Originally published in Endurance News #70, June/July 2010: Read the full article online here.
Road Cyclists entering the sport over the past fifteen or so years have tended to come in by way of mountain biking, triathlon, or fitness, rather than pure road cycling. As a result, most of these “cyclists” lack the knowledge which makes up the foundation of the classic cyclists’ repertoire and which builds upon the backbone of the sport. Here are some things the classic cyclist knows and does:
The best way to start a ride, or conduct any aerobic activity, is to warm up properly. “Warming up” is not just about elevating heart rate, however; it’s also about gradually warming up the entire body and bringing one’s attention to the matter at hand. This takes time to do it properly. A classic cyclist will take the first ten to twenty miles of a ride, or even a race, to warm up properly, usually staying off the big chainring and two smallest cogs. As a result, he or she will actually ride better and more quickly than the current jackrabbit style of cyclists who catapult onto every training ride or event. Frankly, it’s shocking to me that riders today just take off “like a bat out of hell” even on a training ride, or social ride. Back in the day, at a double century or a road race, riders would all cruise together for the first hour or more, socializing while warming up properly. They’d end up becoming fitter, setting faster PRs than riders today in the same events, getting to know one another better, AND having more fun.
Chris Kostman has been a classic cyclist since 1982. Besides competing in races as diverse as the Race Across America, the Iditabike Mountain Bike Race, and the 24 Hours of Canaan, he also organizes the Badwater Ultramarathon and Furnace Creek 508 races, a series of four century rides, and the Rough Riders Rally. This is his fifteenth article for Endurance News. Learn more at his blog, www.XO-1.org, and at www.adventurecorps.com.