To succeed at bike racing you need to be an all-round cyclist and need to tread a careful balance between your strengths and weaknesses.
Winter is the perfect time to get a clear picture in your mind on what you need to work on to improve.
”Look after your weaknesses and your strengths will look after themselves.”
”Train your weaknesses and race your strengths.”
It is well known that to get better you need to work on the things you aren’t good at. But how many of you actually do that? Obviously this is an important starting point if you want to raise your game. Your super fast sprint won’t be much use to you if you blow up 10 miles before the finish. But developing a clear-eyed picture of who you are as a bike rider isn’t necessarily that easy, often you need some objective input from someone else to put it into perspective for you.
Training your weaknesses but racing your strengths is a very straightforward and simple concept on the surface. However, it can be difficult to identify exactly what it is that needs to be worked on to improve your specific weakness. Often riders mistake weakness in one area for another. If you’re getting dropped on the climbs, you might assume that you need more VO2 max power to hammer up those five minute hills. But in reality, you may be struggling because your threshold power is too low compared to your peers, and you are anaerobic much sooner on a climb than you should be. Along the same lines, you may be getting tailed off on the last lap of a criterium and think your weakness is max watts or anaerobic power, when again, the issue is low threshold power leading you to early anaerobic, and an early exit from the sprint.
Threshold power really is the foundation from which you can build all your other skills. Strengthen that area first, make sure it’s solid, and then begin to think about fine-tuning the other areas for overall good form and successful results.