Top 10 words of advice before you race your bike
No that’s an open question–I’m looking for advice here. My second cyclocross race ever is tomorrow morning and I’ve done a good job at keeping the nerves at bay, but I’m starting to feel a bit jumpy and I’m going back to all the advice I have ever been given to calm me down and focus me before a race.
10.) You are not going to win. There is only one winner and chances are it won’t be you, but you’ll be having a similar experience to everyone else there who isn’t that one person who wins. I have a love/hate relationship with this statement. It’s almost like “Hey loser, pressure’s off. Just have fun.” I mean, it’s a RACE. We’re all trying out there. Of course there are few of us capable of winning the whole thing but you can’t tell me that every single one of us entertains fantasies about somehow pulling a storybook ending out of the experience and winning the whole damn thing in dramatic fashion. Hey, at least we have rich imaginations. But the intent of the message is to push hard and enjoy the experience, and not get too caught up in the podium fantasy.
9.) Ride your own race. What the hell does this mean? It’s a bit trite to say, but sometimes it’s enough to hang your hat on.
8.) Just do your best. OK Mom, I will
7.) Always evaluate the course ahead of you and anticipate. Yeah, I can’t say anything bad about this at all.
6.) Pedal circles not squares. This is actually good advice all around. It speaks to pedal efficiency when your pedal stroke feel free & floaty. basically it means you’re doing it right, and not wasting energy.
5.) Stand and deliver. When the going gets tough, get your ass out of the saddle and crank up that hill. Just make sure your not in the mud when you do it because if your weight isn’t over your rear wheel you are going nowhere fast.
4.) If you worried about falling off the bike, you’d never get on. This one’s from Lance. What the hell, he’s had a rough year. But suffice to say that’s pretty much all the performance advice you should take from him. Aw, Lance, whydidyadoit?
3.) Pick your line. Some common MTB wisdom here and it applies to ‘cross as well. There are many lines on the path, chose wisely.
2.) Point your bike where you want to go. This seems obvious but it’s amazing how often it isn’t done and a rider ends up zig-zagging around losing precious time. This one is about focusing on the path ahead, pointing yourself in that direction, and pedaling through. It works remarkably well.
1.) Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn. Come on children of the 80’s! You know this…..
Have any more advice! Share it with me! If enough of you chime in I’ll do another advice column for would be bike racers.