Lessons Learned from my First Season as a Paracyclist
Updated: Jan 16, 2020
As an endurance coach who had competed in many triathlons, but not in single sport endurance race, I decided that the 2018 season would be my foray into the world of a single sport as a coach. I chose cycling. Over the course of training and competing, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way.
1. The world of triathlon and the world of cycling are not that different. Both are essentially endurance sports. This means that switching to training for cycling could was an easier transition than originally expected. My swim, bike, and run training became a lot of...bike training. Of course, my coach knows me well enough to know that I have a short attention span, so she threw in some running and swimming days for me too.
2. We train in similar fashions. Training efficiently is key. Every training ride had a purpose, both when I was training for triathlon and when I was training for cycling. I desperately need to work on cadence. So I had at least one ride a week that focused on that. I also needed to work on hills, specifically going down them. So we had one day a week focused on that.
3. There is no dismount line. I knew it was true, but I still automatically felt myself have a moment of panic when I was 50 yards from the finish line at Nationals and I had not scoped out the dismount line! Then I realized that I was being silly because there was, in fact, no dismount line. You ride your hardest straight through the finish.
4. I freak out more when cycling competitively. In triathlon, The only time you are together is at the start of the swim. I am a person that very much enjoys my space, so I develop a game plan toward that. Then on the bike, it is illegal to draft in most divisions. Thats not the case in cycling. I knew that they would draft, but its a whole new feeling to get all up next to someones wheel in a race! My freak out sessions are exactly why this coach has a coach. It's also to hold me accountable to do my own training.
5. Both sports offers great friendships that you keep and cherish along the way. I have made great friends in both triathlon and cycling. And both are long-lasting friendships.
6. We both wear tight spandex proudly. There is no other sport besides cycling (and paracycling) that you go in your finest sweaty spandex kit out for a victory dinner...except triathlon. :)