A new year is often a clean slate to set goals and, as cyclists, the timing is pretty good since it’s the offseason and we have a bit of time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. As a cyclist, you’ve got a whole arsenal of extra-specific resolutions at your disposal. So, this year, instead of making generic goals that never quite materialize, how about some attainable cycling-based goals instead?
To get you started, we’ve got nine goals for cyclists. Attempt one (or all nine) and watch your cycling improve throughout 2019.
LOG 10% MORE MILES
It could be per week, per month or per year. However you like to calculate your mileage, just add 10% to the total. It’s a doable endeavor, and one that makes a noticeable impact on your training.
INCREASE YOUR SPEED
Riding faster while maintaining control is a worthwhile goal for serious and recreational cyclists alike. You can do that by increasing your strength, endurance and lactate threshold to keep you pedaling harder for longer. But one simple way to quickly increase your speed is to become more aerodynamic on the bike. Getting a bike fit, tucking your elbows, lowering your head and riding with your hands on the drops decreases wind resistance and immediately makes you faster.
INCORPORATE STRENGTH TRAINING
Cycling is great cardio, but don’t neglect strength training. Regular strength training is important for building muscles and maintaining bone strength. It also improves your cycling power, which translates to more speed in the saddle.
CONQUER THOSE HILLS
It’s tempting to skip those steep hills and enjoy a fast, flat ride. But the only way to improve your climbing is by climbing. So, the next time you head out, point yourself in the direction of some hills. Keep doing it, and you’ll get better. That will pay dividends on your next ride and also prepare you for hilly races and other rides on unfamiliar roads.
COMPLETE A CENTURY
A 100-mile ride is a milestone for many cyclists. Plus, if you sign up for a century ride, you’ve got something to look forward to — and train for. In the months leading up the event, try incorporating a mix of long rides and speed intervals to target your volume and intensity, which translates to better overall conditioning and endurance come race day.
BONE UP ON BIKE MAINTENANCE
Nothing derails a ride quicker than a flat tire or a brake pad rubbing against your rim. Take a couple of classes at your local bike shop to learn the basics of proper bike maintenance, and practice changing a few tires on your own. That DIY experience is rewarding, and it might just save your next outing.
TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Using MapMyRide and other tools, it’s easier than ever to track your distance and speed. Compare your rides and notice differences over time to see where you’re improving and identify areas needing some work.
TRY A NEW ROUTE
Your favorite route is your favorite for a reason — so, by all means, keep riding it. But mix things up on occasion to tackle new curves and terrain. It’s fun to ride new roads, and doing so prepares you for races and other unknown courses.
JOIN A LOCAL CYCLING CLUB
Want to meet some people with a common interest? Your local cycling club is a good place to start. Besides making a few new friends who can help you stay motivated, you can participate in organized rides, experience new routes and learn from the collective wisdom of the group. You might even get a handsome new kit out of the deal.