How to PR (Personal Record) Your Bike Split
By Elliot Bach
With there being so many ways to improve in cycling, and tips from soo many sources, one of the biggest and most common ones I have experienced in my coaching experience and being involved with the sport is how to improve or PR (known as personal record) one's bike split. While there are several different things to do or change, I will cover some of the top things I feel will have a great affect on your bike split.
+ Proper Bike Fit/The Right Bike
One of the first and in my opinion one of the most important things for any athlete trying to improve their bike performance is to have a professional bike fit done before purchasing a new bike. As an athlete, you want to make sure you are on the right size bike and that the fit is done by a professional. Massive gains can be made from insuring that you are on the correct bike for you. If you already have a bike and want to stay on it, I would suggest you take it in as the variables that can affect your bike fit are quite long. Some of the major ones are flexibility, stem length, crank length, how low your bars are, etc. Sometimes the most aggressive fit is not always the fastest for the individual. Taking the time and money to go see your bike fit specialists will reap huge benefits to your bike PR and overall performance.
+ Base Miles - No wasted bike miles always ride with a purpose
Another excellent one in my opinion is the goal of riding with a purpose - not having useless miles or junk miles as I like to refer to them as. Every time you ride, there can be a purpose and point to the session. One example would be an easy/recovery ride. While ideally you will keep this low stress and lower HR typically, on this ride you can work on proper pedaling dynamics, good posture, and practice working on some higher and lower cadence. Another good one is to use a ride as a time to work on your handling, try riding down a bike path or through neighborhoods that require you to work on different bar handling positions. The before mentioned mixed with long endurance rides will translate to overall better bike experience and handling and in turn help you ride faster on race day or in you harder sessions.
+ Interval Training
Interval training is probably the most painful to do but reaps some of the biggest returns. Doing intervals is great for several things, and they do not have to always be super long or short - you need a good mix of both at the right time during your training cycles to see improvements. Some of the things that benefit and increase from intervals is your V02 max, which deals with the amount of oxygen your body will absorb. When you work on intervals and do bike efforts at close to max heart rates and power, these train and condition your body. Overtime your heart rate and RPE (rate of perceived exertion) is going to come down as you condition your body to doing the harder efforts. You want to train your body to know what that harder efforts feel like so that on race day when you compete, you're more prepared and conditioned for it.
+ Race wheels
Of all the ways to PR your bike split, if you do all of those right and then invest in a great set of carbon race wheels, you are almost guaranteed to PR your next bike race or triathlon. There are so many different types of race wheels out there and I will explain a few different types and what you would use them for. If you are racing somewhere where it is primarily flat and not tons of wind running, a Carbon disk wheel in the rear and a 80m wheel on the front is going to be your fastest set up just about every time. If you were to race somewhere a little hillier or more technical such as in California, using wheels that are closer to a 60m for front and back is going to handle a little better sometimes. When racing on a course that requires you to climb the little less depth will help with climbing and being a little lighter. Race wheels are a way of buying speed in a way, while I still highly suggest you work on all the other forms of faster PR, these are, in a way, the icing on the top and they make all the hard work all the more worth it!