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    Improving sprinting?

    Hello!

    Still haven't entered any races but I want to. I feel like I have to become a much stronger rider first. My question is...what should I do to become a better sprinter at the end? I was involved in a one-on-one impromptu race with a fellow cyclist while on a no-drop group ride. Just a quick one-mile race to a stop light. Well...I got CRUSHED! I hung with him until the end. But when he dropped the hammer and sprinted near the end, I couldn't react fast enough...and when I did react, I wasn't catching up because I just don't have the watts!

    Do I hit the gym and work on my legs? Are there specific workouts while on the bike that'll help?

    Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    "have fun and be kind"
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    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Shouldn't middle-schoolers be at camp right now?

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    There it is, I wasn't sure who would send the first zinger but we have a winner
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  5. #5
    HMF
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    Sprint more.

    Seriously.

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    OP, don't worry about sprinting yet, just start racing and see how it goes.

    For a lot of people (but not everyone) it will take a few races before you're even there at the finish anyway, so your sprint right now doesn't matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    OP, don't worry about sprinting yet, just start racing and see how it goes.

    For a lot of people (but not everyone) it will take a few races before you're even there at the finish anyway, so your sprint right now doesn't matter.
    Oh, I realize I'm not strong enough right now to be in the pack at the finish! I just want to work on sprinting now anyway...just for little, for fun, attacks and mini races during group rides among friends!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HMF View Post
    Sprint more.

    Seriously.
    Should I just sprint intervals on the bike? Is it worth while to spend time in the gym working on building up more leg muscle?

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamtrinity View Post
    Should I just sprint intervals on the bike? Is it worth while to spend time in the gym working on building up more leg muscle?
    There are some people who will tell you that weight work in the gym doesn't help, but oddly my peak power numbers follow my weight workout numbers...one goes up so does the other.

  10. #10
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Why work on sprinting, when you can work on your threshold and just drop everyone and win solo.
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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    There are some people who will tell you that weight work in the gym doesn't help, but oddly my peak power numbers follow my weight workout numbers...one goes up so does the other.
    We all know my take on weight work and riding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    Why work on sprinting, when you can work on your threshold and just drop everyone and win solo.
    That woud be awesome! lol

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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    Why work on sprinting, when you can work on your threshold and just drop everyone and win solo.

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    HMF
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    Why work on sprinting, when you can work on your threshold and just drop everyone and win solo.
    My thoughts exactly! And that's exactly what I'm working on now.

    I'll let you know how it goes.

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    Can't sprint for the win unless you're there at the end when it counts. So, yes, work on threshold too.

    But sprint more too. Remember the cycling koan: to ride fast you must ride fast.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Yes, sprinting practice is good. I strongly suggest you find an experienced racer who has actually won field sprints or track sprints to teach you proper techniques.

    Same with the weight room - it's good as long as you do it right and don't injure yourself. Get instruction.
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    Before I would even consider focusing on sprints I would at least train so that I could sit in with the pack. You might even turn out to be a decent sprinter anyway. I know some riders that get crushed 1 vs. 1 in training sessions, but always finishes top 5 in sprint finishes because of high threshold and/or anaerobic capabilities in addition to tactical savvy. They do well simply because they are the most rested when the sprint begins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by teamtrinity View Post
    Hello!

    Still haven't entered any races but I want to. I feel like I have to become a much stronger rider first. My question is...what should I do to become a better sprinter at the end? I was involved in a one-on-one impromptu race with a fellow cyclist while on a no-drop group ride. Just a quick one-mile race to a stop light. Well...I got CRUSHED! I hung with him until the end. But when he droped the hammer and sprinted near the end, I couldn't react fast enough...and when I did react, I wasn't catching up because I just don't have the watts!

    Do I hit the gym and work on my legs? Are there specific workouts while on the bike that'll help?

    Thanks!!!
    fixed.

  19. #19
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
    Shouldn't middle-schoolers be at camp right now?
    Ken's Krazy Skuba Kamp has been going on all week down here in the 305. The youngest is 11, the oldest is 15. I am renaming it "Camp What Was I ****ing Thinking?"
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  20. #20
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    I always heard people tell me I need to train my weakness and practice sprinting more. It never worked. I simply cannot sprint and that's that. It has a lot to do with muscle type and all this biological crap. I can lead out a sprinter from 1k really well though sometimes they get shot doing it and can't come around. My advice would be see if you are sprinter, or not, and go from there.
    If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will? =^.^=

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
    I always heard people tell me I need to train my weakness and practice sprinting more. It never worked. I simply cannot sprint and that's that. It has a lot to do with muscle type and all this biological crap. I can lead out a sprinter from 1k really well though sometimes they get shot doing it and can't come around. My advice would be see if you are sprinter, or not, and go from there.
    someone may not have the physiology to be a "sprinter" against other sprinters, but alot of races are won by non-sprinter types who have maximized what their legs will give them in a sprint by practicing and mastering technique. i advise racers to spend some time doing form sprints to maximize what they've got - making sure to be in the drops, low in the front, be able to shift gears, what their gearing should be (i.e. not to be over or undergeared) how long of a sprint (max out of saddle effort) they can maintain so they know when to go, and to practice that bike throw at the end. knowing this stuff and having practiced it will help anyone should they find themselves in a situation to use it and might end up being the difference between a win and an also ran.

  22. #22
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    someone may not have the physiology to be a "sprinter" against other sprinters, but alot of races are won by non-sprinter types who have maximized what their legs will give them in a sprint by practicing and mastering technique. i advise racers to spend some time doing form sprints to maximize what they've got - making sure to be in the drops, low in the front, be able to shift gears, what their gearing should be (i.e. not to be over or undergeared) how long of a sprint (max out of saddle effort) they can maintain so they know when to go, and to practice that bike throw at the end. knowing this stuff and having practiced it will help anyone should they find themselves in a situation to use it and might end up being the difference between a win and an also ran.

    Great post.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  23. #23
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamtrinity View Post
    My question is...what should I do to become a better sprinter at the end? I was involved in a one-on-one impromptu race with a fellow cyclist while on a no-drop group ride. Just a quick one-mile race to a stop light. Well...I got CRUSHED! I hung with him until the end. But when he droped the hammer and sprinted near the end, I couldn't react fast enough...and when I did react, I wasn't catching up because I just don't have the watts!

    Do I hit the gym and work on my legs? Are there specific workouts while on the bike that'll help?
    Sprints are some of the most intricate and complex maneuvers in bike-racing. It's like fighting against Conan the Barbarian and Bruce Lee while playing chess with Fischer and Kasparov all at the same time. It's not as simple as ride as hard as you can. Here are some variables that can affect the outcome of a sprint:

    1. raw leg-strength, how much can you leg-press? In max-exertion efforts, muscles first use phosphocreatine, then glucose in anaerobic-fermentation to create ATP. How long do these energy-sources last?

    2. physics of drafting. From which direction is the wind blowing? Are you in his draft at an angle to account for the wind? How far back are you? 24-inches? 12-inches? 6-inches?

    3. gearing, do you know how fast you can pedal in each gear? And what MPH is that? And for how long you can keep it up? Remember, Watts power = ForceOnPedals*RPM. You can be just as strong as the other guy, but if he can spin his pedals twice as fast, he'll generate twice the power and go 25% faster.

    4. body-positioning, are you sitting or out of the saddle at the start? Halfway through the sprint? At the end? How much power can you generate in the saddle compared to out? And for how long?

    5. individual tactics, who goes first? What gear do you use to draft? What gear do you use to come around? How far from the finish do you come around? Do you accelerate in the draft or side-by-side?

    6. team tactics, How many teammates do they have? How many are sprinters? How many will be sacrificed for the sprinter? who's the lead-out?

    7. etc. etc. etc.

    Sprinting is a combination of physical strength and mental abilities. It's not a simple or easy thing to learn and much less actually do well.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 07-18-12 at 01:39 AM.

  24. #24
    Must Go Faster veloboy971's Avatar
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    For max sprint power, I'd first suggest working on short, 10 pedal stroke max, small ring jumps - all out. Start 39x15 or so from slow speed and work on getting on top of the gear as quickly as possible in 10 strokes. Then rest for 5 minutes and go again. Start out with 5 and work up. Give good rest afterward. For sprinting at speed - I find fast group rides excellent as you can use the draft go get up to speed and then can jump hard in the bigger gears, getting on top of them fast, and pushing lots of power.
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    My own rookie comments....

    If you do it right you have to get into a training program first. Weight training benefits will mostly depend on your body type, but I think generally it helps, specially if you are over 45, as we older guys lose muscle mass quicker than the younger ones.

    I recommend getting Joe Friel's book The Cyclist Training Bible. It outlines the general training principles for road racing. It is a great starting point and a source of motivation. If you get it and read it you will see that sprinting is the last thing you work on. Sprinting skill being made up of two basic skills of speed and force, which have to be trained first, specially for an aspiring racer such as yourself. Good luck, hope you stick to it and post your progress here.

    PS Friel tends to be conservative, suggesting that you do the harder workouts needed for sprinting on your second year of racing or even later. Resting/recovery is most important for this kind of training than any other. And that is the hardest thing to learn as a cyclist.

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