Ask the Experts: Cycling Q+A with Jim McConnel

Hone your cycling skills with our live lunchtime webchat

21 to 40 of 57 messages
05/09/2012 at 13:36

Ok, Jim, serious question this time ,

I am contemplating dipping my toe in to the realm of tri, however haven't actually ridden a bike since my teens (and that was loooong time ago), so what would your suggestion be for 'breaking' myself in ... would it be best to go for a structured plan from the off or just spent the first ???? weeks\months getting used to riding\pottering about ?


05/09/2012 at 13:38

@meldy and @ianm Hmmm, Triathlete's take a lot of stick for poor bike handling - especially from pure cyclists. Sadly, not all triathlete's are born cyclists and so can sometimes need to learn the basic skills before they take it to the race course as they have missed out on the formative years racing bmx's all over the local rec. Skills sessions can be run on a flat car park, grass area and show people how to safely and efficently corner, but here's three points that can help too: 1: Control your speed  - use your brakes well in advance of any corner where you need to slow down so that as you go around the corner you are no longer slowing up and in fact are in a position to accelerate out of a corner 2: Sighting - Look up and aorund the corner - do not focus on your front wheel as that will inevitably end in disaster and a poor line. Lean your body into the corner - with the inside pedal up and the weight of your leg in the outside pedal, down. 3: Plan - Be aware of those around you and decide what you are going to do before you do it. If it is a busy turnaround, remember that everyone is goign to come to a standstill just about and you do not own the road.

p.s. have you ever seen a cyclist run? Usually there's a reason for that.

05/09/2012 at 13:40

@tortuga When I lose motivation I turn to Sufferfest and let the good times roll and my legs scream. Check their website for downloadable sessions tha will keep your interest.

05/09/2012 at 13:45

@slowerthanilook % heart rate is really hard to get right foreveryone, we are all unique. What I suggest you do is test yourself with a 'make your own' threshold test to establish how hard you can really go for how long. IM training is all about Bullseye - out of the red and in the black. Just how close you get to the red will depend on how trained you are. Suggest check the web for an incremental turbo session that will gradually increase your output across 20ish minutes - try and do this session and as you have no formal recordig devices, consider your perceived effort at each stage - legs hurt, brain hurt, can do, cannot do etc.. Find the max effort you can sustain for a couple of minutes and work back from that to establish something you can hold for a longer period - up to 20 minutes - ultimately when it comes to IM you will move up and down the range, but if you know the max you can work at without going int he red, then that will be a start.

05/09/2012 at 13:46

@Bruce Rooibos?

M...eldy    pirate
05/09/2012 at 13:47

Thanks JIm .. I live in The Chilterns so we have a variety of lumps to train on  

Given that last statement I really should be far better at descending than I am  !!

05/09/2012 at 13:50

@ P D 18 I think it's a great idea if you fit white tyres to your MTB so you can find it in transition, should really help you find it when in a state of shock after the swim with blurry eyes and elevated adrenalione levels! If it were not illegal to do so, you could also tie a helium balloon to the saddle. I would suggest however that if you were to do such a thing, your friends would laugh at you wildly and probaly never let you forget it.

p.s. It may still be dark on the exit of Ben Nevis Tri in 2 weeks so you might want to consider taking the risk....

05/09/2012 at 13:51

Thanks Jim.
Looked more like an aspidistra to me.

05/09/2012 at 13:58

Thanks Jim, may try the helium balloon option. As long as they make me faster than you then i'll be happy. Sea swim, less than 1km.... and ride upwards


05/09/2012 at 14:00

@miles frith no one session will get you there I'm afraid. As before if you want an interactive and fun session - then pick one of Suffferfest's downloadable sessions from their website. Standard turbo fodder would suggest you do a block of one session per week to build your endurance where the main set would start in week 1 as 6 x 3 minutes ON with 2 mins recovery easy spin between each effort, gradually over the weeks you would go to 6x4 mins, 4x8mins, then a week doing something different like 10 x 2 mins max with max recovery. Rejoin endurance session with 4x8 , then 4 x10 then 3 x 15, another speed session, then fianlly move up to 3 x 20. If you can manage 3 x 20 min sessions at strong even interval pace you really will have climbed the ladder to have developed your riding to where you want it! Good luck! 

05/09/2012 at 14:07

Thanks Jim. I'll climb on the sweat machine tonight and begin some intervals. Cheers!

05/09/2012 at 14:09


It looks like that's all we have time for! Many thanks for all your questions and thanks to Jim for providing such inspiring answers.

We'll be back with more webchats soon on, so keep checking the forum and website.


05/09/2012 at 14:31

Please pass on my thanks to Jim and tell him that IWBMATTKYT!

kittenkat    pirate
05/09/2012 at 15:18

Thanks for the answer Jim, cracking plant Bruce!

meface    pirate
05/09/2012 at 15:51

Oooh is there a an ask the expert session?

Damn missed it again.

kittenkat    pirate
05/09/2012 at 16:48
m..eface wrote (see)

Oooh is there a an ask the expert session?

Damn missed it again.

You can ask me instead

05/09/2012 at 17:45
How do you recognise a plant. ?
05/09/2012 at 18:02

Plant questions? How dare you suggest such a thing

This website needs a clear get rid of all the neigh sayers and pessimists 

Get rid of them root and branch

kittenkat    pirate
05/09/2012 at 18:06
Dave The Ex- Spartan wrote (see)
How do you recognise a plant. ?

Mainly with your eyesight; sense of smell also comes into it.


kittenkat    pirate
05/09/2012 at 18:07
goldbeetle wrote (see)

Plant questions? How dare you suggest such a thing

This website needs a clear get rid of all the neigh sayers and pessimists 

Get rid of them root and branch

But leaf everything genuine alone (ok, that was bad)

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