Competition is good for you and the sport of bike racing. Why? Well, imagine how boring it would all be if we showed up on the same team? It also helps promote more events, sponsors, and bike-related activities. There is only so much one team can cover. Most local amateur bike racing teams are not owned and operated by someone that focuses solely on bike racing all day. Typically they are either bike-shop sponsored or company sponsored teams with a very few that are individually owned. In other words: most team owners and managers have a day job.
What makes being a part of a team so great and why shouldn’t a person just race as an independent? I hadn’t really given it much thought before – but a couple months ago I was given clarity.
It’s a fact that discomfort will impact performance. Some of the key target areas are where the human body comes in contact with our 2-wheeled steeds of freedom – in particular: the saddle. For women: the choice of saddle is a Big Deal for reasons I don’t think are necessary to point out here. I know that finally landing (literally) on a saddle that works for me was a journey that included several painful disappointments, many misdirection’s thanks to mindless marketing, as well as significant (and potentially unnecessary) investments.
Here’s my saddle saga…
In general, I like pink.
As a color: I wear pink to work, casually, and so forth. I have a mild exception to being draped entirely in pink (because I’m quite tall and don’t wish to look like a giant pink flamingo). I have my fair share of pink hues in my closet and I’m not afraid to use them! However: when it comes to cycling kits I absolutely loathe pink. As a matter of fact, I am only recently reluctantly embracing a smidge of pink in my life for my women’s development racing team. (Whom I think the world of!) Like I said, I’m not a pink hater, but when it comes to cycling…
Sorry Ladies: pinky-poo girly cycling kits make me gag.
H-Town Bikin’ Babes! This article is for you ladies that believe in pedal power and pushing the limits! After all: Houston may just have the very best group of local competitive cycling chics, ever. To some: Houston might be a ‘pit’, but it’s a damn cool place for a ‘Hellhole’ (to quote Jeff Blake: thanks for the article!). Other areas in this great state of Texas don’t necessarily enjoy the same comradery in ladies competitive cycling. I’m not just saying that because I live here either. I’m saying that because it true – but it wasn’t always that way.
The big day is here! The day you’ve been training for, waiting for, and focused on… ok: maybe that’s over-dramatizing. Regardless, any competitive event comes with a certain amount of nervousness and proper preparation is vital. I will be the first to admit that I’m not extremely focused on ‘race day’ training per se. It sounds too much like work.
I train for life. A life of full of cycling. Because I love to ride, racing is like icing on the cake and it must be enjoyable (as much as anyone can enjoy slamming your legs to the limit). In order to ensure that I enjoy racing, I try to apply a bit of ‘smarts’ when it comes making sure I’m fit for a competitive event. If you haven’t read my blog on Top Tips to Prep for a Race – please do so… it’s “Step 1” in all this!
Every now and then my husband and I will just go down a road or take a route on a whim. Ride somewhere new to find out when the roads less traveled will take us. Oftentimes it’s a great experience and sometimes: we learn something – even if it’s “don’t do that again!”
Whatever it is, if approached from the right perspective of adventure – an experience out of the norm can be rewarding for just being something new. Nothing ventured – nothing gained, as the saying goes.
It was in the spirit of adventure that I tried out something that I haven’t tried yet: Track Cycling.
Boys Beware! This is about to get knee-deep in girly talk, so consider yourself forewarned!
For years I would periodically worry that, for some unknown reason; all my strength had gone, maybe I was sick, over-trained, or that I was suddenly and mysteriously out of shape. I would FREAK out! Because I’m ‘type A’ and have to fix the energy drain – I would immediately go into a frenzy of compensating for this mysterious lack of strength and played havoc with my riding and racing schedule!
It wasn’t until many, many years later that I realized this ‘mysterious energy low’ was normal during exercise at certain times of the month and it had nothing to do with the full moon or my lack of endurance. Well, almost nothing.
There’s some discussion bouncing around the internet between whether building slower-pace winter base miles or shorter, harder intensity efforts is the way to go to prepare for race season. Josh Horowitz, coach and trainer, says that Off-Season Training is just a myth. It’s all very interesting and can get technical with discussions of elevating your VO2 Max, increasing blood flow to the muscles, etc… Sounds great, but which training regime is best?
You would think that it’s obvious – women are not physically the same as men. However, during my cycling career I have noticed an appalling lack of female-focused training programs, diet plans, competitive athlete information, or even decent saddles.