Thursday, January 1, 2009
New Year--New Training Plan--Reflections on the 2008 Racing Season
I am currently writing my 2009 training plan. While doing so, I have been checking last year's results, reflecting on my successes and failures.
I have drawn a few conclusions:
In order to make yourself eligible to win a bicycle race you must prepare well. Proper training; properly working equipment; support of teammates, family and friends; and tactical savvy all play a role in success in any given race. Becoming eligible is merely a first step.
Overall, luck plays a huge role. The strongest man does not always win. Parts crap out, tires puncture and sometimes a break unexpectedly stays away. Luckily there is another race next weekend.
Opportunities are limited, so take them when they come. If you see a strong break coalescing, you should get in it. Even if the break gets brought back, at least you tried to win the race. You can't win if you don't try. Also, you will have more fun if you do something other than sit in and you'll have something to talk about over beers.
If you know that you are unable to win a race, you should try to help someone else win. It's more fun, it creates good will, and if you just wanted to ride your bike fast, there is probably a fast group ride nearer to your home that doesn't charge anything to join.
If you find yourself getting good results in a category, savor it for awhile. You will have years to suck once you upgrade, don't rush it. Personally, I got crappy results for years before I was able to even contest a prime in a cat 4 race. I felt that I deserved to hang around for half a season as a strong cat 4 and get some good results before moving on. Mind you, I never gathered enough upgrade points for a mandatory upgrade; had I been approaching that situation, I'd have upgraded before reaching that point. I am not advocating sandbagging.
Having a good team is important. If you work for your teammates, they will work for you when the time comes. I just found this out this last season. I have never been happier racing my bicycle than I have been this last season with CB.
Plan. If you don't have one, you will not succeed. You need a training plan if you want to have the most possible fitness. If you aspire to win a race, you need to have a plan before reaching the starting line. I have heard more strong team's say "We'll wait for the finish and see what happens" only to watch every member of the team get mid-pack results when they could have dominated the race if they had made a plan and the worked together.
I am anticipating a great season for my team. We have 3 great squads forming: cat 4, cat 3 and a newly formed but strong, cohesive women's squad.
I am going to get back to my training plan. If anyone needs a 2009 template for a Joe Friel yearly plan, Mashburn made a great one that I'd be happy to forward to you.
Happy New year.