Gravel racers that are successful can usually thank the trifecta of gravel rides: Preparation, Skill and Luck. Typically, most of us hope for at least two out of three in order to come in ahead of most of the gritty and dusty pack. I would have to say that my first gravel race was awesome because I got two of the three right … and one of those wasn’t Skill.
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…
Sorry guys – size does matter. At least, when it comes to wattage output vs. speed. This may be obvious to some cyclist, but to others, fully understanding power output and metrics is new-ish. What’s truly ironic is that I, the anti-electronic nut, am writing an article about all this. Stranger things do happen. Don’t have high expectations of seeing any technical jargon as you read further…
I have successfully avoided ‘Stage Races’ and ‘Omniums’ for my entire racing career – until recently when I signed up to compete in Local Bike Racing’s Sealy Stage Race. I am chalking up my recent oversight to a memory relapse… after all I am racing in the 40+ category these days. Regardless of my historical reservations and fears concerning performance: I learned a lot about surviving Stage Races and actually did surprisingly well!
With that being said: I’ll share what I figured out.
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.
Ah, the scenery, the challenge, and the thrills! Love ‘em or hate ‘em: it’s important for every cyclist to become comfortable or at least acquainted with riding what most cyclist call The Rollers (aka: ‘hills’ – not indoor training!). Here’s a few tips from someone that has gone from being a hater to a lover.
No, I’m not reminiscing about the occurrences after binge-eating Mexican food. What I’m talking about here is REAL wind… you know the pushy, back-talking, grabby atmospheric stuff that you sometimes encounter during your training ride. The wind that trashes your mph average and leaves you frustrated, sore, and exhausted.