The are perhaps the three most dangerous phrases in the English language, as if used in the wrong context they can cause all manner of problems. Cycling is no different and cyclists (and coaches) are perhaps more susceptible to misusing these terms than people in other sports.
Why I hear you ask?
As a coach I often ask riders questions about how they went in a race. One of the things I am trying to ascertain at this point is what actions the rider took during the race as well as what other riders were doing. Basically I am sussing out what the rider did and, unless the rider won the event, I will usually ask what they think they should/could/would have done differently now that they can look back at the race. It’s this type of reflective use of these terms that is invaluable, in fact absolutely critical to the ongoing development and ultimate success of a cyclist. Learning what to do in different situations during a race prepares you for when they happen again, at which time your odds of make the right decision are greatly improved, and the more ‘right’ decisions you make in a race the better your chances are of achieving a top result, including a win.
At one time or another every cyclists comes across the term ‘junk miles’, but what exactly does this mean?
Putting it simply, the term ‘junk miles’ refers to time spent on the bike that doesn’t provide any benefit to improving your fitness or race performance.
But how do you know what type of riding this refers to? and,
What if it’s not as easy as just one type of ride?
With plenty of Argonaut Cycle Coaching riders out racing this week it has been very pleasing to see many of them claim some great results.
Earlier in the week, Lisa Keeling joined here Bicycle Super Store teammates for the latest round of the women’s NRS series at the Tour of Murray. Lisa has been very active in the peloton all year and the stage one criterium was no different, with Lisa once again proving she knows how to get in the break race winning break. Using her new found sprint skills Lisa claimed third place from the lead grouping of eight riders. The stage two time trial was always going to be pivotal to the overall GC results and Lisa rode a great race to finish 7th and once again establish her place in the top 10 on GC. However with Lisa’s team mate Flick Wardlaw coming in a close 2nd that set her up for a top GC result and Lisa became the team helper for the remainder of the tour, undertaking some great work to keep the peloton under control. At the end of the tour Lisa successfully assisted Flick retain her 2nd place on GC and along the way she also claimed two ‘most aggressive’ rider jerseys. Congratulations Lisa
On Friday it was time for the masters to dust off their time trial bikes for the NSW Masters Individual Time Trial championships. When Mark Crooned rolled up to the start line the wind was starting to pick up and blow more consistently. From his accounts it was a very tough outward leg and despite his best efforts after the turn he didn't quite get on top of the gear to take advantage of the tail wind. However despite this Mark successfully claimed a podium spot, with silver in the MMAS 4 category, only 12 seconds behind the winner. Well done Mark
Not long after Mark finished his race and Brad Drew was also preparing to start. The wind was definitely more constant now and pacing the outward leg was becoming a lot more crucial. Brad is still building up for the Australian Masters championships so this race was more of a ‘recon’ to see how the legs are coming along. Despite this Brad placed 5th in his category and also bested last years nationals time. A great result that bodes well for better things to come in October
On Sunday it was road race day at the NSW Masters and Kenneth Webster was out to impress in the MMAS 1 race. Kenneth has had a solid build up over the last few months and all his hard work paid off as he claimed the win. Congratulations Kenneth.
There is no doubt that sports psychology can assist in improving your performance. However, it remains one of the most mystifying topics for athletes and coaches and as such it isn’t used anywhere near as widely as it should be. One of the issues is the wide range of activities that you can undertake and it can be quite confusing which one is relevant before even trying to under how to do it.
If you’re new to the world of sports psychology and just wanting to get started with an easy exercise then visualisation is the one to go for.
Do you want to improve your time trial ability ahead of the ACT Champs, Vets Champs or Australia Masters Champs?
Here is the perfect opportunity to develop your TT skills while getting in a great workout in the lead up to these events.
Over the last 5-10 years the use of software to help manage training load and fatigue levels has become more prevalent. There are many advantages to this, one of which is being able to determine what the impact of a specific sessions training load will have on overall fitness and fatigue levels. This can be especially useful when managing a taper for an event.
Generally speaking you should be aiming for a positive stress balance for the day of your target event, but the exact number (or extent of the positive stress balance) will depend on the type of event you are preparing for as well as how high your training load was in the preparation period. Research has shown that the best results for track events (typically sprint, time trial or high intensity events) comes with a positive stress balance of approx +30, while peak performance for endurance events is more likely to occur with a stress balance between +10 and +20. The stress balance you should strive for will depend a bit on personal experience but may also be impacted by the event, for example when tapering for a multi day tour it may be more desirable to start with a higher balance (above +20) and then let the first day's racing start to bring it down. This way you can help delay the onset of fatigue unlet a lot later in to the tour.
So, if you know what stress balance you want to achieve for an event, how do you go about making sure your taper works effectively and that you can hit those magic numbers on race day. Well it takes a bit of foreknowledge and sometimes a bit of mathematics.
How not to lose a race.
A while ago I was talking to one of my riders about strategies for a key race and I decided that rather than advising on tactics for winning I would take a different tact and advise on 'what not to do'. This encompassed a range of things that would lead to them putting themselves out of contention in the race and therefore to be avoided at all costs. This rider had inevitably doing one of these things in several of their past races and only by focussing on these things were they able to break through their results plateau and get that elusive win.
While this approach worked a treat in this situation, it’s also one that you should look to use when first starting out or trying to learn more about race tactics. The reason for this is the ability to win a race usually on comes once you have mastered the ability to manage yourself during a race. I call this strategy, 'How not to lose a race'.
At some point it happens to everyone. You will either forget your Garmin/Polar/SRM/PowerTap computer, the battery will run out mid ride or the data will be corrupt. If you have spent a lot of time and effort to get all of your data into training software to monitor your progress it can be a real pain, a whole ride’s data gone. So how do you deal with it.
The good news is that there are a number of ways in which you can make up for the lost data. The exact method will depend on a few factors but here they are:
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