Looking for a short turbo boost?
Focus all of your emotions into the pedals.
There is a saying around the interwebs about ‘Stomach of Anger’. Although I’m not really sure what they mean by that I can tell you that I have pedaled with Anger before. And it makes you fast! But also out of breathe very quickly.
You see I was on a group ride that was usually very steady paced. Everyone rotated evenly and the pace of the group as a whole was pretty quick at around 22-24 mph. But this day we had 1 rider that was randomly attacking the group.
It was throwing off the rhythm of the group and thus lowering our average speed, and it was getting on my nerves. So with each successive attack I was getting more and more P-O’d at this person and their failed attacks off the front that were distracting other riders, until he attacked one time, and I had enough!
I down shifted & MASHED the pedals, shift, MASH, shift, MASH, until I not only went by him at a much greater pace than he was going, but had gotten a significant distance up the road to a red light. As I sat at the red light attempting to catch my breath, I had a chance to think for a minute about what had gotten me so riled up. Although I felt better getting some anger out, I also felt guilty for doing the same thing that this person was doing to the group.
I guess in hindsight I was trying to tell him that he wasn’t the only strong rider in the group that ‘could’ go faster. I’m still not sure, but one thing I learned from this was that when I got my emotions together and focused my energy, that I could create a large amount of watts for a brief amount of time.
I could pedal in Anger!
The thing about pedaling in Anger is that your mind shuts down – you don’t feel any pain, all you have is raw emotion – and all that energy is poured into stomping on those pedals!
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I have said it, and I see that others are posting articles or info about it. The problem is maybe too many people are taking it too far.
Do not ride on the front should not be confused with NEVER ride at the front.
Too many people seem to just sit-in – on ever ride, year around. Bah!
Too many people never do any work – whether they are afraid they will get dropped, feel they aren’t strong enough.
Sometimes you need to move, do something, stir things up. Sometimes that is for the group & sometimes that is just for yourself & your training.
It’s interesting how the group dynamic of a ride can change – week to week and sometimes during a single ride.
Not long ago, at the ‘Wednesday night World’s’ the group was being shy. There were only a few people rotating & it was often that if you rotated you would have to sit on the front for awhile before someone else would come around.
What happens next is that the stronger riders and/or opportunists attacks the group. Sometimes this is enough to stir things up, sometimes the ride will continue along in the same manner watching that person increase the gap until they are ‘out of sight, out of mind’. As this keeps happening all the stronger riders & some opportunists are ahead on the road and there isn’t enough people strong enough or willing to work to bring them back.
I watched this happen a couple times and tried to shake things up myself by rolling past the group on a downhill and along the uphill on the other side – what this caused was the group finally sped up and started getting more aggressive.
Remember, “Don’t ride on the front” is different from “Never ride on the Front” there are good reasons to rotate and pull-through, and there are good reasons not too. Sometimes the group is hammering along and you should conserve your energy for later. Sometimes you should rotate just to get others to rotate also, sometimes it is to keep the group going.
One of the best ‘team blocks’ I had ever witnessed was by Scotty Weiss – we were racing a 1Km pan flat crit in N.C. His team mate jumped the pack with another racer and they were rolling up the road – well most team mates would go to the front and soft pedal or not even pedal at all – but not these guys, Scotty went to the front and kept the field going at a steady pace. He knew if the group slowed down too much there would be attacks and his team mate would have less chance of winning the race. So, he kept the pace slow enough that his teammate was still going faster than the group, yet just fast enough that no one would attempt to attack the group! At that time I was a fresh Pro1,2 rider and at first I was bewildered that his own team mate was on the front doing the pace-making. It took me about 5 laps before I realized the plan.
Most everyone knows the basic tactics, but when you can mix things up that is when you are racing intelligently!
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I hear many times from athletes that they can not get too low in weight because they loose power. But if the main factor in cycling is power to weight ratio – and that ratio increases if you lost weight then how can you also loose power?
I think that there is a point of minimum bodyfat where someone would loose strength or reserves. However, if that is the case, then what about all the Pro racers that come out of stage races with less than 5% bodyfat.
My hypothesis is that when people are dieting and do not eat as much for meals ‘reducing calories’ then when they go out for a long or hard training then they do not have enough nutrients in their body and they do not ingest enough calories too keep them going. Once the body runs out of nutrient supplies then it doesn’t function optimally – they loose energy (power).
Now take the same ‘reduced calories’ and factor in the high intensity of training and/or racing and the body is in a depleted state WHEN beginning an event – and since it is difficult for most people to ingest enough nutrition during an event, they eventually ‘loose power’.
Something I tell my clients is to ‘feed your training’. In other words you must eat according to what you are planning to do. If you are going to hang out on the couch then you can/should consume less food. But especially consume less food that the body would use immediately for energy. This is a good time to consume foods that the body would use as building blocks or repair.
When you have a long training day or race day, now is the time to ingest more foods that the body can and will use for energy.
This past weekend I was leading a group ride – I got up 30 minutes earlier just so that I could prepare some Belgium waffles with maple syrup. Less than 2 hours later we were all on the bikes and riding a few miles over to a 3 mile climb – I had a great day, which started out with a meal that was going to fuel my activity.
This morning I was in a meeting for a couple hours and have been working on some research and getting some ideas on paper. For breakfast this AM I had an omellete with chicken, salsa and guacamole. Foods that I wouldn’t get a burst of energy from, but food that will keep a steady stream of nutrients with out an insulin spike.
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Remember: Feed your training.
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