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, ...

Mountain Bike Race Pre-Riding: Inspecting and Opening for Race Day

Author: Serena Bishop GordonThere is a lot of talk these days about marginal gains; incremental improvements that over time add up to more significant increases in performance. These can come from changes in training, diet, equipment, or race preparation, for example. Gains from training and diet can take time to play out, while gains from equipment choices can be expensive. But gains from race preparation are quick to realize, cost nothing, and are often overlooked. If you are a mountain bike racer, part of race preparation is previewing the course. Pre-riding when done effectively and efficiently will give you confidence, leave you fresh, and set you up for a great race.The ...

Why Do You Race?

A few years ago a client came to me with a difficult but common question. She was having some challenges in her life outside of cycling, and it was making it difficult for her to maintain her focus and motivation for another season of racing. At the same time, her racing goals were important to her and she did not want to give them up. The advice she sought had nothing to do with how to train or what intervals to do because her problems were existential, not physiological. So, she asked me, why do I race? What is it that keeps me in the sport year after year? And what could she do to keep that spark? It's not an easy thing to explain. Much like being in love with a person, you know the ...