I love a good challenge

by Arlyn on December 12, 2008

Iwant to win a bicycle race.  It gives me chills to say that out loud. Deep down, I don’t believe I’m strong enough or have enough discipline to get strong enough.

In 2009, I will win a bike race.  Now that’s just crazy talk!

Arlyn on the podium

Everyone knows that I’m a little bit competitive. I’m always trying to get to the town sign, finish line or col marker first – or, at least in front of you. I’ve ridden several charity bike events competitively, trying to “win” when most everyone else was out to just have a good time and raise money for a great cause. I’ve ridden a few bike events where lots of people ride competitively and I’ve done ok, but it’s not a real race, it’s not satisfying. And I have raced a real criterium. It was super fast and a ton of fun. I barely hung on to finish with the pack.

So, the idea that I could train hard and win a bike race seems, well… Like a really good challenge! Ok, to get started, I need a tangible, realistic first step.

The First Step

I don’t think I am built to be a crit racer. I’m tall, almost 200 lbs and can ride all day long. I get better as the ride gets longer and have a passion for climbing, even though I’m not a pure climber. I think I’d do best at a road race, especially one with hills.

The first real road race of the season in San Diego just happens to be the Boulevard Road Race. It’s a 22-mile course and you do either 2 or 3 laps depending on what classification you race with. Each loop has about 2,000 feet of climbing.

It’ll be my first road race so I’m uncomfortable going for the win. I’ll settle, instead, for finishing top 10 in my age group. That is something I believe I can achieve. Ok, now I need a training plan.

The Training Plan

I’ve started a training program taken largely from Joe Friel’s The Cyclist’s Training Bible. I’ve modified it to fit my schedule and age. Currently, I’m in the “Build 1” phase, focusing on hills, intervals and speed work every week along with one day as a “Race Level Effort”. I’ve been training for over a month now and am seeing results. I’m learning a lot about training and will be sharing that with you soon.

And the Most Important Part

You have to be strong to win a bike race, no doubt. But lots of strong guys start a bike race and only one guy wins. I think you need to believe in the win. I’ll be honest and tell you that I don’t fully believe yet. But I want to believe and that puts me on the road.

Wish me luck.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Myles Delfin December 13, 2008 at 9:13 am

Hello there! My name is Myles, I’m a cyclist based in the Philippines. I got your link from Bike Node. I read your post about winning a race and I just wanted to wish you good luck and more power, you can do it! I had the same goal for 2008, and I got what I wanted about a month ago when I placed 6th in my age group and 13th overall in a 24 hour race. Well, I wanted to win it or place top three, but one thing I learned is that I’d have to be really hungry for a win to get the championship, maybe i’ll get it right next time. I trained about 4 months in advance, riding everyday except Mondays (which was my designated rest day). I did time trial rides every other day, and then hill climbs and sprints alternately. I also kept track of my times and distances and then rode long distance on Sundays.

All the best, and post pictures of your race!

Weiland December 13, 2008 at 10:13 am

Sounds like a good plan. Mine isn’t as ambitious, for 2009 I just want to get through some road races. Next year I’ll focus on winning one 😉

Arlyn Asch December 13, 2008 at 5:22 pm

@Myles: Thanks, I appreciate your good wishes. And congrats on your racing.

@Weiland: Looking forward to hearing about your races. Good luck.

Daniel Kreger December 15, 2008 at 5:50 am

I love this post, Arlyn. I’m heavier than you, but our riding styles sound pretty similar. Like you, I can go all day. I would also like to get into some races this year, and am looking at some time trials to get my feet wet. And I’ve got you linked up on my blog now!

Arlyn Asch December 15, 2008 at 8:11 am

Thanks Dan. Good luck with racing. Best way to get started is to get your license then use the usacycling.org site to find TT’s near in your area. I did a TT once, it’s pretty fun.

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