Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Riding Philosophy

Truth be told, I'm not a terribly aggressive person, but I do have a competitive streak.

Most of my motivation comes from inside, my competition is within myself.  I don't let down, I make my mind push my body's limit, and my body push my minds limits.  Within reason, of course, I need to survive the moment so I can be there when at next moment, but that only means I try not to crack - unless I have to.

If you're read my other posts, you've seen that I don't have a plan, I don't have a terrible amount of structure.  I ride 4 days a week, and I try to enjoy those rides.

But I *do* have a method to my riding, and that's far more important.  I have different definitions for "enjoy" depending on the day and the ride.  I have my hard rides, and

There's one thing that has been bugging me lately.  I help organize a road and (hopefully) mountain bicycle racing team.  We're not big, and we never will be, but we're having fun.

We have a mix of riders.  We have a sprinters, a diesels, a great climbers, and maybe a couple solid GC all-rounders.  We have a bunch of riders who have a lot of headroom in their growth, but aren't doing the right things to try to unlock it.

It's obvious, at least to me, and it's frustrating.  These are simple mistakes, things that are quite easy to fix if they'd just see them and respond to them.

Since I can't seem to get them to hear me, you're all going to get the chance to read me.

Don't ride with a group that's as fast as you are.  Ride with a group that's as fast as you want to be.

I see really great riders hanging out in coffee and donut rides, or sitting in the beer and brats social ride.  Then they get dropped on a hard ride or a local race and get frustrated.

I have nothing against coffee. Or brats (if they're chicken or turkey).  Or beer!

(I do have a problem with donuts.)

I absolutely have a problem with riders who slack off by attending C-level rides then come to a B or A ride and complain about being too slow.    

Seriously.  Go away.

You're only going to be as fast as you push yourself to be, and you're not going to push yourself from a 15mph rider to a 25mph rider by sheer will with one race in the local Wednesday Night Criterium.  It's not going to happen, you're going to be sorely disappointed as you're blown off the back.

Unless you have the mental focus of a pro and can sit on a trainer and do 2-3 hour block training sessions, which I don't, the best way to do this is to find a group that is beyond your athletic abilities.

Twice a week, that's precisely what I do.  I join riders that are clearly head an shoulders above my capabilities, and I turn myself inside out trying to keep up.  Sometimes I do; sometimes I don't.  I always get a great workout, and I feel better for it.

Note: No judgment here.  If your goal is to ride 12mph to the next donut stand, please and by all means attend the local coffee and donut ride.  Just don't complain if you're dropped at the next 15mph club ride.

Attack Early.  Attack Often.

Naturally, know the rules before you do this.  Club and group rides don't always take well to the incessant attacks; others, however, are motivated by them.

Races - well, anything goes.

Remember that there's no harm in blowing up on a club or group ride; more, it's an opportunity to learn how your body handles over-exertion, what you can do when you've blown up, and how you can recover and possibly still have a chance of keeping up.

In short, blowing up is good on a group ride.  Build matches, have a bigger matchbook for when you need it.

I love riding this way, and I know a great number of people who love me, and love to hate me, for it.  I'm famous for my mile-9 attacks, my attacks that happen just as I get fully warmed up and feel a little spritely.  I'm also well-known for taking advantage of every opportunity.  I don't care for pack riding, and I really don't like pack finishes.  That means I'll use a lot of wick trying to cut the risk; whenever I have the legs, I'm looking for an opportunity.

As I watch our local races, as I look back for the pack (or my teammates) as I'm trying to make a break, I can get frustrated at the lack of response.  Attacks hurt, absolutely, but the break is where all the fun is at, and breaks don't happen without a little pain.  Go and make it happen.

As for tonight, my ride is a nice and easy pace with a great group from a local shop.  I'm still recovering from the attacks on my last ride, I'll let the other dogs play tonight.

No comments:

Post a Comment