Securing right advice on posture & use of gears critical for better cycling, says VN Singh

Noida: Cycling Federation of India Director and Chief Coach (Endurance) Vijay Narayan Singh has suggested that recreational cyclists must consult qualified coaches or experienced professional cyclists to get the right advice on the amount of strength training, seat position, riding posture as well as use of gears to optimise performance and, more importantly, prevent injury.

Speaking ahead of the HCL Cyclothon Noida to be conducted on March 19, VN Singh, as he is known in the cycling circuit, shared some tips on training and nutrition that would help recreational cyclists enjoy their ride without risking injury. However, he said it would be very important for the riders to get the right advice.

“Many recreational cyclists spend a small fortune on buying bicycles for themselves, but they do not get the right advice on posture, cadence, use of gears etc.,” he said, suggesting that the quest for speed and personal best times can be counter-productive if the cyclists pursue riding and racing without the correct advice.

“If you use a heavier gear than necessary, you increase the chances of creating a knee problem. One tooth less or one tooth more in the gear can make a huge difference. It is also important to know how much strength training is needed before using heavy gears,” he said.

He also suggested that training in a group can be great helps. “The duration and quality of workout are better when in a group.Besides conversation, the riders can manage their speed better and record improvement when in a group. Wind resistance can be managed when riding in a peloton of cyclists rather alone,” he said. “This is true for professional cyclists, too.”

Since the HCL Cyclothon Noida will be the first mass-participation event since the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the vastly experienced coach prescribes that the riders exercise great care during the preparations and on race day.

He said it was critical for riders to be mindful when choosing the distance to ride in a week’s training. It will help them if they look to achieve a cadence of 90 to 100 revolutions (of the pedal) per minute and increase it to 120.  They can also try some interval training – four repetitions of 30-second sprints with incomplete recovery of two minutes, two or three times,” he said.

VN Singh said that the role of the warm-up before training sessions and in a race in reducing the risk of injury can never be understated. “Also it is critical to do some stretching exercises after a long ride. If there is a roller available, it can be used to help cool the body down with some exercise,” he said.

He does not recommend carb-loading just before the race is. “A food intake a couple of hours before the race should be idea. And it is critical that soon after the race, the rider focuses on eating right to replace the energy that is depleted during the competition,” he said.

As for the racing itself, VN Singh said mental preparation for the race pace is key and helps optimise the training. “Any rider who wants to be in the mix in the end must try and stay in the lead Peloton if he or she does not want to be left with too much to do in the end of the 55km race,” he said.

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