Road Racing takes many different forms, such as short distance criterium races, single day stage races or multi stage road races. This range of events places a variety of different demands upon a rider.
While road races are primarily endurance events, they have a wide range of demands, and riders will generally develop a specific area as a preference.
Sprinters – tend to have greater muscle mass and a larger proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibres.
Climbers – tend to record many of the lowest absolute measurement of height, body mass, maximal aerobic power and power at lactate threshold relative to body mass.
All-rounder – May not specialise in any specific area, but would be expected to perform well on most types of courses.
Components of fitness for the Road Race Rider
Aerobic Endurance – is directly related to the level of sustainable power output and rate of recovery of which a rider is capable. This underpins a rider’s capability in all types of race events.
Flexibility – Often overlooked. Riders should have required flexibility to maintain a comfortable yet aerodynamic racing position for several hours.
Muscle Power – or peak power output, is the maximum power output attained by a rider. This is the product of strength and speed. Specific training aimed at increasing muscle power should be added in to training prescription.
Short Term Muscular Power – is a key component for road racers, by developing short term muscular endurance riders can ride at higher intensities for longer.
Speed – is the ability to maintain a high leg cadence. In addition riders who have the ability to pedal quickly are at an advantage when responding to attacks and sudden changes of pace. There are restrictions on the maximum gear size for junior and youth riders, it is essential youth riders have the ability to sustain high cadences.
Strength – is a key component to muscle power. Riders must be able to exert the required torque on the pedals in high force condition, such as climbing steep hills or sprinting.
There are many other Physiological, Psychological, Technical, Tactical and Nutritional demands in road racing. Building a successful annual plan that takes into account all of these relevant demands is the essential part of being a successful road racer. Contact VRP for more details on road race coaching plans.