With all the cancelations due to the coronavirus virus it looks like I will have some free time on my hands.
I want to stay productive and have decided to start a new blog.
I've been lucky enough to help out and coach a few local athletes so this blog is really a format to share some of the lessons I've learned over the past 40 years of racing with them and perhaps a few of others.
Fair warning... I think there is a lot of misinformation written about cycling and triathlon and some of the more important things aren't even talked about, so some of my topics may seem controversial. But that is exactly the reason I think they need to be said!
I guess the best place to start is how the blog, and my coaching, got it's name.
From 1999 to 2015 I owned Bethel Cycle in Northwest Connecticut. We had an awesome cycling and triathlon team and were part of a vibrant cycling scene. My shop was in the hometown of Cannondale and we raced all season in the Industrial Park where Cannondale was located (that just reminded me of a another cool story about Cadel Evans).
There was a local hotshot bike racer about 15 years younger than me named BeeJay. We became friends and he worked in my shop part time. BeeJay could suffer an insane amount and then pull off a monster sprint. I started bike racing late in life, and I think Beejay saw some promise in me and was good enough to show me the ropes and give me some solid advice.
One of his funny sayings was "the more you race the more stupid you become." And it was true! What he meant is that bike racing is so hard that you almost have to do it all the time to go numb to the intense pain. It only starts working when you can go on autopilot and not think about it too much.
Anyway one late summer day BeeJay and I and a few others were out ripping up in the Litchfield Hills. We were all super fit from a hard season of racing and at some point the ride turned from a training ride to an all out throw down. I remember being in pain and looking at my power data. I was on BeeJay's wheel and was cranking out 420 watts on Route 7 along the Housatonic River! It was as hard as any race I did that year. I jumped for the Cornwall Bridge Town Line and BeeJay yelled out "Pelican you are putting me in the pain cave!"
Soon after we stopped to refuel at a country deli. And we got in a little argument. I said "why are you going so hard?" He said "Pelican you put me in the pain cave." And he was right. There is a knife edge point when competition changes from being really hard to a flat out fight where your animal instincts take over.
That place is called the Pain Cave.
I'm not suggesting that every training ride turns into a race, there is a time and a place. But I do feel the natural reaction is to back down, not go harder when you get to this point. And if you want to win you need to cross that line not only racing but in controlled training sessions.
Have you visited the Pain Cave lately?