Rather than jump into the latest controversy about Lance, I want to focus on some things that he definitely did better than anyone else which helped him to win 7 straight Tours.
Heard recently from an unverified source that Lance Armstrong had only 1 flat tire during his 7 years of winning the Tour. If so, think about what that means: over 15K miles of racing over sometimes brutal roads and weather conditions with just one flat. Was it luck? Or did Lance have something that us age groupers can learn from?
In short, what did Lance do to reduce his chances of a flat?
1. He paid attention to detail. Most triathletes are Type-A personalities; we are EXCELLENT at the big stuff… doing the workouts: putting time in on the bike, running and swimming. But, how many of us took note of what we ate before that ride on Monday, that later caused GI distress? How many of us really perform the dynamic warm-up that coach suggests you do before running, or a proper cool-down? Do you wipe down you bike after your rides? Do you check the brakes and wheels to make sure they are functioning properly before every ride? The list is can go on forever; but it is continuous attention to the small details the separates the top-performing athletes.
2. He kept good people around him. We all need a good support system to be successful. Local bike shop; Coach; Physical Therapist; Massage Therapist; Friends; Teammates; Nutritionist. We may not need all of these persons or maybe need more than are listed. The support system takes time to grow and nurture. It may change over time, but the important thing is make sure you have that core group of people that you can call for guidance. (On a personal note, I am going through this all over since I moved; fortunately, I have many friends that remained constant and a blessing.)
3. He did have a little luck. Sometimes Lady Luck is on your side, but remember Stage 3 of the Tour in 2010? We all have to face bad luck eventually.
So, how can this lesson help a time-crunched age grouper? Most of us do not have the time or the finances to focus on every detail of our training and equipment, nor should we obsess over every bite of food. But I learned the hard way in my first couple of years in this sport; specifically, not maintaining the bike as I should. After much pain and expense as a result of sweat-corroded bolts, cables and housings, I now take care of the bike every time I ride, before and after. When I arrive at a race site, I am confident that my equipment is also ready to race, even if my personality still requires me to check my tires 10 times. And yes, I have finally welcomed the warm-up and cool-down into my workout regimen.
And don’t forget, your strongest support is built on the relationships that are formed when you are out on a 100 mile bike ride. These are the friends who are truly going to make your race day a success.
As you head into your 2011 season; what and whom do you need to invest in to help guarantee success?