Improve your stamina, optimize your endurance, and fly through the finish line of your next race with these tips
Train Like a Cycling Pro!
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The prestigious Carmichael Training Systems program, founded by Chris Carmichael, the world-class coach to more than 10,000 endurance athletes since 2000, offers kick-ass camps for cyclists and triathletes of all levels and all ages across the country.
I signed up for my second intense three-day camp this year to take my skills to the next level. With a super-smart curriculum, attentive one-on-one coaching strategy, and a full support team, it's impossible to leave the camp without learning something new and game-changing—or feeling a little spoiled.
You ride twice a day, practicing with patient and super-talented coaches to hone your skills and pacing techniques, increase your speed, and improve your comfort and confidence on challenging, seemingly endless hills. This is the perfect (and safest) place to push yourself and test your limits, then talk to an experienced coach about what works and what doesn't work for you and your specific goals.
Here's a sneak peek at some skills and drills that I learned at the CTS climbing camp in Tucson this spring. If you can’t make it to a camp (the next one is in Colorado Springs this June!), start your own impromptu session with cycling friends at a park near you.
You'll Need: Your bike, a water bottle, and a friend or partner (for last exercise)
The Track Stand
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Practice coming to a complete stop while staying clipped in to your bike. Keep your crank arms parallel to the ground and practice balancing your weight between the pedals. Relax your upper body and keep your elbows bent. You will need to shift your weight between hands to keep your balance. Remember that you can always start pedaling to regain balance if you start to feel yourself falling over.
Water Bottle Pick-Up
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Drop a water bottle on the ground while cycling. Spend a few minutes getting comfortable taking one hand off the bars while shifting your other hand closer to the center of your handlebars. Next make sure you have enough speed that you can coast as you get close to the bottle. Your leg closest to the bottle should be fully extended and you should already be reaching toward the ground well in advance of getting to the bottle. The jerkier the motion is, the more likely you are to fall or miss the bottle.
Water Bottle Slalom
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Set up a row of water bottles in a straight line and practice navigating through them. The goal of this drill is to practice keeping your balance over the center of the bottom bracket while leaning the bike to steer between the bottles. As you get more comfortable, move the bottles closer together and weave through the bottles faster.
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Ride next to your partner and get comfortable enough to bump shoulders. Make sure that you keep your shoulders and handlebars in line with each other to reduce the chance of getting your bikes tangled together. Get close enough together that you are touching shoulders and practice leaning into each other and eventually putting your arms around each other.