Coast Multisport Magazine Ed9(3)

Posted by Sara Carrigan Columnist for Coast Multisport Magazine

In coaching triathlon, one of the things I hear most is that the bike leg is just a ‘means to an end’, that is ‘the least most important leg.’

With my biases, it would seem certain that I’d jump straight to argue otherwise, and I will. But before I do, it is fair enough to reason that the swim is important because it sets up the race, and the run is important because it finishes off the race to take home the bacon!

When we look at it like this, what value can the bike leg really contribute to triathlon? If you want better results and to improve on your triathlon times and overall experience, the key may be through the bike!

Rather than training longer, harder and more intensely, which is more likely to bring on injuries, sickness and overtraining … look at how you can increase your efficiency, effectiveness and quality of effort.

Below are just a very few questions to perhaps help you determine the huge potential and vast scope to improve on the bike that will strengthen your overall race through less waste of nervous energy and being more tactically astute, race aware, and physically proficient and efficient.

How confident and comfortable are you on your bike?
(if you answer YES to one or more, you are not prepared)
  • Do you feel anxious and nervous while riding?
  • Do you get tingling or numbness in your hands?
  • Do you feel uneasy riding with one hand to drink/eat/signal?
How skilful are you on your bike?
(if you answer YES to one or more, you are not prepared)
  • Do you get bogged down in your gears at times?
  • Do feel uneasy riding in the wet?
  • Do you feel uncomfortable cornering at speed?
  • Are you unsure of when to ride in/out of your saddle?
How is your race preparation?
(if you answer NO to one or more, you are not prepared)
  • Do you know what tyre pressure to use in various conditions?
  • Do you use your race wheels sometimes in training?
  • Do you know what to do in the case of a fall?
How is your tactical ability? (These Qs are more applicable for draft legal races)
(if you answer NO to one or more, you are not prepared)
  • Do you know how/when/where/why to bridge/attack?
  • Do you know how to move in on a wheel?
  • Do you know how to call others’ bluff?
  • Do you command bunch presence?

All of the elements above are predominantly based on increasing efficiency, and on the most part do not require extra training hours but rather a shift of training focus to become more adept and efficient.

For me, nothing contributed more to self-belief and success than a thorough preparation. I know that a consistent and concerted effort will help the bike become more than a ‘means to an end’ which will increase enjoyment and the feeling of being prepared and improved triathlon performance.

Link to actual article –

Coast Multisport Magazine Ed9(2)