I have been reading Sir Chris Hoy’s ‘How to ride a bike’ over the last few days. The book is an excellent training manual that I highly recommend it for any cyclist. Hoy starts with the basics, including choosing a bike and road safety but quickly moves to training details. As one of the most successful British athletes of all time, winning Eleven World Championships and six Olympic gold medals, some training methods, such as the clown bike where Hoy would do short high cadence intervals at 320+ rpm are not for the faint of heart. There is no referenced research on the methods to satisfy the more geeky time trialist, but it makes it an easier read and Hoy was at the cutting edge for most of his career, and at the hight of British Cycling’s rise, so the methods have provenance.
Later in the book, Hoy writes about setting and managing goals. He suggests setting a massive goal that you would love to do, that is a bit beyond you, and is a little scary such as riding a tour du France mountain stage in l’Etape du Tour or targetting a national age-group title. You can then spend time analysing precisely what is needed to achieve the goal and compare them to where you are. You can then create a ‘recipe for success’ planning out exactly what you need to do in your training, recovery, nutrition, and equipment to bridge the gap. Finally, Hoy quotes advice given to him by Chis Boardman, if you are not excited when you read through the plan, then rip it up and start again.
The big goal acts as a motivation to carry out each day’s plan and develop discipline in your training. Hoy suggests you close your eyes, imagine doing something that excites and gives you goosebumps, then write it down, plan out how you can get there an, and then do it.
How to choose and manage your cycling goals
- Choose a big scary goal so large that you are almost embarrassed to tell people.
- Research and map out each aspect of what it will take to achieve the goal, such as a required power to weight ratio and equipment needs.
- Map out where you are now against the requirements to identify what you need to do.
- Create a long term plan to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you need to be.
- Create a detailed plan for the next four weeks.
- Execute the plan flawlessly, ‘controlling the controllable.’
- Review at the end of the four weeks to assess if the plan achieved the intended outcomes.
- Repeat steps 7-7 until the big scary goal is complete.