Cycling, while generally pleasurable, is ultimately all about pain and suffering at the sharp end of competition. Fatigue and exhaustion is something we have all felt at some time or other. However, why do we actually get tired on the bike and what constitutes fatigue?
Fasted and ‘controlled carbohydrate’ training is getting increasing amounts of attention. There are suggestions that these protocols could even ‘remodel’ muscle in favour of using fat as a fuel. PEZ explores what the scientific evidence says, how pro cycling teams are using these approaches and what we could learn to enhance our performance in practise.
Watching the final crush of Milan San Remo is to view the crescendo of many hours of impressive metabolism. 1000 kilojoule/hour are common place in the racing peloton, and most surely the last hour of M-S-R is way above that value. Those guys are lean and mean. Are You? Look, I’m not saying…
A popular food among cyclists and athletes, oatmeal is likely to be found in most cupboards and hotel rooms across the racing scene this season. A great choice for carbohydrates and one of the more economical quality carbohydrate choices available, and with so many practical uses in the kitchen!
If cycling is a sport of suffering, most of the time that suffering comes down to our muscles feeling like anchors on a climb or exploding in agony in a sprint. But fatigue, like love, is a many-splendored thing. Does the type and location of fatigue occur at different parts of our nerves and muscles depending on the type of exercise that we do?
With the eventual approach of (hopefully) late winter in the northern hemisphere, most of us are transitioning out of preparatory or base training and looking towards incorporating higher intensity efforts into our programs. What are some of the thoughts behind planning intervals properly?
Late January is typically the depths of winter in the northern hemisphere, so many of us have been riding indoors for more than a month. Cabin fever gets us debating whether to dare a ride outdoors or head back to the trainer. Anyway, it seems like a good time to go over some rules concerning exercising outdoors in the cold.
Nothing fits with cycling so much as the post-ride java stop, and that’s probably half the reason many of us get out on group rides to begin with. Caffeine is probably the most common ergogenic aid in use in cycling and the world in general, so it’s time to take a look at the science behind it...
Part of any good training program is a period of rest, recovery, and regeneration from a hard season of riding. Of course, some of us can take it a bit too far over the holidays, with a bit of gluttony and bad weather conspiring to reduce activity and fitness. What’s the physiological process of detraining, and how has it worked out for Miguel Indurain?
It’s a razor-thin line that we as athletes walk between being extremely lean and fit on the one edge, and the precipice of overtraining and increased risk of infections and illness on the other. With flu season upon us, what should we be considering about maintaining our off-season health?
Does being fitter also make you tougher? Does improved fitness actually alter pain tolerance? Cycle sport is intricately mythologized with the heroism and agony of suffering. We watch and marvel not just at the speed and power of the pros, but for the thrill (for us) and suffering (for them) inherent in racing over cobbles, high mountains rain, extreme heat, and even snow.
This past weekend the Cyclocross World Cup kicked off in Valkenberg with a commanding win by Lars Van der Haar, after a typically audacious start for the young gun. The ability to sprint for the hole shot by LVdH and another young star like Mathieu Van der Poel are impressive and, surely, taxing, but how taxing are they?
Nothing is worse than meeting “the man with the hammer” in the midst of a ride or a race. An essential part of race-day preparation is pre-race nutrition, and the timing and content of what you eat can have a huge impact on your actual performance. We know that it is essential to keep our fuel supply topped up during the ride, but what should we be eating before heading to the start line?
The Tour is won by the best cyclist, and that includes on and off the bike. Eating well and properly is not only good for the morale, but it’s critical in ensuring adequate recovery for another day of hard effort. What do elite cyclists do in terms of eating and energy output over the course of a hard stage race?
“Analytics” is the buzzword in many sports today, involved new ways of analyzing player effectiveness and team performance in dynamic team sports like baseball, football, and hockey. Being wattages and power analysis, can we use analytics in cycling and especially in sprinting?
While power-based training and dissecting every micro-watt in multiple permutations appears to be the dominant “new wave,” do not forget that there are other ways to monitor fatigue and predict performance that have been around for a long time and that can be much simpler, cheaper, and potentially just as effective…
In modern stage racing, time trialing has become the key to success, but how to unlock that optimal time trial remains a mix of science and feel. One of the key ingredients is an optimal pacing strategy to expend our finite energy. Is it fastest to stick to an even effort throughout? Or what are the pros and cons of power output and speed variations?
It’s a no-brainer that hard efforts and intervals are the key to improving cycling fitness and performance. However, what is the best way to plan harder efforts and space them out between endurance training? Is it a good idea to cram them into a hard block or is it better to spread them evenly?
Every spring it happens. After a winter of mostly solo rides either commuting or indoors on the trainer doing intervals, the first few group rides of the year are just brutal reawakenings to the realities of the highly variable nature of racing. What are the neuromuscular differences, if any, between hard constant efforts and group races?
Much of our training is done solo – that’s the nature of our busy lives, but also our obsession to “optimize” our training by doing our workouts perfectly. That’s fine up to a point, but are we always giving ourselves the best training by going it alone and ignoring the thrill of informal or formal competition?