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Triathlon Cycling: Pedaling Technique – Part II

In Part I of our post on triathlon cycling: pedaling technique, I discussed the differences between toe down and heel down and, with all other things being equal, the lack of advantage one has over the other. Today we’ll look at the implementation of toe down or heel down when cycling on flats vs. climbs as well as the pedaling technique known as ‘ankling.’ First, it’s important to note that you will pedal differently depending on your cadence. It’s widely known that the faster your cadence is, the less likely you’ll be able to control any sort of pedaling technique. This makes sense. High cadence usually equates to high effort. And as Steve Hogg illustrates from "Pedaling Technique – Which…
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Triathlon Cycling: Pedaling Technique – Part I

Toe Down vs. Heel Down Pedal efficiency is a cycling nerd subject. We all know how to ride a bike but the triathlete who’s really dedicated really wants to know how to ride a bike. Really. Pedaling technique is an argument over how to be more efficient. Should you ride toe down? Heel down? Or somewhere in between? Through my research and experience, great cyclists and triathletes have accompanied all forms of pedaling techniques. The legends have run the full gambit of toe down, heel down, and average. So it only stands to reason that this kind of pedal technique is not necessarily indicative of your cycling prowess. Thus, I suppose we could technically just stop here and say it…
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Why Technical Cycling Matters in Triathlon – Part II

In my last post, I introduced why technical cycling matters to triathletes. The first reason I gave was that bike proficiency parallels power/speed consistency and greater overall energy conservation. The second reason, however, is even more important. And that’s because experience in technical riding makes you a safer athlete.   Safety First Yes, it’s true that Tour Riders are daredevils. They burn down mountains and zip around cut-throat turns in ways us mere mortals would never dream of – mostly because it’d be a nightmare. And while we do witness some pretty horrific crashes from time to time amidst the pro circuit, that’s usually only due to the fact these guys are in such close proximity to each other. The…
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Why Technical Cycling Matters in Triathlon – Part I

As triathletes, we prefer long, flat straightaways. That’s what our bikes were made for after all. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t always as conducive to how we’d prefer to ride. There are a multitude of race courses out there in the triathlon wilderness amok with sharp turns and wild descents. If you don’t know how to handle them you’ll be hindering your overall race performance and, even worse, potentially putting yourself in harm’s way. Technical cycling matters in triathlon and here’s why: AP = NP The less technical your cycling is, the harder it’s going to be to keep pace. For any event lasting over an hour (which last time I checked is virtually every triathlon in existence), it’s crucial…
TriDot_030717_Blog

3 Key Benefits of “Smart” Bike Trainers

Nowadays it seems everyone has a “smart” something. From smart phones to smart TVs to now even smart cars, our world is becoming all the more tech savvy as time goes on. Naturally, the triathlon and cycling nations have taken a privy to this smart revolution. And smart bike trainers are increasingly becoming all the rage. But what benefits can a smart bike trainer provide over the traditional trainer?   1. Playing with Power One of the more obvious reasons smart bike trainers have an advantage is the fact that they provide a power meter within—even if your bike doesn’t have one. And not only that, the higher end smart trainers output real power, not simulated numbers. Therefore, if you…
TriDot_2016_0601_Blog

Three Power Threshold Training Points to Always Remember in Triathlon

Power threshold training, for the purpose of this blog post, is the training done on the bike in order to increase your Functional Threshold Power (FTP). FTP is the maximum sustainable power one can hold for a given amount of time. Increasing your FTP is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your cycling. An athlete with a higher FTP will be able to hold a faster pace more comfortably than an athlete with a lower FTP. For example, if Tim’s FTP is 225 watts and he’s holding 85% of that power for the bike leg of an IRONMAN, then Bill who weighs the same as Tim and has an FTP of 200 watts must hold a higher…
TriDot_2016_0412_Blog

How to Legally Draft on the Bike in a Triathlon

To those most intimate with the sport, drafting on the bike in triathlon is language to be feared. Draft-legal races – meaning the ability to draft behind others on the bike leg without penalty – are few and far between in the triathlon world, especially in the United States. However, the non-draft triathlon is a bit of a misnomer. Drafting on the bike is still legally available to all, albeit to a much lesser degree. This is due to the nature of USAT and WTC non-drafting rules for age group athletes. The USAT rulebook upholds that “no participant shall permit his drafting zone to intersect with or remain intersected with the drafting zone of a leading cyclist or that of…
TriDot_2016_0309_Blog

Why a Proper Triathlon Bike Fit Improves Efficiency

I’ll never forget the sight I saw at my first IRONMAN 70.3 as I rode along the coast of Lake Michigan (yes, I’m talking about Steelhead). However, the spectacle before me had nothing to do with the race venue. It was the proficiency of my competition that had me baffled. As a novice triathlete at the time, I’ll fully admit I knew next to nothing about the intricacies of cycling. Especially on a time trial bike. But even then I had a hunch something was wrong as I whipped by athlete after athlete upright and un-aerodynamically atop my cheap aluminum frame road bike. What were my fellow age group athletes riding? Full carbon fiber time trial machines ranging in brand…
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When Am I Ready for an IRONMAN?

Triathletes commonly ask how long is required to fully prepare for an IRONMAN race. My answer is simple: Everyone’s unique, so there’s no one answer. But everybody’s plan should ideally include both a developmental phase and race preparation phase. The developmental phase time will vary widely based on several factors including an athlete’s age, body composition, overall fitness, and time within the sport. It focuses on building speed, power, and efficiency to ensure the athlete has adequate fitness and skill in each discipline to take on the rigors of training for and racing in an IRONMAN. In addition to fitness, the athlete will need to achieve certain physiological adaptations in the developmental phase. These can include changes such as body composition, muscular and…
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Are Power Meters Worth the Investment?

That depends on whom you ask: I'm pretty sure your financial planner will advise against it, but your triathlon coach will likely give a resounding endorsement. A power meter is an investment in yourself. While other big-ticket items such as high-end bike frames and aero wheels will produce marginally faster splits, they do nothing to improve the cyclist turning the pedals. Conversely, adding a power meter will serve as a tool to make you a stronger, more efficient and a more educated rider. Prior to power meters, heart rate monitors were the best tool available to prescribe, monitor and track intensity in training and racing. While heart rate monitors do offer a quantification of effort level, the results can be…

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