USA Cycling: Terms to know about cycling races

USA Cycling

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Here are a few cycling terms to know in advance of the USA Cycling Champions, which will take place in Knoxville on June 27-30. 

  • Attack – a sudden attempt to pull ahead of a rider or a group
  • Bibs – A piece of cycling apparel that combines shorts over-the-shoulder straps like overalls that replace a regular waistband and eliminate unnecessary chaffing when engaged in a cycling position. 
  • Bonk – The cycling equivalent of ‘hitting the wall’. The state of utter exhaustion causes muscle cramping, mental fatigue and can stop a rider entirely. 
  • Cadence – The number of revolutions per minute or a rider’s pedal rate. There is an ideal cadence, or C-spot, riders aim to attain when the cyclist push force and the resistance from the course match. 
  • Century – A 100-mile race 
  • Chamois – pronounced “Sham-wah”, refers to the padded bike shorts worn by cyclist which limit chafing, blistering and saddle sores associated with a long-distance race. 
  • Chasers –  These are the riders pushing in pursuit of the lead rider or simply riders ahead of them. 
  • Clipless pedals – These pedals lock into special cycling shoes so riders are firmly attached to the pedals. The name comes from the old toe clip models which featured a small cage over riders’ toes. These pedals allow for greater efficiency and power with every push. 
  • Drafting – Like in a race car, cyclist will pedal close behind another rider ahead of them to block the air and reduce drag from the wind. This technique allows riders maintain speed while expending less energy 
  • Gears – Most bikes have two sets of gears, one at the rear (the cassette) and another at the front (the crankset). These are adjusted to match how hard is necessary to cross the terrain- larger gears which exert more power but are harder to push usually are used for flat ground while smaller gears that are easier to push but less powerful are used for climbing. 
  • Grand Tour – You don’t have to be a cycling fan to know about the Tour De France. It is part of the European Grant Tour which consists of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. These three races are all multi-week events that feature daily stages. All three races each total over 2,000 miles. 
  • Hammering – This refers to when a rider is pedaling hard on gears with high resistance. Higher resistance gears require more effort to push but offer more power. Riders can cover a lot of ground when hammering but it can be a grueling endeavor, especially if riders are going against the wind. 
  • LSD – “Long Slow Distance” This term refers to training rides to build endurance when riders peddle for hours at a slow but steady pace. 
  • Pull – In team events, taking your turn at the front of a line of riders so they can draft behind you is what’s known as ‘taking a pull’. A team of riders will all take pulls throughout the race so all riders can draft behind a teammate. 
  • Time Trial – a race against the clock. Riders are often released in waves with standings determined by how far riders are from the best time. 

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