Chasing after other someone else’s level pulls you further away from improving your own level.
Do you know people who are better than you? Do you base your objectives on what those other people are doing? How often do you set your sights on peers, friends, or rivals? Almost all of us are guilty of doing this. But looking at other people for direction takes you in the wrong direction. When you try to become another person, you become much worse at being yourself.
One of the biggest mistakes riders make is participating in rides and events with people who are much better than they are. Their thinking is that if they ride with people who are faster or stronger, they’ll be forced to match their might. Sure, it’s an easy way to push yourself hard, but you are pushing yourself in the wrong direction. You might say, “But I feel a lot of pain when I go hard on these rides chasing the better riders, and pain equates to gain, right?” Sorry, that's not how it works.
If you ride beyond your abilities to try to keep up with someone else, you are not creating your own zones. You have no footing. You are building with a roof with no foundation to stand on. And you certainly aren't focused on the type of rider you are.
Each cyclist has a unique Rider Type. Your Rider Type is a product - and representation - of your natural-born mental and physical capabilities. These are your own God-given talents and gifts. But your unique capabilities needed to be cultivated, and it’s your responsibility to hone them. When you chase better riders around, you go above and beyond your own rider type zones. Because your intensity level is so high, your focus is compromised, and you are unable to execute a proper riding technique. Additionally, in these rides, you are also using much of your valuable energy stores so that you are left with little fuel and mental strength, often compromising your training in the days ahead.
Instead of looking at other people and trying to emulate them, you should understand who you are, what you want to do, and where your current level is. Specifically work your way, your pace. Your perspective, outcome and your dreams and outcomes in focus. Spend your precious time and energy identifying and developing your personal Rider Type, and then become the best version of yourself.