The Lantern Rouge: Bus Driving and Stage Race Survival

Stage racing is a unique animal. There are very few sporting events that combine different disciplines or versions of their sport day after day, to award an overall winner. Decathlon comes to mind as one of the few parallels. But that very nature of it's appeal also contains its challenges. For many riders, these races are the peak of their season and their training has revolved around being at their best. For others, the races are primarily training, especially in the early season, or to peak for later events. And of course, some people climb well, some time trial well, and some sprint well, but everyone has to do everything. When you have such a discrepancy of goals and fitness ...

The Card Up Your Sleeve, Part II

In Part 1 of The Card Up Your Sleeve, I wrote about the inevitability of sprint finishes in most Category 3, 4, and 5 races. Regardless of your natural ability, field sprinting is a mandatory skill to acquire if you plan on moving up through the categories. I mentioned two scenarios: when to wait for the sprint if field sprinting is your talent, and how to approach a field sprint if it's not. Here in Part 2, I'll discuss the latter in detail, and outline some approaches useful for a rider in any category.If your skills are time trialing or climbing, or you have a decent sprint but your brain's not wired for the high-speed human pinball that is field sprinting, you're not alone. Everyone has ...

The Card Up Your Sleeve, Part I

For all road racers trying to upgrade from the lower categories, there's one skill that takes precedence above all others: field sprinting. Outside of pro/1/2 races, the dynamic tends to be to such that everyone is willing to chase down attacks, but no one is willing to counter-attack or work with a break they bridge up to. It's a vicious cycle; most races end in field sprints so no one wants to attack or counter-attack for fear of being tired for the field sprint, thus, the race always ends in a field sprint. At the same time, no one wants to let any other riders get away, so the field will typically do just enough to chase down any attackers, put themselves back in contention and on par, ...

Get Fit: 4 Critical Bike Fit Measurements

Whether you spend 5 hours a week on your bike or 35, a proper fit can make all the difference. Like many aspects of training for cycling, bike fit is a type of quasi-science, with a lot of folk knowledge and old school adages mixed in with attempts at real measurements of performance changes based on certain angles and lengths. A balance between both is in order, since the science tells us what should be the case, while the real world experience tells us how it actually feels. Either way, there are four primary measurements that we'll focus on here: saddle height, saddle setback, handlebar reach, and handlebar drop. There are many, many other important factors like cleat position, q-factor, ...

How Much Warm-Up

One thing many working-class racers are looking for is to simplify their training. They want straightforward, direct answers to their training questions and concrete solutions to their challenges. In line with that, one of the most common requests I get as a coach is for a set, simple warm-up routine that will work every time. The problem of course is that there are no easy answers and concrete solutions, and there is no magic warm up routine that will work for everyone. That said, it is still possible through trial, error, and science, to develop a routine that will work for you based on an evaluation of situational conditions.How you warm up for an event will depend on a number of ...