Does being fitter also make you tougher? Does improved fitness actually alter pain tolerance? Cycle sport is intricately mythologized with the heroism and agony of suffering. We watch and marvel not just at the speed and power of the pros, but for the thrill (for us) and suffering (for them) inherent in racing over cobbles, high mountains rain, extreme heat, and even snow.
Marketing and advertising has been honed into an incredibly precise science through both trial and error along with psychological studies into what makes us tick. Why not use it to our advantage and adapt marketing ideas to make us better cyclists?
Long ago when dinosaurs still walked the earth (OK, the early 20th Century) and derailleurs were only sketches on paper napkins, cyclists rode fixed gears everywhere including the Alps and Pyrenees. The bikes were all made of steel tubing, aligned on a marble table and silver soldered together entirely by hand. Today, such bikes are considered objects of art, but should we look further at what they might do for us in the 21st Century?
Speed is built on a lot of things. Wheels, aerodynamic frames, nutrition, threshold workouts – you know the list. After all of these have been addressed, what’s left? Just the little stuff. Finding that one percent. At the upper echelons of the sport, and to some degree in amateur racing as well, the little stuff is everything. For example have you considered the role and importance of the foot in performance?
Now seems like a good time to come clean. All the cool kids are doing it, so here it goes. I apologize in advance for any embarrassment this may cause my family and sponsors. In my 25-year career, I never took performance-enhancing drugs…
It’s RACE DAY. It’s 90 minutes to race time and you ate your breakfast 1-2 hours ago (allowing 3-4 hours post breakfast for digestion). You’ve been following a sound nutrition plan and you have rested and fueled properly in the last 48 hours to assure your glycogen reserves are full. So what to do in the last 90 minutes before go time?
Some of you may have seen a recent commercial on television from an investment company that poses a question like “….what can a hula hoop teach us about investing…”. I want to take a page out of their book and ask a similar question, “What can the stock market teach us about training and competition?” One answer, of course, is to make a fortune on Wall Street, quit your job, retire, and train all the time. Unfortunately, although that may be a correct answer, it’s not exactly the answer I’m looking for.
If music is the soundtrack of our lives, it is also the lifesaver for indoor training. While everybody grooves to their own drummer, is there an actual ergogenic effect from playing music during intense efforts? And what can studying music and exercise tell us about how we psychologically cope with intense efforts?
We have all been inspired over the years watching John Howard win championships and set records that demonstrated a seeming invincibility. In recent months, John has had a couple of setbacks that many of us face at some point – major injury. Something noticeable to those around John is that he carries the same fire and focus when dealing with an injury as when he trains and races.
Due to falls on the shoulder and relative high speed, a common injury in cycling is clavicle fractures. Although any part of the clavicle can be broken, they most commonly occur in the middle of the clavicle. What’s the typical diagnosis and prognosis for return to cycling?
Yes, it is only January, but doubtless your mind has been wandering around to the idea of the race season if not actually engaged in the rigors of structured training yet. This is a great time to adopt some of the traditions of the baseball World via some Spring Training.
I have identified five keys to building confidence in your cycling that will create an upward spiral of positive thinking and belief in your riding abilities. Each key alone can enhance your confidence, but if you use all of them together, you’ll find your cycling confidence growing stronger and more quickly.
Part of any good training program is a period of rest, recovery, and regeneration from a hard season of riding. Of course, some of us can take it a bit too far over the holidays, with a bit of gluttony and bad weather conspiring to reduce activity and fitness. What’s the physiological process of detraining, and how has it worked out for Miguel Indurain?
With cold and flu season upon us, it’s important to keep our immune systems functioning as well as possible. Athletes need a strong immune system; this is key to a consistent season. A few weeks off the bike here and there adds up and can have a lasting impact on your training cycles.
First, let me wish everyone out there who reads our articles a Happy Holidays from AthletiCamps! 2012 has been a great year and we are looking forward to an even better 2013. It’s been a while since I wrote a Pro Shop article. I have recently had the pleasure of working with both Alison Tetrick (Exergy TWENTY16) and Robin Farina (NOW/Novartis.)
T.S. Eliot hit the nail on the head when he said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” And so it goes with training goals, the planted seeds of accomplishment. Turning dreams into solid athletic achievements takes a well thought out program with training goals to guide you through your course.
The fun of being a sport scientist is to dig deep into the science and minutiae of scientific training. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that of course, just like it’s also fun to think through every bike component or upgrade purchase. However, you can also overthink yourself, and sometimes it’s best to just go with the basics and trust your judgement.
Confidence is the single most important mental factor in cycling. I define it as how strongly you believe in your ability to achieve your cycling goals. Confidence is so important because you may have the fitness to ride well, but if you don’t believe in that fitness, then you won’t ride up to your capabilities.
Throughout my racing career I was always looking to add a visual, tangible element to my mental training program. I would listen to The Ultimate Cyclist hypnosis CD and repeat affirmations but I never figured out a method for reinforcing those positive audio suggestions with visual and tactile stimulation.
Cycling is a big business and pro cyclists are rolling billboards for their sponsors. However, to a sport scientist or a discerning coach or athlete, top cyclists are also rolling labs on two wheels. That is, by analyzing their training and racing data, we can gain valuable insight into what contributes to their elite performance.