“Biking is about much more than watts per kilo,” says Mayhew. You might be able to go fast in a straight line, but if you can’t tune-up your bike, hop a curb, or rail a turn, you’ll have a hard time winning the race—or even making it home alive.
The Fix: You can’t learn this stuff on the Internet. Find a group ride and ask one of the older, more experienced riders to help you learn the basics: how to fix a flat, jump a curb, brush shoulders without crashing, and rail a turn, says Mayhew. Get a bunch of your riding buddies together and practice your bike handling by purposefully rubbing wheels and shoulders while riding at slow speeds on some grass. Just leave the race wheels at home.