Cycling is a combination of physiological talent (ability to utilize oxygen and go up hill) and skill (ability to manoeuvre one’s bike along the course and through the pack). One cannot improve one’s talent; one can only develop their physiological and psychological potential over a long period of time. However, one can improve one’s skill set very quickly; therefore it becomes a rider’s obligation to become as skilled on their bicycle as possible prior to racing season.
This is one of the final challenges I designate to all of my new Toque Coaching clients. Whether it be through grass practice with friends, racing cyclocross, or practicing wheelies in the park with street shoes during your rest day, learning the skills to handle your bike with ease and precision during unexpected moments of danger can mean the difference between winning a race or wasting all of your countless hours of training.
In a race, conditions can change quickly leaving one to deal with over-pumped tires on oil-covered roads. Take this year’s Boise Twilight criterium race for example. We started in 100 degree temperatures but within minutes it was an all out war of single-file riders split apart by crashes, panicked mechanics, screaming fans and stressed team managers. You can read all about my account of the race (Target Races) or check out the newest article by Manual For Speed: Dry and Warm to an Ice Rink in 20 minutes.