Categories: Motivation Training

Triathlon training | How to master the bike

August 22, 2017

There are three key parts to becoming a solid, well-rounded triathlete: mastering the swim, the bike, and the run (and being able to execute in that order). You’ve already learned how to master the swim, now it’s time to tackle the longest leg of any tri: the bike.

Polar athlete and professional triathlete Angela Naeth is here to help. Naeth is the 2015 North American Ironman Champion, is a multiple-time sub-9-hour Ironman finisher and a 12-time Ironman 70.3 Champion, and boasts more than 24 70.3 podium finishes. She rides a Scott Plasma bike (“decked out with Shimano Dura-Ace electronic shifting,” she says), and the two spend a lot of time together. Here’s what Naeth has learned (and wants you to know) about nailing the second – and longest – triathlon leg: the bike.

She spends most of her training time on the bike.

“I spend anywhere from 10 to 15 hours on my bike every week,” Naeth says. “I mix it up by riding in the mountains in Colorado and on flat roads, and I’m always on the lookout for new roads.”

But she logs plenty of trainer time, too.

“I do ride on the trainer, sometimes in the summer, but mostly in the winter when I’m unable to train outside because it’s snowing,” she says. “I actually get into a good mindset of riding indoors, and I love it.” But thanks to manageable Colorado summers, Naeth prefers to log as many miles outside as possible.

She almost always rides alone.

“I love the solidarity of riding,” she says. “It’s when my mind becomes blank, and it’s the best time for me, personally. You learn a lot about yourself when you’re riding alone for five hours!” Unless she’s at a training camp, Naeth doesn’t ride with friends or teammates – and her ideal route is up. “My favorite rides, by far, are ones where I point the wheels uphill,” she says. “I absolutely love climbing and seeing the views when I reach the top.”

Angela Naeth’s top 5 tips for the bike portion of a triathlon:

  1. Get a good bike fit – regularly. “Make small changes until you feel good on the bike,” she says. “It took me a few years of tinkering and finding what works for me, but now that I’m dialed in, it’s the best I’ve felt.”
  2. Go long at least once a week, building toward your race distance.
  3. Change it up. “I like to include hills – climbing and descending – in the mix,” she says. “Add variety, and work on your skills in all areas.”
  4. Ride a road bike. “Riding road and time trial bikes are crucial when it comes to keeping your body healthy,” she says. “The TT position is simply the worst position for the human body to be in. It’s a necessity for racing, but doesn’t need to be done much in training.”
  5. Vary your cadence. “Use the bike as your gym,” she says. “I ride at a very low cadence sometimes, and other times you’ll find me at a very high cadence.”

In the spotlight

Angela Naeth

Angela Naeth

Angela Naeth is the 2015 North American Ironman Champion and is a multiple-time sub-9-hour Ironman finisher. She’s a 12-time Ironman 70.3 Champion, and boasts more than 24 70.3 podium finishes. She trains with the Polar M430, M400, and V800.