I don’t use a power meter.
I don’t have a coach.
I don’t do structured workouts.
Am I doing it right?
I had a good conversation with a teammate of mine about training methods. For about the last two years, he’s been trying to get me to buy a power meter. When we debrief our races or talk about how our training is coming along, the conversation inevitably turns to a discussion about watts. I usually leave the conversation wondering if I’m doing it right…
I’ve had a relationship with this bike racing thing for about five years now. I am a category 4 racer on the road with a 12th place finish last season as my best result. I am a category 3 racer in cross finishing at the back of the Masters field. I own three road bikes (two carbon), one cyclocross bike (carbon) and a piece of crap mountain bike. I commute to work via bike. On weekends (when I’m not racing), I usually do the local shop ride.
So why do I have such an aversion to structure in my bike life? The answer is pretty simple…
I spent my entire athletic life with coaches and training plans. I played sports in college. I competed on the international/Olympic level in taekwondo as an adult prior to getting into cycling. Coaches, practice and training plans were my religion. At this point, it would be easy for me to say “i’m burned out on structure/coaching”. That’s not quite the reason…As much as I enjoy the competitive nature of bike racing, I most closely associate it with my days as a skater and later as a guitar player/DJ.
When I was spending most of my time skateboarding as a kid, I loved the freedom I had to find new places to skate. Skating changed the way I looked at my neighborhood and ultimately changed the way I sought adventure in my life.
Music has always been a strong part of the way I make connections to the world. I picked up a guitar for the first time while working in a record shop in law school. Weekends always were spent “jamming” with friends. I never learned to read music proper, however I did learn how to tuck into a session and just go with whatever was happening. Changing tempo on a song, was done with a head nod or a raised eye brow. When everything is hitting just right, it’s a feeling you are trying to ride out as long as possible.
Dropping needles on records came a bit later. At parties, I was a wallflower. I was the worse kind of wallflower. I was a music snob. I always felt like I could play something better. So, my buddy Jon gave me my first DJ name (DJ Progress), and I was set. I spent years in dusty record shops and thrift stores looking for hidden gems. I listened to everything. I organized my records by BPM (beats per minute). I didn’t use any of that fancy stuff. I hand wrote notes on all of my record sleeves with BPM counts. Hours were spent finding the perfect blends. I’m still searching for the perfect beat.
So this bike racing thing is a mix of skateboarding, guitar and DJ. Coaches, power meters, and training plans just don’t work into my life. Different strokes for different folks I guess. “Am I Doing It Right?”… I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know what it is supposed to feel like…