MIT is not exactly known for its athletics, but the cycling team is an anomaly, racking up 11 Division II national cycling titles and the 2012 Collegiate Club of the Year Award. For neophytes, few sports offer faster progress, according to MIT road coach Nicole Freedman and cyclocross coach Alec Donahue. “Within a single summer,” Donahue says, “a person can build up from biking just a few miles in a day to biking 100 miles a day.”
Off the Bike
Maintain strength with bodyweight exercises that balance out the repetitive motion of cycling: planks, side planks, leg crossovers, and physioball curls.
A LESSON IN AERODYNAMICS
A bike accounts for only about 15 to 25 percent of overall drag (or air resistance). The remaining 75 percent is body position, according to Ph.D. student and wind-tunnel expert Zach LaBry, who works with the cycling team. MIT uses a wind tunnel to fine-tune positioning and modify equipment for maximum efficiency.
Invest in a time-trial helmet. Taping over the front vents decreases resistance.
Wear a Skin Suit
Air flows over the back more effectively than over a jersey.
Rotate hips forward to keep the back straight and horizontal. Clip-on aerobars can help.
Low-profile kicks with Velcro straps or laces are the most aerodynamic.
Reinvent the Wheel
Front wheels make the most difference. Look for something with a deep rim and low spoke count.
Charles River Wheelmen
$15 per person annually ($20 per household), crw.org.
With more than 1,200 active members, this recreational cycling group takes weekly group rides throughout eastern Massachusetts.
Check out “Home Team Workouts” to find out how other college teams in Boston get fit.