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.

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