Yesterday Ange and I were chatting about our relationship to biking. We've both been runners and swimmers forever, and maybe it is for this reason alone that we so easily "just do it" when it comes to those disciplines. I never miss a swim or run workout. Never. I also never leave a swim or run workout feeling it was a failure. Sometimes I don't hit my goal--or the goal that was set for me by Jen--but I nearly always feel good about my swims and run regardless.
No so with biking. I rarely miss a bike workout either, but I have been known to cut one short, or make a set easier than is called for, or to space out entirely and not focus on what I am doing. This is in part simply b/c the bike workout is always longer than the swim or run, and so sustaining focus is that much harder. But it's also because I don't have a history with biking--at least not one longer than the last four years since I took up triathlon. As a kid I did ride a lot, but it was a three-speed bike and I usually didn't go farther than down the street to visit a friend, or up the street to school, or through the Coops (a swamp land with ponds) to look for frogs.
I expect the run and swim to hurt, but I get despondent and sometimes even angry when I hurt on the bike. I expect to hit the goal pace for the swim or run, but I often doubt my capability of hitting the goal wattage Jen sets for me when I'm astride Mrs. Z.
This. needs. to. stop.
I need to embrace my inner biker chick persona.
I need to because in every triathlon--every. single. one.--the bike leg is the longest in duration and distance, and in my opinion is also the key to the whole damn race.
There are many keys to the damn race, of course. You need to nail nutrition, you need to have efficient transitions, you need to have the right mindset, you need to stick to your pacing plan on the swim/bike and run. etc. etc. etc.
But the bike....
You need to go hard on the bike so you don't lose the race there, but you can't go so hard (at least in 70.3 or longer) that you destroy yourself and the possibility of running well.
I find finding this balance very, very challenging-- and I think it's because of my lack of a lifetime experience on the bike.
With the swim I can just feel where I need to be. I'm not saying I've achieved perfection here, but I believe I can beat most people out of the water, I know how to be smart in the swim, and I'm confident that I will NOT be disappointed in my performance. For the run I trust myself to take it as far as humanly possible to pull out the race I need to have. I'm not saying I always nail the run--. In fact, I often have to fight very hard on the run b/c I have not set myself up perfectly on the bike to have a great run. But I trust myself anyway. I know I will do everything in my power to get it done.
But my bike? I think it's that I don't trust myself yet TO KNOW. I use heart rate as a guide (although it's a flawed guide, especially when racing), and when on my computrainer I can use wattage, but my intuition--t e.g. this is JUST right--or no, you need to push more here--or no, you need to hold back now-- That intution is not fully developed for me yet. I can't trust myself to know just how to race that leg. I can talk about it with Jen, I can practice practice practice in training, but I simply don't trust myself completely to get it done right.
I write all this why?
Because this is my goal this season. My goal is to get beyond where I am right now--to get to a place where I JUST DO IT, and I am confident that I will get it done right. I will get there by doing the following things:
- Loving the bike and not allowing negative shit to creep into my love for the bike.
- Going to a parking lot 1x a week all season to practice cornering, balancing on the bike, going no- handed on he bike, and getting on and off my bike in a smooth, confident fashion.
- Getting a power meter and learning to use it well
- Learning to take apart my bike and put it back together again, learning how to take care of it, and becoming confident that no matter what happens on a ride from a mechanical standpoint, I can fix it.
- Being vigilant about nailing my bike workouts, and never cutting them short, mixing them up, or spacing out during them.
You think if I write it I'll do it?
Any other suggestions for me all you uber bikers out there?
On that note, I need to get on Mrs. Z. We have a two hour ride to get done--and I can't wait.
(It's not working yet. )