We all have areas in our sport that make us cry (well at least parts we don’t look forward too) like hills, headwinds, group rides…and part of progressing as a rider is learning to love the things we hate.
Typically the things we don’t like are also the things we’re not all that good at. Look at someone that doesn’t like hills and you’re also likely to find the last person in any group going up a hill. Find the person that doesn’t like riding in groups and remember to stay away from their twitchy scared movements.
The thing is if we keep avoiding the things we don’t like we’re always going to suck at them, they’re always going to be the hardest part of the sport for us because we’re not getting any more experience with them, we’re not training to our weaknesses we’re training to our strengths.
When rock climbing was my main focus we always ascribed to the thought that you needed to train the thing you were weakest at or most scared of so that you were a better all around climber, and the same should be said of any sport.
My weakest cycling skill right now is climbing. This week I easily hung with a local group ride at around 40km an hour (after a solo of 45km to get to the ride) through all the flats but as soon as we hit the hill I was dropped like a sack of mouldy potatoes. After racing a bit this is a pattern for me, hang with the group in the flats but as soon as we get any hill my legs just can’t keep up the power.
The best I’ve been able to do is to grind up a hill with a group only to be dropped as they accelerate at the top (it’s a good tactic) then I usually finish out the race solo hoping that I redeem some pride by not getting lapped.
With that in mind my focus will be on hills for the next 3 weeks. I do luck out in that although I’m slow on the hills I love a good hill workout (really I just love busting my ass) Three weeks of hills leaves me enough time to taper a bit before the next race (a morning Crit and afternoon TT) and hopefully not get my ass handed to me on the hills.
What’s your weakness? How are you training it in to a strength?