A Throw of the Dice

For months we spend our time carefully crafting training plans, preparing post-ride meals and maintaining our space-age machines after battle with winter’s wet. Every day our season approaches faster and faster, our first ‘Monument’ faster. It seemed like October only yesterday; April, a distant future. 

Now, after our director orchestrates the day’s tactics and the commissaire drops the neutral flag, the day is here, the day is now. We trade that all-encompassing focus for every element of our training and recovery, tunneling all of our energy on only that which will get us to the finish line fastest and in front of those who we now ride with.  Like when shocked into an emergency state where only one thing can and should be thought of, the present moment, nothing outside the barrier-lined parcour penetrates our over-stimulated minds. 
A deep breath, relax into this moment’s stress. Attention, affection, appreciation, acceptance. Enjoy one’s own acknowledgement that the dice are airborne. That disaster may strike at any moment, that doors may open and close in front without a moment’s notice . However it is in this place, this present moment where anything can happen that opportunity presents itself.  Do we go full throttle now? Is this our moment? Or do we holster it and wait for a more opportune moment down the road? However betting on a future opportunity conflicts with one’s newly adopted state in the present. It is now that we must go. We must risk everything now. We must roll the dice now and worry about the next lap, day, month, year when that time comes. For it is only what we do in this present moment that matters. 
Besides if we are really prepared to go full throttle but the opportune moment has arrived sooner than expected, shouldn’t we be able to adapt and deploy immediately? Now? 
React. Race. Relish this moment now and relive it for years to come.

40’C Weather

Manual For Speed @Tumblr: The guys asked me to write something about racing in extreme heat, like my experience at Tulsa Tough in 2011. This is what I wrote: 

Morning Spin
Manual For Speed Tumblr
Oppressive Dew, Defy
Lethargic Mope, Hydrate
Sleepy Eyelids, Coffee
Tired Legs, Back to Bed

Full Throttle
Fired Eyes, Blinding UVs
Easy Breathing, Open Capillaries
Swollen Feet, Aching Toe Nails
Grippy Gloves, Protecting Palms
Skin Tightens, Veins Surface
Heart Beat Hastens, Fuel-Injection
Exhale Shortens, I NEED MORE AIR!
Tongue Parched, Where is my soigneur?
Recollect, Evaluate
Find Teammates, Discuss
Move Forward, Control
Match Opponents, Then Attack

Après Victory
Sticky Chamois, Wet Wipes
Sunscreen Slime, Shower
Blood Sugar Crash, Iced Coke
Ninety Minute Sauna; Drained.



Finding a coaching style

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” (Ken Robinson)
As both a coached cyclist and a coach myself, I have the unique opportunity of experiencing both sides of the objective/subjective dichotomy. As a rider, I ask questions of my coach that are based mostly upon subjective feelings and comments; his answer is based around keeping my mind focused on what is important…extracting the best performance out of my ability. As a coach, I answer my clients’ questions with information that will help that manage their situation and simplify their total stress level, again in an attempt to help them extract their best possible performance. Thus coaches don’t always tell the client everything! They tell them what they need to know!

When I worked as my own coach during my neo-pro season of 2011, I had to have objective AND subjective discussions with myself. I found the best way to plan and complete my race season preparations was to sit down for 1-2 days at the beginning of each month to objectively analyze my previous training and establish goals and protocols for the coming weeks. If I wrote it down, I would do it! Those were 1-2 days of stress! Then come a training day, I would revert to the subjective rider, how do I feel? Am I motivated? Recovered? If not, I will modify the plan slightly, but not totally toss it aside. This way I could take solace during my rest days and satisfaction after completing my hardest.

So how does a coach keep it all in order? Coaches should build checklists! And for that matter, so should teachers! There was a great piece by Dan Coyle (one of my favorite authors) recently discussing this. Plus, with checklists that bred a means to an end, what can instill an atmosphere between the client/student and the coach/teacher that fosters communication, trust and eventually creativity! Building a lifetime appreciation for learning either through athletic pursuits or artistic journeys.

Find Your Own Style