An Idiots Guide To IronMan Cycling



  • Josey,

    received wisdom on turbos is to avoid the ones that use wind resistance as they're loud.  I started off on a low end tacx with magnetic resistance and it did me fine.  There are others on the forum who are very keen on their Cycleops fluid trainers.  I like to have a variable resistance lever on the handlebars but you can achieve the same thing by shifting gears.  

    You won't necessarily need a front riser, use a yellow pages.  You'll need to give some thought to where you're going to turbo as you might need to protect the floor surface as you'll sweat loads (you will probably need a fan).  You can buy a g-string to protect the frame but a towel works equally as well.

  • seren nos wrote (see)
    Josey From Wales wrote (see)

    Am I correct in presuming this sort of affair may be frowned upon in triathlon cricles then ?




    why did no one tell me about this.........................Meldyimage


    change it to pepsi max and i will get myself a nice new shiny PBimage

    Can I have a diet cherry coke version please image

  • Josey - I'm on the look out for a turbo too, I think I must be a female version of yourself ..the fastest I've ever been downhill is 44 km/h with my Wallace and Gromit face on and praying. Corners, roundabouts etc I have trouble negotiating them - but that's this weekend's practice session in a carpark going round bollards etc. My dad told me to lean rather than steering round a roundabout image  

  • FF - I can't imagine a g-string on a bike image

  • Ask Flat Footed about his G string at Outlaw!!  He might try to claim it was a jock strap, but on his frame the pictures definitely suggest it was a string!!  image

  • Josey From Wales wrote (see)

    My confidence whilst gorwing on the straight and narrow (getting to 30mph on a downhill still involves a large amount of rigid jaw clenching and death like white knuckle handlebar grips - are all roads really bad on the sides or is it just mine!), however corners are still very much of sedate affair but I believe that will change as my confidence grows. 


    While I think about it- you don't want to be riding in the gutters at the side of the road, it gives car drivers the impression they can go past you without pulling out.  I can't remember what the highway code says but I generally aim for about a third of the way out into the carriageway.  

  • FF - It is a real G-string! I can't believe how much I'm learning on here...I thought you were kidding!

  • +1 with Fe Fe - you need to claim some space on the road - it gives you some wiggle room and also motorists have to plan to come round you rather than hurtling past with no space.
  • cougie wrote (see)
    +1 with Fe Fe - you need to claim some space on the road - it gives you some wiggle room and also motorists have to plan to come round you rather than hurtling past with no space.

    This is one of the best tips I got given. When I started cycling (very recently) I was under the impression I should stick as close to the curb as possible - getting told to get out into the road a bit made a big difference to my confidence when being passed by a vehicle as I knew I had space to utilise if necessary. 

  • Ref Which Turbo. as said earlier, I'd go with a fluid resistance type. And make sure it's on the traineroad compatibility list image

  • Josey

    I have an elite oil based turbo.  Quieter than a mag but ok.  About £150.

    Turbos are good for 1hr hard sessions - power and speed.

    However the base training needs long sesions at an easier pace - long 3 -4 hr rides over winter.  These are tough / impossible on abturbo.  Buy mud guards or a mtb image

  • "It's not engineering, it's physiology. 200w all the time is faster for less physiological demand than 300 uphill and nothing downhill. (Figures plucked from arris but for concept)."

    "The idea of pushing more watts to go up a hill is a false notion anyway - those extra watts gain you height, which is regained in speed coming back down (unless you reach terminal velocity, which depending on your bike handling may or may not be terminal!). The only time you waste that energy is when you brake. 

    If you want to expend your energy where there is less aerodynamic cost... save it for the run"

    Sigh, help, I feel a bit stupid here. I really don't understand this. Are you saying it is good to pedal downhil or not? I read the first of those quotes as saying extra effort uphill/none downhill is bad and the second as saying it's good, I know I'm misreading it but I've got to the point where the more I look the more confused I get

  • Gatters - it depends on said hill, if its a slight decline and your doing say 18 mph rolling Down The hill you need too pedal, if its a beast say at 15% decline obvious answer is no.... The general rule is under 30mph pedal over dont.... I'm not going too start talking about watts as I don't use a power meter (wish I could afford one) so am not the best person too ask about that side! This is a basic answer and not getting down too the nitty gritty

  • I am a relative newbie to cycling, I reckon to keep pedalling until the legs can't keep up then coast down the hill.

  • Cheers WK, that's lovely and clear. So very little freewheeling then

  • thanks guys, its all becoming a little clearer now ....

    so on to the next question, pacing for different sessions ...

    Orange. you said  that the longer rides should be a t a slower speed, is this something akin to the running world where your LSR's are a good deal slower than actual race pace?

    If so, say you were aiming for a 15mph average for actual bike (should this be more for a first timer ?) then what would the weekend long rides be looking to average at ?


  • I'd really not worry too much about average paces now. You will be slower anyway - you'll be wearing more kit, you'll have junctions to negotiate and stop at. I'd just be getting some miles in at this point.
  • hey all. i did the dark peak challenge the other day with my brother (a very keen cyclist he be) And he told me a few times my cadence was very low, whi h wasnt helping my cramping. is there a way i can improve my cadence? ive tried going in lower gears and peddling faster but then it just goes out the window if i dont concentrate on it. 


  • If the gears are right and the legs are going right then there should not be a real need to concentrate that much, you might need to alter the gears if you feel you have cartoon legs ... but practice will most certainly make perfect
    You might find using a turbo or a spin bike or a static bike of some kind for a shorter session will let you play around with cadence and gears in a safe environment before getting out on to the roads

  • Turbo is a good place to practice higher cadence work.  I can't remember the IM talk episode which discussed this but the way to improve is to try 60 seconds at xxx, with two minutes off and repeat, gradually increasing the rpms and duration of the efforts.  They reckoned if you were capable (following a suitable number of weeks practice) of holding 130 rpm for 3 minutes (if memory serves) you'd be well placed.  With practice I can get to about 125 but I'm bouncing off the saddle like... (insert simile here).

    A tweet from Cavendish last year on the tour said he'd won the 'top cadence' competition on one of the rest days- somewhere around 230'ish IIRC.

  • guess that also answers the should i invest in a turbo question as well. image thanks for the advice folk. i shall give it a go. 

  • When I'm on the flat, I tend to work off cadence and HR. If you're HR is at the right level and cadence is at the right level, the gear is right...


    Of course that goes to crap when you hit a hill and weight 100+Kgs. Then it's whatever you can turn without having a heart attack.

  • OK, so cycling is going pretty well ... 20 miles a day there and back commute 3 times a week and up to 40 miles at weekend. (don't ask about the swimming!).

    So my next question for the Ironman cycling numpty is nutrition, and what is best for cycling. Coming froma running background I've got a fairly good idea fo my need for drinksgels when going full distance, but just wondernig how this would translate to the cycling world. As I currently work on miles rather than time, is it easier to work on time for cycling .. ie, gel every hour (number plucked form sky), or every xx miles.

    Also any recommendations for savoury energy providers would be much appreciated as I tend to find by the end of a marathon I am pretty much at my limit for anything more sugary, so looking for something to balance it out over the 2 disciplines.


  • JFW.

    During an Ironman bike, a good rule of thumb is about 400 cal per hour, high carb and electrolyte.  Depending on the gels and what youre drinking its eating a gel every 20-30 minutes.
    It doesn't have to be gels you can take the energy in any form you want and a lot of people will vary what they eat, i.e. not just eating gels but supplementing with flapjacks, peanut butter sarnies, cakes, jelly babies, maltloaf,, bananas, energy bars etc.  The good thing about gels is they are easy to digest and you can more easily monitor / control your intake.

    You need to play around and practise what works for you on your longer bike rides.

  • I tend to keep away from gels and energy drinks when training because of their cost and I don't really like them, so I try to eat 'real' food. As mentioned by BB, bananas, flapjacks, elevenses bars, that sort of thing. Over the last couple of years I have also tried to limit my carb intake when training so that now during a 2-3 hour ride I am on water or nuun only, with a bar or banana in my back pocket if I need it towards the end. This is to get me pacing my ride nice and steady so that I am burning fat rather than fuelling up with carbs. 

  • Thanks guys, ...

    Another quick one that will hopefully save a bit of skin loss on my knees ... am using clipless pedals, and find them great however after my second prat fall the other day I was wondering if I didn't have them adjusted correctly. THe one I mainly unclip first when coming to a stop (left) there is quite a bit of lateral movement available before it unclips, which means that it has to be quite a gesture to unclip (and one that doens't always work when in a hurry) ... is there anything that can be done to try and help with this or is it just a case of "man up, its ok the skin will grow back".

    There is a facility to tighten loosen the pedal system, would this help at all or is that not for the same thing ?


  • JFW

    The adjustment grub screw only changes the force required to unclip, not the range of motion. It is possible to buy cleats with less "float" but the tradeoff here is that this restricts the natural motion of your knees and if it's not set up right you can risk knee problems.

    My suggestion would be to get used to it! We all fall off at first image

  • Josey, you're braver than me...I'm still on normal pedals, must man up and get them swapped soonimage

  • If your pedals and/or cleats are worn there can be more lateral movement before it unclips -  if you usually unclip the left that cleat will get a bit more wear as you put that foot down at junctions so that might be the issue.  

Sign In or Register to comment.