5 skills to sharpen up as the road season gets closer


Cornering

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a relatively new to road cycling, cornering is something we can all improve. The colder off-season and reduction in race scenarios and large sportives will have inevitably led to less high-speed cornering - at least shoulder to shoulder with other riders.

Find a quiet loop where you can practice finding the apex of corners and get the braking points ingrained into your memory. The confidence alone will help when the time comes to dawn a number.

feeding

Fueling before, during and after events and races is a large part of the competition. The image of a top professional bonking is one which reminds us that none of us are protected when the glycogen-widow-maker comes knocking on your door. 

Now is the time to experiment with new product ranges of bars and race food, not on the first day of the season. Hopefully, you aren't using gels in training so these might need a reintroduction...maybe on one of your training group's more 'anti-social' rides...

Some products won't agree with your gut when you add high intensity, so take this pre-season window of opportunity to find what you like - you may be eating and drinking a lot of it over the season so better to find something you like. 

race routine

Pre-race nerves or worries are all part and parcel of competitive life for many but a dependable and repeatable race routine will assist in lowering any sense of anxiety you may have. Take the time to plan out on paper everything you need to happen on race day then work back in time to have as much of this in place before you go to sleep the night before your event.

Having a kit bag that has most of the essentials will make this easier: take the time to source pins, muscle rub, spare cleats and any small items which could derail your race preparation on the day. 

Get into the habit of doing bike preparation on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest so that if any spare parts or extra work are needed, there is sufficient time to get it done before the weekend.

If you have been making body composition alterations you may have been altering your carbohydrate intake in accordance. As the racing season approaches you need to get your routine back in place, carbohydrate energy will fuel high intensity race effort. You can get away with timing on training rides to a degree but your body will be at it's best if the timing and ingestion are correct. In most situations, a carbohydrate dense meal with protein the evening before then an easily digested carbohydrate breakfast like porridge and fruit 3-4 hours before the event is a good meal plan.

Remember the idea is to be relaxed and ready to perform on race day.

visualisation 

What seems like Jedi astral projection trickery, visualisation is something we all do. It may just be that for many of us we are unaware of it. It’s more natural human behaviour than you think.

What do you say when it gets tough? 'I can't do this'...'just need to hold on'

Whilst you may not realise it ,these internal conversations are all visualisation of outcomes, just at this stage, we are running live! The difference is that if you haven't trained positive outcomes in your visualisation then you are more likely to defer to negative thought processes which are subtle but will erode your confidence.

'I'M DOING THIS!'... 'LET'S GO!'

Introduce mirror chats before big training rides. Look yourself in the eye and tell yourself important messages about how the session is going to play out on the road. Knowing it will be challenging but that you have an answer to that doubter in your head will empower you to get business done. And it's infectious!

Confidence breeds confidence.

Nailing sessions in training give you a mental directory of positive outcome memories to lean on when you go to the place where races are won and lost. 

Before races, you will want to visualise getting into the race-winning move and how you will feel when you have to make that last big effort.

Are your thoughts going to be blurred by anxiety or will you have the clarity to see what needs to be done and how you can use your strengths? 

Visualisation will have put you in this place already.

self-assessment and analysis

Bike slammed into rack,

Kit thrown in the door, 

Dog kicked, and grumpy head on until next race: post-race analysis complete, right?

Not if you want to learn what went wrong and how you improve it. The truth is you may well not even need all that tantrum if you analyse it correctly and come to an outcome which said most of what went wrong was out of your control. It's a bike race, it happens.

Having a self-analysis and assessment feedback loop with your coach, and yourself is important to the tactical development and improving of weak areas. Make the effort to sit down after each training ride and write down the targets set for the session and how well they were achieved, and what you could have done better... even if you nail it!

A lot of the training you have done through the off-season required hard work and endeavour. Realigning your competitive smarts needs to happen now though before the flag drops! 

  •  Get the race bike out and practice race skills at speed.

  •  Find the race fuels that work for you

  • Get in the zone for racing and find a dependable routine that will help relax you.

  • Practice visualisation and use your experiences to get you through the barriers which could block your success.

  • Be honest about your performance and use your analysis to guide your route to elevating yourself further! #Goupalevel

If you want to speak to one of the coaches at Elevation coaching where we can give you the benefit of our experience to maximise your training get in touch at coach@elevationcoaching.cc or call us on +44(0)7545965391 


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