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February 12th, 2010
05:39 PM ET

Driver Carl Edwards' plan for fitness

From time to time, we ask ask celebrity "friends of Fit Nation" to share their tips about staying healthy, eating right and building a Fit Nation. This week, we hear from NASCAR driver Carl Edwards on his plans for staying fit in the 2010 season.


Filed under: Fitness

February 12th, 2010
12:04 PM ET

More about learning to ride your first ‘road bike’

By Laura Cozik
Athletic Director, CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge
CEO, Team Lipstick Triathlon

Last week you learned about some of the basics - beginner skills for your road bike. Today we progress to advanced beginner skills.

Once you’ve figured out how to stop falling (I told you that would happen!), here are the advanced beginner skills you should start to master. Most have to do with bike handling, but focusing on technique should start to play a major role in your workouts.

Hill climbing: Easy gear, spin your legs comfortably at a high cadence. Learn how to get to the top of a hill without being completely exhausted.

Hill descending: Learn to love the free speed! In a hard gear, try to pedal your legs the entire way down, feathering your brakes (lightly squeezing them) to control your speed when necessary. No coasting.

Turns and cornering: Always look into a turn. Your body will follow where your eyes lead. If you are making a left turn, bring your left knee to the top of the pedal stroke while the right one remains at the bottom (and vice versa).

Riding in your ‘drops’: This is the most aerodynamic position you can achieve on a road bike. Hands come down to the lowest point on your handlebars, called ‘the drops’. Practice shifting gears and squeezing your brakes from this hand position.

Standing: Try this on an easy hill climb. Shift to a harder gear, stand up, and continue pedaling. At first you may only achieve 2-4 pedal strokes before needing to sit, but practice and you will improve.

Single-leg pedaling: This helps you to improve your pedal efficiency. While riding on a nice, easy flat, click one foot out of the pedal and extend it behind you. The other foot pedals solo. Try to eliminate any “dead spots” (most people experience these at the top of the pedal stroke). Your goal is smooth, even circles. Do both legs for 1 minute each, about 5 sets total.

Pace lines: This is for group riding only, when training with a team or with friends. While at first a bit scary, you’ll learn to love it. Try riding in single file, as close to the tire in front of you as possible. Eventually you should be able to maintain a maximum of 12 inches from tire to tire. There is a draft benefit here, so you can scale back on your effort. That is, until you are up front leading the group! Pedal continuously, don’t squeeze your brakes suddenly, don’t change the speed when you take over the lead. This takes a LOT of concentration. Google it for more info.

Practice, and let me know if you have any questions. Next week we discuss training zones.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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