If your bike racing results haven’t been what you had hoped for or you feel like you’re stuck at a plateau, it’s time to get serious about your cycling training!
What’s the difference between you and riders that seem to be able to win races easily, upgrade categories quickly, or just seem to have good legs when it counts? There’s a good chance that they either have a high level of natural ability or they take their training seriously and don’t leave their fitness to chance.
Many cyclists start out by riding bike for recreation and then find that they enjoy pushing themselves and trying to improve their fitness and eventually turn to bike racing as a way to fulfill a competitive side that they have. For many, the enjoyment of just getting outside and riding bike is strong. As a beginning level bike racer, just riding bike consistently will help you to improve, but there comes a point at which this consistent, but unfocused approach to cycling has limited effectiveness at improving bike racing fitness. Even the inclusion of “hard” rides will only take most cyclists to an intermediate competitive level. So what separates the riders who progress past this point from the riders who seem to get stuck there?
Successful bike racers get serious about their cycling training.
What does this mean exactly? There’s a good chance that the riders who are competing at a level that you want to compete at aren’t that much different than you. Most probably don’t have exceptional physiology or natural ability. Chances are, they are doing the things that it takes to compete at that level.
What are these things?
Successful bike racers have focus. They are focussed in their training. They are consistent in their training. They likely follow a training plan of some type. This focus allows them to make choices that help them to be better at bike racing. Often this means completing training by themselves. This means skipping the comfort and camaraderie of the group ride for training ride that will benefit you most. This means embracing pain and discomfort to improve. This means going to bed early to help your recovery. It means skipping out on the night out partying, skipping the desert at the work luncheon or holiday party. It means doing the last interval when your body is telling you to quit early. It means sitting down and planning out your training or hiring a coach to help you do this and not leaving your performance to chance!
Successful bike racers know that consistency over time leads to improvement. They do the hard work over and over again. They aren’t looking for the magic workout or training tip to help them make giant leaps in fitness, but rely on a solid plan, over time to build fitness. They trust that their training plan will work if they stick to the plan and don’t get sidetracked. They know that there will be good days and bad days, and that having a bad day doesn’t mean that you need to change up your whole plan. In the end, consistency will win out!
Successful bike racers know that in order to enjoy success on race day, they have to sacrifice some enjoyment during training. They realize that success on race day, the enjoyment of a great performance during a race is just enjoyment deferred from training. It is repayment for the suffering during intervals, the long days riding in the cold of winter, or battling the winds of spring or the monotony of hours spent indoors on the trainer.
So if you are serious about becoming a successful bike racer, it’s time to get serious about your cycling training. Start doing these things that successful cyclists do and you will find that you will start to find success in your racing performances. This success will drive you to continue doing what it takes to be more successful and in the end this can be even more gratifying than even the enjoyment of just going out and riding your bike.
Check out my training plans and coaching page if you are looking to take your bike racing to the next level.