How To Be Faster in 2013!

posted Dec 24, 2012, 12:15 PM by Jay Sully   [ updated Feb 24, 2013, 2:34 PM ]

It's that time of year, everyone is posting their Top 10 list of this and Top 4 list of that. 

It's even gotten to the point that internet 'news' stories tend to be a simple "The 21 Best Ways to something!" sorts of stories. Doesn't anyone write anything that requires critical thinking?Anything that makes one ponder? Anything over 150 words?  There are many, many, probably too many, TOP 10 LISTS! (or 4, or 7, or whatever). I blame David Letterman for this phenomenon. But this is not a note about phenomena. 

And while I'm unclear exactly what 'it' is in the sentence that opens that preceding paragraph, I am going to embrace this TOP X technique and bring to you one more list to help round out your 2012. No need to thank me. 

How To Be Faster in 2013! 

1. Early in the ride be sure to ride on the wheel of big guys. Or at least someone bigger than you. This will ensure that the 20 to 25 percent of the energy you're saving by having that big lug tow you all over hither and yon can be stored for later use when you choose to drop the afore mentioned cyclist who is bigger than you and has been using this girth to break wind* for/at you. 

2. Train smarter and not harder! I know. I know. I know. You've oft heard your manager explain this to you in an effort to make you a better worker. But did you know that it can also make you a better rider? It can! Now, putting it into practice is the trick. Here's what I've been doing, and you've seen the success, or should we say results? 

  • Find a large (or small) group to go for a group ride with.
  • Trash talk. Things like "Boy! I sure hope YOU can hang on my wheel today!" (That fires up your comrades to work harder! (notice I did not say smarter!) 
  • Start out up on the front. Break some wind for/at them. That will give them the incorrect sensation that they've got you right where they want you! They'll think they are thinking and you are not. But no! You are training SMARTER! Joke is on them! 
  • Get to hill number 1. Be on the front. Stand up right away. Make it look like you're gonna TAKE this mountain! (Don't stand too long though. Maybe 2 or 3 seconds. It's for effect, not for effort. 
  • Ease off just a bit. Watch as they pass you. Listen to their chuckles as they pass by. 
  • Ease off a bit more. Watch them open the gap as the hill meanders up into the clouds. 
  • Ease off even more. Although by now it's not so much 'easing' as it is about getting rid of the wheezing as you try to breath. 
  • Enjoy the gap opening up to the point they're now out of site. 
  • Turn for home.
  • Gleefully coast back down that mountain you just rode nearly 35% of. 
  • Ride slowly. Think of ice cream, coffee, scones. Ahhhh… the good life! 

You've now trained smarter! I'm not sure of the pain level all of those that peddled past you are experiencing as I've never been up there in that group but I have to imagine it's got to be awful based on how awful I feel while watching them ride away time and time again.  So who's chucking now??? 

3. Sprinting. Just do it. Some will think, "Of course! Intervals! What a great idea! Why didn't I already do this?" Whilst it is true you shall never wrest the green jersey from me since I have the blog and you don't you should still jump in and give it a go. You might even win despite the story indicating how I blew by you with 3.5 meters to go, HOW I OWNED YOU! But still, sprinting is good. Go for it. Maybe you'll have a story of your own. 

5. Invest in lighter equipment. It was explained to me something like this. Bear in mind that  sometimes in a crowd my hearing leaves a bit to be desired so I've done my best to fill in the gaps. And my memory, wow, it's so bad I can't even remember what I was going to say about it. 

The formula for lighter equipment and using it to your advantage: 

Speed increase is in direct proportion to the cost to decrease the weight. So as an example: Spending $4000 (US for my international audience) to buy into a 17 pound carbon fiber rocket ship that saves you 6 - 8 US pounds off that old crappy bike will get you a bit of boost. You will feel faster. You, however, will still likely be tied to your old speed. This is based on solid evidence of my speed change with purchase of carbon fiber rocket ship. So it must be correct... 

However, in the choice of Dura-Ace over 105 you will save close to 15 ounces for a cost of about $2000! Now that ratio is worth some serious speed! Just ask all the Dura-Ace folks as they ride past my Campy Athena Groupset equipped bike. 

    The Math

$4000/7 pounds (using the avg) = 571.4285714285713 

$2000/.9375 (using 15 oz as % of 1 pound) = 2133.33333 

        In my simple world 2133.33333 is much bigger than a meager 571.4285714285713 so it MUST be better! 

        From this theorem, we deduce that as your bike grows lighter, the more you spend, the faster you'll be! Smarter! Not harder! (again) It's easy to lose 10 pounds off the bike or body! But to lose 15 ounces off a super light bike takes cold, hard cash! 

Right now you're thinking, ok I get it. But really, how do I measure my effort? Am I improving? What is Smarter and what is harder? It's simple really. The obvious criteria that indicates you've worked harder and not smarter include but are not to be limited to these items:

  • If you feel like vomiting after the effort, you've worked harder and not smarter. Unless you drank a lot the preceding evening.
  • At the conclusion of the ride you are with the front or even the main pack of the group ride. Much Harder and much less smarter. 
  • At the conclusion of the ride you are not riding by yourself into the 20mph head wind. 
  • At your return to the shop there are still people drinking coffee and eating biker burritos. 

Wait… what was the point of this list again? 

A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! Keep your eyes peeled my upcoming Top 10 Chilkoot Riders Who Influenced Me in 2012 and Chilkoot Velo's 9th Annual Rider of Year with a full biography of me, um, I mean full biography of the 2012 Rider of the Year with a very early prediction of who will be in the running for 2013. 

* Note - the individuals who are forced to sit on the front and clear the air for you to later drop us, um, I mean them, may or may not laugh about 'break wind' and the use of the double entendre was a not so subtle attempt to give you, that one who sits on our, darn it, I did it again! I meant: give you something to think about when you sit on their wheels.