A Philosophy of Five Parts

As promised, here are the five challenges that I sent along to a friend the other day. These challenges were instrumental to my development as a cyclist over the past four years despite sharing my time with academic requirements in the winter and 50 hour construction jobs in the summers. For that reason, my fellow team leaders and I at the Whitman Cycling Team worked hard to convey the importance of self-assessment to the new riders at Whitman every year. Understanding one's own reasons and goals in any pursuit, regardless of athletic orientation, is imperative to success. And so I share with you just a few things that I've been fortunate to pick up over the past few years. Enjoy the ride.

- Exert 2 -

Challenge 1:
EVERY time you get on your bike, ask yourself if you truly want to go for a bicycle ride. STOP. I want to really ask yourself OUTLOUD! Yes, I am serious, OUTLOUD. Listening to yourself is the first lesson. Answer the question out loud too. If you are riding your bike for yourself (and you should be! not for someone else!) then you should never feel bad about turning around after the first 30 seconds, the first 5 minutes or the first +hour of a ride if you are not ‘feeling it’, or maybe you don’t even kit up. If you are worried about the rest of the team or the group (if on a group ride) – then you are not riding for yourself. One holds a box of matches for each day that when used correctly can lead to a fitness improving ride or race victory, but one also holds a box of matches for the entire season. How best are you going to use your matches?

Challenge 2:
EVERY time you get on your bike, ask yourself if your body is ready to ride. Has everything been done to fully prepare for the bicycle ride that is in your plans? If not, take a nap. The body produces the highest amount of human growth hormone while sleeping. You don’t get faster when you ride, you get faster when you are not riding!

Challenge 3:
Have a drink the night before = no training the next day. You can go for a ride, but you cannot train. The difference will be discussed below. If you break this rule – I absolutely guarantee that sickness will follow.

Challenge 4:
If you are going to spend money on bike racing –
1. Buy good food
2. Buy good food to eat while you ride
o you should be eating at least half of what you are expending so that’s 200-300 calories / hour!
o just a guess but let’s say regular daily intake is 25% fat, 60% carbohydrate, 15% protein
3. Use vitamins - boost your recovery with vitamin B, omega 3 and a multi-vitamin (of course, some are better than others)
4. Buy proper cycling clothing (all the leg/arm warmers, booties, hats, gloves, rain jacket).

Notice there is nothing on this list that makes your bike lighter. Power is more important than weight. And happiness is more important than weight. If I am not tired, not hungry, not thirsty, not wet and not cold, I can ride all day. That's trademarked by the way so don’t get any ideas!

Challenge 5:
Cycling is a combination of physiological talent (ability to utilize oxygen and go up hill) and skill (ability to manoeuvre one’s bike across the course and through the pack). One cannot improve one’s talent; one can only develop their physiological and psychological potential. However, one can improve one’s skill set; therefore it becomes a rider’s obligation to become as skilled on their bicycle as possible prior to racing season.

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Cycling in a Toque: A Philosophy of Five Parts

Monday, 19 July 2010

A Philosophy of Five Parts

As promised, here are the five challenges that I sent along to a friend the other day. These challenges were instrumental to my development as a cyclist over the past four years despite sharing my time with academic requirements in the winter and 50 hour construction jobs in the summers. For that reason, my fellow team leaders and I at the Whitman Cycling Team worked hard to convey the importance of self-assessment to the new riders at Whitman every year. Understanding one's own reasons and goals in any pursuit, regardless of athletic orientation, is imperative to success. And so I share with you just a few things that I've been fortunate to pick up over the past few years. Enjoy the ride.

- Exert 2 -

Challenge 1:
EVERY time you get on your bike, ask yourself if you truly want to go for a bicycle ride. STOP. I want to really ask yourself OUTLOUD! Yes, I am serious, OUTLOUD. Listening to yourself is the first lesson. Answer the question out loud too. If you are riding your bike for yourself (and you should be! not for someone else!) then you should never feel bad about turning around after the first 30 seconds, the first 5 minutes or the first +hour of a ride if you are not ‘feeling it’, or maybe you don’t even kit up. If you are worried about the rest of the team or the group (if on a group ride) – then you are not riding for yourself. One holds a box of matches for each day that when used correctly can lead to a fitness improving ride or race victory, but one also holds a box of matches for the entire season. How best are you going to use your matches?

Challenge 2:
EVERY time you get on your bike, ask yourself if your body is ready to ride. Has everything been done to fully prepare for the bicycle ride that is in your plans? If not, take a nap. The body produces the highest amount of human growth hormone while sleeping. You don’t get faster when you ride, you get faster when you are not riding!

Challenge 3:
Have a drink the night before = no training the next day. You can go for a ride, but you cannot train. The difference will be discussed below. If you break this rule – I absolutely guarantee that sickness will follow.

Challenge 4:
If you are going to spend money on bike racing –
1. Buy good food
2. Buy good food to eat while you ride
o you should be eating at least half of what you are expending so that’s 200-300 calories / hour!
o just a guess but let’s say regular daily intake is 25% fat, 60% carbohydrate, 15% protein
3. Use vitamins - boost your recovery with vitamin B, omega 3 and a multi-vitamin (of course, some are better than others)
4. Buy proper cycling clothing (all the leg/arm warmers, booties, hats, gloves, rain jacket).

Notice there is nothing on this list that makes your bike lighter. Power is more important than weight. And happiness is more important than weight. If I am not tired, not hungry, not thirsty, not wet and not cold, I can ride all day. That's trademarked by the way so don’t get any ideas!

Challenge 5:
Cycling is a combination of physiological talent (ability to utilize oxygen and go up hill) and skill (ability to manoeuvre one’s bike across the course and through the pack). One cannot improve one’s talent; one can only develop their physiological and psychological potential. However, one can improve one’s skill set; therefore it becomes a rider’s obligation to become as skilled on their bicycle as possible prior to racing season.

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