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By guest KIT blogger, Dave Andersen

In my last post I wrote about the humbling aspect of the sporting life. Chances are if you put yourself on the starting line, 9 times out of 10, you will get your butt kicked. It’s just the way it is. Cycling, running, and triathlon are highly competitive sports. I have found that it’s beneficial to set realistic goals that define varying stages of “success.” In running and triathlon, it could be beating that guy or gal that beat you last time or setting an age, course, or outright personal record.

Cycling, particularly Road Racing, is a different story. Sure you could set similar goals to those stated above for running/triathlon, but cycling can be viciously cruel. It requires that you keep up with the lead group or be left behind to suffer alone or with other “stragglers”. You are at the mercy of the strongest guys and teams. When they go ballistic uphill, you have to follow and keep up or you are left behind. And believe me, when you fall off the pack, the minutes add up quickly.
Set Multiple Goals

So, you must be pretty liberal with how you define success so as not to get so humbled as to become demoralized. I’d say it’s best to have several goals for each race (and season) with at least one of the goals having a pretty good chance of succeeding. On the other end, set a lofty goal that is just out of reach, but if attained would be as good as a victory. This way, even what may appear to be a mediocre race may be qualified as a success to you if you reach one of your goals.

Let me digress. In a recent cycling race I came in 47th place. On the surface that may not seem very good. However, I basically met my highest goal—to stay with the leaders on a hilly course until the closing miles. In my mind it was almost as good as a victory. This gives me even more confidence going into the next race that I may be able to do it again or even go for a result that outsiders would call “good”. We must be careful not to let one race define us. Take the little “victories” when you can, make adjustments if needed, and move on. Don’t ever forget that just getting out the door is GOAL #1 and often that is victory enough.

What are your goals for your next event? Think about it, write them down, and keep it tight.

*Dave Andersen lives in Boston and works in the educational publishing business. He shares his passion for cycling and sport with a wide range of friends and competitors.


By guest KIT blogger, Dave Andersen

Endurance sports require humility and patience. We all start with baby steps and then gradually move forward in our athletic journey. Some move forward rapidly, others, one step at a time. No matter how fit you are, if you are going to be an endurance athlete—at least in my experience—you better be able to eat humble pie. Here’s a quick story…
The Journey Becomes Our Lifestyle

Back in high school when I was a year or two into my running “career” my little brother decided he wanted some of the fun. So he joined me at a 7 mile road race and proceeded to beat me. That was my introduction to the fact that some people have a genetic gift (high VO2 max, etc) and their steps forward are bigger. While I was pretty happy to run sub 10-minutes for 2 miles in high school, my little brother was about 1-minute faster. Years later his sub 2:30 marathon would drive the point home.

So, really the goal for 99% of us (nonprofessional athletes) is to have fun and, given our physical and time limitations, try and reach our own personal limits. That being done, we must be satisfied. I know I am. I’ll go a step further and say it’s the journey (training) which becomes our lifestyle, which is perhaps most rewarding and brings a rare quality of life. Sure a solid race performance underlines all the hard work and sacrifice, but they are often far and few between.

The bottom line is: those of us that can follow our passion for fitness, sport, or even regionally high-level racing should never take it for granted or put too much expectation upon ourselves. Work as hard as you can without sacrificing your job, family, etc. It is a gift to do what we do and in the context of a balanced lifestyle it doesn’t really matter if you make the podium or come in with the pack. Do the best with what you have and be satisfied. Then flip on the internet and watch Tom Boonen riding away, while you dream away.Tom Boonen 2012 Paris Roubaix


*Dave Andersen lives in Boston and works in the educational publishing business. He shares his passion for cycling and sport with a wide range of friends and competitors.


By guest KIT blogger, Dave Andersen

Most of us first learn to ride a bicycle as young kids. Riding a bike is so simple even toddlers can do it. Yet serious cycling and especially bike racing are anything but simple. Or are they? Many folks labor over bike fit, wheels, heart rate monitors, power meters, and training plans. Granted, some of this stuff has it’s place, but at the essence we are turning the pedals and just trying to keep up with our fellow riders.
Good Enough for The Cannibal

While some of my competitors are dropping thousands of dollars on power meters to go on their already expensive bikes I made the decision to train and race by feel and sensation. If it was good enough for Eddy Merckx (see below), it’s good enough for me. Training is or can be a complex mix of distance, intervals, group rides and periodization. Racing is all about pack skills and keeping up. Either you can keep up or you can’t. I don’t need a heart rate monitor or a power meter to tell me I’m suffering or getting dropped. And if I can’t keep up it’s because the other guys are stronger.

Hey, I’m not anti-technology! I like the internet and carbon fiber, and I like having folks with their map-equipped Garmin’s along when riding in some far flung locale. I have simple cyclometers mounted on some of my bikes, but I usually only look at the data after I’m done riding, to see how far I went. When I do intervals or hill repeats I use a stop watch. In a race I never look at the data, or if I did glance at my cyclometer it would be to see how much farther we have to go, but then again, what does it matter? The object of the race (Winning? Having fun?) is to keep up for as long as possible, preferably, right to the finish line.

Kudos to those that utilize these advanced technological tools successfully, but I’m going to keep my cycling simple; I’m going to look outward (where I’m going) and inward (monitoring my sensations).

If you don’t agree with me, I refer you to RULE #74:

“Rule #74: V Meters or small computers only.
Forgo the data and ride on feel; little compares to the pleasure of riding as hard as your mind will allow. If you are not a Pro or aspire to be one, then you don’t need a SRM or PowerTap. To paraphrase BSNYC, an amateur cyclist using a power meter is like hiring an accountant to tell you how poor you are. As for Garmins, how often do you get lost on a ride? They are bulky, ugly and superflous. Cycle computers should be simple, small and mounted on the stem. And preferably wireless.”

To the folks at SRM (if you happen to read this): you might change my mind about technology by setting me up with the SRM SRAM S975 Powermeter System
(retail: $3,845.00). Jussayin!

In the meantime, keep it tight (and simple).
*Dave Andersen lives in Boston and works in the educational publishing business. He shares his passion for cycling and sport with a wide range of friends and competitors.