Listen and Learn

When I was a young Cat 4 and learning the ropes, I quickly found a secret source of information. I would listen to the Cat 1-2 guys on my team as the debriefed after the races. I listened to how the race went down, who did what right, who did what wrong and when the winning move went. This stuff was gold, it was like being in a Masters level trig class after barely passing Math 101. I soak ed it all in even if i didn’t really fullt grap the lessons yet.

As I read the Alexi Grewal interview in Velonews it reminded me of my eavesdropping all those years ago.

I found myself at the tail end of the group and thought, “This is bullshit.” So, after about 10 miles, what I did was move to the front, found the race leader (Carlos Alzate) and said, “This is my wheel.

Lesson: It is easier at the front. This may be counter intuitive and there are times when tailgunning is effective (certain crits for example). At the front the pace is generally more steady, it may be hard but you usually have to deal less with riders letting gaps open which makes your effort more metered.

the morning of the crit I rode 70 miles and by the time I’d finished the crit I had another four-and-a-half hours in my legs. So I was better than the results, and I came along pretty quick, felt fine, and did a stack of miles in those four days.

Lesson: You have to do the work and some races are for training. It is a long season, use the early season races as training. Unless you live in Arizona or So Cal you should not even be close to peak form right now. If you have the opportunity to race then by all means do it but keep it in perspective. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Expect to suffer, test yourself and get in the miles you will need later in the season.

Lots of good stuff to be learned from the elder statesman. Does not matter if it Alexi Grewal or the local 45 year old that still kills it (every state has THAT guy/gal). When they talk you should listen.

BTW, whatever the outcome of Grewal’s comeback I am rooting for the guy. To do what he is trying to do at the age he is trying to do it at as pretty friggin’ awesome. Keep it up Alexi!

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