Provincial Time Trial Championship: Doing It for the Process
Written by competitive road cyclist Normand Richard
This might be the first time you read a report about a race that’s yet to happen. I’m actually writing this one week out of my A goal of the season; the provincial time trial championships.
I wanted to shed light on the process of building and preparing for this 50 something minutes of racing that will happen next week. The process started a year ago after the 2015 TT champs (finished 6th if you wonder). Driving home, I was still riding that post race euphoria and said to myself “hey… given another solid year of training I could move up a few spots”. Easier said than done, when you’re already working 40hrs and training ~13-15hrs per week. Thus began the brainstorming; how can I increase and improve my training. I contemplated quitting my job (Ill advised by my family, friends, and coach!) but did negotiate a modification of my work hours (still 40hrs) so I could focus on 3-day training blocs, enabling me to do 16-18hrs weeks. Following that I tried to see where I could acquire marginal gains. I invested in the MarcPro recovery system to make sure I was ready to hit my next sessions, partnered up with Picky Bar (a bar made of such basic but good ingredients a 4 year old knows what they are) for the seasons’ fueling, invested into the best aero helmet I could find (Rudy Project Wing 57) and a very fast wheelset (Energy Lab out of Calgary, Canada).
The 3-day bloc was a new approach for me that my coach and I decided to try. Start off with 2-3 hours Friday, a “kitchen sink” workout Saturday and a long endurance ride Sunday. A sample Saturday would be efforts on trainer, then ride endurance outdoors, then another effort on the trainer, then flop on the couch with MARCPRO while destroying a PickyBar, nap, hangout/dinner with my very tolerant girlfriend, then hopefully bed by 930PM.
This may seem like a monkish lifestyle (and sometimes it sure feels like it) but I enjoy the process of training. For me completing a workout brings personal satisfaction, and hitting the targeted power on intervals is a small victory. I like tinkering on my bikes to make them faster, and enjoy reading sports science literature to see how I can improve my performance and recovery. If you are familiar with different types of motivations (intrinsic vs. extrinsic), you’ll notice that I focus a lot on the process/journey. Cycling is a brutal sport, unlike team type sports (soccer, basketball) where you’re the winning or losing team, the margins of winning in cycling are slim and depend on how the course suits you, so if you compete only for winning you’re in for a good one.
I’ve already determined three personal objectives coming into this race and “my placing” is not my number one objective (its number 3 actually, trust me I do like performing well!!) as I have no control on who is going to show up and on what form.
The take home message from all this is: find your passion and do it because it’s rewarding to you, you’ll have more fun in the long run. I don’t know how I’ll place out there next week, but I do know I’ve prepared myself and had fun in the process.
Post race note: A downpour occurred during the race. I lost control (think I hit a hidden pothole) of my front wheel and crashed heavily. This goes to show that anything can happen on race day independent of how prepared you are. Now time to nurse an achy head and think of the next race.