Get fit for Spandex

A mountain biker descends a steep hill











Of the myriad instruments of torment devised by humanity over the centuries, few have caused the human body as much pain and misery as the bicycle. But to this day, millions of Americans don their helmets and bike shorts every year to test their mettle on the nation’s highways and trails.

So for the velo-masochists among you, we asked endurance coach Danny Suter of the Boulder Performance Network to share his advice for riders who want to cover more miles in less time.

Riders hoping to build endurance should incorporate one long, low-angle uphill ride into their weekly schedule, says Suter. The angle of these rides should be gentle, but should never let up.

“What feels ridiculously easy at mile one feels just right at hour two or three, and starts to feel miserable at hour four,” says Suter. Keeping steady movement without rest will build your muscles’ tolerance for fatigue, which is more important on endurance rides than speed or power.

For those looking to build their all-around riding with shorter trips, Suter suggests integrating short intervals into longer bike rides. Ride as hard as you can for 10-20 minute intervals, and follow these with slower rides of half the time. In one ride, try to build in about an hour of sprinting.