Weekly Workout #7
Dave Williams of Triangle Multisport introduces us to a fixed/single gear cycling workout that helps increase power and efficiency during off-season and early season training.
The single-gear bike workout can be done at various distances depending on what kind of shape the athlete is in and what kind of races they are training for. The idea is to use a regular road bike or tri bike as a fixed/single gear bike on rolling terrain. I'll often assign a 90 minute overall ride with at least one hour of it staying in one single gear for the entire time. The second key aspect to this ride is that you never stop pedaling the entire ride, even when spinning out down the hills.
I'm a big fan of working on power and efficiency for most athletes in the off-season and early season. The single gear ride allows you to work on both of these in one fun ride. Instead of just doing a big gear for a certain amount of time or hill repeats, this allows you to mix it up and get a range of times and distances in both harder gears to work on power and easier gears where you try to stay up with a fast cadence without bouncing. No matter what distance race you're training for, this ride will benefit you.
For beginners or those without much of a cycling base, I'll start with just 10-15 minutes staying in a single gear on rolling terrain within an otherwise aerobic ride. The great thing about this workout is that it's great for all levels. Just add how long you do it for and change how difficult the terrain is. Doing the single-gear ride for an hour or so allows for the opportunity to hit different grade and length hills, which is obviously a good thing. I'm a fan of doing it three to four times in the off-season, or doing it every other week in the early season.