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?
April. At its mention cyclists and fans of cycling everywhere take a sharp breath of anticipation and respect. We watch and wonder at the powerful displays, the tactical bravado and heart of it all. We then go out and try to replicate those efforts in our own races. What’s the best way to prepare for your own Classic races?
It happens to all athletes at some point in their careers. Whether you’re a professional or amateur racer, all athletes go through a time where the improvement process stalls. For some it can be a plateau, even though they’re putting in an immense amount of work. For others, not only do they not improve, they feel like their fitness is going backwards. That feeling can be extremely frustrating and take a big toll on morale.
You get dropped – for good. You get a flat and there’s no follow car. Your mind is willing but your body isn’t. Suddenly your goals for the day may become – or at least appear – unreachable. And then what? When the game changes, the mentally fit cyclist avoids common traps and quickly restores focus, motivation, and commitment.
Imagine yourself in the Alps or maybe the Rockies, long before the word derailleur had been invented, struggling on a single fixed gear. Now consider the array of equipment choices we have today, praise the innovators, and read more about how we can make the pain more tolerable by better understanding how to use the tools.
From last weekend’s Strade Bianche to this week’s Paris-Nice it is a veritable smorgasbord of racing; yet, for most, these races are used as tune up events, stepping stones to higher fitness levels necessary for the Spring classics and Grand Tours later in the year. It’s a chance to perfect not only their fitness, but also their support structure and process of racing so that it becomes habit. Now is a good time for you to do the same.
Bike racing is different than most sports in that training is merely a prerequisite for getting results. We always start our race school and clinics with the statement, “Just because you train hard doesn’t give you the right to win bike races.” Learning how to compete and what it takes to be successful is a whole different animal than the physical training required to potentially do well in the sport.
You’re starting to go into the red on a climb. Your energy and motivation are starting to wane in your training. Or you’re way into the red with your riding and its role in your life. Do you just push through? Or is it time to back off? The mentally fit cyclist challenges internal limits, yet respects them, and takes action quickly after going too far.
Sprinters are a special breed, whether they’re track sprinters like Chris Hoy or road sprinters like Cavendish and Cippolini. Some feel that they’re born sprinters or not, and there is a bit of truth to that. However, sprinting is also important to train no matter what your natural racing style, because the truth is that most races end up in small or large groups dashing for the line. What are some ways to improve your sprint to increase your odds of podium placings?
Every parent, at some time or another, probably has given the “when I was your age” speech to their kids. And within any sport, an ageless argument is always how the current generation of stars match up to the titans of the sport’s history. With so much technological change in the sport, how do you go about making a scientific comparison?
The answer definitely is NO…the secret is don’t call it training. For those of us Sun Worshippers, the recent news fact that 49 of the 50 United States currently have snow on them somewhere seems like a bit of a disaster. But, the idea of turning a disaster into something positive has long been a favorite personal theme.
The new racing schedule has just been published and you are riding a wave of excitement at the coming season. A race every weekend and each more intriguing than the previous, but how do you set your goals and expectations accordingly?
One of the primary aims in our sport is to improve. We wish to improve in our fitness, results, and positive experiences on the bike. These changes can range from minor adjustments to a massive overhaul, but the common denominator is to see what has or has not worked, and then to try to improve on them. Great athletes are always looking for new methods, or even slight tweaks, to their training and routines to make themselves better.
Last week, we gave a general overview of a valuable set of basic testing to perform in order to obtain your general power profile. The next step, of course, is to dissect that data further to gain deeper insight into out strengths and limitations. From there, we also need to develop a plan to move forward and achieve our cycling goals. So let’s do a bit of analysis using my example to see how you can analyze yourself.
To get to where you want to go this year, you need to know where you are now in terms of your fitness. Information is power, and the whole point of training with power is to provide as much information as possible to guide your training. One important path towards this self-knowledge is through regular testing and determining your power profile.
When was the last time you suffered the agony of getting dropped and watching all your training buddies ride away into the sunset while you were on your stationary trainer? The ErgVideo concept of honest-to-goodness indoor RACING has expanded to be better than ever over the past couple of years, and we hop on board as ErgVideo 3.0 software, along with new High-Definition videos are released.
Time trials are all about “leaving everything on the road.” You want to pace yourself so that you hit the finish line with nothing left in the gas tank. Many strategies for achieving this have been proposed in the scientific literature. The other question to ask is what the effects of ability are on pacing strategy, and whether such strategy is ingrained or learned.
Part 2: Last time I introduced the concept of long term athlete development, as explained by Istvan Balyi at the recent USA Cycling Coaching Symposium in Colorado Springs. While generally applied to adolescent development, I put forward the idea that many of the tenets of LTAD are equally valid for an adult population, especially those in early stages of learning a sport. This month we expand on the principles and lay a foundation for your success in 2011 and beyond.
Attorney and former professional cyclist Bob Mionske says, “Don’t do it!” Traffic codes universally discourage it, and most rational individuals would consider it ill-advised. If that’s the case, what is the appeal of motor pacing?
As we enter the true heart of the offseason (aka "Heart of Darkness), I thought it would be a good time to suggest a few offseason training tips that may help you come out of the winter more prepared both physically and mentally for 2011. Take all these with a grain of salt, maybe modify a few, and remember that it’s the general concepts that are important.