Its all about the bike!
If you want to improve your times and performance in Triathlon, you should focus on your cycling….. simples!. The bike leg of a triathlon is where you will gain or lose the most time. This is because the cycle part, in any triathlon, is the longest in both time and distance. On average, across all distances, about 50% of your race is spent on the bike, with less than 20% on the swim and about 30% on the run. FACT!
Group Cycling vs Individual Cycling
Triathlon clubs can encourage improvement in members relatively easily through effective swimming lessons and running sessions. Catering for the broad range in abilities in cycling is a different matter entirely.
Group cycling has many advantages. It is more sociable and enjoyable to cycle in a group. There is backup if you get injured, get a puncture or other mechanical issues. You are less likely to skip a group cycling session as others are counting on you to show up, and turning up for a regular group cycle scheduled at the same time and day each week is a lot easier than facing a lone cycle (especially if the weather is poor). Cycling in a group is great too for developing bike handling skills, picking up tips and advice and for hearing about upcoming events, deals, new gear, components etc. You get it… group cycling has huge advantages!
Triathlon, however, is almost entirely an individual sport. Drafting is illegal in most triathlon races, so cycling in groups is not ideal in preparing for these race situations. To train effectively and to improve performance, each cyclist should maintain the pace which keeps them in the required heart rate or power zone for each interval in a session, and not the pace at which the group is travelling.
Due to the distances to be covered, it is difficult to balance both the individual required effort to make improvements and to keep groups of cyclists together.
How do most triathletes & triathlon clubs address this?
Mostly, the serious triathletes out there train alone, sticking to strict intervals and zones so that their workout is effective. These triathletes sacrifice the social aspect and other benefits of training in groups. Leisure triathletes on the other hand, tend to do group cycling more, sacrificing rapid individual improvement in favour of a slower improvement in the groups cycling performance as a whole.
Best of both worlds
The best of both worlds is to train in small groups of similar ability, take turns on the front, thus creating ideal interval sessions. This results in little sacrifice for the individual cyclist in terms of the effectiveness of the training session, but has huge benefits otherwise. You are more likely to get the sessions done if there is a regular group counting on you to be at a certain place and time each week. It is also a lot more enjoyable, and lets face it, life is short. If you are aiming for a longer distance triathlon, you will be spending a long time on the bike each week, so it may as well be fun!!
How is Tralee Triathlon Club going to facilitate this?
We are going to run monthly Time Trials. These time trials will have a number of aims:
- Individually, set time markers, so that each member can monitor their own progress over the months.
- Group cyclists into groups of similar ability for club cycling sessions. If you do extra training and make rapid improvements, you won’t have to wait long for the next time trial to be assigned to a new group. This essentially will make our club cycling sessions more effective for everyone.
- Encourage participation at all levels.
- Maintain a leader board to encourage competition and motivate members to improve their cycling.
- Reward members who displayed the biggest improvement over the year at the end of season night out/awards night.
- Improve the level of cycling in the club as a whole.
- Mechanism for selection of members for a club racing team.
- Meet up regularly as a club, encourage comradarie, and have fun.
On one Saturday, every month, we will meet initially at the Iron Bridge (rail bridge) after the Earl of Desmond roundabout on the Tralee to Castleisland road at 1:30pm for registration with the first cyclist setting off at 2pm. As the months go on, we will introduce time trials on hilly routes.
Each member who wishes to participate in these time trials and in the club group cycling sessions will be expected to take their turn and volunteer for at least one time trial for time keeping and registration. If you are on time keeping duties, you can still complete the time trial before or after the club time trial if you wish using your Garmin or other sports watch which records distance & time. Your time will then be included in the leader table.
This initiative won’t cost anything to club members but we believe it will be hugely beneficial to all members regardless of their ability. Its success depends on as many club members taking part as possible, so join up!
How do you sign up?
We have a Facebook group for the time trials. Search for ‘Tralee Triathlon Club Cycling Time Trials’ and join, link below:
The dates for each monthly time trial will be announced on Facebook. We will also create an event for each time trial. Please indicate that you will attend each time trial by joining the event.
The October time trial event is available at the below link:
If you are not on Facebook, don’t worry, we will send an email to all club members letting them know when the next time trial is planned. You can email the club to indicate if you will be taking part or volunteering for time keeping duties.
Tralee Triathlon Club is also considering becoming affiliated through Cycling Ireland as a Cycling Club. This means that members who wish to race competitively will be able to represent the club and will be able to purchase their race licence through Tralee Triathlon Club. Feedback on this initiative was overwhelmingly positive when we surveyed members at this years AGM.
It will be interesting to see the improvements at the end of the year! And, you never know, you might win something!
We will also continue our club spins on Sundays at 10am from Lidl carpark in Tralee.
Damian’s turbo sessions are booked out, however iBike winter turbo training sessions are on again and available for booking. There will be a total of 14 weeks training broken into 2 x seven week programmes. The 1st seven weeks will focus on building strength and power aswell as perfecting best position and technique. These session will also see a little speed work mixed in. The 2nd seven weeks will focus completely on high intensity drills and speed work, aiming to get the most from all the power sessions done before Christmas. Sessions are available at 6.30+7.30 on Mon & Tues night in Tralee, and 6.30,7.30,8.30 Wed nights in Killarney. Sessions start on the 2nd of November. There is a special subsidised rate for each 7 week programme of €65 for 10 or more TTC members, and €60 for 20 or more TTC members.
You will not need to bring your own turbo trainers for these sessions as iBike will provide them.
In order to subsidise at the €60 rate, we want to make sure that enough club members will benefit. Please indicate your interest and select which slot you would prefer using the link below.
To book your slot please text Joe @ 086 6087104.
As always, your feedback on the time trials, club cycling sessions, Cycling Ireland Affiliation and Turbo sessions is very welcome!