12 days of heavier training are over and I've had enough thoughts to fill an entire notebook. Unfortunately many of those thoughts are going to cycle back into my subconscious where they are likely to rise again at hour five of a long ride (insetad of right now when I need them). Nevertheless, there did seem to be some consistency in my thinking pattern and perhaps it can be synthesized by a few quotes.
"Its good to let everyone be strong at some point in the day."
Gordo relayed this quote to me from Molina. It carries a lot of weight with it and it really became relevant over the last twelve days since I trained with others daily.
Training groups are highly benificial, but it rides a mighty thin line between benefit and detriment. In order to really gain the benefits each individual needs to have faith in others around him. Athletes need to allow others to take the drivers seat without constantly challenging for that spot.
Last Spring in Florida we organized a group ride of about 4-5 riders and one rule persisted from start to finish: Everyone was allowed to pull until he decided to pull off. No one could come around.
Now this will not guarantee that the pulls will be civil, but it does mean that some sort of order will remain in tact throughout the session.
So what if someone is drilling it at the front? When you roll through should you smack him back?
Personally, I think not. The best thing you can do is make your pulls short and pull off the front forcing the peppy individual to retake the lead. Let your buddy be strong and just enjoy the ride.
And don't worry about folks who hammer in training....
"You should worry about the folks that_don't_have anything to prove in training."
"I was always ok with my fitness..."
On Monday the Carolina Crew and I chatted generally about triathlon and specifically about my goals and progression.
Early in my 'career' I never particularly compared myself to athletes around me. Part of that had to do with the fact that there really weren't any triathletes in College Station to speak of so benchmarks were hard to come by. I simply concentrated on making gradual gains day after day and I knew my real potential was years away. My training consistency and mental/emotional sanity were more important to me than figuring out the next sexy workout.
And honestly, I had never worked_that_"hard" at anything else in my life. I wasn't great at lots of sports (but not bad either) and even if I had potential in some areas I never capitalized on it. So watching gradual progression in triathlon training/racing was always enough motivation to get me out the door. I didn't need the external variables to fire me up. It came internally.
I also never took issue with my race results so long as I working my way up the field. Instead of being irritated about someone beating me I would simply think "just think where I'll be in 5 or 10 years." Sometimes I would meet goals or fall short of them, but I almost always improved.
And I always tell my friends (and myself) to:
"Never be disappointed with progress"...
...even if that progress falls short of the goals you set for yourself. You still improved.
Not as long as I wanted, but enough. I need to head out to make sure the race bike is in working order for tomorrow.
And its too damn nice to sit inside on a day like this,
p.s. One more thought I had the other day that I told my buddy:
"I have spent a few years in this sport and have met some solid, stand-up individuals. I guess when it comes down to it the athleticism of these indivduals is usually the least impressive aspect about them."