Monday, February 06, 2006

Relationship between skills and fitness

I was just thinking that I've got two divergent focuses right now.

A few months ago, I took a skills clinic and I'm really committed to improving in that area. It's a very slow and deliberate process. Practice once a week, cones, parking lot, a set routine. Nothing happens overnight, but slowly ride by ride I feel that I'm improving.

Sometimes I rail a particular turn, or bunny hop a drop I used to roll off. Other times I feel like I am flailing because I am trying too hard. But little by little it's progression forward

In the same vein, I am also committed to improving my fitness. You've seen the training plan. Macro phase by macro phase, micro block by micro block, ride by ride, interval by interval, and rest day by rest day I get better. Slowly and deliberately. It's been really empowering the last two years to improve year to year.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. XC racing is the culmination of so many cycling disciplines and it's the balance and compromise between them. Both skills and fitness need to be worked on (though skewed more towards fitness). But the thing is that they are not totally divergent or separate. They are inter-related.

The fitter you are, the better technical rider you can be. The more you can work the bike and terrain rather then getting worked. Try riding a tech section totally fresh and in peak condition, vs riding it 3hrs into a race.

Similarly, the better technician you are the more efficient you can be and the more energy you can save. I've been on rides with people that can drill me into the ground on the road bike, yet I can waltz away on the rock gardens. They'll be totally out of breath and tired from fighting the bike and the trail.

Not sure where I'm going with this. Just thinking out loud I guess. If you only work on fitness, think about practicing some trackstands every now and then. And if you're a free rider, think about doing some road riding to get some fitness. Each one compliments the other.


At 9:19 PM, Blogger mags said...

Interesting topic. I view technique as one of the base skills that needs to be an area of focus from an early stage. When a young athlete starts, he or she need to understand the importance of proper technique during every sessions.

When the base work has been laid down, technique and skills needs to be present and on your mind in every single session. Try not to have any "technique only" sessions - it's a state of mind.

Especially when you start getting tired, then it's more important than ever to keep the form up.


At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

excellent topic. i think about this all the time. in fact, i just came in from a 10 min "smoke break" at work - i keep my bike in the storeroom so i can work on stuff.

i'm embarking on my first season of racing and so far, it's been my lack of tech skillz that's kept me from "getting in the game". i felt there was no reason racing if i couldn't ride at least the bulk of the courses. after a clinic with Gene Hamilton (, not to mentioned getting totally SKOOLED by yersailf, i'm slowly getting there.

now it's a twinned growth in tech and aerobics.

keep up the great blogging as well as the training.

best in '06.

-capt pearl

At 11:11 PM, Blogger Spider Rider said...

Amen! Keeping the fitness up as we (okay, I) get older is tough enough, but trying to learn skills on the fly can result in HARD-HITTING lessons that often keep us off our beloved two-wheeled chariots way too long, killing both skills and fitness.

You've just reminded me to go back and re-read (and implement) the Basic Skills section I skipped over in Ned Overend's Book. Steady improvement in both areas is the key -- nice job on your commitment!



Post a Comment

<< Home