First off I am super excited that you are interested in racing your bike. There is no better feeling than riding in a peloton, participating in a team time trial or contesting a sprint finale, especially when you know, you truly know, that you are riding on or beyond what you thought was your limit.
There is no limit. The only limit is how far you want to take this.
However, there are a few tricks that will help you find your potential. I’m going to let you in on the secrets that I have been fortunate to discover over the past three seasons (with the help of coaches that I have paid – so....) here is my challenge to you: Whatever goal you set for yourself in the world of cycling, be it a daily goal, a seasonal goal or a dream goal – you do so in a mental state that guarantees an interest in bike riding far after your athletic prime. For the challenge is not to go fast for 1 year and then stop (because anyone can do that), and it’s not to see who can suffer more or hurt other riders the most either (that’s only how you win races), but it is in learning how to train and approach the cycling lifestyle in a manner that will guarantee long term success regardless of one’s goals. That all sounds incredibly vague but since you have a lot of experience from ski racing – I think with a little bit more detail you’ll get where I am going with this.
The BIGGEST difference between ski racing and cycling is the ability to hurt oneself. Truly hurt our bodies to the point of mental anguish, just like the last few minutes of VO2 max testing at the Alberta Scientific Institute every October. At those moments I used to ask myself “how much longer”, now when I am suffering I ask myself “is this what I truly want to be doing” – the answer is very powerful. Sometimes it is no! And that’s okay – I just go take a nap and usually feel much better. The great thing about ski racing was that the dryland was very separated from our on-snow time. In the gym we all pushed big weight and competed against our teammates but come every October (usually earlier as we all got older), we disliked the weight room. Tell me if I’m wrong here. Skiing well at camp always refreshed my efforts in the gym but it didn’t change the long term effects of the gym. So in the end, I kind of burned out of the gym. With cycling, I train and race on the same apparatus. The squat rack and the downhill track are the same thing so the trick of avoiding burnout is a very real challenge.
At this point, the worst thing I can do is tell you what to do, however, from my experiences as the coach and leader at the Whitman team; that is exactly what new riders want. So instead I am going to establish a few guidelines, very shortly described, and I am going to let you build off those for a little while.
- Check back on Monday for the five challenges -
Labels: Road Report