HOT TAKES: Racing Strategy, Crit Preparation, and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 403

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  • (0:20) I’m not unfit in the winter, the air is just heavier.
  • (04:34) Negative racing is just as sound of a strategy as attacking all the time.
  • (11:43) Long indoor Z2 is like therapy.
  • (17:46) Is the move by Ironman to ‘split the IMWC’ a money grab, or is it a legitimate good move for the athletes?
  • (29:00) Technical trails should not be ‘made safe’ even if they are dangerous.
  • (34:06) After watching Call of a Lifetime, gravel racers need to care less about tradition and maintaining a pleasant emotional balance and more about winning.
  • (40:32) The whole “scrape mud” thing with your pedal stroke is unnecessary. Pedal how you pedal.
  • (42:28) Your bike fit shouldn’t look like the pros.
  • (48:53) It’s ok for your saddle to not be aligned center if it’s for an imbalance.
  • (51:13) Gravel is not more inclusive because of the barriers to entry.
  • (57:56) Elevation training on the weekends improves aerobic capacity.
  • (1:00:26) Why do I get DOMS from endurance workouts, but not threshold and VO2?
  • (1:02:23) 100 push ups a day is sufficient strength training for cyclists.
  • (1:03:39) Fueling with carbs for an early morning 1hr workout is overrated.
  • (1:10:14) Synthetic foods are better than natural foods for riding/racing (ie gels)
  • (1:14:55) America will be THE dominant cycling nation in 10 years.
  • (1:18:20) Athletes with executive function difficulties (adhd) need more sugar and caffeine during workouts because the dopamine hit helps them stay engaged during workouts.
  • (1:24:21) Aero road frames make no difference in real world group riding
  • (1:24:35) We are paying too much for chamois cream.
  • (1:27:25) Naps should get more hype than ice baths for recovery.
  • (1:33:41) Bikes are too heavy now
  • (1:39:39) Training your 10min power is more important than training your sprint for crit racing.
  • (1:46:09) Hard training weakens my immune system. (more of a theory really)
  • (1:52:18) Cyclocross is the most exciting version of cycling at the moment, change my mind.

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Ask a Cycling Coach podcast is a cycling and triathlon training podcast. Each week USAC/USAT Level I certified coach Chad Timmerman, pro athletes, and other special guests answer your cycling and triathlon questions.

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1 Like

Physics nerds, get on this! (Cold air is denser, sorry Chad)



Cold air is definitely denser. More horsepower for the vrooms. The oxygen is closer together isn’t it.


Link with some tables: Air Density Table and Specific Weight Table, Equations and Calculator



In short, cold air IS more dense (air molecules more closely spaced within a given volume via the colder temp).


Oh, the pandering.

1 Like

I haven’t gotten to that point in the cast yet, but pandering to whom?

Probably true, the Pro’s are all about five foot nothing :upside_down_face:

Just dropping by, in a totally not smug way, like, not smug at all, to recognize that I was right and Chad was wrong about cold air being more dense :smirk:



I mean, just take a balloon from room temp and put it in your freezer.

Same mass of material, but the balloon will definitely shrink.

1 Like

You’re speakin’ my language, but to give Chad credit, logically thinking through something on the spot with more than 100k people listening makes your brain not work very well sometimes, lol


Well, it sounds like nobody in the podcast actually agrees with that “hot take” after all.

Re gravel entry fees and course lengths:
If you want to do the nationally known races like Unbound and BWR, you will run into the challenges of cost and field limits outlined in the podcast. But there are plenty of regional, well-run more grass-roots gravel events where the prices are reasonable and short courses are available. In the Southeast we have the Mississippi Gravel Cup, a four-race series with 25, 50, and 100 mile options. Ian Boswell raced the first race this year. Next weekend in Georgia is the Border Wars gravel race, 45 and 75 mile options for $45. Alabama has the Alabama Ass Whoopin, a 44 or 88 mile race for $88.
Generally where there’s gravel there’s an affordable entry point if you look for it.


Our stance was, “your bike fit should look like what your bike fit needs to look like.”. Saying it should or should not look like a specific type of fit is certainly a non-specific way to go about solving a problem.


Can’t compete the the high quality names of the more grassroots events too :joy:

1 Like

Let’s just say you might want to bring a hard-tail to the Ass Whoopin…


After doing this exact thing I then pose this question to my students: what is more dense, cold air or hot, humid air? (Think Gulf of Mexico in the summer).

Even though we just saw what happens and they know the answer… they can’t seem to get over the fact that hot humid air “feels” heavier, even though it isn’t.

EDIT: Just watched the start of the podcast… chad was right when he says warm air holds more water (more space between the particles) but cold air is STILL more dense. Here’s why: Why Moist Air is Less Dense Than Dry Air - YouTube


We (as a species) suck at perceiving some things correctly…which is why some people still insist on light wheels over aero ones, higher tire pressure, tubulars over clinchers. etc.


I will add moist air is actually less dense as well, water, H20 is about 18 grams per mole, where O2 is about 32, and Nitrogen N2 is about 28 grams/mole, so at a specific pressure and temperature, there is a constant moles per liter of air, so more moisture decreases density, because more of that air is composed of 18 gram/mole molecules.


Regarding bike weight…I think Ivy was spot on when she said (paraphrasing) “bikes these days can do more”. She’s correct. Back in the day bikes IMO/E were much more unidimensional and all we had to make them better was to try and make them lighter.

All things equal I think lighter feels and performs better but, I totally agree with Chad that there are so many other things to be concerned with before the weight of a bike it makes bike weight negligible. As technology has evolved I think humans are expecting everything to get lighter than it did in say the early 2000’s. It can but, it’s not affordable at the moment.

Regarding air density, all things equal, cold air is more dense. We use apps as pilots for airliners to figure out landing and takeoff performance. All things equal colder air improves performance (more dense). What I’d like to know as a cyclist is how much more power (all things equal) it takes to overcome riding in 5C vs. say 30C temps.