Cycling Basics 101

Hey y’all. I’m Beth and at this year’s TriDu, I’ll be taking on the sprint distance triathlon and it will be my first triathlon ever. Throughout middle and high school I was a competitive swimmer and the sport was a huge part of my life, my teammates became my family and I spent all my weekends at pools all over Oregon and Washington.  Since my swimming career ended and I moved into the next phase of my life at UBC I have been saying that I was going to do a triathlon. So, this is the time!
 
cycle2-850x1024This summer I took over my younger brother’s road bike and started to get into cycling. I truly despise running but I love any other form of cardio, actually any other exercise and cycling the hills near my home in Portland was an awesome workout. Occasionally, I’d go out for rides with my crazy cyclist Dad (one of those middle-aged men who took on a million hobbies as he entered his mid 40s) and he really gave me a run for my money, but he got me interested in cycling.
Currently, I am just focusing on getting out on my bike for at least an hour 2 or 3 times a week, working on some intervals and hitting some hills here and there. As far as location, the best place to train for races is on the course itself, which happens to be up marine drive right here at UBC, so its really convenient. Check out the race routes for all distances of UBC REC TriDu here,  https://rec.ubc.ca/events/page.cfm?filename=route&ActID=67&path=triathlon&term=0. The slow incline can be tough but is an excellent place to get used to the race route and try out some interval training.
Today, I decided to concentrate on the hills around the area of Kits that I live in. I woke up around 8:30 (a little too late for my liking) and knew I had to get to UBC by 10:45 so I only had a short amount of time to cram this cycle workout into my morning. Because of the time crunch and the hilly terrain near Kits Beach I cruised down Point Grey Rd and along the beach, working on intervals. Intervals are a great way to build up the heart rate in short bursts, especially if you have a time limit on your workout, as I did. According to Map My Ride (http://www.mapmyride.com), I rode 9.5km this morning. Considering the time limit I am pretty proud of my little ride but I am definitely going to be stepping it up to some longer rides in the coming weeks!

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Image from City of Richmond

 
One of the greatest difficulties I have come across when cycling in Vancouver is the traffic. Because of this, be aware of the road and be visible to drivers – i.e. wear bright or reflective clothing. Also, make sure to use your road signs (see above). Something else that concerns me safety-wise when cycling the streets of Kits and Point Grey is the weather. I try to avoid wet or icy weather when cycling because I’m apprehensive of the road conditions and have a fear for falling off the bike, which is understandable. I try to take advantage of all the sunny days or dry days and instantly make those my cycling days.
Another thing I want to address in this post is equipment. Its not essential to go out and buy all the fancy gear as soon as you sign up for your first triathlon but there are some things that are necessities especially for long rides. Firstly, bike shorts, they will keep your rear end nice and comfortable and are also pretty affordable. Second, water bottles, make sure you have at least one water bottle with you, if not more for rides that are longer than an hour. And additionally, I can’t stress enough my concern for and the importance of safety, so a good, well-fitting helmet is another vital element to your cycling attire, gotta protect that noggin!
So there are some super basic tips and updates on my initial training workouts. I will be posting some more cycling workouts and tips later in this training process. If you have anything routes or tips to share, comment below or tweet at us (@UBCREC) and don’t forget to use the hash-tag, #TriHard.
Good luck and happy tri training!
 

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