Exploration By Bike

923405 10152817627705517 856385618 n 300x300 Exploration By BikeAs I mentioned a while back (in Bike Therapy,) in the past two and a half years my life has transitioned from the quiet contemplation of the Hudson Valley to the hustle and bustle of New Jersey.  Along with the change of location came a change in scenery; familiar roads were gone, trusted bike shops were distant, and new relationships had to be formed.  While there’s trepidation in the unknown, there was also a distinct thrill of discovering new places, new clubs, new roads and new people.  But why does it take a new place to get us in to mood to explore?

Perhaps more importantly, what lessons have been learned through this period of forced transition and how can we apply them without having to relocate 200 miles away?

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Setting SMART Goals (podcast)

5665972 234x300 Setting SMART Goals (podcast)Picture this:

It's the dead of winter, there's snow on the ground, freezing rain and wind in the air.  You're stuck inside on the trainer, doing intervals and skills.  Motivation is hard to come by at this time, and you're a little bit aimless in your training.  How do you break out of the slump?

You hunker down with a pen and paper (either virtual or physical) and start setting some goals, that's how.

I talked about planning your season in our last edition of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast, but I only glossed over one of the most important aspects: setting your goals.  To be frank, you can't even really plan your season without setting goals to build your season around, so you may have picked a few goals already.  But the question I have for you is….are they SMART goals?  

In this edition of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast, I'll explain the concept of SMART goal setting, and cover the following:

  • How many goals are appropriate to set for a season
  • The SMART paradigm of goal setting and what each letter stands for
  • The difference between goals and objectives

If you like what you hear, go over to the Tailwind Coaching Podcast on iTunes and rate it 5 stars.  Don't forget to post any questions to the Tailwind Coaching Facebook page.

And don't forget: Tour of the Battenkill is April 5th and 6th.  You can get my new, revised and improved 20 week Battenkill Training Plan in my store, and be well on your way to the podium.  Remember to save 10% with the coupon code Podcast10 in this week's podcast.

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Coaching: Music Based Cadence Workout

Kreitler poly 3 rollers 300x193 Coaching: Music Based Cadence WorkoutWinter is really, truly here.  Snow, sleet and rain has been battering the North East US for weeks.  If you're anything like me, you're probably looking for ways to accelerate your base training inside on the trainer or rollers, because training outside is not even remotely appealing.  As a coach I'm always looking for new and innovative ways to make indoor workouts interesting and to motivate athletes towards performing their best while stuck inside.  That mentality has spawned some really innovative tools in the marketplace (look at Trainer Road and the Sufferfest) and of course, some really bad ideas as well (the "watch football, go full gas while the play is in action, rest during the huddle/line up" kind of workout….)  The main issue with training indoors has always been boredom: it's difficult to ride the trainer for hours on end, and even riding the rollers becomes tedious when all you can do are focus on not falling off and counting pedal strokes (or staring at your Garmin.)  Even watching a movie can be tedious, especially when your attention is divided between the screen and your workout numbers.  Add to the fact that indoor training can be extremely repetitive and you have a recipe for lack of adherence to a training program and loss of motivation.  Variety is the spice of life, after all…

Adding Variety

One of the workouts I've found myself weaseling into my base training is a music based cadence workout.  It not only helps to keep motivated while inside, but it helps to keep training somewhat unpredictable, as you're not really sure what you're going to get next (by virtue of the shuffle function, of course.)  By doing this on rollers, you'll not only get a solid workout, but you'll be training your body to handle real world changes in pace, tempo, gearing, etc.  You'll continue to build balance and refine your pedal stroke while listening to some killer music, and you'll feel worked by the time your workout is over.

The concept behind this workout is pretty simple:

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Leaf Peeping: The Best Cycling Season

giantandgarmin 225x300 Leaf Peeping: The Best Cycling SeasonIf you're anything like me, you've spent the last nine months absolutely killing yourself in the endless quest for better endurance, podium placings and bigger power numbers.  Nine months of time have been spent being obsessed with numbers, following training plans and interval workouts to the letter, all in a quest to improve performance.

If you're anything like me, you've seen the fruits of those labors.  You've seen the payoff for all the hours of training, the time spent poring over training and race data.  The numbers have gone up (hopefully), the placings have come, goals have been met and you've had a season to be proud of.

If you're anything like me…you're tired.

Your body is probably worn down from the repeated thrashings at the hands of teammates, other racers and your own dedicated training.  Your legs probably don't feel like putting out big watts over long rides anymore.  Your motivation to get out and train your body into oblivion is likely waning.  Unless you're in full on cyclocross mode, you're probably not even thinking of racing, except to begin plotting out your training and racing schedule for next season.

That's the perfect cue to throw your training plans out the window and rediscover the thrill and wonder that just riding your bike can bring.  All too often we get caught up in the technology, the numbers, the goals and training in general, and we forget why we started riding and love riding our bike.  Fall is the time to let it all go (unless you're a 'cross racer) and just enjoy the ride.  

photo 8 300x300 Leaf Peeping: The Best Cycling SeasonThe crisp spice of fall air and the crunch of leaves under rubber are the harbingers of the off season.  Embrocation adds a wafting aroma that is unmistakable in the brisk morning air.  For the first time in a year, you are able to forget about speed, pick your head up off the stem you've been chewing on as you bled from your eyes for the season, and notice what's going by around you.  The beauty of the countryside becomes the focus of the ride, rather than a mere distraction from the pain of training.  There's no longer guilt in stopping for a mid ride espresso instead of doing hill repeats, and people are willing to linger in the autumn sunshine a little longer at the table while you discuss the nuances of arm warmers and shoe covers.  

Do yourself a favor and go out for a ride.  Not a training ride, just a ride.  Either leave your computer at home or change the screen to show nothing but distance; no power, no cadence, no heart rate.  Simply pick a direction and just go wander.  Meander through the brisk fall air and fallen leaves, climb up that road you've passed by many times before, stop for a cider donut and enjoy the ride.  You know you've worked hard for months, and now its time to enjoy the fitness you've built by saddling up for some carefree wanderlust.  If you're anything like me, you'll discover things you never knew where there.

Sometimes it's good to be tired…


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Being A Better Bike Racer? Or when is racing actually racing? (podcast)

1001535 10100270871193889 1958083157 n 300x300 Being A Better Bike Racer? Or when is racing actually racing? (podcast)Sit back for a moment and ask yourself the following question: "When is racing actually racing?"  Sure, it's a bit of a strange question, but really take a moment to think about it.  Is racing all about winning?  Is it about sitting in the pack until the last 150 meters before contesting a sprint?  Is it about patrolling the front of the peloton and covering moves, making breaks and closing down gaps before taking a flyer with a lap to go?  Is it about having the confidence in your fitness and race reading skills to take a pull or two and recover in time to make a winning move?  Or, on the other hand, is racing about hard work and riding cleanly (not chopping others in corners, for example) while putting up the best results possible?  Is racing about getting out there and getting your team's colors seen, even if you don't win?

Got your answer?  Good.

Keep that answer in your head as you listen to today's podcast where I discuss the concept of racing solely to win, racing to get your team colors out there, and what's inherently wrong with racing (in the beginner categories) these days.  I'll cover the concept of racing just to win (and what is and isn't wrong with that), the idea that each race is a new experience in tactics and skills, the concept of the "I'll let someone else do the work" mentality and why you should just stay home if you're willing to race for second place.  Finally, I'll touch on ways to make you a better bike racer: why you SHOULD take risks and try different things, especially at the beginner levels of the sport.  You have to spend some time becoming a better bike racer somewhere, and this is the place to try them.

Racing is different things to different people, so keeping that in mind, when is racing actually racing?  And when is racing NOT racing? (Spoiler: I think people are not racing when the sole focus becomes winning, as opposed to everything else that a race encompasses: tactical sense, risk and of course, failure.)  

"Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday." ~ Wilma Rudolph

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me or post on the Tailwind Coaching Facebook page.  Don't forget to rate the Tailwind Coaching Podcast on iTunes!

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