What a great weekend for triathlon in Great Britain. The Dextro Energy Hyde Park Triathlon was a huge success in more ways than one. If you didn’t manage to watch the race live you can watch highlights here. Helen Jenkins did the unthinkable by running away from some of the fastest runners the sport has ever seen. Alistair Brownlee was nothing short of awesome. I’m quite sure Johnny Brownlee could have been second if he wanted to but I think he took one for the team by staying in the chasing pack and letting his older brother go in the break.
Guy Holbrow was 5th in his category on Saturday on the Hyde Park Olympic distance course. Matt Tilbrook led the wave out of the water, followed by Guy and then Allison McLean. Three LFTC athletes 1st, 2nd and 3rd out of the water…fantastic! I have not had a chance to check all the results but congratulations to all those who competed over the weekend.
The North Norfolk Triathlon is a week earlier than last year. Unfortunately this means it falls on the final weekend of the school holidays. As such the caravan park where we stayed last year is fully booked. I have made enquiries about other accommodation. Getting beds for twenty is not easy! I have booked a dorm for eight at the Deepdale Farm Back Packers Hostel. Six people have expressed an interest already. Please email the club with ‘accommodation’ in the subject line if you are interested. It may be possible for others to book camp sites, tipis or yurts at the Deepdale Farm if they don’t mind sleeping in the great outdoors. Other options include the YHA in Wells Next the Sea which has a few spare beds or individuals/small groups may have to look at booking local B&B’s or holiday cottages. Get onto it quickly though.
We don’t get to refine our cycling skills as often as we do our swimming and running. However, maximizing pedalling efficiency is very important as the bike is the longest leg of a triathlon no matter what distance you race. Improving your pedalling efficiency could result in both a faster bike time and run time if you finish the bike with less fatigue.
Most of the power produced during the pedal stroke is produced on the down stroke. Power production falls drastically as the pedals approach and pass through the top and bottom of the stroke. Pedaling smoothly through the two “dead spots” located at top and bottom of the pedal stroke will improve pedalling efficiency.
Here are some ways to improve pedalling efficiency:
My favourite: Get a fixie!
Unlike a bike with a free hub there is no ability to freewheel (i.e. spin without pedaling) on a fixed gear bike. Using a fixed gear bike forces you to learn how to pedal correctly because you must unweight the leg during the up stroke to avoid braking. So if you don’t have a fixie it could be time to add one to your stable of bicycles. Spinning has the same effect due to the fly wheel. So those of you taking Karl’s classes should be flying.
The hard yards: Big gears on hills.
Overgeared, high-power, low-cadence workouts are essential. Climbing hills, seated, in a big gear forces you to keep force flowing to the pedals over the top and through the bottom of the stroke. It is the only way you can maintain enough momentum to keep the bike moving forward. Later on you can add sprints up steep hills, again in a big gear and with slow, rolling starts.
One at a time: Single leg pedalling.
Single leg pedaling drills are another great way to improve pedalling efficiency. This allows total isolation and concentration on each leg. You can really feel if you have a dead spot in your pedalling action. You will feel a surge of power on the down stroke and then a sudden drop at the top or bottom of the stroke if you’re not pedalling efficiently. Start with 3-5 reps of 30-45 seconds on each leg. Don’t try to push to big a gear, just work on a smooth action.
Rockin and rollin : Get a set of rollers.
I have been using rollers for the past year. They are great over the winter when the icy roads prevent you from getting out and about. They require some getting used to. An inefficient pedalling technique will have the rear wheel swinging from side to side. As your efficiency improves you will find you can ride bigger gears without the feeling of riding on sheet ice.
One day you might be able to ride your carbon road bike like the guy in this video!
I won’t see you this weekend as I am racing on Saturday at another London League event and then moving house on Sunday. Remember those fins and pull buoys as you will be using both on Saturday and Sunday. Keep safe and see you again soon. Tim (LFTC Coach)