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Email: sara@saracarrigan.com

Mobile: 0417 780 183

 
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Power up them Hills

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Posted by Sara Carrigan Columnist for Multisport Magazine

Q.Is it better when riding hills to maintain a higher cadence or if strong enough push a heavier gear?

The answer to this question all depends on where you are at with your riding, your fitness and what you are trying to achieve up the climb. Are you trying to post your fastest time up a certain climb? Are you perhaps engaging in particular drills? Are you trying to build specific strength? Or are you climbing without much thought at all?

Love or hate hills, you are no doubt aware of the effects of gravity and the need to become a better, more efficient climber. This does take thought and purposeful effort. Getting better at cycling uphill requires improvements in both power-to-weight ratio and technical skill. This article will address technical skill, specifically pedalling technique and efficient cadence.

Cycling uphill can certainly be made easier when you shift to the right gears and here are a few thoughts to take into consideration when you are next ascending up to the sky!

PEDALLING TECHNIQUE
Riding a bicycle seems like the simplest thing in the world. Just put your bum on the saddle and your feet on the pedals and push down hard until you are rolling along. However, there is a big difference between the amount of effort required by adopting this raw method and the smooth, efficient motion used by the pros. It does take hours in the saddle to be efficient, so the adage of “practice makes perfect” does ring true in this instance. However, regardless of age or event, it important for all riders to concentrate on smooth and efficient cycling skills. This is because neural pathways will be ‘wired’ into your muscle co-ordination patterns so the more you cycle haphazardly the more ingrained bad pedal mechanics become. We aren’t all going to be ‘100rpm+ pro riders’, but you do need to think about how you pedal, rather than simply stomping on the pedals.

Performance is directly related to the energy expended, thus it is important that energy is not wasted in movements other than those required in applying force to the pedals. Lateral movements of the arms, knees, head and trunk are movements requiring energy expenditure. These movements account for an energy loss in the forces being applied to the pedals and should be kept to a minimum. The maintenance of smooth body composure reduces energy expenditure thereby increasing efficiency, and consequently performance. A rider who is style-inefficient tests personal physical capacities to the limit, experiences earlier fatigue and provides a sub-maximal potential performance.

EFFICIENT CADENCE
Cadence is how fast you turn the pedals. It is your pedal ‘Revolutions Per Minute’ (RPM) and can be likened to a car’s tachometer. Most cycle computers measure cadence and this can be very useful or you can simply count the number of times your foot passes through a certain phase of the pedal stroke over 60 seconds (or over 15sec and then times that by 4).

Newcomers to cycling usually ride at a cadence that is below their optimum, mostly because they feel that in a bigger, harder gear they are getting a better workout if every pedal stoke is a strain and the quads are burning. However, easier gears with higher cadences is much more efficient, easier on the knees and allows your body to work aerobically with less force required per muscle contraction for the same power output.

Although there’s a place for low-cadence workouts, it is important to remember to keep your legs spinning at all other times to better help you develop. This is because as your fitness increases, the easier gears and higher cadence will allow you to ride faster for less perceived effort and you will be able to back up and ride the next day with little or no residual fatigue.

It will most probably feel uncomfortable to keep a higher cadence to begin with, but stick with it and very soon it will become natural for you and you will reap the benefits. However, you will know that you are spinning too much if you start to bounce on the saddle so click into one harder gear to smooth out your riding style.

The thing with cadence, is that there is both a motor-learning and a physiological component to it, and in practice these sometimes work against each other. However, the issue of cadence is not specific to cycling. Runners sometimes refer to it as ‘tempo’ and sometimes as ‘turnover’. Riding in a slightly easier gear with a faster cadence on the bike can be, as I have mentioned, more efficient than riding a harder gear with a slower cadence. The difference in efficiency is due to the unique physiological demands of each style.

It is not enough to just click into your easiest gear and attempt to spin up the next climb you encounter. Your body needs time to adapt.

So is it better when riding hills to maintain a higher cadence?
1. Yes as it is more efficient and will help you recover better and be more dynamic in your riding style, which will help you to break your competitors.
Or if strong enough push a heavier gear?
1. Yes if you are able to keep an efficient cadence because this will help you climb faster & recover better
2. Yes if you are engaging in a specific strength drill purposefully keeping a low cadence but do this under guidance from your coach.

 

Check out article here: www.multisportmagazine.com.au – Multisport Magazine is educational, inspiring and entertaining. It connects with the local athlete – whether a professional or purely for social enjoyment, they are committed to improving their lives through healthier living and taking advantage of great opportunities. Their Facebook is: www.facebook.com/coastmultisport

Commuter Cycle Workshop

Thanks Sara for a fabulous morning! And thanks for your patience, encouragement and motivation – and for passing on some great skills & tips 🙂

Posted by Sue Robinson on Friday, January 29, 2016

2016-01-30 Commuter cycle workshop

New Logo

FourHR

We decided to update and redesign a new logo! Hope you like it!

It’s not too different from the old logo, just a few minor changes. 🙂

 

Backside Blues or Bottom Bliss

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Posted by Sara Carrigan Columnist for Multisport Magazine

I’ve tried everything to get through my long rides in comfort but my backside just can’t handle it, any tips?

Q: “In my 20 years of being involved in cycling, I don’t think I have ever come across a rider who hasn’t suffered some form of pain in the backside. I have certainly experienced my fair share of saddle discomfort along with wincing in the shower after a ride!” — By Cameron

Saddle discomfort can involve a whole range of things for males and/or females including a loss of sensation, numbness, burning pain, bruising, saddle sores, tingling, chaffing, prostate problems, impotency, boils, abscess, ingrown hairs, infections, and raw, inflamed skin. Not the nicest topic to chat about but certainly warrants discussion if we are after a nice ride!

When we cannot ride comfortably in the saddle, not only does it inhibit our performance by compromising pedal efficiency and power production but it makes riding so unenjoyable and in some instances, impossible! It doesn’t matter if we ride for recreation or we ride to race, the bottom line is we want to enjoy our ride!

Here are a few things you can do to allow for a more comfortable ride. Note that I say ‘more comfortable’ and not ‘pain-free forever’!

ADAPTATION

If you are new to cycling, you’ve gotta know that it takes time for your bum to adjust! The area down there is generally soft and sensitive and is not used to supporting a significant amount of your body weight. Allow adequate time for the density and sensitivity of the tissues & bones that contact the saddle to gradually adapt to the load.

Adapting to feeling comfortable on a bike saddle does not happen overnight. A good approach is to be consistent with shorter rides than a few long rides. Even seasoned riders need to allow time for adaptation. At the end of each season of racing, I would enjoy a 4week off-season of no riding and when I started training again, I experienced some pain & bruising as my bum adjusted to the pressure and the load again.

Overweight cyclists are particularly susceptible to saddle issues during adaptation and must progress more slowly when adding time and distance to their riding.

The bottom line: It is not unusual to be uncomfortable at first but as long as you have good quality knicks (without undies!), the right saddle, chamois cream, correct bike fit and good posture … it simply takes time to get used to sitting on a saddle!

 

SADDLE

Saddle selection is an important factor in saddle comfort. It is certainly not ‘one size fits all’, it is a matter of personal preference and fit to your anatomy whether you have a wide/narrow, soft/hard, hole/holeless, short/long saddle. In fact, a saddle I might love, another rider will absolutely detest and vice versa. The notion that the bigger, softer saddle as being more comfy is not always true!

Finding the right saddle can perhaps be likened to buying a pair of shoes. Just as a shoe needs to fit your foot, the saddle needs to fit your bum; and just as we measure the size of our foot, we can also measure our bum. This measurement is of our sit bones (the ischial tuberosities) and ideally you want these bones supporting your weight on a saddle rather than your soft parts. Additionally, we need to look at the front (nose) of the saddle, which helps to control the bike with your legs and support some body weight. If the nose of the saddle is too wide or too big and bulky, it may be opening your crotch and cause chafing, compress nerves and irritate soft tissue. Even though a saddle may look hard, narrow and ‘mean’, don’t dismiss it, as it may be just the saddle you need!

Thankfully many bike shops now have test saddles to help with finding the right saddle and avoid becoming an expensive process. However, once again, give your new saddle time to adjust!

The bottom line: Don’t be too quick to dismiss a certain type of saddle and when you do choose one, give yourself time to adapt.

 

GOOD QUALITY KNICKS WORN CORRECTLY

You can’t go past investing in good quality padded lycra! In general, the more expensive knicks do feature tangible features and benefits that make them more comfortable, and in some instances, these features can actually work better than changing saddles! Good quality knicks usually fit better, have sophisticated seamless, anti-bacterial moisture wicking pads that stretch, mould and fit to help reduce friction and are highly breathable. Until you have worn a high quality pair of knicks, you may never understand the benefits and why they are a mandatory piece of equipment!

When buying a pair of knicks, a few elements to look at are:

  • The correct size: The whole point of a good pair of knicks is to eliminate seams and layers that can bunch and chafe. If your knicks have a poor cut or are too large, this creates wrinkles and moisture accumulation, and friction and chafing ensue.
  • The chamois (pad): Different shapes and cuts of chamois are more comfortable than others and can provide a ride of bliss or a downright painful one! For example, there was one year that the Australian Team kit had a seam right down the middle of the chamois and this was NOT a joyous occasion! We had them changed quick smart!
  • Bibs rather than shorts: Consider the use of bib knicks (bib & brace), which feature a ‘suspender’ that stretches over your shoulders to hold your knicks in place and to keep the chamois in contact with your crotch. This reduces movement of the garment, which lessens likelihood of chafing and increases your comfort. Some riders find bib knicks less convenient when it comes to needing the bathroom because they have to take off their jersey but I reckon it is well worth the minor inconvenience!
  • No undies!: I repeat DO NOT wear undies underneath your knicks! Cycling knicks are designed to be worn against the skin for both men and women. The Chamois is anti-bacterial so wearing undies can not only be unhygienic but cause all the problems that have been mentioned above. Never wear any underwear with cycling knicks!
  • Hygiene: Cycling knicks aren’t made for casual wear, they are made for riding! So limit the amount of time you spend in them when not riding! Try not to drive to training/events in your knicks and don’t sit around in damp, sweaty knicks after a ride. Also, never re-use a pair of knicks without washing them.

The bottom line: Invest in a good quality pair of knicks! You will come to appreciate why spending a bit of mulla on padded lycra is good value!

 

RIDING STYLE & POSTURE

Your posture on the bike and the way you ride can contribute to being sore in the saddle. Keep in mind that the full weight of your body is not meant to rest entirely on your saddle. Your bike seat is just one of five contact points, upon which you should be spreading the weight of your body. Also look at your riding style. Do you get out of your saddle often? What is your pedalling style? What gears are you riding and what is your cadence?

The bottom line: Be mindful of how you ride and pay attention to your posture.

 

BIKE SET UP

Often, a perfectly adequate saddle will feel awful and cause pain simply because it’s not set correctly. There are a number of things to look at:

  • Angle of the saddle: The up-down angle of the saddle can cause many troubles especially if tilted too far up pointing to the sky. This will have you sliding off the rear and/or putting unnecessary pressure in your groin area, which is never comfortable! Conversely, if your saddle that is tilted too far forward, it will cause you to slide down the front of your saddle and put excess pressure on your hands, wrists and elbows. Your saddle should be relatively level and if it is angled more than a few degrees up or down, there is probably something wrong. Similarly, the saddle should be pointed directly forward and not slightly to the left or right!
  • Saddle height: If you have not had your seat height measured correctly, this may well be the cause of your saddle woes. If a saddle is too high, it causes the rider to reach for the pedals, creating lot of hip & pelvis rotation and friction on the saddle, not nice.
  • Handlebar position: If your handlebars are positioned incorrectly, it can distribute your weight too heavily on the saddle increasing your saddle discomfort.
  • Bike Fit: For so many reasons, you can never go past a properly set-up bike! Of course one of these reasons is that it will assist your saddle comfort! Many riders may first think they need to change their saddle but the truth is, most riders would be better served to use the money on a good bike fit and good quality knicks.

The bottom line: You are best to first invest your money on a good bike fit and good quality knicks before buying a new saddle.

 

CHAMOIS CREAM

Some use it, some don’t but if you haven’t given it a whirl and you have tried all the above suggestions, this may help! Chamois cream is a lotion or cream that you either apply to your chamois or directly to your skin in your groin. The idea is to reduce friction through lubrication, whilst also providing an anti-bacterial environment for the skin. If you are a triathlete, you will need a thicker lubricant that won’t rinse off in the swim and will provide good lubrication for the minimal padding in triathlon race wear.

Something even as simple as Paw Paw Cream can work and is what I used. However, everyone has their favourite brand so try a few out and see how you go.

The bottom line: Definitely worth trying, you won’t regret it.

 

 

Check out article here: www.multisportmagazine.com.au – Multisport Magazine is educational, inspiring and entertaining. It connects with the local athlete – whether a professional or purely for social enjoyment, they are committed to improving their lives through healthier living and taking advantage of great opportunities. Their Facebook is: www.facebook.com/coastmultisport

Baby Bobbi

OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL WINNING CYCLIST SARA CARRIGAN WAS STILL RIDING DAY BEFORE DUE DATE

Olympian, cyclist Sara Carrigan with her partner Stevo Sing and their new child Bobbi Sing

Olympian, cyclist Sara Carrigan with her partner Stevo Sing and their new child Bobbi Sing

THERE isn’t much that stops Olympic cycling gold medallist Sara Carrigan in her tracks, except perhaps her beautiful bundle of joy Bobbi Kay Sing.

The healthy 3.7kg (8lb 2oz) baby girl was born on June 8, but the Mermaid Beach cycling coach said she was riding a bike up until a day before her due date.

“It was just up to Broady (Broadbeach) and back for an appointment because I didn’t have a car, it was only 4km,” Ms Carrigan said.

Sara with her first child, Bobbi Sing. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS

Sara with her first child, Bobbi Sing. Picture: JERAD WILLIAMS

She said having a child with husband Stevo Sing changed her life.

Sara Carrigan with husband Stevo Sing and their baby Bobbi.

Sara Carrigan with husband Stevo Sing and their baby Bobbi.

“It’s a total change, I can’t believe it’s been three weeks already. Sometimes I find myself just staring at her (Bobbi),” she said.

Ms Carrigan, 34, said she would enjoy getting back in the saddle to coach cycling workshops.

“I am looking forward to it,” she said.

Sara with her gold medal after winning the women’s road race at Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

Sara with her gold medal after winning the women’s road race at Athens Olympic Games in 2004.

“But right now it’s not too bad because it is winter and I don’t have to get up when it’s cold.”

She said she has left her husband in charge of taking the early morning cycling classes.

“It’s nice to wake up early and see the sun rise when you cycle,” Mr Sing said.

“The classes meet up at different locations before we find some good hills.”

Sara reacts after winning Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.

Sara reacts after winning Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.

Link to online article: http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/lifestyle/olympic-gold-medal-winning-cyclist-sara-carrigan-was-still-riding-day-before-due-date/story-fnj94iqm-1227419744019

Female medal equity at Gold Coast Games

2015-03-20 GC BULLETIN -Women Medal Equality

As published in the Gold Coast Bulletin
LUCY ARDERN – GOLD COAST BULLETIN – MARCH 20, 2015 

THE Gold Coast’s top sportswomen want to be able to win more medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

They are calling for an equal number of women’s and men’s events which would make the Coast Games the first to do so.

A new study shows women won 48.5 per cent of the medals at the 2014 Glasgow Games, the highest proportion since the event began in 1930.

Olympic gold medallist and Gold Coaster Sara Carrigan said there should be medal equality in April 2018.

Lindsay Fogarty would love to see a balance.

“It is time this happened,” said the Nerang road cyclist who won gold at the Athens Olympics and has since retired.

Carrigan said boosting medal events for women would deliver an important legacy.

“There would be an impact on professional sport,” she said.

“But the effect on amateur sport and health and fitness would be just as significant.

“This is the sort of thing that inspires women to get into sport.

“When you have a woman to follow, the fan base grows.”

Carrigan said when she started cycling professionally in 1980 many men thought women should stay off bikes.

“It was so male dominated then,” she said.

“Things have changed so much.”

Local kayaker Lindsay Fogarty, who competed in the 2012 London Olympics, also backed medal equality.

“We would love to see an equal balance,” she said.

Co-author of the Glasgow medal study, former Canadian athlete Professor Bruce Kidd, who was a rival runner to former Gold Coast mayor Ron Clarke in the 1960s, said there were opportunities to offer more medal events for women in boxing, track cycling, shooting and weightlifting.

“We would not want to reduce the number of medal opportunities for men,” he said.

“The way to go would be to expand medal events for women.”

Australian Commonwealth Games Association chairman Sam Coffa, who is on the Gold Coast 2018 Games board, said he hoped the medal opportunities for women would be greater in 2018.

“I would like to see the quota reached,” he said.

But Mr Coffa said there were restrictions, including cost, associated with expanding the sporting program.

pdf Article here:

Link to article here: http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/gold-coast/female-athletes-push-for-medal-equity-at-gold-coast-games-after-growth-in-glasgow/story-fnj94idh-1227270015935

How to Incease & Maintain Speed for Cycling

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Posted by Sara Carrigan Columnist for Multisport Magazine

When we are looking to enhance specific areas of our sport and we want to get there as efficiently as we can, we need the specific training that targets that specific area.

Is ‘more’ better? Not necessarily. The optimum training varies between individuals and this is where a coach can be helpful in getting that performance advantage.

Most of us tend to stick to those things we enjoy, which are generally the things we are good at. The things we don’t enjoy are typically the things we aren’t good at and don’t want to engage in. But if we want to improve in a particular area, then we have to train that area.

Any type of properly structured training program will encompass both your weaknesses and your strengths but it is more important to correct weaknesses than to amplify strengths. Let’s say for instance you are really strong but you are a poor bike handler. Can you really do your strength justice if you feel stressed and scared on the bike, are unable to corner and descend at speed, are unable to effectively use your gears, your pedalling is totally inefficient and/or your bike set up is not correct?

A properly structured training program is designed to improve your present physical condition to achieve a better performance, which is best done by challenging different areas so that they get stronger. In this article we are talking about increasing and maintaining speed, here is one way to look at it:

  1. Driving Power
  • Driving Muscles – This is the strength in your legs and how much force you can apply to the pedals. This allows higher speeds at optimum cadence whilst using bigger gears, and allows ‘easier hill’ climbing. Get your coach to design specific strength efforts individualised to what you need.
    —Don’t love hills? Well make them your friend, you won’t regret it!
  • Stabilising Muscles – To help your efficiency and reduce chance of injury it is also important to strengthen your torso, abs and back. They all have an effect on how big a gear you can push and fast you can go. However, it is important that the core strength exercises you engage in will enhance functional strength, there’s no point pumping out 100 sit ups, if it doesn’t actually help the function you want to perform!
    —Don’t’ love core work? Start some yoga or Pilates classes
  • Supporting Muscles – It definitely helps to have well-rounded strength so that as you fatigue, you can remain efficient and lessen likelihood of injury. Weight training can help strengthen these supporting muscles but again, ensure that the exercises you engage in will enhance functional strength to enhance your performance, not diminish it!
    —Don’t love weight training? You can start with just floor exercises at home.
  1. Staying Power

Being strong will get you to the finish line but probably not with the performance you want. You need to ensure you have good aerobic efficiency and endurance to be able to maintain power for your required duration. Time in the saddle is your answer, so do include some easy km’s and use it as your time to enjoy your riding and smell the roses!

Don’t have time to spend time in the saddle? Your coach can help with this.

  1. Sprint/Dynamic Power

Just riding will increase your endurance (point above), but when you add intervals on top, you increase your ability to sustain higher levels of power and speed for longer durations, yay! However, it is a little more complex than the old adage of ‘go hard or go home.’ Engaging in properly structured intervals will, over time, increase your cycling specific endurance, strength, power and speed tailored to what you are aiming for! Your coach can help you determine the right amount of effort and recovery because too much and you are not getting the desired training effect, too little and you’re not increasing your speed and power.
—Don’t love interval training? Organise a training partner and/or join a structured bunch ride.

  1. Speed Power

Training fast and adapting to training fast will help you to race fast! You want to learn to be able to turn the pedals quickly and efficiently. This can take time for some riders as it requires a constant focus of technique rather than fitness and many get frustrated and give up! Yes, at first you may be going slower and working harder but persist because as you adapt, you will be able to go faster for the same effort! Specific drills can help with this but also include some racing as part of your training and/or even some motor pacing.
—Don’t love cycling racing? There are just so many advantages (other than building speed) to be gained by incorporating racing into your training so strap on a number and reap the benefits!

  1. Coordination Power

Why spend the time building your engine to go faster, longer, stronger and more powerful when you can’t use it to its maximum because you don’t have the skill to manage your bike over various terrain and/or in various weather. If you are fearful of anything on the bike, not only are you compromising your performance but also your safety and your enjoyment.
—Don’t love facing your fears? Conquer them…Do not compromise your safety “On the other side of fear, lies freedom.” –Unknown

  1. Other ‘Power’

Here are some other pointers to give you the ‘power’ and control to help enhance your performance:

  • Bike Fit – You want a proper bike set up to help you feel more comfortable and better able to direct all your power to increasing and maintaining speed.
  • Recovery – Rest and recovery deserve just as much consideration as your workouts if you’re serious about getting in shape or improving your performance. Without recovery the body cannot tolerate training loads and this can result in overtraining, illness, injury, staleness, or chronic fatigue.
  • Monitor training – Your training log (diary) is a valuable training tool when completed every day. You will have a fantastic record of many different elements and when going well, you can look back at trends and patterns so that you may repeat that good form in the future. Similarly, if you are going badly, you can look back and work out the reasons why, so that you can avoid it in the future.

Remember, don’t just do the sessions you ‘enjoy’, it is likely you will get a bigger ‘bang for your buck’ working on your least favourite aspect. Just riding will get you so far… be specific, targeted and enjoy the improvements.

Check out article here: www.multisportmagazine.com.au – Multisport Magazine is educational, inspiring and entertaining. It connects with the local athlete – whether a professional or purely for social enjoyment, they are committed to improving their lives through healthier living and taking advantage of great opportunities. Their Facebook is: www.facebook.com/coastmultisport

10 Reasons to Love Cycling

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As published in www.moregoldcoast.com.au here are my Top 10 Things to Love about Cycling on the Gold Coast…

1. I have ridden my bike in many places around the world and the Gold Coast is still one of my favourite places to pedal. I love the variety – from a beachfront cruise along the ocean to a tranquil and scenic hinterland ride, the challenge of long mountain climbs, the thrill of the descents, quiet, grassy dairy farm plains, the rainforest, creeks and waterfalls. It’s just pure beauty.

2. I love that on the Gold Coast we can be out of traffic and the hustle and bustle of the city within 15 minutes and riding on quiet roads without another soul in sight. Just bliss! In other cities it can take up to an hour of riding through traffic to get to quiet areas.

3. Forget Surfers Paradise, the weather on the Gold Coast certainly makes it Riders Paradise!

4. Given the variety in the landscape of the Gold Coast, as a rider we get to enjoy breathtaking views. These are from vantage points that are just a stone’s throw away and usually blind to the passing motorist but cherished by the rider. These lookouts afford views that stretch from the surf to the hinterland and beyond. We even have a lookout where we can stand on the eroded rim of a volcano to take in the extraordinary sweeping panorama of Queensland and New South Wales!

5. The Gold Coast has become a home and a hub for some of our country’s top sports people and cycling can be a common denominator to get together. It is not unusual to see rowers, race car drivers, footballers, triathletes and kayakers all enjoying cycling for some cross-training or even a catch-up.

6. I love cruising along the esplanade of our beautiful coastline early in the morning. There is nothing like the splendour of dawn, watching the sunrise creep over the horizon and across the beach, and feeling the warmth of the sun’s rays finally splashing across our faces and lighting up our world. I just wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

7. I love the mountains that we have here on the Gold Coast with ascents of up to 30km. They’re part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, containing a cluster of giant gnarled 3000 year old Antarctic Beech Trees. The outlooks are stunning with crisp mountain air to rejuvenate the spirit.

8. Cycling affords a beautiful way to feel free and to feel connected, either with the environment or with a riding partner. There’s no better way to enjoy our wonderful piece of paradise whilst feeling fit, healthy and active at the same time!

9. I love that on a bicycle I can explore territory that I would have not otherwise seen. We have so many beautiful places here on the Gold Coast and I wouldn’t have discovered half of what I have if it weren’t for pedalling. I also wouldn’t have met half the people I have if it weren’t for the bicycle bringing people together.

10. And last but not least, I love heading out for a coffee after a ride and we have some of the best cafes to sit back and relax after a rejuvenating ride.

Feeling inspired? The Gold Coast has 800 kilometres of bikeways to explore that link to beaches, shopping precincts, neighbourhoods and parks.

Check out the Gold Coast cycling guide here and plan your next cycling adventure.

View published article on More Gold Coast here: www.moregoldcoast.com.au/sara-carrigan-gives-us-10-reasons-love-cycling-gold-coast

5 Tips for Speedier Cycling

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Posted by Sara Carrigan Columnist for Multisport Magazine

1. Skilled confidence
When wanting to average a faster speed for a certain effort, course or race, feeling confident on the bike with great bike skills has a triple pronged effect! What I mean by that is that you get triple the reward for working on your skills.
Firstly, with skills and confidence you can you can just downright go faster simply because you can hoon around corners and down descents more quickly, move through a bunch of riders with greater ease and negotiate tricky situations and avoid crashes. Secondly, you have more momentum and less fatigue. This is because you don’t have to punch back up to speed after each ‘slow’ corner or descent. Thirdly, you are more efficient and will have more energy for the end of your race or run leg because you aren’t nervous! Riders can waste so much energy being fearful and anxious on the bike, and this majorly detracts from performance!
Get skilled and you will ride faster, be more efficient and have more energy to burn to get the performance you want.

2. Right Place Efforts
This all about being smart and savvy in knowing exactly when to dig deep and when to save energy. You may think that for a particular effort, course or race if you hold 400 watts for every minute that you will post a good time. However, applying surges of power in exactly the right places on a course, you can average the same overall power output (or even a smaller power output) and finish the course in a quicker time! How good is that! This means that you can be fresher for the finish of a bike race or fresher for the run leg of a tri!
Think of different kinds of terrain or situations within your race, what are the ‘right’ places to give effort and back off? As a broad answer, your greatest gains are realised to invest more energy in slower or harder sections of a course (uphills & headwinds) than the faster or easier sections (downhills & tailwinds).
Covering more distance in a faster time with less effort sounds too good to be true, but it is possible. However, it does take practice to apply it and understand it. Try it for yourself and reap the benefits!

3. Pedalling Efficiency
There is a big difference between the amount of effort required by adopting the raw push, stomp and grind method compared to the smooth, efficient motion used by the best riders. Performance is directly related to the energy expended, thus it is important that energy is not wasted in movements other than those required in applying force to the pedals. Lateral movements of the arms, knees, head and trunk are movements requiring energy expenditure. These movements account for an energy loss in the forces being applied to the pedals and should be kept to a minimum.

The maintenance of smooth body composure reduces energy expenditure thereby increasing efficiency, and consequently performance. A rider who is style‐inefficient tests personal physical capacities to the limit, experiences earlier fatigue and provides a sub‐maximal potential performance.

Regardless of age or event, it is important for all riders to concentrate on smooth and efficient cycling skills. This is because neural pathways will be ‘wired’ into your muscle co‐ordination patterns so the more you cycle haphazardly the more ingrained bad pedal mechanics become. It takes time in the saddle to be efficient, so the adage of “practice makes perfect” does ring true in this instance.

4. Aerodynamics
Your Frontal Surface Area (FSA) becomes rather important when you are really trying to shave time off your average! The FSA is the front of your body that is pushing into the wind and the bigger that number the less aerodynamic, the greater the wind resistance and the harder you have to work!
When setting up a bike to go fast it is always a compromise between being aero and powerful! There is no point being set up in the most aero position where you look damn fast but then not be able to drive power through the pedals! Conversely, if you are in a position where you are your most powerful, it may not be very aero and so some of your power production is lost in pushing your larger FSA through the wind.
I see some riders getting around in their aero bars that are not at all aero and the rider looks unsteady. So, they would be better off in their drops where they feel more confident and have better bike handling!
You don’t have to immediately go out and get your position changed as aeordynamics are not all about position, it also encompasses your helmet (and how they sit on the head), wheels, lycra etc . However, if you do ever change your bike position, it is important to train regularly in that position, so you can discover the right balance between performance and comfort. If you have more than one bike (training and race bike), my philosophy is to always set up the position the same so that the muscles get used to holding and being powerful in that position.

5. Feel it
Measuring devices on board your bicycle (speedos, power cranks, hr monitors etc) can be a help and a hindrance to performance! I say a hindrance because I know so many riders who have a particular figure in their head as their measure of success but in actual fact this could be stopping them from going even faster! For example, you may think you can hold 42km/hr or 180 bpm for a sustained effort and if you go above it you will blow! But in actual fact, you might be limiting yourself.

When we get in race situations many of our ‘benchmark figures’ go out the window because we have such a heightened state that we can do things that surprise ourselves! So in training, learn to feel the effort that you are expending and get to know your body. When you have intimate knowledge of how your body responds, you can push it further rather than getting scared of seeing a figure that is above what you expect yourself to hold.

 

Check out article here: www.multisportmagazine.com.au – Multisport Magazine is educational, inspiring and entertaining. It connects with the local athlete – whether a professional or purely for social enjoyment, they are committed to improving their lives through healthier living and taking advantage of great opportunities.

Share the Road Tour: Bris to AirlieBeach

Video: Critical Moments – Into the Real World

The QLD Academy of Sport (QAS) and Athlete Career Education (ACE) engaged in a project called “Athlete Critical Moments Video: Into the Real World”.

Former athletes were interviewed to produce videos that serve an an Athlete Development tool to assist in the move from being an athlete in elite sport and into ‘everyday’ life.

The concept of this production is to be able to provide support, through first hand experience held by peers, that may enable athletes heading out of their participation phase, to plan for their
transition and to slot seamlessly and fruitfully into life after competition. I am pleased I could help 🙂

Critical Moment Sara Carrigan from QAS on Vimeo.

Video: GoldCoast ‘Bike & Street Fest’ 2014

Cool video of the fun that was had the Gold Coast 2014 Bike & Street Fest… It’s on again next year 3rd May 2015, yay!

2014 Sydney Uni Velo Club

Corner with Confidence

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I first jumped astride a road bike when I was 14 and I absolutely loved it!
I had no idea what a road bike was nor that the whole world of road cycling existed but what I did know was just how alive and free I felt pedalling my new found love! Riding my bike put a massive smile on my face and I always felt so disappointed when my ride came to an end.

I took to road cycling like a duck to water and I loved going fast, very fast! I remember my first ‘real’ climb, which was up Springbrook and we started from Mr Jackson’s house in Mudgeeraba. Jacko as he is now more affectionately known was one of my teachers who helped with the talent identification program at school and is how I was introduced to cycling. The 8km climb up Springbrook was a real test for me, I remember my muscles aching and needing to stop a couple times to ensure I had enough energy to get to the top!

However, this certainly wasn’t the case when it came to the descent! I pedalled as fast as I could and distinctly recall finishing my first descent down Springbrook thinking about how much faster I could go next time! It didn’t take long before I was descending both Springbrook and Beechmont the whole way no hands! My bike handling, and in particular my cornering and descending skills certainly contributed to the success of my cycling career.

At the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with 15km to go, I attacked with great speed into a corner and no one was able to go with me and I bridged solo across to the winning break. I know so many elite and recreational riders who are so anxious both riding descents and cornering at speed and I became one of them after the fatal accident involving Amy Gillett and our Australian Team in Germany on 18th July 2005. Almost instantly, one of my potent strengths as a rider vanished; I couldn’t corner, I couldn’t descend, and I couldn’t sit in a bunch!

I thought I would never get back to being able to corner with confidence. I had to analyse, dissect, explore and drill down like I never had before, into what I thought would work. I felt like an investigator discovering all these newfound elements that I hadn’t seen previously and in time my confidence, cornering, descending and my overall bike skill improved. Now as a coach I enjoy helping others feel the same joy, relieving them from their ‘pain’ and improving many riders’ bike skills for safety and for performance.

From a safety point of view, you owe it to yourself, you owe it to the others you ride with and you owe it to those with whom you share the road to be a better bike handler, to have better skills and to descend and corner with confidence.

From a performance point of view, you owe it yourself to relish in greater enjoyment on the bike, to further profit from all the training you may be doing, to be more efficient, to reduce both nervous energy and unwarranted physical energy expenditure, which helps to translate into better times.

Some riders may be a ‘natural’ and some may need to work on it but … the good news is that improving our bike handling and cornering does not take extra time. So, the fact that your training program may already be full, is not an excuse! It simply involves awareness and a shift of focus.

To increase my confidence with cornering, there were three areas on which I concentrated my attention and awareness and this is what I use now to help coach my riders. The first of these involves the physical action, which includes elements such as:

  • Correct weight distribution
  • The breath
  • Biomechanical principles
  • Purposeful vision & vectors
  • Crafting the entry
  • The lead & follow technique
  • Optimal alignment & angles

But the secret to really being able to corner with confidence involves these next two areas which, aren’t instructed too often. These are 2) Crafted Inner Power and 3) Consistent Play, which involves elements such as:

  • Performer self
  • Growth mindset
  • Toughness over talent
  • Positive self-talk
  • Power imagery well-executed
  • Trust
  • Exploring possibilities
  • Repetitive momentum

Physical Elements
+
Crafted Inner Power
+
Consistent Play
=
Cornering with confidence

Cornering and descending can be so much fun but if it is a weakness for you, don’t ignore it! Have a coach or someone with expertise help you. In striving to be the best I could be as an athlete, here is a quote that kept me honest …

You cannot run away from a weakness;
you must sometimes fight it out or perish;
and if that be so,
why not now, and where you stand.
— Robert Louis Stevenson

Ultimate Gold Ride: Oreilly’s

Oreillys Gold Coast GOforGOLD Cycling Bunch Sara Carrigan Bob Pen Lynda 2014-08-10 Oreillys Crew

10th August 2014

Our GOforGOLD Cycling Bunch enjoyed our Ultimate Gold Ride challenge up O’Reilly’s on Sunday. What a feat to have conquered the climb! Congrats to Kylie to our Most Improved and was awarded a new pair of Oakleys, nice! Thanks to our ever supportive Ride leaders in Cass, Brookey & Stevo and also to our Ride Support Crew Kay, Alexandra and Emily! I hope you enjoy this little video:

2014-08-10 10.42.09

Guest Tweeter: GC2018

I enjoyed  a great time  ‘taking over’ the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games @GC2018 Twitter account guest tweeting with race insights of the Women’s Commonwealth Games Road Race!


LIVE CHAT: Gold Coast Bulletin

LIVE CHAT: Retired champion cyclist Sara Carrigan will be in the Bulletin office from 10am to answer your Comm Games questions

Olympic gold medal cyclist Sara Carrigan pictured on the Gold Coast. Pic by David Clark

Olympic gold medal cyclist Sara Carrigan pictured on the Gold Coast. Pic by David Clark

GOLD Coast girl Sara Carrigan has lived and breathed cycling and sport since she was young.

The retired Olympic and Commonwealth Games cyclist stepped away from the sport in 2008, but has been very active behind the scenes.

She is an important part of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Sport and Technical Committee and will be in the Bulletin office from 10am today to answer your Comm Games questions.

LIVE CHAT: SARA CARRIGAN

 

 

Morning everyone, I am Sara Carrigan OAM and am excited to be in the office of the Gold Coast Bulletin to chat! There are many exciting things to talk about …Commonwealth Games Glasgow and the handover to the Gold Coast for 2018 and anything cycling! 🙂 Here from you soon!


 

Hi Sarah, how do you think the Comm Games rates compared to Olympics for our athletes?


 

Hi Rex, thanks for your question! The Commonwealth Games is a more ‘friendly’ event with a smaller number of sports participating. Although there are 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations, 71 teams participate in the Comm Games. For me my first Comm Games was in 2002 in Manchester and is what a perfect way to prepare me for the step up to the Olympics in 2004. 🙂

 


 

Sara – your Olympic gold is one of my favourite sporting moments! I’ve been having this argument with a mate – who is Australia’s best cyclist? I have always said Anna Meares (tough as) but my friend Maria rates Cadel as our best. What are your thoughts?


 

hmmm… good question! Track Vs Road! My heart lays with road cycling but I did do track when i was younger and Anna I did our first nationals together in 1997 in Tasmania! Anna is certainly one of our best simply because of her consistency over such a long period of time! Cadel did however swap from Mountain Bike to Road and this is no small ask!


 

Hello, which Aussie athlete do you think is our best gold medal hope in the Comm Games?


 

I am going to go with a few of our Gold Coast athletes as favs… Emma Moffatt(triathlon), Sally Pearson (athletics), Cam McEvoy (swimming) … and in terms of cycling would def have to say Anna Meares!


 

Sara, do you reckon the GC will embrace the Comm Games? There’s a lot of debate about whether it’s worth the money.


 

I have been so amazed and excited at how we have already embraced the Games here on the Coast… something that will remain with me forever is that moment when our Gold Coast City was announced as the host for 2018. I was in St Kitts & Nevis as part of the bid team and seeing the number of our Gold Coasters at the Broadwater Parklands was just awe inspiring! It will inspire young kids, and for our community we will have a lasting legacy of facilities to enjoy and raise more future champions!


 

Hello our Sara! We’ll all be watching from Gunnedah. How big has your role been in the build-up and how big will it be in the build-up to the next one??


 

Gunnedah.. hello!!! I wont be heading to Glasgow but will be watching and cheering on from here! As far as my role, I am on the Sport & Technical Committee of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and get involved with many other events and involved the community with what is happening 🙂


 

Sara, after cycling what is your favourite sport to watch at the Commonwealth Games.


 

I have been to see many different sports…. I love watching the weight lifting (keep an eye out for Tegan Napper) and I actually cried at the table tennis in Beijing. Triathlon is a fav as is track cycling 🙂


 

Hi Sara, I hear you are on the Gold Coast 2018 Comm Games committee, how involved will you be in the planning? What do you think could be a good mascot for the GC games?


 

yes i am on the Sport & Technical Committee and it is great that I can pass on much knowledge of the Athete’s Village and various event characteristics to ensure it fits the athletes to allow them to compete at their best! AS for a mascot….. hmmm something that really depicts the Gold Coast, what do you guys reckon?


 

I personally think the Commonwealth Games are terrific – what do you say to people who say well, they’re not the Olympics!


 

The Com Games provides a platform for many athletes to take the next step in their sporting career. For the GC, our city will shine on the world sporting stage and the promotional exposure for business, trade, investment, tourism and events will herald a new era in the region’s growth and maturity. I lived overseas for many years and know one ever knew of the Goldie, but they will now 🙂


 

Hi Sara! What does a world champion have for breakfast?


 

for breaky….. that depends! definitely something that will fuel the body for the activity that is about to be undertaken! 🙂


 

Hi Sara, I would love to get an insight into any tips you may have for the average joes out there like me just trying to get the best out of themselves in whatever sport they play? Mental or physical tips or any advice would help. Cheers Roger.


 

Thanks Roger. I big tip would be recovery! I see so many people get so excited when they get involved in different sports and they almost burn themselves out! So it is ensuring you schedule recovery days where you give your a body a rest (that means no exercise!) because it is in the recovery that the body can rejuvenate, adapt, improve, evolve and make the most of all the other hard days of training you have put in. Another tip would be to set some goals as this gives you purpose as to why you are out there slogging your guts out… and helps you make those tough decisions and dig a little deeper. I hope that helps! 🙂


 

Sara. Cycling is becoming a huge hobby in Australia. I find most cyclists to be good on our roads but are some spoiling their reputation. Why do some have to ride side-by-side and take up twice as much space on the road?


 

Thanks George, as in anything there are people who try to do the right thing and there are people who break the rules. I feel so sad when we tar people with the same brush because on the whole most people want to do the right thing on bike because they want to be safe! in regards to riding side-by-side, the simple answer is that it is more social. The4 rules say that riders can ride 2-abreast but of course it courtesy to single out where there is less space or not as safe. People ride for a number of different reasons, to feel connected, to meet others, to feel free & alive, to feel a challenge. 🙂


 

Thank you so much everyone for your questions this morning! I hope you all enjoy watching the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the handover to the Gold Coast for lots of excitement to come! Be happy and enjoy a wonderful day!


 

Thanks for being involved in our live chat with Sara Carrigan this morning, we will continue to bring you live chat events throughout the Commonwealth Games with athletes, Gold Coast business leaders on the ground in Glasgow and 2018 Comm Games organisers.


Thanks Sara! Appreciate that!

 

 

 

FREE Cycling Workshops

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I am helping the Gold Coast City Council to help you ‘change the way you move’. Available FREE to our local community are numerous cycling workshops facilitated by accredited instructors. With nearly 50 to choose from, at locations across the city, you can feel encouraged to get going on a bike, learn the fundamentals, build confidence & safety, become a better cyclist, learn more about road safety, gain valuable tips on how to clean & maintain your bike, repair punctures,  and you can then soon enjoy the many benefits that cycling provides.

The various workshops cater for children, for families, for absolute beginners, for intermediate riders, for females .. for just about anyone!

  1. Absolute beginners – This workshop encourages those within the community who want to cycle but have never ridden a bike and are unsure how to go about getting into cycling. Ages 18 years and over. Run by Sara Carrigan.
  2. Basic cycling skills for females – Provides the fundamentals to build confidence and safety for anyone wanting to get going on a bike or for those who haven’t ridden in a while and need a refresher. Sara Carrigan (Olympic Champion) will help you build road confidence and safety for female cyclists aged 18 years and over.
  3. On the road – Run by Sara Carrigan (Olympic Champion) this workshop is designed for more experienced riders who want to perfect their riding technique, and increase their confidence and riding on the road.
  4. Become a better cyclist – Beginners session suitable for children and adults. Run by Jenny Alcorn
  5. Get back on your bike – Intermediate session for cyclists aged 15 and over who would like to improve their cycling skills and road safety awareness. Run by Jenny Alcorn.
  6. Better bike maintenance – Learn valuable tips and be shown how to clean your bike, repair punctures, adjust your brakes and maintain the chain. This workshop is designed for beginners of all ages as well as family groups.
  7. ‘Training wheels’ to ‘two wheels’ course – This course teaches children aged from 4 – 10 how to advance from training wheels to two wheels. Children must bring their own two wheeled bike and helmet.
  8. Student cycling course – This workshop teaches children aged from 6 – 13 safe bike handling skills and techniques. It also aims to raise awareness of traffic and road conditions. Children must bring their own bike.

See schedule of dates below for all workshops or go to the website: cityofgoldcoast.com.au/cycleworkshops

Bookings are required for all workshops. Contact here:

P 07 5582 8677
E activetravel@goldcoast.qld.gov.au
W cityofgoldcoast.com.au/cycleworkshops

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Wider of the Rider

Posted by Sara Carrigan Columnist for Multisport Magazine

Cycling safety starts with us and each individual has a duty to obey the law no matter what bike we ride and what machine we drive. Whether you in fact agree with the laws is a discussion for another time but “No man is above the law and no man is below it: nor do we ask any man’s permission when we ask him to obey it.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

There have been some recent rule changes in QLD that affects motorists and cyclists on the roads. Many rules are similar across Australia but differences do exist between states and it is important to be informed and be aware.

As of 7th April 2014, new cycling rules for QLD roads came into effect and are designed to protect all users and recognise the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads. These new laws include:

  1. Minimum passing distance for motorists.

By law motorists must give:

  • a minimum of 1 metre when passing cyclists in a 60km/h or less speed zone ($330, 3pts)
  • at least 1.5 metres where the speed limit is over 60km/h ($330, 3pts)
  1. Equal fines for both cyclists and motorists

The Penalties common to cyclists and motorists include:

  • failing to stop at a red traffic light ($330)
  • disobeying a ‘no U turn’ sign at an intersection ($88)
  • failing to stop at a ‘stop’ sign at an intersection ($330)
  • exceeding the speed limit in a speed zone by less than 13km/h ($146).

Committing an offence as a cyclist, you receive a fine for the same amount as a motorist, but do not accumulate demerit points.

Penalties specific to cyclists include:

  1. carrying more passengers than a bicycle is designed for ($110)
  2. failing to give way to pedestrians on a footpath or shared path ($110)
  3. failing to display a light at night or in hazardous weather conditions ($110).

I have recently engaged in varying conversations with different people about the cycling rules specifically relating to lights and reflectors! Given that the mornings are darker, most riders have a front & rear light but are not aware they also need to have a rear red reflector! The QLD Road Rules state:

Section 259: Night time and unsafe weather bicycle equipment

If you ride at night or in weather conditions that make it difficult to see, you must display (either on the bicycle or on you):

  • a white light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at least 200m from front of the bicycle
  • a red light (flashing or steady) that can be clearly seen at least 200m from the back of the bicycle
  • a red reflector that can be clearly seen at least 50m from behind the bicycle—when a vehicle’s headlights shine on it.

My wish is simply for everyone to just be more patient overall and to show care & respect for each other no matter what mode of transport. We are all in such a rush these days and I will admit I am a culprit of this too. To receive care & respect we have to give it, and the simple act of following the rules can go a long way to achieving this.

Interestingly, in response to this approach, I have been confronted with some negativity summed up in a quote by Dennis Wholey, “Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you’re a good person is like expecting a bull not to attack you because you’re a vegetarian.” A counter argument could be that of Confucius, “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?”

This article mentions only a few of the rules so visit the website of the QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads to be completely informed and share with all road users. Everyone has the right to ride in safety for work, sport and play.

multisportmag.com.au

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Bike Festival Gold Coast

IMAG2310 Bling yr Bike Winners Carnival

A wonderful day of celebrating celebrating & all modes of non-motorised transport with full a road closure for a party on the streets!

The City of Gold Coast held the 2014 Bike & Street Fest in Varsity Parade on Sunday 4 May, which was met with much support and participation by the community, local businesses, kiddies and people being active

The day was a huge success with approximately 4000 people attending the event on all forms of wheeled transport.

I loved it and had a ball! It was a fun-filled, awesome day of street parades, kids activities, live music, competitions, stalls, prizes, BMX demos, riding, skating, scooting & being active!

The success of the event was made possible by everyone involved, including the local retailers for their support behind the street ‘opening’, and all of the vendors, exhibitors and entertainers who created a fun, street-party atmosphere whilst promoting active travel.

Bike & Street Fest is a part of the City’s Active Travel and Active Towns programs which encourage residents and visitors to walk, cycle, carpool or use public transport more often.

If you attended and  have any feedback regarding the event please email activetravel@goldcoast.qld.gov.au or for more information please visit www.cityofgoldcoast.com.au/activetravel

I’m look forward to enjoying it all again next year’s event 🙂

Sara Carrigan OAM

Sara Carrigan OAM

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