Jillian Petersen is one of the strongest cyclists on the ITU and non-draft short course circuits, often turning in the fastest or nearly the fastest bike split in races such as the Miami International Triathlon, St. Anthony’s Triathlon and the Chicago Triathlon. (In fact, she’s been known to out-bike Sarah Haskins, one of the strongest cyclists in the sport.) But Petersen didn’t start her triathlon career as a great cyclist. A runner and swimmer in high school, Petersen ran cross-country and track at the University of Missouri and only started biking in late 2005.
Petersen was kind enough to give us some tips on how to improve your cycling and become the best cyclist you can be.
Rule No. 1: The best way to get fast on the bike is spend time in the saddle.
There are no real shortcuts to becoming a better cyclist—you simply have to get your bum on the saddle. “The longer I spent on the bike, the faster I got,” Petersen said. But don’t think that your cycling strength is going to materialize overnight. “It took me, I want to say, at least two full years to really get a good handle on the strength side of cycling,” Petersen said.