Supercharge Your Season
There?s more to starting your season than simply signing up for a few local criteriums.
the saddle. Maintain this cadence for five minutes, then shift into a bigger gear you can cruise in, and rest for five minutes. Repeat four to six times.
? LongPulls: Most group rides cruise along in a double paceline (two rows of riders) for long periods of time. When it?s your turn to ride at the front, let the rider next to you know you?re going to stay up there for a while. A ?long? pull at the front means different things to different riders; it might be 15 minutes for you, seven for your buddy, and 30 for the local pro or elite amateur. Shift into a gear you can maintain at 70-75 rpm while holding a Tempo intensity. The effort should be difficult, at about 88% of your maximum sustainable heartrate or XX% of your max sustainable power. When you?re done, pull off and go to the back of the group. Repeat the LongPull the next time you get to the front.
Your First Five Races
After all the hours you spent braving the cold and icy roads or holed up in your basement on a trainer, it?s understandable that you want to see that work result in a great first-race performance. What?s more, it?s understandable that some racers are horribly discouraged when they struggle in the first few races of the season. Keeping these races in perspective and using them to advance your training helps keep your eyes on your bigger goals and gives you the tools to race at your best later in the season.
The process of competing is the most important aspect of racing in the early season. The most successful racers are the ones who feel at perfectly at home in a large and tight pack that?s hurtling through corners. It takes time to develop the confidence and self-awareness that allows you to reach this comfort level, but it?s an essential part of making the shift from pack fodder to podium contender. Within the first five races of the season, focus on the following processes and let the finish take care of itself. There will be plenty of time to focus on winning; now?s the time to focus on racing.
? Don?t stay behind any one rider for more than 30 seconds: It?s important to learn how to flow through the field. When the pace is right and you?re comfortable, it?s easy to sit in the same spot in the field for miles on end. Unfortunately, this tends to lull riders into complacency and they?re no longer aware of anything except the riders immediately surrounding them. Stay alert, look for spaces to move through. Every time you move into a new space, you have 30 seconds to find another space to move into.
? Lead a lap: Racers sometimes go entire seasons without ever showing their faces at the front of the pack. The view is very different from up there, and so are the sensations. Instead of following the leaders into the corner, you have to choose the