Vary your level of intensity.
Coach Scott Fliegelman, owner of FastForward Sports in Boulder, Colo., says the switch from just riding to “training” is as simple as varying your intensity. Ride faster and harder for short periods of time, and you’ll begin to elicit adaptations that will ultimately make you stronger. “One of the easiest ways to do this unscientifically is to head for the hills on your next ride,” Fliegelman says. “The varied terrain will likely produce the desired effort changes without the need for fancy tools, which may be added down the road if desired.” Add in some short, fast intervals (such as 5×2 minutes hard with 2 minutes recovery) and follow your rides with a quick run directly off the bike, so that you have a top gear come race day.