We are a week into La Vuelta and an upcoming major appointment is the 39 km TT on September 9. While the non-contenders will generally be treating it as a semi-rest day and take it as easily as it is ever possible in pro cycling, the GC battle will be massive here. But are there fundamental differences in pacing strategy between elite riders and lower category riders?
Practice? Remember when you were young(er) and you went to practice? In team sports like basketball or football, you go to practices and spend upward of 70-80% of your time focused on improving your skills. Now you train, right? What’s the difference?
The past three weeks we have broken down the different stages of a bike race, many of them hidden from the viewer at home as they often happen before the TV cameras go live. Today's grand finale takes a look at the final knife fight for the line...
Many pro races, whether a Classic like the Ronde or most stages of Grand Tours, begin in a very predictable fashion of a long “suicide” break. Most of the time, these breaks never have a chance of making it to the finish. But sometimes, as Dirk Demol will tell you after winning Roubaix in 1988, such breaks can pay off big time.
The first part of our bike racing anatomy series took us from the stress of the roll out through to the initial breakaway getting away and the peloton settling in for possibly a long day of cat and mouse. Today we look at how the pack decides to let the break go or not, or what happens if a catch is made...
Tactics and strategy in bike racing comes down to predicting how a particular race event might play out, and then deploying the best plan to achieve your team’s objectives. Some riders will go through years of racing without ever truly understanding the anatomy of a bike race, so let’s use our magic divining rod and read some tea leaves to understand the black art of deciphering bike races.
One of my favorite yet most frustrating things about racing is how hard it is to win. There are so few sports that rank with cycling as far as all the things that must align to capture that elusive victory. It is crucial that when cyclists start to race, they learn how to win races.
You’ve spent months preparing mentally, endless hours physically, all building towards THIS EVENT, this focus. Or maybe it’s just a Saturday and you went racing. Either way the let down and psychological weight of a sub-par performance can be a slippery slope, so what can you do to move forward?
We have spent a lot of bandwidth over the past 13 years honing your physical fitness. However, that’s only part of the story. Mental fitness and racing smarts are just as important to your overall success in cycling. Luca Paolini just gave us a master class at Gent-Wevelgem, so let’s look at some lessons learned.
How many times have you finished a race and not had that last extra effort needed to win or get a top finish? Let’s look at a few possible explanations as to why this common occurrence may happen and what you can do to remedy the problem.
There is a growing world-wide calendar of endurance rides called Randeonneurs or brevets, and New England drivers can thank campaigning distance cyclists for their efforts in getting roads paved in the 1890s. The roots of American ultra cycling probably started with Thomas Steven’s 1887 American crossing on a high wheeler, a feat that still amazes me.
“Analytics” is the buzzword in many sports today, involved new ways of analyzing player effectiveness and team performance in dynamic team sports like baseball, football, and hockey. Being wattages and power analysis, can we use analytics in cycling and especially in sprinting?
In modern stage racing, time trialing has become the key to success, but how to unlock that optimal time trial remains a mix of science and feel. One of the key ingredients is an optimal pacing strategy to expend our finite energy. Is it fastest to stick to an even effort throughout? Or what are the pros and cons of power output and speed variations?
Bike racing is an interesting sport, unique from the perspective that a team is established to help set up an individual to win. Every person has a specific role designed to help the leader win. Certainly the team and sponsors receive accolades, but the focus is typically on an individual, which can create issues when multiple riders have personal ambitions.
Improve your cycling performance: It's only January, but you're already thinking about the race season ahead, and even if you're not actually engaged in structured cycling training yet, this is a great time to adopt some of the traditions of the baseball world via some Spring Training.
As we move into the offseason, there are two major areas we review as part of last year's season: the training plan and the races. What did we take away that was positive and what needs to be addressed going into 2014?
As the rush of the Olympics slips away it’s easy to forget the detail and attention that goes into each performance. Watching elite athletes is always inspiring and while we often try to emulate their drive and focus in our own workouts and races, it’s easy to forget some of the big and small things that make up a groundbreaking performance.
The expulsion of 8 badminton players from the Olympics this week caused a bit of controversy in the sports world so I thought I’d look at it from a cycling perspective. My opinion and apparently the opinion of my sport is that strategy goes deeper than just an individual game or race. It’s like chess. It’s all about sacrificing at a lower level in order to achieve a greater victory.
The beauty of bike racing is that no single race is the same in terms of how it plays out. One thing is for certain; you can never predict what is going to happen. The reason is quite simple. You cannot control what other teams and individuals have planned as their strategy and although we want to think we can control their tactics, it’s just not possible.
It started last year, or the year before. You’ve spent months preparing mentally, endless hours physically, all building towards THIS EVENT, this focus. Or maybe it’s just a Saturday and you went racing. Either way the let down and psychological weight of a sub-par performance can be a slippery slope, so what can you do to move forward?