Excel At One Thing
If you’re going to do something, why try to be good at everything? For most of us, all that will happen is that we’ll end up being mediocre a wide range of things which will put us in the middle of the pack nearly all the time.
If you see some promise in one area of your cycling, I say focus on it, fine tune it and make it the best you possibly can. Then move on to working on the parts of cycling that you’re weaker on so that you can create the opportunities that let you use your strengths.
For example, a big and heavy like me is never going to win a race that has big steep climbs and hilltop finishes. The beautiful thing about cycling though is that there are equalizers that make it possible for most body types and varied abilities to excel at one thing or another. There aren’t too many true all-rounders out there. Even an all-rounder like Cadel only got second place at the TdF. He was beaten by a guy who was good at one thing and one thing only – climbing!
If you’re a good sprinter, work on your bunch sprint positioning, practice your sprint intervals, do some time on the track, and pick races that will end up in group sprints! I guarantee you that you’ll start winning.
If you have a high lactate threshold, then get in breakaways. Learn when breaks happen on a certain course, know who to follow and who to let sink out there, know when to go (you can tell when something is going to stick or not).
If you’re not good at anything in particular, then figure out what body type you have, what terrain suits your natural abilities, and concentrate on getting good at what you enjoy. If you’re 60kg and enjoy climbing then you know what you should be practicing and enter those types of events. However, if you’re 80kg, hate the thought of getting in a breakaway or don’t have the guts to play in a group sprint, you have to assess your goals and adjust your expectations. That may mean switching grades, or giving it your all out effort in order to support someone on your team. There’s a lot of satisfaction helping out a teammate achieve his goals.
Train your weaknesses, make stuff that you’re good at razor sharp, pick races that suit your strengths, and you will be successful in the sport of bike racing.