It's funny, each of the posts here addresses all of the issues you'll want to address so, basically, take them all to heart and investigate each one thoroughly.
Assuming your equipment is in proper working order, the things that have been beneficial for me:
1. Get properly fitted. Even if it's not your bike, these are simply adjustments made to the bike - nothing undoable. Your legs (quadriceps) could be firing at the wrong time - that will make a HUGE difference. It will cost you between $50-$100 to get professionally fitted and take about 1-2 hours to do at your LBS.
2. Lighten your bike as much as possible without sacrificing safety. My bike weighs about 15lbs, give or take an ounce or two. Most of this is common sense stuff - don't carry two water bottles (I hardly even drink 1/4 of mine on a 30 miles ride), don't eat a heavy meal before you ride (if you ride in the afternoon, avoid heavy meals (e.g. lots of starches, sugars or carbs) before you ride - it'll just make you lethargic) and don’t bog yourself down with food items. If you get hungry while you ride, take just one PowerBar, or something equally diminutive, to munch on.
3. Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
4. Ride in as aggressive a position as possible. Don't slouch on your bike, but definitely try to lean into the wind. Don't think it's a big difference? Just put your hand out the window of your car at 20 miles per hour and hold it up like you're signaling someone to stop. See how much of a difference that makes vs. just angling it to about a 20 or 30 degree angle forward.
5. Do walking lunges in the gym with as heavy as weight as you can that won't negatively affect your form. Of everything I've done, this has been one of the two things that has helped me the most (see number 6). I usually do walking lunges with the 60 or 70lb dumbbells for three sets of 20 reps, each time I go to the gym.
6. Drink a good quality protein shake after each ride and for the next 24 hours with each meal. That goes hand-in-hand with number 5.
7. As always, watch the others you ride with. Notice what gears they're in and their cadence - try to match.
8. If you have a mountain bike, you can pedal your little heart out and still not be able to keep up with a road cyclist leisurely zipping along. Mountain bikes are made for climbing steep hills slowly. Road bikes are made for speed – plain and simple. If you're riding a mountain bike, look to borrow a friend's road bike and I suspect you'll see some vaguely familiar blurs, known as your cycling buddies, as you whiz by them!
Take care and ride safe!
| current weight: 204.8