Reaching Your Bike Racing Potential

Do you feel like you’re reaching your bike racing potential?

Does it seem like you are stuck and not seeing improvement or achieving better racing results?

This seems to be a common theme among plenty of bike racers. When we first get into the sport, we make improvements because we are new to cycling and we learn the basics of bike racing and gain fitness just by consistently riding bike for a few years.

Then sometime after you have progressed through the beginner levels of bike racing, you reach a plateau. The training load that was helping you make progress is no longer enough to do so. Without getting some reasonable results, it becomes easy to lose motivation and focus on training. You feel like you are good enough to be able to do better, to get better results, but you can’t quite get there. You aren’t sure what to change to continue to improve.

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For many people who have reached a training plateau, it’s tempting to think that adding more volume, more time training on the bike, is the answer. While this might be the case, often just riding more will not lead to the improvement that many cyclists seek. In some cases, this can actually hurt a bike racer’s performance.

I have been in this situation. I thought that I was destined to be a Cat 4 bike racer, that maybe I had reached my potential. On a good day I might get into the top fifteen in the results, but on most days, I was solid pack fill. Just one of the guys who raced around in the pack and didn’t factor in the race. Oh, I had the ambition to try to attack, but these were short lived due to my lack of race fitness and were doomed to fail.

I tried the whole adding volume thing and that helped a little bit, but it wasn’t the answer I was looking for, plus, you can only add so much volume and this is a solution with diminishing returns.

And that’s when I decided that I couldn’t keep doing the same old thing. I had to get serious about making improvements and seeing if I could make real progress and not just improve my results a little bit.

So I did what many bike racers are afraid to do. I did what seems on paper to be quite logical, but in reality, is actually hard to follow. I decided that I would design a structured training plan, you know, one of those plans with interval days and long days and rest days(here’s how to start making your own training plan.) My plan broke the year down into specific training periods, targeting different fitness systems necessary to improve my fitness on the bike. None of this, of course, was my own idea. It’s just that I had not really ever done it before. My plan had me paying attention to and working on my fitness during the whole year. Sure, there were times that were pretty laid back. There was a large portion of the year when I didn’t race at all and just rode for fun, but I was working on core strength and aerobic fitness at the same time. Then there were times when my training was very focused and I had very specific intervals that I wanted to accomplish when I was on the bike. Some of these rides weren’t all that much fun in and of themselves. Some of them pretty much sucked.

 

But then I started to get better results at races. I was able to upgrade and start to race with the elite racers. I learned how to race my bike and not just pedal hard to the finish and sprint for the line. I was having fun racing my bike.

I learned that my potential was much greater than I once thought. I learned that it can take changing things up and making a consistent plan and then sticking with that plan to break through a plateau.

Do you feel like you are stuck on a plateau, struggling to break through and reach a higher level? Are you making gains in your fitness and racing results? What is keeping you from reaching your goals? Do you follow a structured training plan or just ride how you feel? 

If you’ve reached a plateau and are looking for help getting to the other side, and want to reach your bike racing potential, or just want to continue to improve your fitness, I offer pre-written training plans, custom training plans and full coaching. 

 

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