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While intended to illustrate the training techniques for potential Olympian Christian Vande Velde, some of this advice could be useful for everyday riders.
A few excerpts follow:
" “If you want to race, you will have to spring for a $1,500 to $2,000” road racing bicycle, said Jonathan Vaughters, the manager for Christian Vande Velde’s cycling team, which added a sponsor this week and is now called Team Garmin/Chipotle with H3O.
But don’t feel pressured to overbuy, Mr. Vaughters said. “The difference between a $500 bike and a $1,500 bike is huge,” he said. “The difference between a $1,500 bike and an $8,000 bike is very small.” Invest the saving in good-quality bike shorts with a firm, thick pad and a price tag north of $75. “That may be the best thing you can buy, in terms of comfort,” Mr. Vaughters said."
"WHO NEEDS HILLS? Study the altitude-gain profile of the race you’re doing, Mr. Lim said. “Then climb at least that much, at least once or twice a week.”
“If the race has 3,000 feet of climbing, find a hill that’s 500 feet and climb it six times, fast, no resting between,” he said.
But if you live in a flat area, listen to local weather reports and note the direction of the wind. A strong head wind can simulate hill climbing, Mr. Vaughters said. “You need to push hard into the wind,” using “a big gear, for at least six minutes and no longer than 45 minutes” once or twice a week “to get the aerobic benefits of climbing big hills,” he said. (In recompense, you get a tail wind all the way home.) "
"Then set about increasing your average wattage. Mr. Vande Velde does this by punctuating rides with five minute “power bursts,” dropping into a low gear, pushing his pedals as hard as he can, his wheels turning at his top sustainable watts and barely 50 revolutions per minute. In the next five minutes, he’ll click up into an easier gear, pedals whirring at low watts and about 90 r.p.m. (which any recreational rider should be able to maintain). Then he’ll repeat.
Less-experienced riders should throw in similar spurts during several of their weekly rides, Mr. Vaughters said, but for as little as 30 seconds to a minute at first."