You are into competitive cycling and looking to progress, but you don't know what to expect. What results should you target? How do you know if you are improving? How are you doing in relation to your peers?
Do these questions sound familiar? I am sure they do as they are just a few of the many internal conversations people have with themselves during their competitive journey through the sport.
But what you feel is normal as the sport is sure confusing! To help we’ve created a framework, the Seven Stages of Race Success, for people to identify where they are in their racing progression and where they must progress to next in competitive cycling.
Stage 1. Distance Completion - You can complete the distance on the event using your current PowerTrain Zones. This isn't just about only being able to ride the distance but do so within the competition context.
Stage 2. Race Opening Selection - You are able to stay in the peloton for the first decision selections, but fall off the group in the middle of the race.
Stage 3. Race Flow Selection - You can make the mid-race selection but fall off when the pace picks up in the Race Close.
Stage 4. Race Close Selection - You can stay with the final selection in the Race Close and make it to the finish.
Stage 5. Race Close Animation - You can make the final selection in the Race Close, and you can attack, cover attacks from the group, and or sprint in the last.
Stage 6. Race Close Result - You can make the final selection in the Race Close, and you can attack, cover attacks from the group, and or sprint in the final. You don’t get the win, but you get close and a result.
Stage 7. Race Close Win - You can make the final selection in the Race Close, and you are able to attack, cover attacks from the group, and or sprint in the final. You get the win.
Before you get started in this process reflect on each of these things and figure out what needs to improve. Where are you now? Are you able to complete the distance, but when the gun goes off, you find yourself off the back of the peloton? Or are you finishing with the pack every race but unable to compete for the win?
Think about the races at your level. There's an apparent reason you are in the stage you are in. Figure out the cause and craft your game plan around getting to the next stage.
As you will see, real race success based on these stages takes focus, hard work, and time. You must focus on these seven at your current level and concerning your Rider Type.