To get better at riding hills you need to ride hills – Well yes technically this one is true but you don’t physically need a hill. You can use your gears to simulate hill reps whilst riding on the flat by utilising a hard gear and lower cadence. This will help build the upper leg strength for hill climbs and see you crest over that col quicker and with less fatigue. Build low cadence reps into your rides carefully, building the duration and frequency of the intervals slowly.
To get faster you need to ride more – Not at all, what you need to do is focus on quality rides not quantity. I regularly see people increasing their weekly mileage but wondering why they aren’t getting any quicker and it is because these rides are not ‘training’ rides, with lots of waiting for others, stops for pictures etc. You are much better off doing a focused high intensity interval session for an 1hr on the turbo to help build your speed than a Sunday club ride for double that time.
I need to spend more to get faster – Of course there are gains to be had from having the best equipment used by the pros but more often than not there are cheaper alternatives that offer better speed gain/power saving vs cost than simply buying the most expensive version. The cheapest aero gain is actually free, and that is optimising your position on the bike of course though a professional bike fit is highly worth considering.
I’ve already had a bike fit, I don’t need another - Wrong! Bike fits should be something that happens on a regular basis, how regularly depends on the rider. A novice cyclist might visit a bike fitter more regularly as they develop, moving from a more comfort focused endurance set up to a more aero dynamic one as flexibility and strength allows. Slight changes in footwear or injuries may require a short visit to your fitter to ensure your position is optimal for the current set up.
I need more padding to be comfortable in the saddle – Very rarely is this ever true. It is usually only solved by the combination of a bike fit and finding the right saddle/shorts combination. The stock saddle that comes on a bike is almost guaranteed not to be the right one for you, similarly though your favourite saddle on your road bike is very unlikely to be the optimal saddle for your TT bike (or any other bike) due to the different body position. A bike fitter will be able to ensure the saddle is the correct width and in the best position to support the seat bones effectively.