Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

Cook refused to give up. He got helpful advice and learned by sticking with it. He also whittled off weight, and wound up dropping 40 pounds (though he since gained some back). Now he considers himself a cyclist who also runs and swims rather than a triathlete.

The Advice: To get more comfortable in a paceline, start a bit farther back, says James Herrera of Performance Driven consulting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "You can enjoy huge drafting benefits from 2 to 3 feet away. So start there." Then look through the rider in front of you so you can anticipate what the group will do, says Andy Applegate, a coach with Carmichael Training Systems who is based in Asheville, North Air Max Thea Teal

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

New riders get scared at first pedaling so close to others. Modulating speed over undulating terrain is challenging. For some, the intensity of the new experience can be mentally exhausting. But then they learn how much energy they can save in a pack.

´╗┐Avoid Beginner Cycling Mistakes

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

As Cook learned, it's helpful to adjust your effort to keep a constant speed. "Don't pedal, pedal, pedal, coast, coast, coast," says Applegate. "That causes a yo yo effect." Instead, make minute adjustments in your pedaling and feather your brakes. Stick your head out in the wind to temper your speed without surging or stalling.


Cook started riding in January 2010, soon after he overheard his four year old daughter turn down candy because she wanted to be a gymnast, not "get fat like my daddy." "After picking my ego up off the floor," he says, "I started looking for something to do about it." After a relative suggested he try a sprint distance triathlon, he dusted off his mountain bike and started riding his 2 mile commute. A few weeks later, he bought a road bike on Craigslist, and after a few rides with friends, he plunged into his first big group ride that April.

When it's your turn up front, keep the speed steady and for only as long Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White as you feel comfortable, but not more than two minutes. Then pull off and decelerate a bit. Air Max Thea Size 3

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

The Challenge: Hanging In A Paceline

would whiz by and I got dropped about 75 percent of the time. Being a heavy guy [6 feet, 280 pounds when he started], I couldn't accelerate to close the gap. Big diesel truck engine, but not a lot of sports car here."

Draft wisely. Now Cook looks at the grass to find where the wind is coming from so he can tuck in wherever he's best able to conserve energy.

The paceline proved his greatest challenge. "I had a terrible time with it," he says. "When I'd pull off the front, the riders Nike 2015 Max Air

The birth of his third child this year cut down on riding time. "But I'm focusing on intervals to develop my power and praying for time to work on my endurance," he says. "That should help me hang with the pack."

"Keep pedaling at a moderately fast pace," says Applegate, "then start sneaking over as the last rider goes by."

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

Conserve energy by soft pedaling versus coasting, keeping off the brakes, and shifting to maintain speed and cadence. All of these things eliminated Cook's yo yoing in the pack, which meant fewer surges of effort to latch back on.

Nike Air Max Thea Matte Silver/Summit White

Recover fully or pay. "I tried to cram too many group rides into my schedule the first month or two and actually got slower for most of the summer," he says. "Rest and variety are huge."2.

IT'S SIMPLE TO START RIDING A BIKE if all you're going to do is noodle around the neighborhood on a beach cruiser. But what if you just bought your first real road bike and plunge straight in by trying to ride in a pack, climb big hills, and tackle long miles? As everyone who's ever clipped in for the first time then crashed to the ground knows, it's not that easy. On these pages, we introduce four rookie riders of whom started riding in 2010 off the incandescent highs and soul crushing lows of that first time around the block.

The Rookie: Matt Cook, 39, Virginia Beach, Virginia

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