Ghetto Training for the Commuting Competitor

Part 1- Introduction to ghetto training

A wise man once told me– Ride your bike every day.  Ride for training, ride to work, ride for you.  It is the best thing you can do.  “Arthur Donnelly

Arthur was one of the first people to get me onto the track.  When I was starting out, he gave me this gem of advice.  At first, I took it on face value.  I rode every day and I rode a lot.  But as I’ve specialised into a sprinter I’ve come to realize less (volume) is more (quality).

The beginnings.  Always riding, always fixed!


I commute every day.  I don’t use this time to improve my fitness or endurance; instead I see it as a skills session.  I always work on both physical and mental drills.   I spend up to 3h a day commuting/using my bike as transport, 365 days a year, for the last 5 years (i’ve been commuting longer than that, but the skills work has been mainly over the last 5).   If you do the math, I’m now about halfway to the 10000 hours of practice required to become an expert (nice! *gives self a high five*).

Women Sprint 3-4 Final. 2017 Canadian Track Championships, September 29, 2017

Women Sprint 3-4 Final. 2017 Canadian Track Championships, September 29, 2017

By utilizing my time on my commute more effectively I can spend more time doing the whole life thing.  Yes I’m an elite athlete (I think I can call myself that).  But I have a full time job that I love, a wonderful fiancée who I love even more, and a great group of friends that cheer for me and ground me with being social every time cycling gets all too serious and consuming.  I want to be as competitive as I can be, but I also want to give life the biggest slice of my time pie.

I now present to you ghetto training!

Step 1- commute/do short trips on your bike you need short relaxed time on the bike almost every day.  Speed and distance are not needed.  This activity should add skills, but not take training out of your legs and make you physically tired.  My doddle philosophy is ‘no matches shall be burned, and pedals should not be turned in anger’

fixie lizanne wilmot.jpg

Step 2- get a fixie- They are just like riding track bikes.  But with smaller gears (I use between 68 and 75 inches) and Brakes.  You only need a front brake.   I also highly recommend drop bars and being clipped in.  it’s also ideal to set the fixie up like your track bike, but in most cases, the position sucks on the road.  So set up with something aggressive but still comfy while doddle-ing.


Step 3- Start thinking about track standing- I know it’s not so much a hot skill on the track these days.  But it’s a good skill to have.

That’s all for now; I’ll be back next Friday with Part 2


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