Tag Archives: training

The Truth About Bad Luck

“Santiago,” the boy beckoned, “why do we come to this spot, day after day, dropping a line with out a hook.” The old man does not answer.  Instead he continues to ply out the line, tying small loops every arm’s length. The boy turns and stares off into the distance, at the other skiffs far on the horizon. He feels the old man’s gaze upon his face and turns his attention back to the tiller.

Near the end of the line is large, leaden weight. The old man holds the line firmly, but gently so he can feel the weight scrape the sea bottom. His hands are a fine leather, well worn from age and work, sun and spray. Suddenly and sharply the line peels away from his hands, accelerating fast into the deep dark.

The old man jumps to his feet, “Ver, Manolin?!”

“Pescado?”

“No, querido niño. Eighty-five days and still you do not understand.”

“But…”

Later that night at the old man’s shack, after the lines had been coiled and sail fastened, the two sat shoveling cold rice and beans into their mouths.

“Manolin, do you know how DiMaggio strikes with such fierceness? Do you know why his homeruns appear so effortless?”

“No.”

“The ball has left the park before it even leaves the pitcher’s hand. The game has been won before the sun has risen.”

“¿qué”

“Niño…it starts with the preparedness. One must probe the deep, over and over, until he knows exactly where the darkness lies. That is the place where the beast lives; that is when the consequential catch occurs.”

The boy stares at his plate. Several hours go by in silence. Finally, the boy leaves stands to leave the room

“Manolin, where are you going?”

“To sharpen the hook, Santiago…for mañana.”

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You’re Doing It Wrong

The blog has been getting a little literary lately, so I thought I would pop in something a bit more down to earth.

The weather has been superb here in Denver, so I have seen plenty of riders out and about—many of them doing it wrong. So…here are five tips for training that I always keep rattling around in my skull (no particular order).

  1. ABS – Antilock-Braking System? Er, no…Always Be Spinning. I constantly see newbie racers just coasting around. Base miles are there to build your base; you cannot do that if your legs are not moving. Make the absolute most out of your training time and always spin. Even when descending, if I am not clipping the apex, I am spinning.
  2. Be the Pacemaker – If you are riding in a loose group that is not executing a paceline, be the person on the front. I am always eager to sit in the wind and drag people around; it builds strength, endurance, and my tolerance for wind. Plus, I know I will be that much stronger than the person sucking my wheel come March.
  3. Train you Position – Base mileage means big hours and big miles; it also means progressing the slow adaptation of your body into (hopefully) a better one. Base riding is not just about building aerobic fitness, though; it is also the time when you train your muscle memory. Ride in the drops—a lot. How do you expect your body to learn to develop and use power efficiently in the drops if you never train in them? In fact, if you do not train in the drops, your body will fight against you come race day, effectively lowering your power threshold in that position. The same goes for aerobars if you plan to TT.
  4. Sit Down – Unless you are doing out-of-the-saddle sprint intervals, sit your behind down. Let your body adapt to putting down power while seated; you should not be rising out of the saddle for every little ripple in the pavement. Seated power is much more versatile.
  5. Intervals – Even low intensity base mileage can and should be structured into intervals. Intervals are the building blocks of racers and one of the only proven methods to achieving exponential fitness gains down the road.

Hope that helps…

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The Bizaro-Block

Climbing…suffering. I feel the weight on the pedals throughout the stroke. I feel the power being wretched from my legs, through the cranks, and into the ground. Cresting the summit, I feel a brief surge of pain in my chest. I shift a few cogs down and commence recovery. I cough, then hack, a little a first, but exponentially after. The hacks grow like ripples on a pond. Rusty

And then I wake up.

The dream putters away, but the coughing and heaving do not. It has not stopped for five weeks, like a bizaro-training block.

While the training block is meant to bolster fitness and test progress, this anti-program leaves me stale and weak. The thin film of skin over my leg muscles has become slack.  Cyclists young and old stop by, wave, apologize, saddle up, and continue on their way; I imagine this is how a leper feels.

-m

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