Motivation

Things I Learned From Jens Voigt

Jens Voigt in NJA few days ago, I had the privilege of attending a meet and greet with Jens Voigt at a local NJ bike shop.  The big, charismatic german, veteran of almost two decades in the peloton, did a Q&A with fans, signed autographs and posed for photos with anyone who asked.  During the night, he imparted his wisdom gained from the trials and tribulations of racing in Europe, including a few nuggets that I believe are important to share with all of my readers.

Never forget where you came from:

It bears saying, that even the best of the best are humble in their beginnings.  Jens spent more than half his life racing bikes, but he always fondly recalls where he came from.  He explained how he tried track and field, and was ok at athletics, but not one of the best.  He said that he had been annoyed that he couldn’t “do any better” (so much so that he joking described a rude gesture to his track and field coach….)  He continued to explain to us that when the local cycling team came to town, he was allured by the offer of a free bike.  The rest is, as you all know, history.

Coincidentally, he always remembers where he came from.  His first bike was a Diamond.  That company was purchased by Trek after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  And he even bought a couple of them for his own boys.

So take a page from Jens and remember where you came from.

Never forget who you are and who helped you get there:

When a question was asked about who was one of the most important parts of his racing career, he described the relationship he has with his wife.  He described that his career would not have been possible without her devotion and steadfastedness: raising their six children while he was off racing, standing by him throughout all the crashes, the contract negotiations, and the talk of retirement, he painted a picture of the woman behind the man.

Jens made it abundantly clear that everything he accomplished was not only his doing, but those around him.  He plainly stated that he would never have been the force that he is if not for those people he surrounded himself with.  And his message was clear: surround yourself with people who are like minded, who believe in you and will support you through and through.  And when you succeed, don’t forget to thank them for helping you on your way.

From thanking his sponsors by becoming a brand ambassador to graciously allowing Juan Manuel Garate a win in the 2006 Giro d’Italia after not contributing a single pedal stroke to the breakaway’s progress, Jens has been putting this to practice for years.  And what he said next is why he is so readily able to remember all those that helped him.

Believe in yourself unconditionally:

photo (2)Jens pointed out that you have to believe in yourself.  You have to believe in yourself without hesitation or fail, you have to dream big and you have to go out there and “get what you want”.  He recounted his horrific crash in the 2010 Tour de France on the descent of the Col due Petit-Saint-Bernard in which he fractured his cheek and sustained a concussion.  He regaled us with details like German TV announcers predicting he had a 50/50 chance to survive the night.  And then he went on to explain how he was determined to return to racing, as strong as he was before.

And he did return to racing, crashing again in the 2010 Tour, but he maintained his belief in himself. To quote Jens that massive crash and chase back to the peloton on an ill fitting Mavic service bike: “I’ve had better days than this.  But I’m still alive.  It’s better than last year, you see?  Last year, I was at this time in the race, I was in hospital already.   And this time I’m still on my bike.  Didn’t crash on my head, didn’t crash on my face, so things could be worse.”

So be like Jens: believe in yourself and dream big.  Even if you fail a couple times, if you are able to get up and try again, you’re doing all right.

There are no shortcuts:

Considering that in this day in age everyone is looking for a quick buck, a shortcut towards greater fitness or a way to cut the corners to get something done faster, it was said that there are absolutely no shortcuts to your destination.  If you want to be one of the best, you have to put in the time to get there.

With a touch of sadness in his voice, Jens recounted the final years of his racing career.  He conjured up an image of a body that was less willing to suffer, a mind that was less willing to force the body to suffer and a longing to lead a less nomadic life, spending more time with his wife and children.

He also said there was no such thing as a shortcut when it came to coffee.  And we all know that Jens loves his coffee.

 

Thank you Jens, for providing a little look into your life and your career.  You’ve been an inspiration to many of us through the years, and we look forward to seeing you in a car, guiding the next generation of superstars to countless victories.

 

 

By |February 15th, 2015|local bike shop, Motivation, narrative, pro cycling|0 Comments

Strava: Fitness Wonder or Wrecker – Podcast #48

Strava Cycling AppThere’s no question that social media has infiltrated every facet of our lifestyle.  From the best cycling hashtags on Instagram to the ubiquitous “butt shot” of the local Sunday group ride that is posted on Facebook, we have an insatiable need to connect with others on social networking.  Cycling is no different, as evidenced by the rise of Strava, the largest cycling social media sharing site out there today.  But Strava is far more than people just sharing their rides and their achievements online: it has become the driving force behind many people’s cycling experiences.  Offering almost monthly challenges and goals (often revolving around excessive mileage or vertical gain) and offering virtual rewards in the form of “badges”, Strava has become the impetus for people to train.

How has that success and impetus impacted us as a cycling culture?  How has it changed the way we train? And of course, the ultimate question remains: have those changes been for the better or worse?  That’s what I’ll explore on this edition of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast, including topics such as:

By |December 8th, 2014|Coaching, Motivation, podcast, Training|0 Comments

Lost Art of the Group Ride – Podcast #45

Group ride dynamicsEveryone loves a group ride, right?  Group rides are chances to catch up with friends, get in a good workout, chase a  few stronger riders or tear the legs off your riding buddies.  But a group ride is as much a dance as it is a ride, and there are a number of things you SHOULD have learned along your journey as a cyclist. Whether you are a group riding sage or a newly minted rookie, you should observe the rules, the etiquette and the sanctity of the holiest of Sunday cycling practices (aside from watching the pros on Eurosport, of course…)

In today’s episode of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast, I’ll wax poetic on those things that you need to have learned in order to execute the perfect group ride, and I’ll cover a couple of things in the cycling news sphere that caught my attention.

That said, today’s podcast will include:

By |October 14th, 2014|beginner, Coaching, group riding, Motivation, podcast, technique, Training|0 Comments

Setting Tempo

Dirt road riding, lambertville NJFrom the latin “tempus” meaning time, tempo has come to represent a large number of definitions across different parts of life.  Typically read on a page of music notes, determining how fast or slow a piece should be played, it takes on new meaning when applied to cycling.  We’ve all heard the ubiquitous phrase of “setting the tempo”, usually at the front of a peloton (note that said phrase is often augmented by specific adjectives denoting suffering, like “infernal” or “blistering”.  And more often than not, someone of the Jens or Fabian stature is the said disher out of epic pain, simply adding to the mystique of the setting of that tempo.  But I digress…)  We’ve come to realize pace, speed and tempo are almost interchangeably linked, much like the internal tempos we become acutely aware of the deeper we delve into the cave of pain, either of our own volition or that of those sitting in front of us.

Getting back to tempus, we could articulate many different bodily machinations as fitting it’s definition.  The pounding of our heart as we grind our way up our favorite climb is a perfect example of the rhythmic undertones of tempus.  Our breathing falls into this category too, as inexorable as the march of the second hand on your wrist watch.  But in cycling, as in the face of a clock, we think of tempo as the metronomic revolutions of our legs upon the pedals, incessantly ticking away a beat to accompany the rhythm section playing throughout our bodies.

By |September 25th, 2014|Motivation, narrative|0 Comments

How to Start Road Racing – Podcast #40

Bike Racing in Bound BrookNJEvery year, the Tour de France comes around, being brought to the masses through Eurosport, NBC or various Twitter or internet tickers.  Concurrently, there’s always a spike in cycling interest around the tour, and I get plenty of questions about racing and starting to race.  I guess watching people turn themselves inside out on TV is inspiring for those among us who are inclined to pin on a number.

Regardless of your motivation, it’s always awesome to see riders thinking about jumping into the deep end of the racing pool.  Many times, your average cyclist doesn’t really know how to “go about getting involved in racing.”  Well, I’m going to put some of those fears to rest with today’s podcast.

I’ll cover the following:

By |July 22nd, 2014|Coaching, Motivation, podcast, racing|0 Comments