Race to get Race Fit?

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I was watching the Tour of Spain this morning and thought it was strange that they kept saying how it is imperative to race the race to hone your form for the World Championships next month. I remember two years ago, when Thor won the World Championships in Australia, that an amazing number of guys in the final group were riders that competed in Spain.

Anyway, I compare that to how little that some contenders for the Tour de France race. Especially before the Tour. Lance started it, racing just a handful of times towards the end of his streak. Carlos Sastre took it to extremes, not racing forever after he won. He must of needed a complete exchange of blood or something. That just didn’t make any sense at all. Contador did not race again one season after the Tour, and then he came back at Paris-Nice and smeared everyone. That was not racing for nearly 7 months and coming back at full speed.

I’ve always been one that uses racing to get fit for races. I have no idea how you can get fit enough to race by training. Maybe the difference is trying to get fit for a one day race compared to being fit and rested for a stage race/grand tour. I don’t know. All I know is that I have no ability, mentally, to push myself hard enough in training to get anywhere near as fit as I can get by just racing. And that a key reason I ride my bike, is to race my bike, so it is a no-brainer doing just that.

10 months of this, no thanks.

7 thoughts on “Race to get Race Fit?

  1. Seis_Pendejos

    That’s why I tell riders with coaches to screw the coaches* and go do group rides and RACE YOUR BIKE. As you note, riding alone isn’t fun for very long.

    *There is a place in cycling for coaches, but I think that in general they put too much regimentation in to their programs in order to justify being needed.

  2. Winfield

    Experts (coaches) are only experts because they claim to have information that other don’t. In order to maintain that status…they must constantly create an environment wherein the client believes they are completely reliant upon that proprietary knowledge in order to succeed. The reality is google can provide any and all information that an expert espouses to control/hold. The one thing a good coach can do is create an environment of accountability and partial objectivity…which is ultimately the value of a coach. If one is looking for both objectively and accountability…a mentor is probably your best bet…not a coach.

  3. SB

    It’s a by-product of the powermeter era… now that riders have the data they need, they can stay home and train by the numbers.

    But I agree with you- a rider really must have intense mental focus and discipline to make it work.

    Also I think it’s a bad example for part time amateurs to train like the pro’s… Lance, Sastre, Contador all have a lot more racing days experience than your typical US cat 3, so they don’t need to learn how to read a group or watch a race develop.

  4. Rad Renner

    If I don’t race at least every other week, then it seems like I don’t really have anything to prepare for and my motivation just falls flat. And there’s no way I can push myself that hard on training rides, except maybe Wed. Night Worlds (which is kind of a race anyway).

  5. bob

    Even Lance did not do so good with little racing. Remember him banging into Levi? Oooops sorry, just a little rusty at this….
    Personally i have no problem pushing myself hard, starting as a distance runner i am used to sticking my finger in the light socket & holding it there.
    However it is really hard to work that top end to stay on a wheel smoothly at 35mph, which might account for some of the crashes early in the TDF. lots of riders with big engines, but do not have the smoothness to ride in a group at that speed.


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