put your shoes on in transition and run the short distance to the mount line and then clip in. All of this also applies to the dismount line and re-racking your bike.

• Know the Course

If possible, cycle the course in advance and get to know the turns, the drags, the descents, and any possible hazards – shores, holes, rough patches. It is a fairly technical course and will be busy on race day, so the more you know the better. Also, take note of where the bike entry and exit are as well as the number of laps you have to do!

• Practice eating and drinking on the bike

If you’re consuming solid foods make sure you keep them in small manageable pieces. Place your gels on the top tube and tape them just above the tear line so that you can take them straight away. Make sure you practice drinking too; being able to reach down and take your bottle, drink and return it isn’t as easy as it looks. Don’t litter the course and be sure to put your wrappers back in the back pocket of your tri suit.

• Cycle over distance in training

Look to cover a longer distance in training than you will during the race so you won’t be worried about being able to complete your race distance. Hence, if you’re doing the sprint distance, look to cover at least 30-40k on the bike. For the Olympic distance, look to cover 60-70k during your training.

• Train in your gear

Make sure you have trained in your race gear before the race and DON’T use anything new.

• Be Positive

Be positive and block out all negativity. When a negative thought creeps into your mind, do your best to replace it with a positive one instead.

• Be Courteous

Listen to the marshals and follow their instructions. No matter how hard you are finding it someone else will be having a worse time so give someone who’s struggling some encouragement!

• Enjoy

Have fun and enjoy it. A Triathlon isn’t easy at any level. Enjoy the support you receive and don’t forget to SMILE!

Want more? check out Bike 101 with Nick Reed below.

Bike 101 by Nick Reed

The bike is pretty much the only part of your equipment which can actually force you out of the race if it fails, so check it carefully:

Tires: Check surface for flints and glass and makes sure they are correctly inflated. Most road bike tyres can take well over 100psi but check the ratings on the sidewalls. Many people will have pumps on the day so if you’re not sure don’t be afraid to ask for a hand. Check for any bulges in the sidewalls or other signs of wear and replace if required.

Tubes: Check you have at least one spare tube and a pair of tyre levers on the bike in a suitable container. Tape them on if required, and obviously, make sure you know how to change a tube if you have to.

Pump: The above is academic if you haven’t got one of these.

Brakes: Check that they operate freely – release cables and lube with WD40 if required. Check cables are sound and not frayed – replace if in any doubt. Check brake blocks have adequate thread, are square on to rim and do not touch the tyres or they will cause a blow-out.

Gears: Check the operation of the gears up and down the block and across both rings. Check cables as above. Lube if required.

Wheels: Check that they are true (stand above wheel, rotate and look for any left to right movement) and that spokes are all sound.

Cranks: Check that cranks are secure onto the bottom bracket and that pedals spin freely.

Seat and handlebars: Check that relevant allen bolts are tight, particularly on handlebars. Check security of handlebars to stem.

Headset: If this is loose you will have potentially dangerous steering problems. To check, straddle the bike and lock the front wheel using the front brake only. Try and rock the bike back and forth: if you can hear a clunking sound your headset is loose. There are various types, some use an allen bolt to tighten, others a C spanner. If in doubt take it to a bike shop.

Water bottle: Make sure you have one and that the cage is secure.

Helmet: Check it fits, adjust straps if required.

Sunglasses: not just for posing, but help keep bugs and road grit out of your eyes.

Socks: Don’t bother unless you are used to them – waste of time on the Bike.

Shoes: if you are wearing bike specific shoes, check your cleats are secure and not excessively worn down.