By Aubrey Moore
Being fast on a bicycle just feels good. Maybe it’s a deeply embedded competitive nature or just the raw thrill of speed. My bicycle has been a useful tool for me the past eight years of my life for a myriad of reasons, whether it be reflection, exploration, exercise, or a need to compete. The relative goals of two different riders can vary by an order or magnitude, but the feeling of accomplishment is fundamental to the sport.
When I was a squirrelly young junior, I spent days after school riding my bike. At that time in my life it gave me the sense of independence and freedom that your typical after school activity just couldn’t match. It wasn’t long before I found myself pinning on a number and nervously clipping in to the sound of a start gun. Those weekends spent in depressing hotels and getting up at the crack of dawn for a continental breakfast of limited variety were a constant through my adolescence. I learned a lot about the value of structure and consistency.
I moved through racing categories in a pragmatic manner that challenged me to keep searching for my potential. I’ve experimented with a lot of different training methods and had varying results. You can have a more organic training style in which racing is your intensity and the rest of the time is spent in group rides. I reaped the biggest benefits from a carefully planned out schedule that included short, intense intervals on a trainer combined with steady base miles. I’ve had a lot of mentorship and coaching that helped me along the way. Patrick Harkins deserves a mention. His approach challenged me to realize that every mile per hour of speed I had in me. I began to monitor my diet and added a core strength routine to aid my training.
My training style is not applicable to the majority of riders, but some kind of structure can yield the most improvement. A coach can be a valuable resource to those looking to use their time on the bike as constructively as possible. Having someone to keep you accountable and give perspective is priceless. Find a coach that is relatable and knows your intentions on the bike. Once the uncertainty of picking workouts is in someone else’s hands, you are free to focus on the task at hand. Whatever your reason for riding, whether it’s ambitions of winning a Wednesday night crit or just riding to work, I hope this post will challenge you to get the most out of your rides.