Liquid error: Unknown operator ings
PACTIMO REWARDS(0)  |  FREE SHIPPING ON $70+ ORDERS  |  FREE EXCHANGES  |  877-291-6238  |  NEED HELP?   US Dollar British Pound

Be a “Really Realistic” Bike Racer

January 19, 2016

Be a “Really Realistic” Bike Racer

“The worst part about having a job is how it affects your training. Let us be really realistic here – the majority of cyclists in the United States work some type of job.”

by Raquel Miller, ALP athlete who works with Coach Alison Powers

April 2013 was my first month of coaching with Alison Powers/ALP Cycles Coaching. Nearly three years later, and she is still my coach, even though I have decided I no longer want to be a bike racer; just a fit person. My last race as a “fully committed” bike racer was August 14, 2015. I would love to, however, do a few Friday Night Kreb Cycles races in Riverhead, NY this coming season because they are fun, on the way to the beach, and you could not ask for a better group of people to spend your Friday nights with!

I put the words fully committed in quotations because together they are subjective, and are greatly influenced by the lifestyle you lead. I raced a total of five years. (Yes, I know, not long compared to most people in the sport, but given my athletic background, I feel qualified to write this blog entry.) I had a few jobs during that time, and I even had a year or so where I was unemployed. For the record, being unemployed did not get me into better shape, or make me a better bike racer. I had my worst race season that year.

I worked in finance for a bit, commuting to Wall Street from the Upper Eastside (a horrible commute) and sat on my butt for the greater part of eight hours. Most days, after work, I sat in my care anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours searching for parking. In New York City you do not get to keep the same parking spot (on the streets) all week long unless you would like to pay for a cushy parking garage spot, which would compete to the cost of a nice Midwest apartment. I know because I am from Indiana.

My last year of racing, I worked as an Exercise Physiologist with our most precious population, geriatrics. I taught Strength, Mobility, and Balance classes at various assisted living and independent living homes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. I knew prior to taking the job that it would require a lot of commuting, driving, public transportation, and walking. The commuting was tiring and far more than what most people would like to do, especially in the New York City area, but overall I loved the job. Really cold days were awful. Really hot days were twice as awful. I sweat a lot!

alp cycles coaching

The worst part about having a job is how it affects your training. Let us be really realistic here – the majority of cyclists in the United States work some type of job. This is a fact; one I do not even need data to prove. Some people work 20 hours per week, while others work 60+ hours per week. Some have jobs where they sit all day, while others are on their feet all day. Some people work for home, while others have to report to an office. Some work year round, while others get their summers off. Some have high stress jobs, while others have low stress jobs. You get the point.

When an ALP Cycles Coach is preparing to work with a new client, or renewing an existing client,t hey ask you to fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire. My favorite questions was always: How many weekly hours do you have to train? Be realistic. TO TRAIN includes, yoga, strength training, etc., not just bike riding. REALISTIC – what is the meaning of realistic to a bike racer?! We all want to do as much as possible to be fit and fast. But was it realistic for me to tell Alison that I had up to two hours per day to train Monday through Friday when I knew everyday of my life would not be stress free; the trains would not always operate flawlessly or at all, the traffic would not be a breeze, the weather would not always cooperate, I would likely not find parking in 15 minutes every time, I would not feel fabulous everyday, and I would not always fee like riding on prescribed ride days. For the majority of my bike racing years with Alison, I rode a total of four, max of five hours, during the week, with two days being rest days. On the weekends, I would ride two and a half to four hours each day, rarely doing two, four hour days back to back. For me, this was really realistic, and the reason why I thrived with Alison’s coaching.

The moral of the story: Be a “Really Realistic” Bike Racer. It is virtually impossible to toe the line with competitors who have the same work/life/family balance challenges as yourself. These are the uncontrollable. The good news is, there are far more controllable; training, diet, sleep, attitude, etc., that can have a positive (or negative) effect on your training and racing. Do not “compare to despair”, as my favorite yoga instructor used to say. Focus on you, and the time that you really, realistically have to give to the sport of cycling, not what your friend or competitor can give. In fact, using this approach with all things in life will make you a happier, healthier, and far more balanced human being!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

About ALP Cycles Coaching

ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoaching.com



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Related Stories You Might Like

  • Tips for Riding in a Pack

    "Practice makes progress." by David Newcomer / Customer Service Manager Riding in a pack can be intimidating, and even dangerous at times, but it’s an essential skill for racing and participating in large rides and ...

  • Winter Riding: 6 Things to Keep in Mind

    Things can sneak up on you if you're not prepared - here's what to consider. by David Newcomer / Customer Service Manager I've been saying for the last few years that you can safely mountain bike in Colorado through T...

  • Things I Love About Cycling

    "There are so many things to love about our sport." by David Newcomer / Customer Service Manager I was doing some thinking on my ride this morning. There are so many things to love about our sport. I know I'm preach...


Also in Training & Coaching

Training To Be Healthy
Training To Be Healthy

March 07, 2019

Winter is in full force and base-miles and intensity are increasing. With the increased training, cold weather training conditions, and all the viruses that are floating around, the body is often put into a suppressed immune state. The same formula occurs in season, with big racing blocks, added life stress and travel...point being, we are human and we will get sick. This weeks' blog post is about what to do (or not do) when sick. 

Read More

Mental Toolbox - Noticing: Thinking vs. Feeling
Mental Toolbox - Noticing: Thinking vs. Feeling

March 07, 2019

"Sitting behind the motor itself is soothing and calming - it's getting to that point that can be the challenge. If there's someone in front of you that's tense and surging, it will ripple throughout the group. Similar to riding in a group on the road - if you find yourself around someone who is moving erratically and unpredictably, it's only a matter of time before something disastrous happens. The best thing to do is to put some distance between yourself and that rider."

Read More

Training Quality
Training Quality

February 25, 2019

If you want to get stronger and improve your performance, then you should make sure your rides (or workouts) are high quality vs. just adding up a lot of "empty training miles" or "junk miles". Working with athletes shows me that workouts quality isn't always executed properly. How does one prepare for a ride or workouts? Do you read the workout instructions clearly or do you go out on your ride and loosely follow the workout instructions? Are you aware of your focus on the bike?

Read More

Find us on Google+